Lucy Martin, Owner of Lucy Martin Bridal
At my 20 week scan I was told that my placenta was low lying and although there was a good chance of it moving up during the pregnancy there was a chance I could have placenta praevia and I needed another scan at 34 weeks to confirm this.
I was in the process of doing a hypnobirthing course at the time and although I had no pre conceived ideas about having a drug free birth I really liked the philosophy behind hypnobirthing and was hoping to have as positive a birth experience as possible. Unfortunately my scan at 34 weeks showed my placenta was completely covering my cervix and there was no way I was going to be able to deliver my baby naturally without a significant haemorrhage and threat to the babies life and mine so I was booked in for an elective c-section at St Georges hospital in Tooting. I cried for a week when I found out as I thought a c-section reduced your ability to bond with your baby which I can now say is not the case at all.
My birth experience itself wasn’t stressful. I was calmly taken to theatre and everything was carefully explained to my husband and I so we knew what was happening at every step. (Plus what man doesn’t look fit in scrubs? So I was able to imagine for a while that there was in fact a hot doctor sitting next to me holding my hand rather than my husband).
I was surprised at how many people were in the room – at least 8 and they all seemed to have a role to play. The theatre manager explained what was going to happen and who everyone was. The anaesthetist introduced themselves and explained how she was going to give me the epidural in my spine. It didn’t hurt, it was a sharp scratch and that was it but I had to keep really still which I found harder especially with my big tummy getting in the way. Then they lay me down and prepared me for surgery and the screen went up at that point. The anaesthetist sat next to me the whole time. Mine was so nice and explained what all the machines were for and what the bleeps and readings were telling her – I probably asked too many questions but that’s just me I like to know what’s going on as I felt more in control of the situation. They sprayed some cold liquid up my body to check I was suitably numb. I couldn’t feel anything from below my chest although I could feel a sort of rummaging sensation. Some people describe it as feeling like someone is doing the washing up in your stomach! I guess that is quite accurate but a weird thing to imagine until you experience it. The drugs made me feel a little woozy but not sick. I’m not sure what I was given exactly but I felt quite relaxed, and possibly like I had consumed rather a large quantity of my favourite wine as well as feeling a little emotional. I did cry when they handed me my little boy but I think that would have happened anyway!
My c-section was made harder by the fact I have an anatomical condition that means my uterus twists during pregnancy – a rare condition that my surgeon said he had only seen in one other person (I think he was lying just to make me feel better!) so it made the c section much harder and took a lot longer which meant I lost over half my body in blood and needed a blood transfusion. I felt a little chilly at times due to the blood loss but the anaesthetist and theatre manager kept asking me how I was feeling and adjusting my fluids. I was being given blood as I was loosing it so there was no worry about that. I was slightly jostled about because of my condition and the fact it was harder for them to get my little boy out but I never felt any pain or discomfort.
My baby was born after about an hour and was given straight to me for a cuddle. He did then need to go to the neonatal ward to warm him up a bit as he had mild ‘cold shock’ from being taken from his nice warm watery bed; he was never alone though as my husband went with him whilst they sewed me back up. He was back with me within 20 minutes and feeding very happily.
I was told after the operation that in future any babies of mine would have to be born by c-section as I had some vertical tearing to my uterus when they were trying to get him out. This meant I would be unable to go through future natural labour without there being risks to the baby and myself.
The staff at St Georges were amazing and I will love Austin Ugwumadu, my surgeon, for all eternity for his laid back persona which made the experience so much more enjoyable (dare I say it). It’s not often you are able to share a joke or two during your c section but then maybe that was the influence of the drugs!
He has since delivered my second son by c-section without any complications other than the twisted uterus, but he was expecting that this time.
I think it is easy for expectant mothers to have an idea in their minds of what their birth could be like and how they want it to be. Originally, I certainly didn’t want to only have c sections but having been through it now I think that the most important thing is that your baby is born healthy and how they get into this world is irrelevant.
For more information on the Placenta Praevia condition read our page on “Placenta Praevia”
For more information on Caesarean Sections read our page on “Caesarean Sections”
To read more Birth Stories please click here