Those of you who’ve been following my Pregnant After PND journey will be aware that I have an elective section booked this time around. My son was born six years ago via emergency section and it was an extremely traumatic experience (read more about the birth and birth trauma here). I definitely consider what we went through to be a contributing factor to the maternal mental health problems I subsequently faced.
With this in mind I’ve chosen an elective section for this baby. My midwives were very supportive of this decision although my Consultant did attempt to scare / persuade me into trying a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) instead. I’m quite cynical and put this predominantly down to 1) cost and 2) hospital stats.
Eventually she agreed and, all being well, I’ll be having surgery when I’m 39+1, in just a couple of week’s time.
Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of birth plans. Having experienced a difficult birth I know only too well how devastating it can be for some women if they don’t have the birth they expected. Making a detailed birth plan almost seems to me to be setting yourself up for a fall.
However, since so many practices which are considered standard were completely abandoned when I have Caterpillar I’ve decided to create a wish list for my section to try to ensure a better experience this time around and, vitally, more time to bond with my baby. I’m sharing it here today in case any of you are facing an elective section and are looking for ideas.
1. Husband to stay in room during administration of spinal anesthetic
2. I experienced a high block during my previous section (unable to move or feel arms or upper body). This was extremely distressing and meant I was unable to hold my baby for several hours, interfering with bonding and causing Anxiety. Please be aware that this could happen again and take action to prevent or rectify where possible.
3. Extremely nauseous during last surgery, plus post-surgery vomiting. Please give anti-emetics.
4. Where possible, please lower the sheet at point of delivery so husband and I can have first look at the baby at moment of birth.
5. (IMPORTANT) Skin-to-skin ASAP! I didn’t have any at all last time and, again, this contributed to bonding issues and, subsequently, PND & Anxiety. Even if high block has occurred, my husband can hold the baby to me.
6. Husband would like to cut the cord if at all possible.
7. Husband and baby to stay in the room and close to me during entire procedure. For an unknown reason, they were forced from the room last time while I was being stitched up and, again, this contributed to bonding issues and PND / Anxiety.
8. I wish for catheter to be removed and to get up and about ASAP after surgery as this really aided my physical recovery first time around, and helped with bonding as I was then able to care for the baby myself.
I think one of the fortunate things about second-time pregnancies is that, as you know a little more about what to expect, you feel more confident and are able to better advocate for yourself.
I’m keeping in mind that there is a possibility these things may not be able to happen. If they are unable to administer a spinal, for example, I will need a general instead. If I go into labour naturally before my c-section date I may end up having another emergency section etc. But it certainly helps my anxious mind to have these wishes written down and to be able to share them explicitly and assertively with my healthcare provider.