As promised, I’m writing up my experience of my birth with my Little Man Teddy. It was all arranged for me to have a C-Section under general anaesthetic on the morning of the 7th November 2013. General anaesthetic (GA) is not the most advisable way to have a baby, as obviously there’s a chance the baby will absorb some of the GA, plus being put to sleep makes it riskier for both mother and baby (albeit very minimally), but the main reasons it was decided to be the best for me is because I have an undiagnosed disability that may or may not be linked to my spine, so we weren’t sure whether any kind of spinal injection would be advisable considering we couldn’t predict the impact. Unfortunately there was no way for me to have a natural birth as I’m too small and my hips are slightly underdeveloped, so it had to be a C-Section.
I was absolutely terrified on the morning of the 7th as I was convinced I was going to die. I know that sounds ridiculously dramatic (and clearly it was!) but I was so filled with anxiety and fear that I couldn’t rationalise, and consequently I kept getting kicks of adrenaline that drained my colour and made me almost faint…handy to be in a hospital when you’re feeling like that as there are plenty of places to lie down! When the time came to take me through to surgery, I met with the Anaesthetist who said that he felt having a GA was too dangerous as there was a possibility that my disability is a form of a Dystrophy which might mean that my lungs would react negatively to the anaesthetic and I would no longer be able to breath independently. It’s worth noting that I am intensely afraid of needles, so being told a few minutes beforehand that my options were either needles into my spine that might make my disability much worse, or a GA that might turn me into a vegetable were not the greatest of choices. The Anaesthetist felt that the lower risk of the two was the local anaesthetic in my spine, so after freaking out for a while, I decided to go ahead with that.
I was taken into surgery and started to feel ready to faint as I honestly just cannot handle needles at all and I knew that a few were heading my way. The team who were looking after me were absolutely amazing; there were about 10 people in the room with me (as well as my mum) and they were so patient as I dipped in and out of pre-fainting. I just couldn’t bring myself to go ahead with the procedure, but eventually we got there and in went the local anaesthetic (LA). I was then dipped backwards to try and ensure the LA would get to the right places and to be honest, the needle really wasn’t that unpleasant, it was more of the idea of it than the needle itself. The Doctors kept testing the impact of the LA, but I could feel absolutely everything they were doing, although it was slightly less in certain places and my legs went to sleep quite quickly. 20 minutes went by and still no progress with the numbness, so it was decided that I would need an epidural instead…another jab in the spine; awesome!
I can’t remember which was which, but one of the needles was quite easy going in, whereas the other one involved quite a lot of pressure which – whilst not painful at all as a syringed anaesthetic was used beforehand – was extremely unpleasant because it felt so wrong; it felt like someone had numbed my back and then was repeatedly stabbing it, but this is only the sort of thing that would bother someone as freaked out by needles as me. The epidural went in and again we started the whole process of testing where was numb and where there was feeling. This went on for a while, with each phase resulting in me getting more and more poorly with the adrenaline. After a while, it was established that the epidural also hadn’t taken, and that my only option was a GA. By this point, my mum was pretty convinced I would die, I was pretty convinced I would die and I’m not sure the Anaesthetists had much faith in me recovering either, considering I was now full of two different types of anaesthetics and they were about to add a third. About half way through the epidural (which had been upped several times) I’d realised that I was going to end up having a GA, so I knew it was coming, and I asked my mum to make sure Ava would get a nice new home; I knew Ed would be fine with his dad. Then I was given some oxygen, asked to keep my eyes open and I watched my mum get rushed out of the room as I went under.
Obviously I was absolutely fine, and other than getting pretty violent convulsions both during and after the surgery as well as having a hard time coming around (it took them about an hour to bring me back from what I can tell) it was actually the best thing for me and a weirdly positive experience, although that could be mainly due to the relief of knowing that they were putting me out and I wouldn’t have to endure any more needles; I had 13 different needles that day! Once I came round I was given my beautiful son and wheeled up to my ward and the rest, as they say, is history. I did have a pretty high temperature and BP for the rest of the day, but that was apparently due to all the drugs running through my system which makes sense. I was mostly delirious for the rest of the day, going from bragging about his weight (it was the first thing I asked about when I came to as he was predicted to be at most 6.6lbs, so when they mentioned he was 7.7lbs I was thrilled and kept randomly shouting “seven seven!!”” to anyone nearby) to falling asleep mid conversation, but what I’m most pleased about is the fact that I could remember it; I could remember meeting my son for the first time, I can remember being painfully smug as I was wheeled back up to the ward with my son in my arms and I can remember our first night (he slept the whole way through) and his first feed. This was the main concern for me about the GA (other than, like, dying and stuff) and I was and still am so thrilled to recall the majority of Teddy’s first day in our world. I also have to rate all the staff at Whittington who were seriously amazing; in the five days I was in hospital I was visited by almost everybody who was in the room on the day of Teddy’s arrival, as well as various people who I’d seen throughout my pregnancy which was just amazing! As well as that, the majority of the Midwives were incredible and I honestly cannot rate the Whittington Maternity Unit highly enough.
There we have it! I had a pretty horrendous few hours (my poor mum was absolutely traumatised by it all as she really thought she was watching me die in surgery, can you imagine how awful that must’ve been for her?) but it brought me my beautiful boy Teddy, who I cannot get enough of and who has changed my life and rocked my world. I am so in love with him, so obviously it means that the whole birth experience was totally worth it…I just wish we’d gone right ahead with the GA to start with! Welcome to the world my beautiful little man xx