34 – 38 weeks…

I can’t quite believe that I am writing the conclusion post to my pregnancy diary. Back in November when we found out I was pregnant, the end of July seemed very far off indeed but it has completely flown past. I’m sure this is in part due to the non-stop pace we set ourselves on doing the house renovations. Since moving out of our bedroom in December, we have completed the bedroom, dressing room, kitchen, outside deck, ‘face lifted’ the dining room, one of our attic bedrooms and most recently, the nursery. It has been exhausting, but it has certainly kept my mind off being pregnant, which at the time didn’t bother me, but now I look back and feel I should have savoured it more – I certainly should have taken more time out to relax and spoil myself – I haven’t even had time to do pregnancy yoga but I’m making up for it now with full on baby-focus now I’m on maternity leave.

This part of my pregnancy has definitely been the hardest, physically, although it’s pretty much all self inflicted. I’m still well and not that uncomfortable although I have been feeling very ‘full’ particularly when I’m sitting down so finishing work at 37 weeks was a good decision. The bump certainly hasn’t ‘dropped’ (but more on that in a minute…) I had been debating up until a week or so before whether to keep going as I’m not really tired, but because I postponed everything until my mat leave, I was definitely in need of the baby time. My back has been my main pregnancy gripe and anything involving lifting or using my back much is giving me pretty bad pain and stiffness. All this lead to Pete reading me the riot act after moving some furniture myself last week and then having to stop about 6 times on a short walk of less than 10 minutes. I’ve been on strict R&R since and have felt so much better for it. I think I needed permission to slow down!

The last week hasn’t been without it’s stresses though. At my 36 week antenatal appointment they booked me for a presentation scan as there was some concern baby Norris was not playing ball and might be the wrong way up. Sure enough on scan day last Tuesday, the hard round lump I had been feeling in my ribs for weeks and weeks is in fact a head and baby is breech. Cue some soul searching and the choice whether to have an ECV (where they try to turn the baby,) or book an elective caesarean section. I won’t go into my reasons here as it’s a very personal choice and one I’m still not happy about, but I have chosen not to have an ECV and so now I’m booked for a Caesarean. (On an evidence based medical level though I will say, the chance of success would have been very poor, maybe 30%)

So, after all my thoughts on how to prepare for labour, (not that I had actually made much progress on doing the required reading,) and deciding I wanted a natural, hopefully drug-free delivery (although I’m not silly enough to say that without an open mind for when the time came, having never been in that position before,) I’m now getting the works; spinal anaesthetic, all the drugs and the bit I am most upset about, the recovery period afterwards. I was so looking forward to being active again and able to do things around the house. There are no guarantees in life so I’m just trying to remind myself that I could have had an ECV, then a horrible labour, wanted all the drugs and then ended up with a section after all, who knows, but I still feel upset about the way things are turning out. I know it’s silly but I feel like I have meddled with fate by choosing babies birthday, I feel a bit disappointed that I (and Pete) won’t have that birth experience and honestly I’m terrified of being a patient rather than the one performing the caesarean as I have in the past. It feels clinical and I can hardly believe that I will wake up one morning, go to hospital and have baby taken out of me, instead of doing it myself. And the poor baby is going to get the shock of it’s life going from where it is perfectly happy to being yanked out into the bright cold world without any warning. However, I know this is infinitely safer than a vaginal breech delivery (at least for a first baby,) so I am also reminding myself to be grateful that there is a safe way to delivery this baby for both of us, which is ultimately all that matters. And for whatever reason, this baby is very happy being one of the 3 in 100 babies that are breech at term as it has been in this position for a long time and has shown no signs of budging. I just wish I had known sooner.

So now I’ve also lost a week of my maternity leave and the last week has been spent flapping about like a headless chicken trying to get things done and bought. As a result it has been very productive but a bit panic inducing too. I feel like I would have felt more mentally prepared if I had had to go through the process of labour, instead of what feels like going to pick up the baby via click and collect. The reality of having a baby now has a date on it. Life changes then. All the old questions of ‘Am I ready’ and ‘How will we still make time for each other and our life,’ have resurfaced, but now I also find myself stroking this little head as it bobs with hiccups or shifts position and feeling increasingly maternal and protective towards this little thing we created.

I can’t wait to hold this baby, take it home and introduce it to our families. I can’t wait to see who he or she resembles, if baby has my dark hair or is blonde as Pete was as a child. But the finality of having a definite date is also terrifying.

So readers, have any of you had a caesarean? How did you find it? And did any of you get pre-baby jitters like me? Now more than ever, I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice.


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71 thoughts on “34 – 38 weeks…

  1. Rebecca – what a heart felt post. Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts & feelings. Sending lots of love for these next days xx

  2. I did not really have time to get the baby jitters, with our precious one arriving completely by surprise at 33 wk 4 days, my waters breaking on the day I was 33 weeks.

    What I do know is that you will have time for everything you might have forgotten. There is always amazon! And supermarkets!

