You find me sitting up in bed, our son sleeping next to me, just beginning to wake up for a feed. This time last week I was woozy from a spinal, propped up in bed unable to feel anything from my chest to my toes, with my gorgeous husband sat next to me proudly holding our 2 hour old baby.
I’ve written on the other blog about receiving a phone call from the OBs office on Tuesday morning, heading into meet him and being told that lunchtime my pregnancy would be ending tomorrow; at 7:30am in fact. Hubs and I didn’t have time to get in a tiswas about it, didn’t have time to really worry, didn’t have time to let everyone know. We were too busy making sure we had everything ready so we could leave the house at 6am. While I know baby blather is usually reserved for YetAnotherBabyBlog, this past week has been so momentous, I simply can’t pretend it hasn’t happened in my general witterings blog. I will cover the full on baby stuff over there, but there are some things that happened which realigned me that belong here.
When I was at college I wanted to work in operating theatres, still would be quite happy to actually. I was lucky enough to be given work experience at my local hospital, where I got to watch everything from varicose vein stripping (barf) to hip replacements (hard work) and a lot of c-sections. Up close and personal. Sometimes, I would be introduced to the patient in the anaesthetic room, and then follow them through to recovery. Sometimes, I would stand at the back and watch from afar if it was complicated. I watched epidurals being given to women, and made up my mind then and there, if and when, I would never, no not ever, have an injection in my spine. The thought of being out-to-here pregnant, being asked to curl up in a ball and sit still and trust someone you’ve only just met with your central nervous system was not for me.
In our birth plan, and up until last week, I was adamant, if we needed a c-section for Peanut, I was going to be under general anaesthetic. I was scared of being injected in my back, petrified of it in fact. Then I walked into Dr Haider Najjar’s office and he didn’t mince his words. There was a low-lying blood vessel by my cervix, a natural birth was not an option. A general and epidural were not suitable, but a spinal would be. End of story. We then found out when Haider visited us to check how we were doing on Thursday, that my life and my baby’s life was at risk if Peanut had dropped any further down towards being engaged, hence the need to get him out pronto.
I got a confirmation call from the hospital on Tuesday evening telling me my anaesthetist name for the morning would be Dr Joseph Mezzatesta; which meant nothing to me or to Hubs, how many anaesthetists do you know in your walk of life? But when we were completing paperwork in our room in the morning, the midwife who would be coming into theatre with us, said ‘He’s brilliant, you’ve got the best one.’ Joe walked into the room, explained what he was going to do, spinal for the operation, but epidural for pain relief afterwards. He then listened to my fears about the epidural, and immediately said, ‘Then we won’t do it.’ He put the canula in my left wrist, which did not bruise, despite its awkward location and unusually, he also let Hubs into theatre while he did the injection for moral support. While the operation was going on, he also wrote me up a comprehensive cocktail of baby-friendly narcotics to manage my pain afterwards, I spent some nights quite happily out my gourd.
But the shift in me that let me let go of a near 20 year-long fear, was trust and love.
Trust in Haider. We’d done everything we could to try to have the natural childbirth I wanted, and I knew he wouldn’t do the c-section unless he needed to. I walked into theatre and Haider gave me a hug, told me that everything was going to be fine, he was going to take care of us. My Archie-mark a week later is healing so well, it’s amazing. I’ve had major abdominal surgery and am only taking panadol for pain relief.
Trust in Joe. Who didn’t try to brow beat me with his medical expertise, but actively listened to my fears and respected them. When he was injecting me, he talked me through every step to let me know what I would feel, before it happened, so I didn’t worry or freak out. I am not saying I didn’t cry; as soon as I walked in and saw the table, scrub nurses and medical paraphernalia, I was a mess. But he stayed by my left hand, talking me through what was happening, explaining, explaining.
Love. Everyone in that room was there for one reason. To take care of me and my unborn child. But then they also went out of their way to include Hubs in everything they did. They created a calm, relaxed atmosphere, that let us know we were going to be fine, we were in good hands. It wasn’t that they did this ‘all the time’, we could feel the support from all the people there, who knew we were worried about the operation. It’s not every day ‘Emergency Caesarean Section’ enters your life.
I was worried I would feel cheated that I hadn’t given birth properly if I had a c-section. I was worried I was going to be bitterly disappointed in myself, that I would not be able to get past the operation. On our first day home, I said to Hubs, I still felt serene and earth-motherish, simply because I’d let go of my fear. I let go of my worry. I put my faith and trust in the hands of experts, they didn’t let me down. They supported us, let us talk through any fears and ask questions, but at the end of the day, by recognising an issue and acting on it, they saved my life.