April is Cesarean Awareness Month, I decided to share stories and tips around this important topic.

Guest writer Stephanie Knapp shares her birth story.

Every pregnancy, birth and baby website is cramped with the loveliest natural birth stories but only contain a few C-section birth stories, so I thought I’d share a bit of what my experience was like.

The first scan was done at about 16 weeks, everything looked perfect and I felt fine, not even a hint of morning sickness. The next scan was at about 19 weeks –this is when we found out we were having a little princess…

I had a pretty easy pregnancy, experienced a bit of pain around my abdomen at about 20+ weeks and was kept overnight at Vincent Pallotti due to high blood pressure but it turned out to be nothing. My feet and ankles were quite swollen and I had terrible heartburn towards the end but other than that it was a lovely experience.

I had a huge appetite and even picked up a total of 20 kgs. (This was very unexpected as I’ve always been very slender and struggled to pick up weight my entire life.)

As the pregnancy progressed, our princess developed well and gained weight like she should, the only issue was that she didn’t turn.

I ended up having an elective C-section as she was still breech at 36 weeks. Some say the baby can be turned, but I just wasn’t prepared to take that risk after hearing about what could go wrong.

I originally prepared and wanted a natural birth but was happy to go ahead with the C-Section as it didn’t really matter to me how Harper would come into this world as long as she was safe and healthy.

Harper at 1year

At my last ultrasound at about 36 weeks, little miss still hadn’t turned so we made a booking for the 13th of Jan 2014 – at that stage I would be 38 weeks 5 days.

It was weird knowing exactly when Harper would make her appearance but it was so exciting counting down the days to her arrival.

We woke up at about 05h00 on the 13th; me tired, hungry, excited and so nervous. We left home at about 06h30ish and checked in at the hospital at about 07h00 and then waited for a short time in the reception area for all the documentation to be sorted. We were then taken to the maternity ward and I was shown to my bed, I unpacked some stuff and changed into the hospital gown provided. A nurse then came and strapped on an electronic foetal monitor for a short while.

Allan (My husband) and I just relaxed and chatted for a bit and  then we met the anesthesiologist who popped in to ask me a few questions to make sure there would be no problems when he administered the epidural in theatre. Afterwards my Gynaecologist walked in and told us to get ready. Within minutes I was being wheeled up to theatre. Allan quickly changed into his scrubs – he looked so smart.

The anesthesiologist put in the drip and then administered the epidural – I am terrified of needles so I was really dreading this part but I was pleasantly surprised because it was so quick and easy. Not really painful just a bit uncomfortable.
Then the catheter was inserted, so glad this was done after the epidural as I’ve heard it’s not enjoyable. The screen was put up and we were told we’d meet our daughter soon.

Allan was sitting next to me on a chair, I can’t remember what we were talking about. I felt no pain, only a bit of tugging and like I couldn’t breathe properly as I was laying on my back with this huge belly, doctor assured me that feeling would be gone really soon. A few short minutes later (at 08h45) he held up our daughter over the screen and we laid our eyes on her for the very first time.

She didn’t really cry, just a few little groans. Allan went with her to the other side of the room and watched as the pediatrician cleaned and examined her. He then cut the cord and held her in his arms for the first time. (I watched him pick her up… He just stood there looking into Harper’s eyes, he looked so proud.) She weighed 3.3kgs and her height was 52cm.

He brought her to me and gently placed her on my chest, she was so small and perfect. We had our first family photo taken and was then moved to the recovery room for a short time so that my vitals could be monitored. During this time we tried to latch Harper – not very successfully might I add.

Harper the day she was born

We were then wheeled to our room, as we were pushed out into the corridor, Harper covered and still laying on my chest under a huge duvet, I saw my entire family come out from around the corner. They all looked so happy and was so excited to see Harper, they had a little peek at her as we were wheeled passed.

We reached our room and settled in and was left alone to admire our little girl. A short while later we had a few visitors.
I had a bit to eat and self-administered some pain medication through a pump like device which measures the medication for you and allows you to pump every few minutes. The lower half of my body was still quite numb so it was a bit awkward trying to move in bed and sit up properly.

The next morning the drip and catheter was taken out and I was encouraged to get out of bed. Surprisingly I did so with ease, I was extremely nervous as I’d heard how difficult a C-Section recovery can be. But it really wasn’t that bad.

Harper was latching from time to time but still wasn’t getting enough. One of the nurses suggested we give her a “top-up” formula feed after the breastfeeding just to make sure she gets what she needs – this worked for us.
We were released on Thursday morning, I was quite happy to get home after spending 4 days in hospital. I just wanted to be in my home.

Harper is a real lady, so sweet and well-behaved. Allan and I are blessed. I’ve heard how other newborns scream and fuss but we’ve never had that problem with Harper.

I am so thankful that my recovery has gone smoothly and that Harper is happy and healthy. She is now a beautiful, smart and seriously funny little 1-year-old, she’s so crazy and silly just like us.

We are so in love with her. We had the best experience thus far, I would not change a thing and I am more than happy to have another elective C-section one day when we decide to have another little one.

If you would like to share your story, email [email protected]

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