    What I did not expect at all was how the lack of sleep + the energy demanded for breastfeeding would affect me. I was so tired, all the time, that I got very snappy / moody / grumpy and this resulted in some not-nice bickering with my husband. I did not imagine this would happen, I always thought we would handle this as a team, but I also had never been THAT tired and while I am not proud of my reactions it is something that took me by surprise. I never read any articles warning me or talking about anything like this, we never fight… So what I am trying to say here I guess is try to keep kindness at hand, particularly to each other, no matter how tired you are. Like they say, get all the sleep you can (when the baby sleeps) and eat all of the nutritious food, oatmeal, rice milk, plenty of liquids, fruits…
    All the rest doesn’t matter. Or, ask for help, but do rest.

    And of course savour every moment with your baby. At almost 6 months I can’t believe how fast time goes, how fast they become real babies and stop sleeping like a frog on your chest.

  3. Hi Rebecca

    I’m in camp pro csec. I know what it feels like to have that ‘birth experience ‘ taken away from you, I was royally gutted when I found out I was to be induced, and given a date for Ellie’s arrival. It seemed to take all the excitement and anticipation out of it, to give something that should be every pregnant woman ‘s right a sense of the clinical, the unromantic.

    Six months on, I can honestly say it didn’t matter at all. At all. Whilst I disagree with the ‘click and collect ‘ analogy, as you know it’s about the baby, whatever way they cone out. Once you hold baby Norris (and he or she is safe, happy and warm, smelling like a newborn, like no other smell on earth) you won’t even think about the birth you thought you wanted.

    Also, the recovery is fine. I know everyone is different bit I had one day of actual pain and then I was moving about like it had never happened. So don’t assume it’ll be a big hassle, chances are your abs will surprise you!

    • Interestingly Anna, I would never have compared an elective c-section with an induction until you pointed out the similarities in having the anticipation taken away etc. I guess I consider induction to still have an element of unknown as they can work so speedily or take days (as per a few commenters here already,) whereas when I said I* feel like it’s collecting the baby by click and collect, it was because I will be admitted at 8 and most likely be holding my baby by 10am. I guess thats partly influenced by my feelings of being on the other side of the coin however – an elective section list in the morning was such a chilled out start to the work day for us, peppered with coffee, sitting around waiting for the spinals to go in and choosing what music we would listen to in theatre!

      Really glad to hear you didn’t find the recovery bad too. Thats my main issue right now to wrap my head around. The rest I am coming to terms with.

      * Note I said I there, as always this is my personal take on my personal circumstances and feelings, not a judgement on C-sections of any kind for any reason.

  4. I completely understand how you feel, I had an emergency c section (after 24+ hours labour!) and do sometimes feel like I missed out on part of the experience. However, it’s amazing how all that pales into insignificance when you get to hold your happy healthy baby.

    I’m 3 1/2 weeks in now and although the pain and recovery have been hard it has also been amazing to see how quick progress has been and I’m now, more or less, back to normal. As you have some time to prepare, I would recommend thinking about how and where you’re going to be comfortable after getting home and if there’s anything you can do to help you get in and out of bed/off the couch more easily. I know everyone’s different but I slept with 3 pillows under my head and 2 under my knees for the first 10 days which helped. Oh, and shut the cats out the bedroom, I got woken up by mine jumping on my stomach on our first night home. Not fun.

    I hope everything goes well and that you make a speedy recovery, enjoy those previous first days and weeks with your little one but make sure you also rest and look after yourself.


  5. I had an emergency c section as although I dilated fully Pheebs got stuck and was not budging. I think a planned section will be a far better experience as I felt shattered after 24 hours of labour with just gas and air and then a good couple of hours pushing. I felt as tho I had missed out on giving birth but actually now I am just so pleased to have a heathy baby.
    Defo get some big granny pants- I had bought pants but the shorts style and they rubbed on my scar, same with clothes for after too – anything soft and lightweight, some of my under bump trousers rubbed the scar.
    Salty water and or tea tree oil are good to keep your scar clean and let the air get to it- I didn’t do this to start with and got an annoying infection as I couldn’t touch the scar at the beginning. Letting air get to it helps it heal too.
    Take it easy – the recovery period does get frustrating but on the days I felt better I then did too much and paid for it the next day. Get plenty of paracetamol and inbruprofen in- surprised me how long I had to take them for. Accept help too – I found this really hard but the more help you accept, the more you rest, the quicker you recover.
    Be kind to yourself – it’s a major op and you – and some IOC your visitors- will forget that. Get them to make the tea etc or say no if you don’t fancy visitors.
    Ultimately the c section wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I expected and although recovery was frustrating at times I think that was because I wasn’t prepared for it. Sorry this is turning into an uber long comment !
    Just wanted to wish you all the best too, it will still be amazing. I remember hearing Phoebe cry and squawk when they pulled her out and it was still the most magical moment of my life

    • Definitely second the recommendation for massive pants! My midwife congratulated me on my huge cotton undies at our 1 week check up 🙂

  6. It is disappointing when you don’t have the experience you expected – but every birth story is really just about the moment that the newest member of your family is suddenly in the room, all warm and smooshy and gorgeous. That’s what you will remember. I wish you a smooth and positive experience of bringing Baby N into the world.

    Also, I got a very bad case of pre-baby jitters and I’m sure the newborn days are different for everyone but for me, the overriding memory isn’t tiredness or fear or helplessness but just the sheer joy we felt in our little bubble of the three of us. It was definitely hard and there were moments where I was very overwhelmed and emotional but mostly I was just marvelling at the sheer miracle of him.

