Real Birth Journey: Sophie Rose

Birth. It is the most incredible, indescribable, unpredictable and miraculous occurrence. Bringing life into the world is an experience that is personal and precious beyond belief. Each delivery is different to the next, and yet I feel that despite the varying differences it is something so special it can actually bring us altogether. I’m pulling together a range of real birth stories to share in the hope of expanding our knowledge and expectations of birth, and to dwell in the wonder that is the gift of life, in the countless forms it may arrive in!

Name & age at birth:
Maxine, 29

Due date:
30th March, 1993

Cravings during pregnancy:
Nothing really.

Worst symptom/s:
Doctors diagnosed high blood pressure, not that I even noticed it, but this was managed early with medication. Otherwise I had a beautiful, healthy pregnancy that I genuinely enjoyed.

Biggest concern about birth was:
I was most concerned that I wouldn’t have a caesarean, and be forced to attempt a natural delivery risking brain damage and further issues with this (my second) baby. Reason being, both my babies were very high and firm in position, even late in my pregnancy around 40 weeks. The doctors even did x-rays to check as to why they were up so high and how we could work with that. One doctor mentioned that I had a small pelvis, measuring with a ruler and all, and said he would personally want to look at getting this baby out safely, but as I wasn’t his patient (mine was actually on holidays at the time) it wasn’t his call.

So when my doctor returned, he said he wanted to let me go naturally and see how I progress. This worried me because having heard already another medical professional’s opinion, I of course wanted the best and safest option for my baby. I persisted with requesting a caesarean, but his thinking was that if it was a small baby we could give a vaginal delivery a try. So I was still pretty uneasy with this idea, as I was fairly certain I would end up needing another caesarean anyway, and would have rathered everyone go into the procedure prepared and not waiting for risks to occur and need fixing in attempting another method if my body wasn’t built for that.

Until my last appointment, a week before her due date when the doctor said it didn’t look like a small baby, he agreed that a caesarean was the best and safest way to go about delivering her. I felt instant relief. Knowing that even if I went into labour naturally now, the plan was set for a caesarean and we knew what we were in for. As it worked out, her due date of 30th March was a Tuesday, the day that this doctor scheduled his caesareans for!

Ideal birth plan was:
As mentioned above, I strongly felt that another caesarean would be the safest option for us.

How we went from wombmate to roommate:
I was admitted to hospital the night before she was due, I wasn’t allowed to eat anything and had to drink a horrible salty solution to prevent vomiting when waking up from the general anaesthetic. Despite having had no troubles with this anaesthetic with my first baby, they still made me drink it this time. Yuck!

I was gowned up, taken down to theatre, worded up and prepped for the procedure. I was then calmly put to sleep/under anaesthetic. (Unlike my first delivery which was hectic, rushed and ended up with an emergency caesarean – not calm at all!)

I woke up in recovery, but you more so hear people talking and noises around you before you really open your eyes and become aware of your surroundings. So once I had fully come to, they took me back up to my room and I got to meet my baby for the first time. As I was cuddling her, my arms began shaking and I was worried about dropping her so I got the nurses to take her back. I think they were a little bit puzzled by this, not realising it was my body doing it uncontrollably, and not me not wanting to hold her. Apparently this can be a common after effect and luckily it passed shortly.

A myth/misconception I believed prior that I now don’t is:
Not quite a myth, but generally fathers aren’t allowed into the delivery room during an emergency caesarean plus with mum under general aesthetic, but the girls’ father was actually in the room both times.

Cuddles with big sister Caitlin

Baby’s name, birth weight and date:
Sophie Rose Joyce, 8 pound 8 ounces, 30th March, 1993

Baby’s name was almost:
We knew we were having a girl, so always wanted Sophie.
But if she had been a boy, I liked Samuel.

Time spent in hospital post birth:
I was kept in bed for 3 days, with the most beautiful nurse caring for me – from sponge baths to even brushing my hair. Really helping me relax and recover from major surgery. I also had a morphine drip to handle any pain I had. Compared to my first caesarean recovery, where I was told to get up and have a shower (on my own) just the day after the procedure, and only given a Panadol as pain relief. So again, very different experiences!

Best tip/trick you received for those early days:
Post-caesarean – tubular elastic fabric to hold and support my tummy after the surgery. I remember it being so small and tight and thinking no way it will even fit me, but it was such a life saver.
Also, not worrying or prioritising housework or regular chores, just trying to relax and enjoy your baby from the beginning.

Top 3 lifesaving items for a newborn:
Clothes with elastic necklines for easy dressing
Good pram to walk with

If you could go back and speak with your pregnant self, what would you say?
Not much differently really. I genuinely enjoyed this pregnancy and once the caesarean was arranged, that part too. I was lucky to have a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy that I really loved. I felt good and loved the little kicks and reminders that I was growing a baby.

If you could speak with yourself on day 3 of having a newborn, what would you say?
Leave the housework, just enjoy your little baby. Don’t be so hard on yourself to get everything done so perfectly.

Any words for first time mums-to-be nervous about their own upcoming birth?
Trust that your medical team of doctors/nurses/midwives want the best for you too. If you are uncomfortable about anything, tell them and make a plan you’re all happy with. Don’t be afraid to ask for pain relief – there’s no trophies for doing it without drugs.

Any further notes you’d like to include:
Motherhood is the hardest but most rewarding role you will ever have.

Happy baby with her incredible mum!

If you have a birth story you’d like to share, then please get in touch and let’s start the conversation and continue celebrating this incredible life changing event!

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