Just over a month ago, my husband and I welcomed our gorgeous son into this world. As I recover and things slowly fall into place, I thought I’d share my experience, starting from the beginning of that week; the last few days before we officially became parents.
Warning: It’s going to be a long one. Click here to watch the video version of this story on my YouTube channel.
The Days Before
I stopped working a week prior and had previously been working reduced hours from home, so I was already pretty used to being home and had been getting things in the house together in preparation for Baby B’s arrival for some time. As the day got closer, the nesting got stronger. By the end of it, I was a slight maniac trying to do more than humanly possible with regard to cleaning, organising, and other preparations.
My son was to be born via C-Section because he turned breech (at 35 weeks, cheeky little monkey) and the date was set for Friday. Monday and Tuesday weren’t particularly exciting – just got plenty of work done around the house mostly. Mentally, I was in utter denial and didn’t feel like I was about to have a baby at all.
Wednesday morning, Chris and I had to go and get swabbed, then I had my last routine checkup in hospital, and we planned to spend the day together. Officially our last day before our little one arrived as I had to go in to hospital from Thursday morning. Unfortunately, it was quite literally the opposite of what I wanted for our last special day – I was in the waiting room for 4 hours for my checkup, so the day ended up being stressful, rushed, and we had very little quality time together. I then ended up having a total meltdown in the evening because I was upset and also because things started kicking in. I was also dreading spending the whole next day and few nights without Chris.
Arriving at Hospital
Thursday came, some tears were shed when Chris left for work and then gas-down preparing everything and myself for my sister-in-law to pick me up and take me to hospital. I was back to the denial, just not able to process what was about to happen whatsoever. I was in oddly good spirits for someone whose life was about to change and was about to undergo a major surgery.
When I got to hospital, it was still a bit early so I had to wait awhile. Some other soon-to-be mums arrived for their check-in and we all chatted and bonded for a bit and shared our sentiments. It was nice to chat with people who knew almost exactly what I’m going through, we could relate to each other on a different level, despite being total strangers.
Once I was admitted and taken to my bed in the ward, I was really pleased to find out that the woman I shared the room with was actually someone I know – her husband was there too as she’d given birth in the early hours of the morning and it was nice to have some familiar faces and friendly chat about birth and babies and everything.
The first few hours were taken up with doctors coming in and out explaining to me what was going to happen, going through the consent form, and a bunch of that stuff. For the most part of the day, I was bored out of my mind. In the evening, I got quite emotional and upset and was obviously missing Chris and Billie terribly. We had a video call and it broke my heart to see Billie restlessly waiting for me to come home.
The night was quite rough, I was boiling and burning up and the baby near me cried through most of it. My heart really went out to the mother, bless her, she’d barely slept at all from the night before. I guess it served as a sort of practice run for me too, though I managed to get a few snippets of sleep here and there.
Friday; The Big Day
Friday arrived; the big day was finally here. It started off with some antacids at 5am (#funtimes), followed by some other visits from midwives and medical staff going through the process with me, discussing some bits and bobs, and then worst of all – the enema (which I have aptly renamed the enemy) . If you’re unfamiliar with it, look it up and enjoy. This was very possibly one of the most horrific experiences I have ever had to endure physically and, I won’t go into detail, but God was I glad to have a shower after that.
I put on some makeup and was feeling great (still clearly in denial) and shortly after, Chris arrived. We talked, hugged, took some photos, shed a few tears, and cherished our last few moments together before our lives changed forever.
At about 9am, a midwife came in to tell me that I’ll be going in for the surgery at about 10/10:30. I was given my hospital gown and told to remove my makeup (hmph!) and jewellery. Then they came to put in the catheter, and it was all downhill from there. It hurt, I felt violated and vulnerable, and the reality started sinking in.
I’d like to point out that aside from being about to have a baby and undergo a major surgery, I also had another big concern. One of my many “ailments” is that I have some issues with anaesthesia. Local anaesthetic has previously not worked on me, and whenever I’m put under general anaesthetic, I wake up with something that’s called myoclonic dystonia which is sort of like a seizure. Obviously, neither of these scenarios are ideal for a C-Section, so you can understand why I was terrified and anxious. I discussed this with all the midwives, doctors, and anaesthetitsts and basically the plan was to go according to protocol, hope for the best, and take things as they come. The local anaesthetic used for the surgery is a spinal block which acts differently from regular anaesthetic, so we were hopeful – but not overly optimistic, just in case.