    Soon you will be holding your beautiful baby, marvelling at your own little miracle – hang in there, the adventure is about to begin!

    • I second this. First three months were not half as bad as I was expecting. (Everyone had told me to expect the worst!) We were in our own happy little baby bubble. Yes its very tiring and can feel utterly relentless but just try and go with it, look after yourself, get ALL the help you can and dont put any pressure on yourself to do housework etc. In those early months I would say to myself okay today i’m going to do for example “one load of washing today ” and just try and accomplish that… Make it easy though – but at least you feel like you are doing something!

      Lots of love and cant wait for you to share the happy news!

      Rachie xo
      PS: My bestie’s baby was breach – they turned him, she ended up going over 2 weeks overdue and then after a horrendous birth she ended up with a C section anyway!! She was so annoyed!!

  7. I know you must be very disappointed. However its not necessarily the disadvantage you may feel now. A friend of mine had an elected C-section and described it as the best choice ever. She knew exactly when the baby was coming. No fear or panicked journeys to the hospital. It was much less stressful, in theatre and holding the baby within a short space of time. I had a natural birth which I was set on. However due to the deep muscle tearing I had I could barely walk, get up stairs, or into the bath for around 3 weeks. Took at least 6 weeks to be able to walk normally and months to feel ‘normal’. Several of my friends had C-sections and whilst they weren’t allowed to drive for 6 weeks all struggled far less than I did. So I guess I am saying a natural birth is not a guarantee of short recovery time and is not always the holy grail. x

    • Rebecca firstly congratulations on the imminent arrival of Baby Norris. Enjoy your last week of being a ‘2’ with lots of rest and a cinema visit! I had to reply to this comment. LJ, I have to agree, I was exactly the same after a natural birth so they certainly aren’t the guarantee of a short recovery. Use this time to get prepared for all you need at home to help your recovery whilst you get to know your precious one. My biggest regret was not having a donut cushion to sit on, who would have known! Wishing you all the best for the next couple of weeks!

      • You are absolutely right ladies. I have friends who had terrible labour experiences and were really incapacitated afterwards, much more so than some of the planned sections and although I ‘planned’ (ridiculous really, as much as you can plan these things,) I’m more than aware it might not have gone that way… and as you say, at least I can prepare now for the recovery later.

  8. I can totally understand your position, it’s hard when the reality doesn’t match the expectations, even when you have already contemplated that alternatives would have been worse. A planned section can be a wonderful experience though. Let’s face it, no birth is pain or trauma free either during or after and a planned c section has many positives that other births don’t. You’ll travel into hospital free of pain and uncertainty of whether you’ll be ready to be admitted or be sent back home for another uncomfortable car ride. There will be none of the days or weeks of anxiety of whether ‘this will be the day’ making you wary of making plans to go out somewhere just in case you go into labour. When you get there, fhe team will be there as fully prepared as they ever can be, whatever happens during the procedure, waiting to introduce you to your child in a very safe environment. You will have packed calmly and have exactly what you’ll need in your bag and all the things will be there at home waiting for you. You might even get a private side room…bonus! You can still use your relaxation techniques that you would’ve used in a natural birth to keep you calm and focused in theatre. Whenever I watch obem I always think how calm and happy the mums having planned sections are. I hope that you can get your head around it and that can be your experience too.

  9. Oh Rebecca. It must feel very disappointing right now, but I have to say (as somebody who had an on-paper “successful” natural homebirth) every planned section I know has seemed to be a really positive experience for everyone involved and if I was in your position for a second baby I’d be relieved! Sorry if that sounds glib, I know it must feel horribly deflating and the recovery time must be daunting but you will have lots of people rallying round to help – make sure you take advantage of all of it. I echo what everyone else says that you really really really won’t care once Baby N is here and you’re smooshing her/his gorgeous cheeks. Lots of love to you.


  10. As for being robbed of the sensations and experience of birth, if you can find your worst enemy to put your womb in a vice whilst its still attached to you, that probably comes a close second. Seriously, you’re not missing a thing.

  11. I had genuinely not thought about labour (I’m still trying not to and, as I am a COMPLETE WIMP, Lucy’s analogy makes me feel a bit sick) so I don’t know how you feel about having the choice taken away. I would actually prefer to have an elective C section both to avoid the pain of labour and because I think I would feel more in control both mentally and physically. I realise that’s quite unusual in the UK but I think it’s a lot more common to be able to elect on the Continent. When I asked my midwife she looked at me aghast.

    We’ve always known that, for medical reasons, the birth centre wasn’t an option for us and we would be on the labour ward so I don’t really see a medical C section as being any more medicalised than under Dr care. Maybe that’s why.

    As another more shallow point, I love your 36 week dress. Where is that from (and don’t say it’s pre maternity…..)

    • For the sake of balance, Becca, I should say that everyone has a different pain threshold and every labour is different. Maybe you’ll be like my friend who found it no more than ‘extremely uncomfortable’. Also I was induced and the pain can be worse from that. There’s a reason most women who are induced opt for pain relief, I’m just a mentalist.

    • I couldn’t deliver on the midwife lead unit because of complications but honestly, giving birth on the consultant lead unit didn’t feel overly medicalised at all. Max was born in a big, comfortable room with a birthing pool in it and low lighting with just two midwives present.

