The ‘planned’ C – The first 09:38 story

It’s the inspiration behind this blog – and now my business (!) so I figured it was about time I shared the story of my two 09:38 arrivals. Starting with the time my world changed forever. Take one.

I know lots of women really enjoy being pregnant. I’ve read statements like ‘I loved every second.’ ‘I felt fine.’ ‘It was wonderful’. I’m really pleased for them – but that wasn’t me. Don’t get me wrong, I was over the moon to be carrying our much craved little bundle. I loved the anticipation of waiting for his or her arrival. Sadly my body did not share my excitement.

Sickness at first. I learnt to cope with a combination of salt & vinegar crisps, with a side of oranges. Sorted.

At five months however, things went a bit pear shaped. Dadda0938 and I went with my parents (very excited grandparents) to the Baby Show at ExCel. We drove to London and I felt a little uncomfortable, but nothing major. By the time we’d parked up and begun to make our way to the exhibition hall I could hardly walk. We stopped at the first pit stop we could find. A cafe area not even inside the show. Fuelled with a hot cup of tea and sweet treat (that beautifully British cure all) we finally made our way inside. Ten steps in and….I collapsed. The staff and the St Johns Ambulance that tended to me were incredible. I was terrified. I had a pain in my back, but thankfully all my obs were clear. Maybe a water infection I thought? Although how that would impede my ability to walk I hadn’t a clue.

For my own safety I was advised to use a wheelchair if we wanted to remain at the show, so that’s what we did. Dadda0938 and my mum took it in turns to push me around the stands (their driving skills were questionable. “Look at this, it’s lovely” says my mum. As she’d pushed me up to a blank wall, the stand behind me.) and we managed to see the show (albeit it briefly) we’d been so excited to attend.

The journey home was painful. My back protested even more at being back in the car. I felt every bump and I started to panic.

Like every first time mum I only knew that I didn’t know what to expect. Every feeling, stage, growth and development was brand new. I had no point of reference for ‘normal’. But I figured not being able to walk and collapsing in a a heap was pretty not normal. So I got on the phone to the emergency midwife. She put it down to blood pressure – even though I explained that was fine, the paramedics having checked it. What about the pain in my back? Being in the car she said. It felt like a brush off. I was frustrated.

Still in pain, the next day I went to my local NHS walk in centre. There were no sign of any nasties in my tests so a water infection was ruled out. They advised a GP visit the next day. I knew it to be the sensible course of action, but I was on edge. I’d suffered a miscarriage previously and in my wisdom (or rather’stupidity’) to only want to share positive baby news I’d not told family or friends (something I would NOT recommend – and hope to touch on in a later post) but Dadda0938 did his best to reassure me.

Two GP appointments and rounds of tests later we were no further forward – but we did know our baby was doing just fine. Hearing that most precious and reassuring sound of our baby’s heartbeat was a huge relief.

As the back pain was constant my midwife suggested I self refer myself to the maternity Physio, so I did. And finally another two weeks later I got a diagnosis. Pelvic Girdle Pain or SPD or PSD. Basically my pelvis didn’t like the excess weight and was protesting. I was given exercises to do – which hurt. A lot.

What we didn’t realise at the time was that my condition was further complicated by an old injury. Many years prior I’d had a car accident, which had resulted in a wonky pelvis. My pelvis  (and not my back as I’d previously thought) complained on ocassion at the best of times – never mind with the added pressure of a baby bump. So basically any excess weight will always cause me a problem. A good reason to try and keep fit I guess!

The months that followed I continued to struggle with walking. If you’re reading this and you have the condition please don’t struggle alone. Go back to your Physio. Ask for the support – it’s there but you do have to ask. Thankfully I didn’t need crutches, but at the same time they probably would have been a good idea. I had to go from seat to seat to get anywhere. In too much pain if I stayed in any position for too long. It was exhausting, but my baby was doing fine so that’s all I cared about. My body would cope and get us to the finish line I thought. By the time I was nearing term I spent most of my time on all fours, the only comfortable position I could get into.

Whilst this was all going on I was still excited about the birth. I couldn’t wait to meet our little one and had always wanted a water birth. Sadly, that, like my visions of being ‘glowingly’ pregnant was also not meant to be.

At 38 weeks I had my routine midwife appointment and I measured small. So I was referred to hospital to check all was well. An ultrasound showed that our baby was breech. And that I was measuring small as I didn’t have much fluid. “We need to get your baby out, as soon as possible at 39 weeks” they said. A moment that changed everything.  I wasn’t going to be giving birth. I somehow had lost fluid (to this day this remains a mystery). And our little monkey was bum down. At least that explained the constant alien like movements that protruded from my tummy – baby’s attempts to get ankles away from ears.  A c-section was booked in. It was classed as a ‘planned caesarean’. But it had not been part of my plan.

I hate the pressure that mums feel, even before their child arrives in the world. The judging that goes with your delivery type – and a planned c is frowned upon by some. I hated feeling the need to explain myself as to why I knew the date our baby was going to arrive. When really it was no ones business.  “Too posh to push eh?” Was a joke I encountered. “The thought of giving birth scare you did it?”. Definitely not and No. The thought of my baby not getting into this world safely was the only thing that scared me. And those that think a c-section is the easy peasy option haven’t a clue about the weeks of recovery that goes with it (ok – made a whole lot easier by finally having your beautiful bundle in your arms).

So a week later hubby and I finally got to meet our baby. It had been a tough old slog to get there, but we (my body and I!) had made it. It might not haven been the pregnancy I’d hoped for or the birth I’d planned, but none of that mattered. Not one jot. All that mattered was the little person that was about to take over our world. And I’d have done anything to ensure their safe arrival.

Being awake as surgeons operate on you is surreal. I’ve heard the feeling of them working on your tummy be described as ‘a washing machine tumbling’. I get it. It’s a whole lot of rummaging going on that you’re aware of but can’t actually feel. As the surgeon gently lifted our daughter from my stomach she was still sleeping. What a calm way to arrive in the world. Her skin felt the cool of the outside world and she announced her arrival with a hearty scream (just like her daddy she obviously wasn’t keen on being woken) and boom! in that instant our world changed completely.  We fell completely and utterly under the spell of our tiny pink bundle. It was 24.05.12. The time was 09:38.