It's a strange feeling having someone come into your hospital room and say, 'are you ready?' and for you to walk down to theatre, with a gown covering your bare bum, about to meet your baby. It felt like the longest and shortest walk of my life, butterflies and nerves and excitement all rolled into one.
Right up until the c-section date, I was willing myself to go into labour naturally. I'm not ashamed to say I cried the night before because I felt a sense of loss. Like I didn't get to have the birth I always wanted. I was overwhelmed, hormonal and because of my previous birth experiences I did feel this feeling of loss, I can't describe it really. But when I walked into the hospital ward I was greeted by one of the midwives who was with me when Elijah had the cord prolapse and was by my side when I was rushed into theatre. She recognised us both and seeing her just made everything feel like we were right where we were supposed to be. And I realised that although this feeling of loss was a valid emotion to have and I may always feel it slightly, what has always mattered was that all of my babies arrive into the world safely. And that I really was where I was supposed be and baby number 3 was meant to arrive into the world this way.
I'd been fasting since 6.30am and arrived at midday and was told as I have gestational diabetes I should be second on list but ended up being last. My blood sugars dropped and had a hypo so was given glucose tablets but within the hour, around 4pm, a lovely health care assistant walked in and said - 'are you ready?' She grabbed baby’s cot and we walked down to surgery. Like I said, it's such a surreal moment and I will never forget it. I felt really nervous and quite scared, more because I didn't know what to expect. My last section was so quick and I was put under general anaesthetic within minutes so have no memory of it. The nurse looking after me was so lovely and turned out she was ex-Army, military wife and her brother was a serving Royal Marine who my husband knew so we all just chatted and laughed like we'd known each other for years which kept my nerves down. It all did feel so surgical to start with which sounds ridiculous to say and it did make me feel that sense of 'I wish it hadn't come to surgery,' for a few moments but that didn't last. I sat on the theatre table and the worst part wasn't the local anaesthetic or spinal, couldn't feel those - it was the freezing cold spray they put on your back! They laid me down and a sheet was put up and I could hear the surgeon talking to a student, 'let's begin'. Was so bizarre to hear them talking about 'oh there is the bowel,' 'move this to one side' and I could feel pressure and them moving around down there but no pain. The weirdest feeling! Then I heard suction and the anaesthetist said 'that's your waters breaking'. And I wanted to cry. They kept asking if I was OK as I think I looked terrified throughout but my husband was talking for England so I felt calm knowing he was there. So beyond grateful he was home and by my side. Then all of a sudden I heard this cry. This tiny beautiful cry. They tried to lift the screen down but we couldn't quite see and they laughed as the baby was kicking away! The nurse popped her head round the sheet and said, 'it's a boy'. And my heart just burst. Within seconds he was lying on my chest, tucked into my gown and I just cried. The relief after quite a tough pregnancy and my previous experiences and the feeling of having your baby placed on your chest for the first time, there is no other feeling like it. No feeling will ever come close. I felt a mix of sadness too as something that will always upset me was I never got this moment with Elijah. That I never held him first, I didn't hear him cry his first cry and the first time I saw him was waking up from the c-section. But as I said earlier, all boys arriving safely in the end, through completely different births is all that matters.
He felt so tiny in my arms compared to Rafe and Elijah and I just couldn't stop crying. Chris took him away with the midwife while they finished the surgery and then I was moved to recovery. They gave me some fresh orange juice and after only drinking water through the pregnancy (gestational diabetes I will not miss you) was like drinking a cold glass of wine in a beer garden on a lush summer's day. Bliss. He was sucking his hand so knew he was hungry so the midwife came and helped me latch him on. Which again was one of those moments where time stood still. I wanted to remember this moment so much as with Rafe I was still in shock and terrified as I didn't have a clue what I was doing and with Elijah I don't remember it at all as still out of it, which does break my heart. So this was an amazing moment and he fed so well. And through the night he passed all his blood sugars which was a relief.
We were moved back to our room and the undignified part of bed baths, blood, unbelievable pain, vomiting and pads stuck to your bum began. But I won't go into that in detail!
So a different experience but such a beautiful one. Calm, relaxed, with some laughs, crying and just overwhelming love. C-sections really can be beautiful. And it was exactly how Tristan Jude was meant to enter the world. Our final jigsaw piece.
Elijah's Birth Story: https://www.themarinewifeandmum.com/blog/my-birth-story4528001
Rafe's Birth Story: https://www.themarinewifeandmum.com/blog/my-birth-story
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.