      I didn’t have any pain relief and so honestly think my experience would have been exactly the same had he been born on the midwife lead unit (except his heartbeat was on constant monitoring at my request).

      Fingers crossed your experience will be similarly positive x

    • Delivery suite v midwife led birth centre can be very much of a muchness Becca. You can still have a normal drug free delivery on the delivery suite, so unless you need/want more, then the delivery suite can be just as nice with all the benefits of help close at hand. Either would have been fine with me tbh. I think medics and m/wives (myself included,) can look at planned sections a different way, as having done them, it is a brutal operation compared with a NVD (normal vaginal delivery) and the recovery can be under (and over) estimated by people thinking they are the preferable option to avoid pain etc… But that’s all assuming a beautiful NVD which we all know doesn’t happen that often and when put into context next to a long painful labour and tears/stitches after I can see why it is appealing. Problem is, you never know what you’re going to get.

  12. I know how you feel. They found out my daughter was breech when I was 5cm dilated. She’d been in that position a while but no one had realised. Cue me having a bit of a meltdown as I really didn’t want a c section and suddenly one was sprung on me and I was told she’d be arriving in half an hour! I think I would rather have known in advance so I could prepare for it. Recovery for me wasn’t too bad but I suffered with a bad back for 6 weeks which kept me home unfortunately.

    Definitely get big pants! I wasn’t prepared for the c section so my normal comfy pants rubbed right on my wound. I also had a comfy pair of leggings to wear in the hospital. I was in for 10 days though due to my daughters feeding problems do by then I wanted our of my pj’s!

    Make sure you give yourself time to recover and accept help. Due to my long hospital stay I had pretty much recovered by the time I got home (apart from the back!) but I think I would have needed quite a bit of help if I had been home.

    Wishing you all the best. These last few days are so exciting !!

    • I am eternally grateful that this didn’t happen Cat! It so easily could have done – baby has been in the same position for weeks and weeks and I’ve been consistently told it was head down, even after raising the question myself as I wasn’t sure.

  13. Another pro c sec person here; having had an emergency one after a failed induction I would definitely have an elective one if there is a next time (mainly to cut out the 4 days of failed induction and hanging around). The recovery is a bit daunting but you can prepare for it -definitely agree with what others said about comfy clothes that don’t rub your lower tummy; and you can fill the fridge up and get online supermarket deliveries set up beforehand so you don’t have to worry about those.

    I don’t know how you will have crib/moses basket set up for baby Norris but the thing I found difficult was twisting to pick her up while I was in bed so if you can use pillows to help yourself lean over etc then do (maybe buy a load of cheap ones for the first couple of weeks that you don’t mind getting baby sick etc on!)

    Most of all I would echo what others have said -once you have the baby in your arms then it really doesn’t matter how they got there; what’s important is that they and you are safe and well. Good luck and enjoy these last weeks of mat leave! K x

  14. Hi
    I had an ECV after trying moxibustion in an attempt to move my breech son the right way round. The ECV was a success, much to the Drs surprise (and ours). It was very painful although it was all over in a few minutes. That was at 39 weeks. I waited impatiently and with excitement for a natural labour then at 42 weeks after being induced I had to have an emergency c section! After being in labour for 24 hours with various complications I jumped at the chance of having the c section.

    Of course in hindsight I would have had a planned c section. I was absolutely exhausted after my experience which made the inital recovery very hard. At least you’ll be rested up as much as you can be when heavily pregnant! Good luck x

    • You are the example I gave above Bethan. I totally agree, a planned section is vastly preferable to this. I have always thought that women who get the worst deal in delivery are those who labour for hours THEN end up with a c-section after all. x

  15. I dont really have much to add, and can really only imagine how you’re feeling. All i will say is that after my first birth didn’t go to plan (forceps and episiotomy and almost a caesarian), i think very few labours actually do go “perfectly” and the only thing to do is accept it and move on, which i found very easy, but i know a couple of people who have really struggled and it has haunted them.

    On the positive side, the day i reached my due date (which came and went with nothing) was awful, all your sights for 8 months set on one day and then it comes and goes with nothing.The only way i can describe it is like going on holiday but having a standby ticket, you know you’ll go eventually, but the not knowing and the waiting and the phone going every 5 minutes with “have you had it yet?!”

    Best of luck for the section and recovery.
    Rachel x

  16. Have a look in too ‘natural’ or women centred c section. Watching the birth, delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin ARE all possible, and may help you feel you are retaining some control of the situation

  17. It’s surprising how tough it is when the birth experience you hoped for is taken away. I was hoping for a drug-free water birth but my baby was 10 days late so I was facing an induction, which I was gutted about. Everyone told me that once the baby is here you won’t care any more… I found this incredibly frustrating at the time, but it is true!

    Even without a c-section I think it’s safest to assume recovery will take a while. I ended up having a ventouse and tore several times, and it’s taken three months or feel physically capable of being active again! It made me feel quite low after birth to unable to do so much, but in retrospect I should have expected and been prepared for that!

