A few months after having Tom, I went for an MRI scan to find out why the doctors had such a hard time trying to get a spinal block into my spine and to get answers in the event that I would have another caesarean and to be better prepared. What they found was that my spine was beginning to fuse together at the bottom - no wonder it was nearly impossible!
When I fell pregnant with Ewan, it was pretty much a done deal that I would be having another caesarean, and this time it would be planned to perfection, with doctors visits galore, trips to see anaesthetic consultants where I would express my fears of being put under general anaesthetic, I speak briefly about this in my birth story with Thomas. In short I have a sensitivity to general anaesthetic. Plenty of ultrasounds, midwife appointments, both at the hospital and the Doctors surgery, you name it.
Though through out all of this I still felt a fear about the birth, 'what if they can't get the needle in? What if they put me to sleep and can't wake me back up again?' I think even a woman giving birth naturally has this fear right in the back of their head of 'what if I die?' That sounds drastic doesn't it but it's going into the unknown, it scares us. Except this time I did know, I knew that this was going to be a challenge for all involved.
Ewan was due to come the day before I turned 38 weeks to make sure that I didn't go into labour on my own again. The day came and Matt and I set off for the hospital bright and early. It was a new experience being a planned caesarean, the whole thing was very surreal. We were basically made to sit and wait our 'turn' with all of the other couples due to go in that same day.
I had a quick check up and a talk with an anaesthetist who I had never met before and who seemed to know nothing about my condition or my history, in fact I seem to remember her saying she didn't have my notes with her. My heart was filled with so much dread at that point, I had to go through everything that I had previously told the consultants, but everything I was saying just seemed like it was going over her head, I don't know why. I came out of that room feeling sick and I remember turning to Matt and just saying 'I'm going to be put to sleep' I think he knew it too.
It was my 'turn' to go and have a baby, so I got ready and left Matt in the waiting room for when I would hopefully be all numbed up and ready to have a baby. I sat down on the bed to get the cannula put in my hand by the anaesthetist, they had a hard time getting it in, after about 6 attempts from numerous people, they managed to get one into my hand using an ultrasound machine. You can imagine how much confidence that filled me with?...
It came to putting the epidural in, I was scrunched up over a cushion on the bed, desperately trying not to move while being watched by a load of nurses sat in the corner just waiting for it to be over with, eventually one nurse came over to hold my hand and give me encouragement. I had three failed attempts at getting the epidural in, finally they manage to get it in, after being extremely uncomfortable and a massive amount of pressure on my spine, they laid me down and waited for the epidural to work, nothing was happening.. so they kept on upping the dose, I could feel my left side going numb, but nothing was happening on the right side.
Still they kept upping the dose and I still wasn't numb. This all made me go extremely dizzy and light headed, I felt sick and thought I was going to pass out, my blood pressure had dropped dangerously low and before I knew it all I heard was 'Anna we are going to put you under' all I could think was 'somebody please tell Matt!' and I remember saying the 'last time I was given a general anaesthetic they couldn't wake me up' they told me they would do everything they could, and the gas mask was put over my face, I was out...
Obviously while I was asleep I don't fully know what went on for Matt, but I know it wasn't easy for him, he was sat there on his own not knowing what was going to happen to either me or Ewan, he also had to deal with my Mum on the phone having a break down of her own, knowing what happened the last time I was put under and fretting that she wasn't there.
They got Ewan out very quickly as far as I'm aware and he was born at 12.42 in the afternoon weighing 6lb 14oz. Matt got to see him about half an hour after he was born, he walked into the room where he saw Ewan in the corner screaming his little heart out. Both Matt and I hate the thought of Ewan spending the first half hour of his life feeling scared and alone.
It took the anaesthetists longer than they thought to wake me up, I woke up at about 2.30 in the afternoon and I remember just bursting into tears feeling a mixture of emotions, relief that I was awake and that both my husband and my new born son were stood there waiting for me, but also the sadness that I had missed it all, and the feeling of panic still remained from when I was being put under. I still remember the feeling like it was yesterday and I think I always will.
I had trouble breathing for the first few hours, but other than that I was doing well and so was Ewan and I'm so thankful for that.
The birth experience I had with Ewan was completely different to what I had with Thomas, but I am so thankful that they both got here safe and sound, for that I will never be able to thank those doctors enough.. For now though it is still quite upsetting to think about Ewans birth and the fact that I will never have been there to witness the first few hours of his life, even a year on it still feels very raw for me,
Did you have a caesarean? Did you have to be put to sleep? What was your experience? I'd love to know.
I talk more about my experiences after the birth here Caesarean Section - The easy way out?
But for now, thanks for reading.