On the day I turned 37 weeks, my C-section was booked for 9:15am…
I needed to be there an hour early for exciting things like signing forms and getting fitted for those sexy looking compression stockings.
After fitting the car seat into the back of the car and loading the boot with our heavy bags (does everyone over pack their hospital bag with unnecessary things, or was that just me?), we sat in silence the whole journey to the hospital – you could literally feel the nerves in the air.
It was almost impossible to believe that our next car journey would be with our little boy in the back seat.
The morning in the hospital is actually a bit of a blur. From staggering through those automatic doors (I felt MASSIVE) to actually lying down on the bed in theatre, I don’t remember a great deal.
Shortly after, we were walked down the corridor to theatre. I honestly could not believe the amount of people in the room. It’s was very, very daunting.
I was introduced to everyone, who all had beaming smiles and looked like a bunch of Smurf’s in their scrubs, but I can’t say I remember anyone’s name unfortunately, except for Suzy, my anaesthetist. I think she could sense from my quietness and pale face that I was absolutely petrified.
She explained to me that I had a few more people than a normal planned section, due to my condition, the fact I was quite anaemic, and that the baby was three weeks early, so there was a NICU team on standby in case the baby struggled, or he was under five pounds, which would mean a trip to NICU.
She did keep reiterating “we don’t anticipate him struggling though so please don’t worry”. I nodded and smiled nervously at them, appreciating them but hoping they wouldn’t be needed.
Suddenly, it was spinal block time. Now, I don’t have a phobia of needles, I have had more blood tests then hot dinners, but the thought of a giant needle going into my spine absolutely terrified me. I sat up on the bed, and was told to slump forwards, like I had a really bad posture.
Thankfully, it really wasn’t too bad! It didn’t really hurt, it just felt like a lot of pressure. I lay down, and went numb very quickly. They strapped one of my arms to the bed and sprayed a cold spray on my shoulder, then on my tummy to ensure I couldn’t feel anything down there after the spinal block. I made them repeat this step three times, I was so scared of feeling the surgery.
Although I genuinely did trust these amazing people to keep me and my baby safe and well, I was still absolutely terrified.
The feeling of the c section was such a strange and surreal sensation – it is true when they say it feels like someone is doing the washing up in your stomach!
It only felt like seconds before my little boy was brought into the world. As Dan held my hand and Suzy stroked my hair, I heard this beautiful, loud scream. “He’s here!” Suzy shouted, grabbing my restrained hand. “Definitely a boy!” I heard one of the surgeons say. I burst into tears before they even lowered the curtain (which by the way, is surprisingly high up!
Dan was a wreck. I’d never seen him cry like that. Once they lowered the curtain, the first thing I noticed was the fact he was frowning. He had such an angry look on his face!
The baby was quickly taken away into another room for weighing and checks. I hadn’t even held my baby, but had to face the prospect that I may not get the chance yet.
After the longest five minutes of my life, Dan walked back into theatre, carrying the baby.
He sat next to me, crying, telling me how he’s absolutely fine, perfect in fact, and how he cut the cord. Suzy came in after him with a piece of paper, writing down his scores and time of birth etc. “He’s a whopping 7lb 2oz, Erin!” She exclaimed. “That’s fantastic for a 37 weeker. What are we calling him? Do you want him on your chest?”
I nodded, tears streaming down my face, “Ethan” I babbled, and with my one free arm I held my little boy against my chest. I was adamant on breastfeeding so the skin-to-skin contact was extremely important to me.
As I was staring at Ethan, I started getting a horrible ringing in my ears, and what felt like black flies were darting across my eyes. Then it all went blank. I heard “quickly Dan, get the baby” then that was it.
It turns out, I lost a little bit more blood than anticipated. But after a blood transfusion, I was absolutely fine. I recovered much quicker than we all anticipated and was allowed home after two nights (despite packing for a week!) I still managed to breastfeed Ethan, and I still am almost ten months later.
Breastfeeding was so important to me – I felt like my body had let me down for years and I wanted it to provide for Ethan, and even more so when I was told I couldn’t give birth naturally, but after having Ethan, I’ve realised it really has not let me down at all. My body managed to carry a baby for eight months and one week, despite the hyperemesis and the ICP, and go through major surgery to bring my baby safely into the world.
Despite my condition, I am so proud of myself and my body.
Ethan Albie Harcourt-Rose. Born at 09.38am, at St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester, weighing 7lb 2oz.
If you didn’t get a chance to before, you can read Erin’s pregnancy story, here.