  18. What a lovely heartfelt post Rebeeca, I can totally sympathise with you. My daughter is 18 months old and I was induced which then ended in emergency section (general anthestist) so don’t remeber much but did feel a bit robbed of the labour experience and not seeing my daughter for 8 hours (she was in neo natal). Recovery was frustrating, I wanted an immaculate house, play hostess and be the perfect mother but in reality I couldn’t live up to my high expectations. Take your recovery slow, investing gigantic pants! Take all the help you can get around the house etc. i probably felt fully better 8/10 weeks later. I’m currently 38 weeks pregnant and being induced this week as baby not playing ball, very nervous again that I’m going to have same birth experience but trying to remain positive that this time next week I’ll be at home cuddling my baby. Hope all goes well Rebecca x x

  19. I had an emergency C section after being induced, it all going horribly wrong, then being in labour for over 24 hours. I had tried all through my pregnancy to ask for an elective C section but my fears about not being able to give birth naturally were ignored, until I’d been in labour for 26 hours, not dilated more than 1cm and showing all the signs of an obstruction.

    Trust me, you are not missing anything with labour and your recovery will be LOADS quicker by having an elective section. I understand that you feel somewhat disappointed but do try and accept it if you can, in any case when baby arrives it will (hopefully) all be forgotten due to all the love and excitement you feel!

    Good luck! My only tip would be to take some nice food & drink in with you – I spent the night before my scheduled induction baking flapjack! Tragically I didn’t get to eat any myself but my partner, the nurses and the anaesthetist all appreciated it! xx

  20. I went through the same thing as you and had a C-section with Ava. Every emotion and thought you are having I had as well, so I completely understand. I desperately wanted a natural birth.

    Now 18 months on, I still feel like I missed out on that experience, but to be honest, it’s just an occasional passing thought. I just look at Ava and am glad she’s a happy, healthy little girl and that’s all that matters! You will feel the same I’m sure. Samuel took photos of Ava being born as it it’s a bit easier in the C-section situation should you wish to have any photos of the birth. He wasn’t at the incision end, but got some great shots of her being pulled out, cleaned up, handed to me etc. But being a photographer I guess I’m more photo obsessed!

    Once I delivered and was stitched up I still got on with skin to skin and breastfeeding straight away. The midwives really encouraged it and made it a priority to get her undressed and on my chest. It was so lovely holding her and smelling her head. That newborn smell is amazing! The C-section didn’t interfere with my breastfeeding at all in fact she was pretty much attached to my boobs from them on!! I just needed people to pick her up and hand her to me as I couldn’t bend down or lift for at least a couple of weeks. I also rested her on a big pillow as the weight was uncomfortable on the incision site.

    Good luck with everything and get as much help as you can. It’s no easy task recovering from a C-section. But just think about the amazing journey awaiting you. It really is the most wonderful thing in the world. x

    • Thanks Dominique, skin to skin and feeding and holding the baby after the section is one of my biggest concerns. I’m worried about night feeds too and lifting the baby to me etc. so I’m glad to hear that all went ok for you…

      I am excited that Pete will be able to take pictures too though. And I’m told by anaesthetist friends that they always love taking pictures so get them involved!

      • It all depends on how you recover. I found it very painful and couldn’t stand up straight for a couple of weeks. But then other women I know, found it much easier. So if you do find it difficult in the night, you may have to do what I did, and make your hubby hand the baby to you every time! I tried feeding whilst laying down on my side, but it never worked for me. x

      • A good friend of mine had an elective C-section due to some pregnancy complications. A couple of thing she said that has stuck with me was that she struggled with night feeds and lifting her little man out of the cot while in hospital. One midwife caught her struggling to pick him up and reminded her that the midwives are there to help you, that’s what they are there for and don’t think that you are being a nuisance!
        The other thing was that the ward did not allow fathers to stay overnight so check the visiting hours so that it’s not a shock if hubby is expected to leave at 8pm.

  21. After reading your post this morning Tom and I had a really interesting conversation about how mad women are about putting pressure on ourselves to do pregnancy/birth the ‘right’ way. As so many others have said, the only outcome that you really need is a healthy baby and a mum who can look after it. In reality we have a huge amount of emotions, hormones, pressure and tiredness to also take into account and so it isn’t that easy. Try and remember that Pete just wants you both to be healthy.

    As someone who had an excellent birth, it’s easier for me to say that I never think about the birth anymore. But hopefully you will have a positive experience as well, just different. This is just the first of a whole lifetime of difficult decisions making you scared you haven’t chosen the right one. But the fact that you’re worried in the first place just shows what an amazing mum you’re going to be.

  22. All the best of luck Rebecca.
    I second the comment about a vaginal birth not necessarily meaning less recovery. I ended up with forceps and a cervical tear with a big bleed. When I first came home I could barely get up stairs, and it’s taken me most of the last 6 weeks to feel well again. Before hand I always said, as long as we’re both well it doesn’t matter how baby gets here, but I was surprised to find that I do feel sad not to have had the birth I imagined. I was pretty devastated in the first few weeks but already I can’t quite remember why.
    The other thing I would say is to take the medical hat off, and be kind to yourself. I made it harder for myself by thinking i should know more. “I’m a paediatrician-how can I not know why my baby is crying?!?” ” why does everyone else make this look easy? ” Unfortunately no qualification teaches you how to look after a newborn!

