International Cesarean Month

April is International Cesarean Month and we have asked our UK Marketing Manager, Christie, to do a q&a with her mum, Lynn, on her experience with having a cesarean.

Christie & her mum, Lynn

Hi mum! This is definitely a different kind of blog post I typically write! For our readers, let’s start with a little about yourself.

Hello my gorgeous baby! My name is Lynn Neeves, I have been a registered nurse since 1985. I stayed at home when you were all small, working one shift here and there so I could look after you, take you to and from school etc. Once you got to secondary school, I started full time nursing. For the past 12 years I have been managing a Bowel Cancer Screening centre. I am also a national lead nurse for the programme. I have the best children in the world!

Awh! Along with me and my two sisters, Sam and Laura, only Sam was born via caesarean. Why was she delivered by this method? Were there any complications?

When I was 7 months pregnant with Sam, I was in bed one morning with a backache and she turned from cephalic (head down) to breech. It was the oddest feeling…picture the scene from Alien! From there she stayed breech and periodically used to kick downwards making me jump often! Despite me telling the midwife and the obstetrician, no one would listen to me. They insisted it was her bum but I knew it wasn’t.
I was admitted to hospital on the Saturday as I had a backache and they thought I was in early labour. When they checked, I was 3cm dilated. They would have sent me home, but as she was breech, they wanted to keep an eye on me. Sunday night, the consultant came to see me and told me he thought I would go into labour that night. He did an ultrasound, then sent me for an X-ray, I had to stand with a metal ruler between bum and they measured my pelvis to make sure I was wide enough for her to be delivered breech. I did not know the gender at this point. He did say my baby would weigh 7lbs, 8oz. I went to sleep, and around 11pm woke up in severe pain, knowing this was labour starting. I had a bath, lots of pain relief and about 3am I could not take any more so they shipped me off to the labour ward. Things progressed slowly, and then as the midwife approached me with a crochet hook to break my waters, Sam’s feet dropped out! I was yelling at them: “I told you it was her feet!”. They tried to pull her down but her bum was too high, so off to theatre was I then going.

I already had an epidural in as they were planning the forceps. So once theatre was cleared, they whipped me off to theatre for a caesarean. It was done very quickly. I asked the surgeon if he had started and he was already opening me up. I must admit it was rather a strange feeling when they pulled her out! Severe after pains the next morning. When I eventually woke up, I was about to have my dressing done and the fire alarm went off, someone had put a cigarette out on the sash window and it caught fire so I spent Sam’s first day stuck in the nursery in a chair. Complication after was a wound infection and it took me ages to walk properly as it is major surgery! She weighed 7lbs 8oz.

I wonder what thoughts were going through your head at the time. Were you nervous? 

It was a mix of pure excitement and trepidation. I was also rather anxious as they were preparing me for a forceps vaginal delivery which comes with its own set of complications and when I knew I was off for a caesarean, fear of the fact it is major abdominal surgery that takes 6-8 weeks to heal from.

Because you had your first daughter, and my eldest sister, by C section, did this make you want to deliver your next by what is called ’natural’ birth? 

I was advised I needed to wait at least one year before trying again as I needed to wait until my uterus has healed up. I was expecting a ‘natural’ birth up until my waters broke! The caesarean wasn’t planned and I was only hopeful future children would be born without needing one. 

How did your C section make you feel about your experience of giving birth? 

Some people say they feel cheated, I had a fantastic pregnancy and enjoyed every minute of it. As for the delivery, it was the only way she was coming out. I was just happy she arrived safely with no issues. 

What was the recovery like? Did this have any affect on being able to pick up and hold Sam? 

It was hard initially as I was tired, I was also breastfeeding. The wound was quite painful and a week later I had the stitches out but it was infected so I ended up on antibiotics. Moving around was not easy, I could pick her up but I had to get your dad to hand her to me. For a few weeks, I could not bend to lift her up either. I remember the wound being really painful, especially when going to the loo!

What method of delivery was used for your other two daughters? (I know this one!)

Haha! For Laura, natural delivery-almost two years after Sam. As I had my first via caesarean, I was not allowed to have home delivery. I was admitted for a trial of the scar. I was monitored during labour but Laura was quite quick! Once my waters broke, I delivered her on a stool. 

You, my youngest, almost perfect labour, got to 9 cms dilated and I was told not to push-that was impossible as your body takes over! I couldn’t do anything they told me to! Sat up again on the stool, and delivered your head…and nothing else. Emergency buzzers brought in 10 people who had to move me into a position in order to get you out with speed! That was really scary.

Because you previously had a caesarean, did this enable you to opt for that with your following two if you had so wished? 

No, as I had to be monitored for how the uterus would contract during the following labour. I would never have chosen a caesarian, but glad I had the option or it could have been dangerous and I dread to think what would have happened with you had I been at home. 

And lastly, any words of wisdom for those about to become new mums? 

Enjoy it. Such a special time, the greatest joy in my life is having my girls. Do as advised and rest when you can, get into a routine as well. Put your mobiles away and look at your baby!