So anyway, at this point I was naturally more consumed by the fact that I was going to have a surgery and less so by the fact that I was about to meet my long-awaited son. It’s hard to be excited when you’re also so scared and anxious. But anyway..
The Birth / Surgery
At around 10:15 they came and wheeled me down to the operating room. Chris was scrubbed up and had to wait outside while I was prepped, which took about 20 minutes (though felt like hours, according to him). As they prepped me, it was all very rushed and intense – lots of people doing lots of things at once. I was cold and anxious and shaking – and once the spinal block was injected, I was excited to feel it working. I felt warmth rushing down my back and legs. I went completely numb, and then they maneuvered me onto the operating bed, did some sort of test with a freezing spray to make sure the spinal block worked as it should have, pinned up my gown and a curtain just below my chin, and began cutting me open as Chris was allowed in.
It’s safe to say that these were some of the most intense moments of my life. I was overwhelmed with so many emotions, most of which at that point was relief that the spinal block worked. It meant that I could be awake and Chris could be present for the birth of our son.
The procedure was bizarre – I couldn’t feel any pain but I felt loads of pressure and movement. I was being yanked around and the whole bed was shaking. The best way to describe it is that I felt like a washing machine. I felt quite light-headed at times so the doctors removed my mask, cooled me down with a damp cloth, and I focused on my breathing. It was about to happen – we were about to meet our son.
Within minutes, the movement intensified. My baby was being taken out. He was out. He cried. It was the best sound I ever heard. I burst into tears and cried inconsolably for a few minutes. I cried so much that one of the midwives later told me that in all the C-Sections she’s been in, she’s never seen a mum cry the way I did.
They showed him to us for a moment before taking him into the next room to be cleaned and checked by the pediatrician. He was sooo tiny. My heart was full. 💙
After the Birth
While I was being sewn up, things were actually pretty chill. I chatted away with the anaesthetists and midwives and shared some special moments with Chris. That part lasted much longer than the birth, but within about 40 minutes (I think) I was done and we were then taken to the recovery room where we got to meet our baby properly for the first time.
We held him, I fed him (after some trial and error), Chris put on his first outfit. We took some photos and called our families to let them know everything went well. And we named him. Our Baby Benjamin. 💙 There were many special moments in that room which I will remember and cherish forever.
After about an hour, we were taken back to the ward and as much as I hate to say it, the rest of that day is mostly a blur. Chris was there with me till 10pm, I remember that we took some photos, I fed Ben regularly, and I slept a bit. I was exhausted and in a lot of pain, but also in awe of our son and extremely emotional.
The first night was hard, the pain was excruciating and I couldn’t move. The midwives were very helpful and helped me take care of Ben since I was so limited. He slept by my side all night.
The Next Days
On Saturday morning, midwives came to help me wash and change. I had a snack and some water and had the drip and catheter removed. When Chris came in the morning, the midwives came by to give Ben his first “bath”. Again, the rest of the day is a blur. But it mostly consisted of feeding, cradling, and adoring Ben, a lot of crying (me more than Ben) and some sleeping here and there. Another hard night, but I couldn’t wait to go home the next day.
Sunday morning finally came and the doctors checked that all was okay and confirmed that I’ll be discharged soon. There were quite a few midwife visits throughout the morning, including setting up appointments, some paperwork, going over general newborn care, a paediatrician checkup for Ben, and all that jazz. Everything was in order and so I packed my bags and waited for Chris to pick me up.
I was swollen, exhausted, immensely sore, and a complete emotional wreck. We passed by our parents’ houses on our way home for them to get to see Ben, and made our way home. The rest (including the introduction to Billie) is a story for another time – I’ve given you enough of a headache. 😀
All in all, I’m really glad that everything went well, and 5 weeks into my recovery I can confidently say that I’m doing pretty well and things are getting better. Some days (and nights) are really difficult and miserable, others are fantastic. It’s a roller-coaster but such a beautiful journey, and all it takes is one look at my beautiful son and everything feels perfect for a little while. 💙
A very special thanks goes to the incredible staff at Mater Dei with specific mention of midwives Maria, Diane, Christine, Marla, and Kirsten, anaesthetist Bernice and the other whose name I don’t know, my surgeon and his team, and all the others who took such great care of us. And of course, a big thank you to my husband who was my absolute rock throughout.
And another big thank you to everyone who got in touch with well-wishes and all those who sent beautiful flowers, cards, and gifts. You have filled our home and our hearts with lots of love and I am eternally grateful. 🙂
Until next time,