Why I CHOSE to have a C-section (and why it doesn't mean you’re too posh to push)
When I was pregnant with Rupert I agonised for months over how I wanted to give birth. Well-meaning ‘friends’ suggested that ‘natural is by far the best choice for the baby’ and various parenting websites pointed to ‘c’sections’ as the thing of the devil (and should only be done in an absolute emergency.)
Firstly, I have to acknowledge that I was in a fortunate position to be able to have my baby privately, meaning that a scheduled C section was something I could consider. But having that option didn’t mean it was an easy decision to make. I, like most mothers out there, spent hours seeking out the opinions of others, hearing about horrific (and not so horrific) birth stories and chatting with Doctors and Midwives about what was best for me and my baby.
I finally made my decision after an appointment with my Obsteatrician (the wonderful Natasha Singh at Chelsea and Westminster hospital.) She put all of my fears at rest and answered all of my questions with confidence and reassurance.
So here I am sharing with you WHY i chose to have a C section…and why it was the best decision I ever made.
I put my baby first….
Mothers who are anti C-sections may roll their eyes at this and throw statistics your way about how a C-section has various negative impacts on your baby. But here is where they are wrong. Your birth is about YOU and YOUR baby. I chose to have a c-section because I knew deep down inside this would be the BEST OPTION FOR MY BABY. Why? I was a nervous pregnant mummy. I spent moths and weeks stressing about the birth instead of planning for when my baby arrived. In fact, I worried so much that I had anxiety attacks and couldn’t focus on ANYTHING past giving birth. The birth was the hurdle I had to get over…I didnt even THINK about what life would be like after the birth.
It was Natasha who pointed this out to me. My worrying and anxiety wasn’t going to be healthy for the baby. If I concentrated so much on the birth, I wouldn’t be able to plan for when the baby actually arrived.
She was so right. Here I was worrying so much about HOW to give birth that I was turning myself into a nervous, sleepless, stressed out mummy to be. And that wasn’t the sort of mummy I wanted to be when the baby arrived.
So, I made my decision and decided that a C -section was better for me - and the baby. A C- section didn’t scare me as much and as a result I relaxed a lot more and was able to focus on being the mummy I knew my baby deserved.
I wanted to be able to plan
Another thing that worried me about giving birth naturally was the fear of not knowing when it was going to happen. It might sound selfish to some, but I worked myself up into such a state, worrying about scenarios where i’d be giving birth on the M4 or in the middle of the night at the one time when my husband was abroad for work. I soon realised that KNOWING when I was going to give birth gave me such a huge sense of relief. I could plan for it, I could make sure everything was in place and I could relax knowing that I knew the exact date my baby would arrive. I know some women may be screaming at their computer screens reading this, thinking I’m a complete control freak but yes, I am. I always have been even in my work and family life (I work much better in my career if I plan and I am a much better friend and wife when I have my diary and calendar near by!) so why shouldn’t I also be like this with the birth of my baby?
A C-section was less scary for me than an unpredictable, natural birth
When you have a planned C-section, you know (pretty much*) how everything will pan out from leaving your home in the morning to being wheeled into theatre. Your Obsteatrician can explain to you IN DETAIL how your day will pan out and this gave me a huge sense of calm. With me, my c-section worked out like this:
5am I woke up in the own bed in London, got dressed and showered, picked up my hospital bag and we drove to the hospital.
6am I was shown to my room by the nurses and was able to unpack my clothes, unpack my toiletries into the bathroom and try (as much as possible) to relax. My Anaesthetist also popped in to ask me if I had any questions about the c-section (I told her I was worried about being sick so she assured me she would give me something to stop this happening.)
6.30am Natasha (My Obsteatrician) popped in to give me a reassuring cuddle and make sure I was feeling ok about everything and to see if I had any questions.
6.45 I got changed into my hospital gown (and patrick got into his - which made me laugh as he looked like an extra from Grey’s anatomy!) and then I was taken down to the operating theatre
7Am in the operating theatre I was given a catheter into the back of my hand, and then given the epidural (see my post on ‘15 things no one tells you about a c section for more in this) I then lay down on the operating table and was introduced to all fo the nurses and surgeons in the room. Natasha waved at me and gave me a thumbs up…..and 10 minutes later Rupert was born.
Just knowing that this was what was likely to happen (and it really did happen just as Natasha explained it would) made me feel so much more relaxed than not knowing what your birth experience might be like. I was mentally and emotionally able to prepare for it by having an elective c-section
4. The oher birthing options just didn’t work for me
I’ve heard wonderful stories about water births, hypo-birthing, home births and all other sorts of types of births but I just knew - deep down - they weren’t for me. It’s a bit like when a friend talks about a holiday/thetare show/restaurant that they thought was brilliant but you know it wouldn’t be for you.It’s as simple as that. I knew these birthing options weren’t the right thing for me….and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with admitting that.
5. No, I am not ‘too posh to push.’
I still have ‘friends’ who joke about this, saying it’s typical of me to be ‘too posh to push’ but that simply isn’t the truth. Was Intoo SCARED to push. Yes. Absolutely. And this fear was turning me into an anxious mess which would have made me an anxious mother. I didnt want that for my baby. So I chose the way to give birth that felt right….for me. And my baby. Pushing had absolutely NOTHING to do with it.
6. I didn't want to hear the word "emergency" anywhere near me or my baby.
I didn't want nurses running fratilcally around my bed , uncontrolled bleeding, the sound of flatlining heart monitors. I didnt want my baby (who in my mind had a fragile little skull) being suctioned out with a ventouse or pulled with full force strength out with a pair of forceps. I didnt want to be rushed into an emergency C-section and then potentially have to make life-saving decisions after hours of labour and with no sleep. I didn't want to tear or have the wall between the vagina and anus cut to avoid it tearing. I decided that If I was going to have to recover from being sliced open I would prefer it were my tummy, calmly and carefully, than being torn from back to front.
So there you have it, me laying my heart on the line and letting other mummies out there know that it really is OK to choose to have an elective C section. My C-section really was an incredible experience and Rupert arrived into the world calm and healthy.
If anyone reading this would like to get in touch to chat about having a c section then please do contact me!
I say “pretty much” because as we all know, there is no definite fool-proof birth plan. All births are different and I was very fortunate to have an easy and stress free birth.