On Wednesday 20th July Allan and I walked into Ninewells Hospital in Dundee with a suitcase and an appointment to have our second baby. It felt so strange not to be in labour, but this birth would be a total contrast to Sorsha’s entrance only 14½ months earlier.
For a number of reasons and after much discussion between ourselves and the experts we had chosen to have an elective c-section. This was definitely the right decision for us but still came with a set of concerns. What would it be like to have a section without the distraction of natural labour this time? Would the spinal pain relief be agony? How would I feel this time around? Would there be problems? Would she be rushed away like Sorsha was? Like last time I blocked out my worries and focused on one step at a time.
So here we were, in the hospital at 7:30am, waiting to find out when we’d be taken to the operating theatre. I had blood taken by the midwife the day before and had taken the tablets I had been given, one the night before and one in the morning before we left home. I had fasted since midnight and my parents were looking after Sorsha. Another couple arrived after us and we were told that because we were a straightforward case we would go before them but after the emergency sections. After a few more tests and conversations with the midwife, anaesthetist and surgeon, I was told to change into a gown and, a few hours after we arrived, we walked down to theatre!
Sticking to my “one step at a time” process and deep-breathing my way through everything I had a drip and catheter inserted, was hooked up to various machines and the time for the spinal had come. I had no reason to be worried! I have an average pain threshold I think, and I can honestly say that it wasn’t that sore. They sprayed my back with a cold spray, gave me a small injection in the back to numb the pain, and the spinal was more pressure than pain. They gave it a few moments to work and double-checked it had taken effect before moving me into position and beginning surgery.
Allan was by my side the whole time, talking to me and giving me updates at one side of the screen and watching the gory bit at the other! About an hour later Willow was born and they lifted her above the screen to show me! I remember seeing this tiny grey skinned baby covered in bright red blood and I started crying. Our baby was here and she was fine! The told me they’d clean her up, stitch me back together and we’d get skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible. What a relief!
True to their word Willow was passed to me as soon as I went to the recovery room and they even got me started with breastfeeding! I was wheeled to the ward with our baby in my arms lying next to me and I couldn’t believe how different this birth was to Sorsha’s.
I had lost a lot of blood during the surgery but luckily they were able to encourage my body to produce more through a drip rather than have a transfusion.
Mum and Dad came to visit that afternoon and we introduced Sorsha to her little sister. Allan stayed with me until evening. Throughout the night I continued to try and feed Willow, stay hydrated and nap, but maternity wards are not an easy place to sleep! As always the midwives were on hand to help and by morning everything was looking good. Allan arrived mid-morning and I was asked if we wanted to leave that day, so by mid-afternoon we were home!
Maybe I have rose-tinted spectacles because of the contrast to Sorsha’s birth or the relief that it was nowhere near as bad as I had thought it might be, but I’m so grateful to everyone at Ninewells. The whole way through everyone had been so helpful and reassuring, I felt in such safe hands. Considering they go through roughly the same thing day in, day out they never made it feel routine. The surgeon did such an amazing job, even removing some hard scar tissue from my previous scar. I have healed fantastically and feel so much better, so much quicker than last time. Afterwards Willow was jaundiced and lost a lot of birth weight which was hugely worrying, but she was monitored and with a few adjustments she’s back to full health. I’m so glad to have two beautiful, healthy little girls who’ll grow up together and hopefully be the best of friends!