Welcoming our rainbow Ava Mae into the world has been one of the best experiences of my life! For sometime I felt like a failure because I ended up having a c-section and did not manage to achieve the birth I had planned for myself. However, once I got home I found a wonderful surprise on my camera that helped me come to terms with the birth I did have and cherish what I had achieved....
I had always known that the natural water birth I had visions of would not necessarily be an option with my medical conditions. When my consultant first uttered the words elective c-section I felt crushed! I always try to not let my conditions stop me from doing anything that I want to do but I knew that after three miscarriages it was a blessing that I had got this far and I had to do what was best for me and baby. My consultant and I reached a compromise. I had a c-section slot booked but if baby was to try and make an appearance on her own accord then we would ride it out and see if my body could handle labour, with all doctors, specialists and midwives on standby just incase.
So on 15th December 2016 with little miss not wanting to budge and showing signs of slow latent labour Ian and I, along with my mum, made our way to the hospital for the c-section. At 11:30am We were shown to a room on the ward and allowed a short time to unpack and settle in. I was greeted by the two midwives who would be coming into the theatre with me, one of which was my mental health midwife. I had seen her many times before to discuss the anxieties that I had surrounding hospitals and operations. I had my blood pressure and urine checked along with a quick ultrasound to see what position Ava Mae was in. Next a small cot on wheels was pushed into the room and it all started to feel that little bit more real. Inside were blankets and a hat for baby, a hospital gown for me and scrubs for Ian. After a quick change and few giggles at Ian in his scrubs we were ready to go!
At 1:30pm I was collected by my midwives and we started making our way down to the theatre for what felt like the longest walk of my life. My mental health midwife passed me a plastic drinking straw and I started to use the sensory grounding techniques we had practiced, breathing slowing in and out through the straw. This stopped me from going into a panic attack and becoming too overwhelmed. Ian followed behind pushing the cot, I was only allowed one person in theatre with me so my mum waited on the ward.
Once we arrived at the theatre Ian had to wait outside whilst they got me ready. I was incredibly nervous as the spinal block was being administered. Serval times I turned to the midwives, shaking my head saying how I couldn't do it! I was terrified seeing all the machines and surgeons in their scrubs. I was allowed to bring in my camera and a CD of my own music and once it started playing I started to calm down. I was numb from the chest down, a screen was put up and Ian was finally by my side. By this point the straw had been chewed up so much it was now impossible to breath in and out of it without making whistling sounds.
It was finally time to meet our little rainbow. The midwives were wonderful and always told me what was happening. Within 10 minutes I felt some tugging and Ava Mae was out! She was born at 2:07pm weighing 6lb 10oz and let out such a loud cry. Nothing prepares you for hearing that first cry and the rush of emotion it brings. She was brought over to us for a quick peek then was taken to be cleaned and Ian was able to cut the cord.
Once Ava Mae was brought back over to me she was placed onto my chest so we could have some skin to skin time. Right away she opened her eyes and starting sucking her little hand whilst holding my finger with the other. All of a sudden I forgot my surroundings and was just overwhelmed with love and emotion for this little tiny human in my arms. After what only felt like 5 minutes but was actually more like an hour Ian and Ava Mae were taken into recovery. He was able have some skin to skin with her whilst I was cleaned up and moved onto another bed ready to be taken into recovery.
Whilst waiting in recovery to be taken back onto the ward I was able to breastfeed Ava Mae for the first time and it was such a magical feeling. I never thought I would be able to breastfeed with my medical conditions but I managed almost 10 days before having to stop and go back on my medications.
I was kept in hospital overnight for observations and then the next morning Ava Mae passed all her checks with flying colours and we were aloud home. I was sent home with a bag full of painkillers and injections to prevent blood clots. Nothing prepared me for how painful the car ride home would be after the c-section, every little bunp in the road was agony. Although it was painful at first by day three I was moving around much more and now five weeks on I am back to my normal self.
The first few days with a newborn were amazing. We could not stop looking at her and taking dozens of pictures. Once I finally got around to looking at the photos on my camera from the hospital I got the most wonderful surprise! My camera had recorded short video clips before each photo was taken. So not only did I have some memorable photos but videos too! I have used them to create a short birth video for my YouTube channel!
I felt like such a failure for having the c-section and did not look back on the birth with fondness because it was not what I had planned. However, watching the videos made me realise just how strong I am to of gone through the c-section without a single panic attack or complication. I now feel really proud to of brought such a beautiful baby into the world!