  23. I am also very much for planned caesarians. I had an elective Caesarian with my daughter as she was breech. I had no option as the hospital I was delivering in did not allow breech vaginal births but they still call it an elective. Unlike you I had the ECV which was horrible and terribly painful and ultimately a big waste of time as she didn’t budge. I found the c section a great experience. I felt a bit cheated but at the end of the day pregnancy is about the baby and not the birth experience. It was very calm and peaceful as there is no real medical emergency so all the medics took their time. I loved that we could organised and knew the date of her birth beforehand. Recovery was not so bad. Make sure you drink plenty of water after the op and get up on your feet as soon as allowed. Tmi alert but try to go to the toilet as soon as you can as well. I took it easy at home and was driving again after 4 weeks (once I’d been given the all clear by my gp and checked the insurance company had no issues). I would also recommend stocking up on big pants from Primark and high wasted legging. My scar was hardly visible when it healed and there is no lip.

    Two and a half years on I elected for a Caesarian with my second child. There was no medical reason this time but seemed on balance the best way to proceed. Ten weeks on from his birth I have no regrets about this and would do it again if I were to have a third baby (not likely but that is another story). It’s such an exciting time and I wish you all the best!

  24. Oh honey don’t be nervous / scared / disappointed. All of this is part of your journey to becoming a mum and like people have said above just one if many moments that don’t turn out exactly as planned or imagined. It’s how you face it that matters, and you’ll be fabulous at very quickly coming to terms with any sudden changes thrown at you because you care about doing things right.

    From what I’ve read of your pregnancy so far and having chatted with you I’m actually pleased you are having this C section. Why? Because it means you’re forced to slow down, to let other people do things for you and giving you that precious time with your newborn where all you can do is focus on ‘it’ AND you. Not that you wouldn’t focus on baby, I just think the focusing on you may have been slightly less and now you have no choice, and that’s a good thing. Take care and you know where I am if you need a spare pair of hands any day. M xxx

  25. I had an emergency c sec after getting stuck at 9cm – I was weeping with relief when they offered me it! Honestly, I found recovery perfectly fine. No pain, no difficulties and I just carried on as normal. Obviously, from reading other experiences, I was very lucky, but you never know how things will go for you. In the end, it doesn’t matter, you get through it anyway. And you have your beautiful baby however he/she makes their entrance!! I spent weeks worrying before the birth but it all pales into insignificance once baby arrives! Good luck! X

  26. Just want to say thank you to every one for your comments. It has been hugely uplifting to read them this morning and hear so many positive perspectives. I feel ridiculous not being able to get this into perspective myself tbh, but I guess it’s just all those ingrained preconceptions and thoughts along with the unknown coming into play.

    I also feel silly saying I planned a natural delivery – after writing that I din’t believe in birth plans I pretty much decided that I just needed to think positive and hopefully some of it would come to pass so I guess it’s learning to think that I am mourning something I might have had, not necessarily would have had, which I know. And I know it might not have been plain sailing either as theres a whole spectrum of labours between NVD and section, some of which a section would be preferable to, as a few of you have said.

    Anyway, thanks so much 🙂

  27. After having a crash section (under general anaesthetic) with my first, I didn’t want to risk being asleep for the birth of my second child so chose an elective and I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life! I can still remember the giddy feelings I had on the morning we went in to have her, it’s like Christmas Eve as a child! Everyone around me in surgery was calm, considerate and relaxed, including my husband and I! We had music on and I’d asked that she be held up as soon as she was born so we could see her, as if born naturally. She was quickly cleaned up and handed over to my husband who held her whilst I was stitched up.

    She was born at 10.01 and I was breastfeeding in recovery by 10.30, it felt like the most natural thing in the world. I didn’t feel like I missed out this time, I cried with joy when I heard her cry and we were beaming 🙂

    Recovery wise it was a dream compared to my crash section, I was up and walking around after 24hrs, showered and home within two days. I went on a longish walk to our local garden centre by day 7. A section is actually a great excuse to just sit with your baby, because you have to take it easy to end up taking it easy! Use the time to have a baby moon, take a few weeks to stay in and bond with your baby, sit on the sofa or in bed, feed your baby, snooze, read a book!

    I ended up breast feeding for just over a year and I think part of it was because I could stay in during the early days get used to feeding, increase my confidence so by the time I was out and about we both had it down to a tee!

    I’d choose an elective anytime, I did initially after my first have a huge feeling I’d missed out on something magical, I seemed to be in an nct group of wonderful home and water birthers! However these feelings lessened over time and after hearing plenty of horror stories I’m not too bothered about it now, everyone gets a medal at the end, a beautiful baby which is all that matters!

    • It’s lovely to read that your second elective was much better; I had the same crash section under a general with my son and I would definitely consider an elective if we have another, as you say I don’t think I would want to risk not being awake again.

      • Yes that is definitely what swayed it for me. I was told that I’d have to have a consultant led birth if I wanted a vbac so thought I might as well go with the c-sec if it was going to be medical, at least this way I’d be sure I’d experience it! A crash section is quite difficult to deal with isn’t it? It took me a while to come to terms with it hence the four year age gap with my two! X

  28. My sister has had 2 c-sections and she was up and about much quicker than I was after a natural drug free birth! There really are no guarantees. (I suffered bad internal tears due to baby having hand up by his face, an episiotomy after 3 hours of pushing out a 10lb9oz whopper, the umbilical cord snapped off meaning I had to deliver the placenta and then when that was out I lost 1.5 litres of blood and ended up needing a transfusion, then my wound got infected which was more painful than the birth!). On balance I really would have prefered a section. Don’t feel inadequate because you’re not pushing, it really really doesn’t matter. You have already done so much and will do so much in giving yourself for the rest of your life.

