The Birth of our Daughter – James’ Story
Before I get to the birth, I need to rewind a little to explain why Laura had to have a planned c-section.
At the 20 week scan we discovered my wife had a low lying placenta. “Don’t worry” we were told by the Sonographer, “for 9 out of 10 women it will have moved by the time you get to 34 weeks”.
Not having a clue what this actually meant, I did what every man does in this situation and turned to Google for the answer…. This was my first mistake. Roll on a large number of horrific stories – including some out of date mortality rates for mother and baby, from a time before c-sections were common place.
I suggest if your partner is told they have any complications during their pregnancy, you stay well away from Google and speak to your midwife or doctor about any concerns instead.
28 Week Scan – Still hasn’t moved. “Don’t worry there is still plenty of time for it to move. Come back at 34 weeks and we will scan you again” said the Sonographer.
34 Week Scan – Sure enough my wife was the 1/10. Great…
We were whisked away to a consultant to discuss our options, those options being: You’re having a planned C-section, whether you like it or not. Double great…. (my wife had her heart set on a natural birth).
So what is a low lying placenta, or Placenta Praevia, as it’s medically known?
Well in simple terms it means the placenta is blocking the baby’s exit. Even with my limited knowledge of biology I could see that if the exit is blocked, baby probably can’t get out.
Most women with this problem have a planned c-section booked before 39 weeks because if they go into labour naturally it becomes a medical emergency. Sure enough my wife’s c-section was booked for 13th April at 38 weeks 6 days.
Suddenly we both knew for certain our baby’s birthday. That was the first thing to get our heads round. Not the fact that my wife was now considered high risk and was going to undertake a fairly routine but still major operation, but that we knew when our baby would arrive!
D – Day
The 13th April seemed to come round a lot quicker than I was expecting. We arrived at the hospital at 7:30am. It felt really strange that Laura hadn’t even gone into labour yet, but we would meet our baby in a little less than 3 hours time!
We were told that because the c-section was high risk, they had cleared the morning of all other c-sections (usually they do 2 to 3 planned c-sections a day). Triple great…
We met our consultant who chatted about the risks, Laura signed a consent form, I got dressed up in scrubs and we were then taken down to theatre.
The first thing to get your head round if your partner is having a c-section is the number of people that are actually present – at one stage there were 14 people in the room! On top of this, however hard you try at some point (or lots of points for me) you are going to be in the way. Just be prepared to move around quickly when the doctors tell you to.
We were greeted by a team of three anesthetists. Laura was told that there was a high risk she would bleed excessively and that if this happened she should prepare to be put under a general anesthetic. I would then be evicted from the room and she would probably wake up 5 hours later in intensive care. Quadruple great…..
The next sign that this was probably not your run of the mill c-section, was when the anesthetist told my wife she had been thinking about this procedure most of the previous evening. What comes after quadruple great?
All of these factors, combined with the fact that my wife hates needles and was about to have a relatively large needle inserted into her spine, along with several into her veins for fluids and one in her artery for a possible blood transfusion, left her a million miles away from the natural, hypno-birth she had planned….
I was sat next to my wife’s head (luckily with a screen blocking the action) and the surgeon informed us she was about to make the first incision. 1 minute 30 seconds later I was holding our baby girl.
1 minute 30 seconds…
It takes longer to make a cup of tea than deliver a baby by c-section. I still can’t get my head round this.
I then got to trim the cord. I couldn’t actually cut the cord because the operation area must be kept sterile (not that I wanted to go anywhere near the large hole in my wife’s stomach anyway!).
Shortly after the birth the midwife let us have a quick family photo, taken at 4 minutes old. It’s going to sound like a bit of a cliché, but it truly is an amazing moment that you can’t really describe without experiencing it firsthand.
After Baby A was born the rest was a bit of a blur. I can remember a lot of running around and shouting while I was asked to sit in the corner and hold Baby A. Not having held a newborn baby before this was daunting enough, never mind the fact the doctors were frantically trying to stop Laura from bleeding excessively.
It took another 40 minutes or so to stop the bleeding, at which point my wife had lost over two and half pints. Bear in mind the average women only has nine to ten pints to begin with. Laura being pretty small probably has closer to nine pints. That’s only half a pint off 1/3 of her total blood lost!
Luckily the doctors were able to recycle Laura’s lost blood with a special machine called a Cell Saver. This was pretty amazing to be honest and avoided the need for a blood transfusion.
Despite being a high risk birth, everyone at Poole Hospital was fantastic and made every effort to ensure it went as smoothly as possible.
Whilst a cesarean was never going to be our preference for the birth of our first child, the end result was a healthy baby and mum, which is what really matters at the end of the day.