Some might say that I never truly gave birth because I had a Caesarean Section. Well I’m sorry but that’s utter bullshit. I know recently lots of other mums and random people simply say ‘oh don’t be stupid of course you have given birth!!’ But I genuinely believe that behind closed doors unless you’ve suffered the labour and the pushing a massive head out of your foof then you haven’t had the ‘real’ experience. Anyone that thinks that…fuck you.
So here’s my story about how I ended up on the operating table…not as dramatic as you might think so don’t get too excited!!
From the first day of finding out about my pregnancy I went through a huge roller coaster of emotion and high anxiety. As a long term sufferer from emetophobia there were so many elements of pregnancy that terrified me hugely. Morning sickness (or pregnancy sickness as it goes on all day) was a killer for me. I was never actually physically sick. But the nausea was always there and somehow I think that was just as bad for me.
When the nausea passed around 20 weeks I started to feel relatively normal and my anxiety started to subside. But then came the thought process of how the fuck I was going to get this tiny baby out of my body. I mean it just horrified me. I have read so many times and seen on some programmes that so many women vomit during labour, whether it be due to drugs or exhaustion or whatever. So that in itself started to manifest itself inside me about what I would do when I went into labour.
It was from this early on in my second trimester that I started to convince myself that I needed to take the least stressful option for me and my baby. Not that there are a huge amount of options when giving birth, it’s not as if it’s a multiple choice decision. But for some reason I had myself set on having a c-section. That settled me for several weeks knowing that I could make that decision. Or so I thought.
I can’t remember the exact week that I mentioned to my midwife that I wanted an elective c-section. But I remember very well the painful and somewhat embarrassing process that I had to go through to get what I wanted. I came up against it right from the start. The midwife told me that I had more chance of being sick during a Caesarean, and how many risks it posed to my baby and to me. I know they have to explain all of the risks, they wouldn’t be doing their job if not, but it was the WAY she went about it. I felt embarrassed!! I felt ashamed that I should have to ask for a c-section because there are so many elements of giving birth that frighten me I think I would rather die. I mean why the fuck was she making me feel like this??
She sent me to some ‘counsellor’ to talk about my ‘options’. The lady was nice and was understanding but again she went through the same stuff about how having a c-section would be the worst decision I could ever make. How could that be when I think it is best for my and my baby? I had the same retort when I went to the next stage, where I met an obstetrician. Only this time they stepped it up a notch. She fuckin terrified me. Again, yes yes I know they have to take you through all of the risks. She went on about how so many women were sick during the operation. I left the room thinking that if I went ahead I would be in effect putting my life and my baby’s life at huge risk. OK yeah I know there are ALWAYS risks. But I didn’t like how these doctors and midwives were making me feel. None of them understood how I felt. None of them knew the years and years of torment and anxiety I have been through with my phobia and how I tortured myself for a long time about not being a mother because of it. AND now I was finally here…carrying my first baby and wanting the best for him and me. How can I tell these people who don’t know me at all what I have been through in my mind to come to such a hard decision? The doctor refused me the operation. She said I was healthy and fit. She said it would be unlikely for me to have any complications during labour. She basically thought that I was pushing for this because I didn’t want to damage my foof. I mean there may be some out there that do it for cosmetic reasons. Good on them. I couldn’t give a shit why the next person wants it, all I know is what I want and this doctor was making an instant decision about my life after meeting me for 10 minutes.
They sent me away. They gave me an option of having an early induction. Because they scared me so much I actually contemplated it. I felt like I was being bullied into something that I definitely did not want to do. I went to the usual social forums and asked advice. This was actually the only time I found social media an absolute godsend in terms of advice. Loads of other new mothers told me they had never been ill during, or after their operation and had never heard of anyone else suffering the same for that matter. One very helpful lady who actually WORKS in the theatre with the obstetrician’s also told me that she had never even seen anyone sick whenever she attended the operations. Other mum’s told me they had also opted for c-sections due to severe anxiety and they got their wish. All of a sudden I didn’t feel so bad. I’m not fuckin crazy. I’m just a woman who wants what is best for her baby. I couldn’t imagine how I might be in labour. What if I got so stressed or anxious that I put my baby in danger? I know it’s unlikely but I was not willing to take that chance.
So after my 6th visit to the NHS, I stood my ground. I told the second doctor that if they didn’t grant me the operation I would go to another hospital that would. She still tried to terrify me out of it. But I got what I wanted. They booked me a date. I had never felt so relieved. Absolutely terrified but relieved that the lesser evil option for me was granted.
The guilt still killed me. It still does sometimes. I went through many emotions in the weeks before my operation.
The moral of this blog is this. Whether it be severe anxiety, or even worse Tokophobia (fear of giving birth which I do think I suffer from to some degree) or any other reason for your health or the health of your baby, fight for what you want. I’m not saying I had to go through high courts and experience months and months of turmoil and fighting in order to get my choice, but they made it difficult for me. I have a bit more bite than some other people so there could be others out there that would just sit back and accept what the doctors say, but you DO have a choice.
Read this link which takes you to the NICE guidelines regarding your options for a Maternal Request for C-Section. Please don’t take this blog as a dig at the NHS. I don’t want the fuckin pro NHS lovers having a go at me saying shit to me about how hard the NHS work. I know they work hard. It was proved during my operation and my aftercare. But as someone who has paid their taxes all of their working life to receive NHS treatment I wanted them to listen to me, and understand how I felt and respect my choice. But they didn’t and reluctantly granted me the operation. It felt like I had won, not that they had supported me and guided me through to the operation.
My story of my c-section experience will appear shortly, warts and all. Again, you never get any idea of what really happens during the operation from anyone. But I will tell you everything. It was an excellent experience and one I will never regret. At the end of the day, I have a healthy baby boy, and well…I’m still in one piece too!