  29. Whilst I didn’t have a c-section I do understand the disappointment of feeling you haven’t given birth ‘properly’. I laboured for hours with no drugs only to be rushed to theatre and have my daughter born by forceps. She was then taken straight to intensive care without me even seeing, let alone holding, her. Not the beautiful start I had imagined. For a long time I felt like I had done something wrong. I also felt very hard done by as I didn’t get the birth I had worked so hard for. Obviously the only thing that matters is for the mum and baby to be happy and healthy (Eliza is now 17 months and absolutely fine) but it is still hard to accept it when things don’t go as you would have liked. I think all the comments above just show that a lot of people don’t have their ideal birth and that even if you don’t have an elective caesarian you might end up having an emergency one anyway.
    To reassure you on the recovery side, all my friends who had c sections (both elective and emergency) said it was nowhere near as bad as they had expected.
    I hope you enjoy the last days/weeks of maternity leave and wish you the very best of luck with it all. Can’t wait to hear the news of your little one’s arrival!

  30. PS I think it’s totally normal to feel sad if you had your hopes pinned on a natural delivery. Maybe trying to indulge that feeling for a bit might help you come to terms with it? I still feel sad when I think about my daughter’s birth, which I know sounds crazy to other people.

  31. I was induced with Holden at 40+2 as I had low fluid and they were concerned my placenta was failing; long story short he was born 24 hours later with an emergency c-section under a general anesthetic. Not the way we had hoped / planned / imagined his birth to be at all but he needed to come out very fast so that was the only choice.

    Of course I was asleep and they wouldn’t let my husband in so neither of us saw him being born which is what I’m sorry I missed out on.

    However, despite the rough start, I breastfeed Holden until he was 18 months so it definitely doesn’t have to mean that wont be possible.

    I had a really hard time afterwards but that was of course just being exhausted, recovering after an anesthetic etc, and trying to look after a newborn. The only issues I had were my back as the muscles damaged are obviously needed to hold you up and I was definitely doing too much the first few weeks. I would take advice from a physio.

    If we have another baby I haven’t got a clue what I do but I have to say I would much rather opt for an elective section than to have what happened last time again.

    Best of luck for everything and baby will be here before you know it. x

  32. My 2nd baby was a caesarean as my daughter was breech. I didn’t know until 4 hours into labour and once they told me I’d be having a C-section I instantly felt calmer. Too much emphasis is on the process and women beat themselves up for various reasons as to why they didn’t have the perfect birth. Seriously it doesn’t matter once you have your beautiful baby in your arms. The C-section itself was ok and my recovery was quite quick. I was up and walking the same day. So I don’t think a C-section has to be a negative experience. Just enjoy! I was booked into a C-section for my 3rd (twin) pregnancy but they decided to come early (and quickly!), but it was no less exciting because of the date in the diary.

  33. I have had 2 elective c – sections due to breech presentation. I too was disappointed initially at the fact that my choice to give birth naturally had been taken away. I felt that I was missing out on experiencing labour and was cheating reallly by having a section!
    However both experiences for me were very positive and I was was able to have skin to skin contact and breast feed whilst in recovery.
    I was up and about within 24 hours and home on day 3. I was pain free and made sure I kept mobile without over doing it too much.
    I’ve been told that if I decide to have a 3rd child I’d have to have another section at 35wks.
    Wishing you all the best on the birth of your baby. X

  34. Hi Rebecca
    I wish you all the luck and best wishes on the arrival,of your bouncing baby 🙂
    I planned a natural birth too, 18 hours into labour and still only 4cm I was screaming for an epidural! Took another 12 hours to just about scrape 10cm, pushing for an hour and had to have forceps and a spinal anaesthetic in the end as the epi stopped working!!

    Seriously considering a planned c section for next time!

    All worth it in the end when you have a little miracle in your arms.


  35. Oh gosh, I’m so sorry you’ve been going through this and feeling awful about it. I don’t think I can add anything to all of these amazing replies but re you meddling with fate & choosing the birthday….fate is the reason Baby N is one of 3 in 100 so I don’t think you’re meddling at all. Glad to hear that you & baby are not having to go through an ECV. My cousin had one which she found v traumatic . It did work but then baby still didn’t budge so she was induced and after 48hrs labour ended up with an emergency c-section. Your choice sounds infinitely more sensible and safest for you and the baby.

