I didn’t have a birth plan for when Paige was born. My “plan” basically consisted of 2 main points:
And we are very blessed, because that is exactly what happened. I had an elective cesarean which went brilliantly (well, as briliantly as invasive surgery into your lower abdomen could possibly go). It was a fairly quick experience and Terry was right there by my side the entire time – on our side of the curtain of course…nobody wants to see that mess.
Summary of what went down at hospital when Paige was born:
Get undressed & slide into one of the not-so-stylish patient gowns (the ones that leave nothing to the imagination with the built in butt-aircon), get prepped for surgery, dignity gets left at the door, anesthetic in, then slight feeling of pressure as epidural goes in, baby out & immediate cuddles with mom (that’s me now) before she is whisked off (with the new dad hot on the nurse’s heels) to get Paige cleaned up and checked over. Get wheeled into recovery section and then back to room, where I could ask nurses to bring Paige to me straight away for more cuddles. Spent 3 nights in hospital, with a fair amount of pain only kicking in on day 2 because the epidural/spinal block keeps any after-surgery-pain at bay until the paralysis wears off (which is great). I was able to get up and start walking around slowly on the morning of day 2, and by that afternoon I had done a few laps around the ward and was walking upright and feeling good. Pain had already started to ease on day 3 and by day 4 I was still sore but could walk normally and was ready to head home with our new little bundle.
My “Birth Plan” for James was pretty much the same, with a few additions based on my first experience. Here is where this post gets a little more serious:
Unfortunately, this is not exactly what happened. I still had the elective cesarean but the experience was horrible. I’m not going to go into detail (to save sensitive readers) but here is a summary of what went down at hospital when James was born:
It started out the same as when Paige was born, until we reached the epidural part.
The anesthetic didn’t work, but we only realised that when it came time to administer the epidural. So, when the anesthetist started pushing the epidural needle (quite a massive needle by the way) between my vertebrae I squeezed Terry’s hand and literally screamed out…all I can say is that I have NEVER been in such agony in all of my life. My entire body tensed upright and I fainted.
* Author’s Note: I have only ever fainted once before in my life *
They had to lie me down and wait for me to regain consciousness (not actually sure how long I was out). Then the anesthetist announced that we were going to try again…”hunch over and just relax”…easier said than done. More anesthetic to supposedly numb the area, and then more searing pain when another epidural attempt was made and failed. I didn’t pass out on the 2nd and 3rd (maybe 4th?) attempts but I did scream and cry and squeeze Terry’s hand with all of my being, as if that would somehow alleviate some of the pain. The anesthetist then asked me if I wanted to try again, but I couldn’t get a word out. I wanted to scream at him (and possibly punch him in the face) but all I could do was look at my ObGyn. Dr H took charge and told the anesthetist to stop (hallelujah), and instructed the nurses to get ready to put me under general. At that point, I was in the early stages of a panic attack, and a nurse had already ushered Terry out of the room, so there was no time to consider what it meant to have my baby while under general anesthetic.
- It meant that I was going to be unconscious and intubated, and hooked up to whatever else they need when they administer general anesthetic.
- It meant that my best friend, husband, and father of my children was not going to be allowed in the room with me when our son was born.
- It meant that neither of us were going to see him take his first breath and we would have to wait hours until we could hold him.
- It meant that I was not going to have the immediate skin-to-skin contact that I had with Paige, and as silly as it sounds, isn’t that the first moment a mother and baby bond? I was going to miss out on that.
The surgery itself went well, James was born healthy with no other complications, and my tubal ligation was successfully done at the same time. I got to hold James for the first time about 2-3 hours later when I woke up, but I felt groggy and ill and the throbbing from surgery started immediately, with the pain setting in for the next week or so. After about 10 days it all of a sudden began to ease and then recovery went quite smoothly from then on.
I know I can’t complain because, although there were complications, James and I are both fine and the awful surgery experience did not cause any lasting issues for either of us. BUT, I did struggle emotionally with not being “present” for the birth of my son. It deeply affected me and for the first few weeks I was truly worried that I had missed out on an important bonding moment with my child, and I was concerned that this would affect my relationship with him forever.
The baby blues (to be written about another day) hit with a vengeance about 2 weeks later, and reared it’s tearful head for about 2 weeks more, but I felt so much better about everything once it had passed. I realised that one moment does not determine our relationship going forward, especially when it relates to my child, a little being that Terry and I created together. My body nourished and protected this blessing and gave life to him. The bond is not formed in that single moment of first contact. It is pre-cast from the infinite love I have for him, since that moment we found out I was pregnant.
The point is, not everything goes according to plan. It will probably be really difficult to deal with in the moment, but the important part, the thing to remember, is that we need to accept what has happened, make peace with the fact that the past cannot be changed, and move forward.
I am one lucky lady with an amazing husband and two healthy, gorgeous kiddies. I am happy.