My Caesarean section birth: Birthing in a Pandemic

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t wasn’t an easy decision to make, to elect for a c section when I found out I was pregnant again.

I did wonder if I would be able to birth physiologically and would have loved to have had the beautiful experience that so many of my amazing friends had experienced. But I carried so much fear and trauma from my previous birth with Kobe, after 36 hours of intense labour ending in an emergency c section and him in ICU for over a week. Me ending up in A&E with an infection and needing a blood transfusion the day after we had been finally discharged. Then My blood transfusion resulting in off the scale blood pressure readings, meaning yet another few days in hospital.

It was intense and I knew that the one thing I was desperate to experience this time around, was a calm, peaceful entry into the world for my little girl. 

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As part of this process of preparing for my next birth I realised I really needed to unpack the held trauma from the last and I knew instantly that my amazing friend Sophie, who is an incredible doula, had to be part of my journey. 

I felt that I needed the support of someone to help walk me towards feeling empowered and informed in my choices through pregnancy and birth. Sophie is passionate, fierce and knowledgable and I wanted her energy by my side, especially as I journeyed towards this birth without my mum: I needed that fierce feminine support more than ever. And I got it ten fold. 

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Sophie supported me and held me through each and every decision I made, helped me make informed choices and to be able to liaise with the medical professionals from a Place of full understanding: knowledge is power after all! 

She also fed me banana bread and chai, listened non stop to my fears, sent me detailed research on all that I was pondering around vaccines, placenta encapsulation, and any other whim I was curious about: she was always at the end of the phone, before, during and this delicate time after.

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So the big day came. I was so ready.

Sunday night I swallowed my pre meds at 10pm, feeling a little anxious but so excited that I was meeting my baby girl the next day. I had been working with affirmations and visualisations to help me stay calm. I had set the intention to approach the day with excitement, joy and playfulness, focusing on the end result as opposed to the major abdominal surgery in between! 

I slept. 

A little. 

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Up at 5am – nil by mouth prior to the operation, I took the next batch of anti sickness meds, boy I could do with a cup of tea. 

Sophie arrived at 6am to pick us up: as we were now in the midst of a pandemic only 1 birth partner was allowed to be at delivery, so Sophie was taking Kobe for a day of fun whilst we were at the hospital. What a godsend as no one else would have been able to have him due to COVID-19.

So into the hospital we went. 06:45.

Deep breaths, big smiles, we’re meeting our baby so soon. 

Bloods taken.

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Numerous midwives, surgeons and anaesthetists coming to explain the risks and check details. All so lovely and friendly but jeez. Breathe deep – stop telling me everything that could go wrong! 😅 

My beautiful female tribe sent me their words of encouragement and pictures of the candles they had lit for me, made by Sophie for the big day. I could feel their love giving me strength wrapping around me. I can do this. 

We waited, joked, and chatted, I admired how handsome the hubby looked in scrubs, whatsapped people and Focused on my breath. 

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it was all pretty calm. 

OK, it’s your turn. In we go. 

Time for the spinal block. This was the part I was really dreading. 

Curl over, eyes closed. Breathe deep. Don’t move. 

Needle in, warm gush across my buttocks, whoosh went my brain. ‘Fuck this is so weird’ I heard myself say as my body went numb. I lay back. Can you feel this ice cold spray- no.

The staff were amazing. The hubby was amazing- ‘are you ok?’ He whispered

‘It’s so weird’ i mumbled 

I felt like my body was in a space suit spinning around the room, or was I actually on the moon…? I wasn’t 100% sure. 

My music was Playing and I closed My eyes and hummed along to the sounds of beautiful chorus. 

My playlist was a saviour. I dropped in. Music always gives me that power.

‘You’ll feel some tugging and pulling, but you shouldn’t feel any pain’ 

‘ok’  Tug. Pull. 

‘Fuck this is so weird’ deep breaths. I felt calm. As someone who’s life’s work is about embodiment and connection to the body, to have no idea where your legs are is the strangest thing in the world! I kept hearing low hums and groans coming from my mouth. Sometimes along with the music, sometimes as a way just to drop deeper into myself.

She was so nearly here. Hubby stroked my hand. I cried a little, happy tears. 

The pushing on my belly began, pumping to bring my babe into the world. ‘this is so weird’ I said again- this was literally all I could manage to say as I floated around the room in my spaceman suit, humming, eyes closed.

Then she was out. We watched her enter the world  as the curtain was lowered. I cried. Wow.

But there was no cry. A gargling. A grunting; Is she ok? She was very blue. 

Midwife takes the baby and starts rubbing her skin with a towel. 

Baby Dr comes in and starts to give oxygen. 

My head feels like it’s turned 360 degrees to see what is happening. 

‘Can I have my baby?’ ‘Is she ok’ hubby moves between the two of us, anxious, ‘she’s ok’ ‘are you ok?’ Baby is receiving oxygen. 

‘She’s just taking time To transition – this is quite normal, don’t worry she’ll be fine’ someone says. 

I keep spinning my head 360 degrees, taking in her little body, her tiny gargly cries, humming to the music. Breathing deep. Each time her cry got clearer I breathed a little deeper. She’s ok. She’ll be ok. God how I need to hold her. My cells were weeping for this sudden separation. 

‘She needs to go in an incubator just for a little bit, to support her oxygen. ‘

OK. My eyes cried, my body yearned to hold her. 

Everyone assured me she would be fine.  I was taken to recovery – still floating in my space suit of dreams.

I felt closer to the hubby than ever as we held hands and he watched me floating around the room. 

We were well looked after, I hadn’t lost much blood, all observations normal. 

Then to the maternity ward and, due to Covid precautions our time together was up. ‘Daddy, you will need to leave soon’ but first he got to go and see Mali in ICU- I was so happy that Sophie had suggested taking some pre expressed, frozen colostrum with me, as Darren got to give Mali her first feed and it was my milk. 

He spent some precious time with her and held her ‘she’s doing so great, we’re going to try and get her back with her mummy today’ he was told. He messaged me. I cried happy tears. I expressed more colostrum so they could keep her nourished without the need for formula until we were finally together. My breasts were praised for their abundance as the colostrum poured out, desperate to feed and nourish. 

Thank you boobs, I’ll never tell you that you are anything other than magical again I whispered. 

I tried to meditate. I tried to read. I tried to listen to music. I tried to sleep. I couldn’t do any of these things. I watched the door. I kept ringing the call bell ‘do we know when I can have my baby back?’ 

I cried quiet tears, like my whole body was weeping, as the other mothers in the ward fed and held their babies. Deep breaths- she’ll be with you soon. 

Finally I got the call. We want to bring your baby to you, she’s doing great. 

The rest is history. I haven’t really put her down since. She thriving. She’s feeding like a little milk monster. She’s perfect. 

The last piece of a jigsaw puzzle we hadn’t even realised was missing it’s final, perfect part. 

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On reflection the experience was extremely positive. Mali is a week old as I post this today and I am already up and walking, very little pain in comparison to a week ago. Isn’t the body miraculous. More on my recovery coming soon x

 

One thought on “My Caesarean section birth: Birthing in a Pandemic

  1. Dearest Calli…Thank You so much for sharing your story of birthing Mali…and such a powerful Earth Goddess name You have chosen for her. Wishing You All many Healthy Joyful times together. Much Love from Lorye XXXX

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