This is long ladies, a cuppa or coffee is needed
Taj Anthony’s Birth Story
This has been a really long journey for me. After the birth of dd2, which was a very much unwanted c-section, I vowed that I would never, ever have a repeat c-section unless it was absolutely medically necessary. I did my research since her birth and was confident in my knowledge on VBACs and the risk of uterine rupture when I found out I was pregnant with Taj. I knew that the only hospital that would take me on was KEMH, I knew of the Hospital Policy surrounding VBAC’s and armed myself with a fantastic Doula and student midwife. I knew my Doula would advocate for me when needed and my student midwife would be an extra support system for dh and myself.
But as my pregnancy progressed, the negativity I received from the medical profession and even dh, slowly wore my confidence down. After my first appointment with the VBAC friendly OB at KEMH, I realized that the relaxed, peaceful, intervention free birth I had always imagined was never going to happen in the hospital system. They would be setting me up for failure. Homebirth was out of the question and I really had to sit back and think about WHY I wanted a VBAC. At 26 weeks I needed to make a decision on what I was going to do.
After some soul searching I realized that the only reason I wanted a VBAC was because I thought a vaginal birth was the only way I was going to skin to skin straight after delivery, delayed cord clamping, baby led attachment and for bubs to stay with me and not to be taken away. But after some research I realized that there is no reason I couldn’t have all of that with a c-section. I found an OB who was happy to give me all of what I wanted and the decision was made to have an empowering c-section instead!
My original c-section date was booked for the 7th December at 39w 5d, with my due date being the 9th December. I wanted bubs to bake for as long as possible, but at my 38week appointment I was tired, sore and very much over it and asked for my c-section date to be moved forward, the only date the OB could give me before the 7th of December was the 1st December (38w 6d), and we booked it in. The reality of having a baby in less than a week had set in, and I tried to make sure everything was in order before I went into hospital.
So, the 1st had finally come around and being an afternoon surgery I didn’t have to get to hospital till 11am. I had breakfast with the kiddies and spent some time with dd2 before we headed in. I checked into my room and met my midwife who would originally be coming into the surgery with me, then me and dh were left to ourselves. 2.30pm was slowly coming round and my nerves were quite settled – it still hadn’t really hit me that I would have a new baby by dinner time! But 2.30 rolled round and my OB dropped in to say that he had 2 emergency c-sections that morning and I wouldn’t be going in till 6pm. I was ok with this, but was absolutely starving. I told dh to go home since there was nothing he could do and I would message him when I needed him. I was on my own and pretty bored.
Finally at 6pm I was told to message dh and that I would be in by 7pm – now I was getting a bit nervous. The anesthetist came in and introduced himself – and was absolutely lovely and friendly, wonderful bedside manner and totally reassuring. Now I was really getting nervous as I new that I would be getting wheeled in soon. 7.30pm came by and I was told I was going in. I was laying in bed by this stage, but was told to sit up while they wheeled me in – was quite surprised by this. With the other 3 I was told to lay down, but they where telling me it’s nice to see where I was going – I was happy with this. Arm bands are checked I meet the anesthetist’s assistant, the anesthetist again, my OB and the new midwife who would be coming in with me. Ok, now I’m shaking because I know what to expect. DH is led off to put on his scrubs and I’m left chatting with everyone, which was quite calming.
I get wheeled into theatre and I’m prepped for my spinal. No epidural this time – great!, because whatever they used last time with dd2 gave me the shakes and the pethidine made me drowsy. Neville (Anesthetist) talks through what he is doing and was nothing but calming and friendly – I didn’t feel a thing this time round and before I knew it I was laying down, numb from the belly button down and ready to go.
My Ob comes in and told me that he was going to take it really slow, as he’s not sure on the surgery work that was done before him, and slow it was. 20 mins later I can hear a cry already, the screen is dropped and I can see my babies head. Dh holds my head up so I can see and my OB slowly delivers my little man – no yanking from the head to get him out, but a slow and calm emergence earthside instead. He finally is all out and my OB holds him up for me to see. Taj is lovely and pink and had stopped crying by this stage and just looking around. Neville has our camera and is taking all the pics. The OB has waited as long as he can and the cord is clamped and cut.
Taj is then passed to the midwife and brought straight to me for skin to skin, and that is where he stayed. We are both covered with a blanket and Neville is still taking pics of all 3 of us. The Paed had stormed out by this stage and I never got to meet him – not that I really wanted to after that! My Midwife was great and just let us be until I thought Taj needed a bit of assistance, as he was really mucousy – but the midwife took him and said he was fine, and did the cord cutting with dad, weighing and measuring. After that he was placed back on my chest for more skin to skin while the suturing was done.
This was something that did take a while. My placenta had adhered to my uterus in one spot (partial placenta accreta) which caused a bleed and a bit of a panic between my ob and anesthetist, but was not made obvious to me – was later told by dh. I asked my OB if I could see my placenta and was told it would be taken with me back to my room for me to see when I was ready. After nearly an hour of repair we were wheeled back to my room at 9.10pm. Dh had Taj by this stage and he was handed back for some breastfeeding – which he latched on like a pro. My Ob stopped by to let me know what happened and to make sure I was ok, something I appreciated. He also let me know that my placenta (again) was calcified and bubs was ready to come out. I'm glad I asked to see the placenta because I'm now curious to see what it looks like.
Dh headed home at 10pm and then the fun of hourly observations for 6hours and a new, hungry baby kicked in. The night went fairly smoothly, and was just sleep deprived by 7am. I requested to get out of bed, as I had feeling back in my legs and wanted to get up and showered before dh turned up with the kids. I expected to be in a lot of pain, but surprisingly I wasn’t, and would have to say it has been the least painful and easiest recovery of the 4 c-secs. Dh turned up at 10.30am with the kids and they just doted on their new baby brother, including dd2 – which was the biggest surprise of all.
Taj ended up getting jaundice on day 2 and required phototherapy for 24hrs, and I had a good look at my placenta - it was fairly calcified and they cant explain why it happens, other than it's the placentas way of saying it's done it's job. But is most common in smokers (which I'm not) and very overdue babies (which the last 2 havnt been), but other than that both mum and bubs are well.
So, there you go. The one thing I vowed I would never do again ended up being the most empowering experience of my life, and even dh agrees that it was the best c-section of the 4 for me, him and bubs.
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