Charlie's birth story


Ethan's birth came about unexpectedly with a surprise induction after an OB checkup that morning due to the onset of pre eclampsia. Despite its surprise, S and I were both ready and confident for a natural birth experience thanks to our Calmbirth classes. If anything, we were excited. Fast forward 24 hours later and we had the drug free natural experience we were after but left a little shell shocked after a few complications occurred in the later stages.

It was those complications that led me to having a scheduled c section with Charlie. I was a much higher risk this time after a serious tear and haemorrhage with a strong likelihood of ending up in emergency surgery so rather than risk the unknown and with E to consider, we took the professionals' advice.

It was an odd feeling this time around, knowing the exact date our baby was going to be delivered. Certainly helpful with a toddler to organise and family to notify but a little surreal too. I of course barely slept a wink the night before, had my bags by the door and was up at 5am harassing S to get organised so we could head to the hospital. I was eager to meet our new addition!

We checked into the hospital... It was very civilised and quite hotel like, ran through the details of the surgery with the midwives and changed into our gowns and robes. Then the wait began. I was scheduled for 8:30am but due to 2 emergencies, I was shuffled and wasn't taken to theatre till 12:30pm. 

We were led to a small room off theatre where the anesthetist spoke to us about what they would do and what we could expect. Next thing I know, I was taken into a well lit room filled with people (a little like Grand Central Station) and while all were lovely and greeted me, I felt a little shaky and how I imagined Alice felt falling down the rabbit hole. I chose to concentrate firmly on the crib and baby station knowing that soon my baby would be here being measured and weighed. 

The anesthetic nurse spoke to me and had me position myself on a strange contraption that allowed me to hunch forward while the anaesthetist busied himself finding a spot in my back to insert the local and spinal block. It took a little longer than expected as they had a hard time getting it between my vertebrae but it wasn't painful, certainly nothing like I expected and then the heavy warmth kicked in. 

Next thing I know, S is by my side and a screen has been erected in front of me. My legs were numb and heavy and they used some ice cubes to test where the numbness kicked in on my skin. The anaesthetist warned me I was likely to feel a little sick and sure enough, my blood pressure plummeted, I went ghost white and they had a bucket by my head but thankfully I didn't blow my cookies and the drug they had to counteract the nausea kicked in quick. 

The OB and anethetists were lovely at keeping conversation flowing and us comfortable, warning me when I was likely to feel sick and the sensations I was likely to experience. One of them said it would feel like someone was doing the washing up in my stomach ... Lots of pulling and tugging but no pain. He was spot on, that's exactly how it felt. Next thing they warned me I would feel some breathlessness but then my baby would be here and it instantly felt like I had been winded then I looked up, and there was my baby.

Everyone in the theatre knew we didn't know the sex so remained quiet and allowed as to call it. With tears in his eyes he looked at me and said 'it's a boy' 'we have another son' and gave me a big kiss. I was shaking and just wanted to see him. They had to take him to be wiped, suctioned etc and then they placed him on my chest and he just looked up at me with these big wide eyes exactly like his brother and I was completely in love. I also could not get over that he looked exactly like Ethan ... Truly his twin but exactly 1 pound heavier. 

While they stitched me up (at least that's what they told me they were doing), S and I marvelled over our perfect little boy and cuddled him close. I tried to help him latch for his first feed but he was so wide eyed and crazily rooting around, he just wouldn't latch so we cuddled instead. By the time the surgeon was done and I was being wheeled to recovery, I started to get sensation and strength/control back in my legs. After a couple of minutes in recovery, I could even clumsily jerk my legs upwards much to the midwives' shock. My vital signs were all good and we managed to get Charlie latched for his first feed so I was wheeled up to our room.

I had heard the maternity rooms at the new Gold Coast University Hospital were lovely but nothing prepared me for how well equipped and appointed they were. Spacious with private bath, sofa and even built in baby bath and change station. Add all the mod cons including a TV, phone and bar fridge and the room was more luxurious than the local private hospital's maternity. 

My mother joined us in my room and S left to go pick up our biggest boy to come meet his baby brother. We had family visit for the afternoon and it got a bit crazy and crowded for awhile with overlapping guests but the best part was when E arrived and we got to introduce him to Charlie. We had gifts from baby all set for E but turns out we didn't need them, they were just a nice surprise for E. He was instantly smitten and cooed softly and quietly to Charlie, stroking his hand gently and giving him soft kisses. There is nothing quite like seeing your baby become a big brother and it made me love E even more for the beautiful nature he has.

Things started to get a little tough as the early evening started with the spinal wearing off completely and my seeming immunity to the pain medication I was given. After my pain score reached a 12 out of 10 and I was in tears with gritted teeth, the anaesthetist came to see me and offered me two plans of action. One involved a pump which I declined and the other was a stronger course of meds I had already been given. Eventually the meds kicked in at the higher dose and I was able to rest comfortably. Charlie meanwhile slept unless woken for feeds so after a good night's sleep, I pounced on the morning MW to remove my catheter ASAP so I could get moving and showered. They told me to take it easy and wait for my next round of meds but I knew the best thing I could do was get up and active. 

After a shower, I felt amazing although a little woozy on my feet and I was very nauseous. The nausea continued the entire day and I wasn't able to keep down even a sip of water so back the doctors came and I was prescribed anti-nausea drugs and fluids to get it under control. The afternoon MW ended up suggesting the cause was one of the meds they had me on for pain and sure enough, as soon as they stopped that, the nausea ceased. From then on in, my hospital stay was holiday-like with the MWs absolutely lovely (possibly because I didn't actually need them for anything), Charlie sleeping unless I woke him for a feed and plenty of time for me to rest, read and relax.

I was almost sad to leave after being so well cared for but 4 days away from my boys was more than long enough and I wanted to get home to E.

All in all, my c-section was a very positive experience that was comfortable, well thought through and managed professionally. S particularly enjoyed the experience much more this time around (probably because he wasn't cut open and didn't have to see anything) and had none of the anxiety that came during E's birth and lingered over the following weeks. I couldn't say if I preferred one over the other as they are very different experiences and my recovery has been no better or worse given the stitches etc from round one but the planner/organiser/researcher definitely found it comfortable to know the when, where, what this time.

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  1. Perth Shoegirl29 May 2014 at 14:31

    So interesting, thanks for sharing! I'm always interested to know how vag births vs c sections compare pain wise, hope you are healing well xx


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