Whenever I have read empowered and birth in the same sentence it is has always been around the mama being able to have the vaginal birth that she WANTED, normally after her first birth not going to plan and being wheeled in for an emergency c-section, and not being given choices or answers as to why. I LOOVVVEEEE these stories because it is about women who are making empowered decisions based on what they want!
I however have thrown in empowered and ELECTIVE c-section together, because I think it is important to also understand that choosing to have an elective c-section is just as an empowered choice, and is not an easy path out by any means - despite what people like to say and think, I would like to share the other side of the story.
When I found out I was pregnant for the second and final time, I went in search of making the best choice for my body both mentally and physically to ensure that i had the best chance of recovery and to avoid the emotional and physical turmoil that I endured in the weeks and years post the birth of Myka.
I wanted to heal physically the best I could, I wanted to minimise the risk of worsening my prolapse's and I wanted to avoid post natal depression, all so that I could be present and enjoy my newborn and actually enjoy my post natal journey, instead of wishing it away.
After the experience I had with the OB in the public system (which I am grateful exists), I decided that I would find the best team possible for me in the private system, who would help me make the best decision possible based on my circumstances. After all I have to live with my body in the long term, I thank my younger self for adding maternity cover on my health care cover.
i had originally decided to try for a vaginal birth, and take my chances with my prolapses not becoming any worse, but as the time got closer to my due date with the pressure and suspected bowel prolapse, I wanted to instead ensure that post birth I was in the best position emotionally, physically to hopefully have a better healing process, connection time with my newborn, reduce my chances of post natal depression, increase my chances of successful breastfeeding and have a more enjoyable early post natal period. So I decided to have an elective c-section, well aware that no this would not be any easier but based on MY body would be the best option for me.
There was no guarantee that I would get what I wanted, but I took solace in fact that I had made a decision with all the information made available to me, and in doing all that I could to have the best experience possible.
I would lie if I said that I wasn't totally shitting myself when I made my way into the hospital, knowing that at 1pm I would be in surgery and all going well at 1:30pm I would be wheeled out with my newborn.
Things happened pretty quickly once I was on that bed gowned, with my delicious stockings being wheeled down to theatre to be admitted, asked my name three hundred times and given my hair net - I was then ready for the process of the c-section to commence.
After being wheeled into the theatre greeted by my team, casually waiting for my arrival - I had to do my best to not be overwhelmed by the sanitised medical room.
Having a major anxiety around needles, and knowing that I was about to have a drip and a spinal tap administered, I did my best to hold it together, but once the reality set in that all was about to go down, I had a panic attack, but still was able to hold it together enough for my absolutely amazing anaesthetist to get the job done. I was also lucky enough to have both my husband and my aunty who is a midwife present during the birth, my aunty was tasked with talking me out of my panic attack so that I didn't have a full on melt down!
Game was on as soon as the catheter went in, within five minutes my baby girl was held over the sheet and I had my emotional moment where I was in awe of my second greatest creation. It was however short lived as, I was shaking uncontrollably, to the point where I couldn't even hold my little girl because my arms were not working as they should, I really had to focus to just get through the reminder of the surgery.
Poor Jordan found the whole thing very overwhelming (as did I) and I soon found out why they ask the husband to eat breakfast, there were two times where he had to be walked out to recover - and honestly I do not blame him! If it wasn't me on the table, there is no way that I could have sat through it.
I would love to go into details more deeply of what happened while I was on the table, but I am very wary of creating fear around c-sections, despite having a great experience, after all it is surgery...that you are awake for, I will say everything went to plan but it was more intense than I thought it would be.
I am extremely grateful, in fact I can not really express with words the appreciation I have for my Aunty and that she was there for us in a time that was so precious and challenging at the same time. She talked me through everything, held my hand when Jordan couldn't and without her my experience I am sure of it would have been very different.
I am also in awe of my professional team, the midwives, my obstetrician and my paediatrician - it was them that restored my faith in the medical field, where the mama comes first and where we are empowered to make informed decisions. I also was able to see and have insight into why decisions are made by our medical professionals, and that if we just have the courage to ask why that maybe we can find peace and heal in knowing why things played out not the way we have envisioned or planned for.
I could literally write a novel on my whole experience but for now I will leave it at this.
While the whole experience was very overwhelming to say the least, but that intense stressful hour was worth it.
- I was able to breastfeed, with the help of an incredible lactation consultant at the hospital
- My healing experience has been incredible with the help of my WHP and Functional Nutritional Practitioner, and the incredible skill of my OB.
- Louka has been in great hands with the most beautiful peaditrician
- I have had SLEEP with the help of my sleep specialist
- I have felt connected and present with Louka, enabling me to enjoy this post natal early period
- I have had the support of my family and friends.
I have unfortunately now discovered that I have bowel prolapse, and don't you worry I had my distressed moment where I had a good cry, and felt very frustrated that I had done all that I could to prevent worsening my prolapses. I now though see that everything plays out as it should, and that this will come with more opporuntiies for growth and will enable me to help more women. It also is a trade off for all of the other positive things that this birth gave me.
"Every day, we’re writing a few more words of a story. So from then on, I stopped trying to make my life perfect, and instead tried to make it interesting. I wanted my story to be an adventure — and that’s made all the difference.” - THIS sums up how I view my collection of experiences that I call my life. This pregnancy and birthing experience is a very monumental one to add.