    On a recovery note…..you’re fit & healthy so I’m sure you’ll bounce back in no time. You also have the most qualified nurse in Pete to look after you and it sounds to me like the r&r after the baby arrives will be an added bonus to your hectic pregnancy. You also live in one of the best places for being a new mum & I bet you’ll hardly realise you haven’t driven and then you’ll be signed off anyway. Xx

  36. I had a semi emergency C section at 38+5, as the baby turned transverse very late on. I went in for an induction on the Thursday, spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday being monitored and ended up in theatre on Saturday evening as Max’s heart rate was dipping (turns out he had the cord wrapped around his neck three times). I came home on Sunday and he came home 9 days later after spending time in NICU with low blood sugar. Anyway, long story aside, I had possible one of the most clinical experiences, and not at all what I was imagining for the first few days of motherhood. BUT, my C section was a really positive experience. I felt totally in control (something I hadn’t felt at the prospect of labour and a natural birth). The operation was pain free and my recovery time was super quick (I was home the next day and up and about immediately). At the end of it, I had a lovely baby boy and his arrival into the world was incredibly special and an event I’ll treasure forever, I really didn’t find it a click and collect experience (I love your way of summing it up like that, Rebecca). I can see why you might feel that way, but at the end of the day, it’s all about bringing your baby into the world as safely as possible.

  37. Hope you’re enjoying the last few weeks of your pregnancy, such an exciting time! I had my daughter by planned c-section 8 weeks ago today! It was planned for medical reasons and said medical reasons have made my recovery very tough. Having said that, I found the whole c-section experience a positive one! It was exciting going into hospital that morning knowing what was happening that day and the whole experience in theatre was fantastic, everyone was so calming and supportive, we even have a fantastic photo of the moment she was lifted out of me!

    Obviously everyone’s recovery is different, the only thing I would say is I personally expected to be back on my feet much quicker and have found it frustrating that it was a while before I was fully up and about. In hindsight, I wish I’d just relaxed more and accepted the situation and put my feet up instead of pushing myself to recover faster!

    At the end of the day, I’m not sad I didn’t have a natural delivery and once your little baby is here that’s all you will care about!

    Best of luck for the weeks ahead, it’s a magical time. X

  38. What a lovely heartfelt and honest post, Rebecca. Four years ago I was in the same situation – finding at the last minute that my (first) baby was breech and my hoped for water birth was an impossibility. I felt like I was giving something up and found that very hard at the time. As it turned out, skin to skin immediately after birth is absolutely possible, you can feed in recovery, and will have just the same lovely cuddly bonding experience as any new mum. The moment when the baby is born by c-section is utterly extraordinary, expect tears of joy and a massive hit of oxytocin – just the same as other births. Also, take packets of dried fruit (apricots are good) and eat as many as you in the first couple of days. Seriously, just do it 🙂 And ask for drugs very regularly – after the first 24 hours you may not be offered many so need to ask or the effects wear off and it’s very painful so stay topped up. Final tip – c-section recovery at Stepping Hill by far exceeds the recovery care at Wythenshawe so it would be worth speaking to the midwife team there if you’re not already booked in there. Take care of yourself and look forward to seeing pictures of baby Norris! x

  39. I can’t comment from personal experience. But my best friend has been through two C-sections, one emergency the other planned. Her first labour was a disaster, hands down one of the worst stories I have ever heard. She was in labour for 42hrs, had a catalogue of errors and ended up having an emergency c-section when baby got stuck (the section also didn’t go as planned). Her recovery was long and painful. So as you can imagine when she found out baby 2 was on the way, the first thing she dreaded was the birth. She ended up having a C, as she didn’t want to end up going through the first experience again. The planned section went much smoother and her recovery time was so much quicker, partially because she knew what to expect but mainly because the surgery wasn’t rushed.
    I can imagine how disappointed you are with having a planned C. But the alternative could be awful. The main thing is both you and Baby N make it through safe and sound.
    Enjoy your last week as a duo, can’t wait to see photos of the new arrival!! 🙂

  40. I think how you feel is totally understandable, I had Megan a week ago, and managed to have a water birth in a midwife led centre, with gas and air, as planned. I delivered her head with only a tiny tear and then her shoulders were in the wrong position and tore me so that I needed a spinal block and suturing in theatre. Even now I am hugely emotional and upset about having had to leave the birthing centre. I feel so stupidly guilty and upset that I got so close to what wanted and it was snatched away from me. I think what I’m trying to say is that even deliveries that go ‘as planned’ can have trauma associated with them. There is no perfect birth, but if you and Baby N are safe, you will be delighted. Euphoric. Overwhelmed . Amazed.

    The other thing I think every new parent should know both pre and post delivery: absolutely however you feel is normal. It just is.

    KL x

  41. Hi Rebecca, congratulations on the pregnancy and a great blog, I could spend hours reading it but seriously don’t know where you find the time! Having worked in O&G (with me) you know the difficulty is that things are totally unpredictable in labour. You hit the nail on the head when you said to prepare the best thing is to keep an open mind, think positive and don’t make a birth plan – that’s the way I thought about labour and was lucky I had a nice normal birth on the midwifery led unit. But both my sisters had breech babies – one undiagnosed at a planned home birth then delivered in the ambulance on transfer and the other had an elective section after a failed ECV. Difficult choice but you just have to do what you think is right for you. Anyway, good luck, nothing can prepare you for having a new baby as life as you knew it is turned upside down but it is all worth it as the toddler days are so much more fun! Elaine Gergianaki (Church) xx

  42. No personal experience but just wanted to say good luck and just look forward to baby N’s arrival. So exciting!!

  43. While I had two normal vaginal deliveries that for the most part went well, several friends and family members have had cesareans recently – most emergency ones after long labours. It doesn’t sound fun and can be quite traumatic so knowing in advance should at least help you prepare mentally for the birth. The magic is definitely in the making, growing and meeting your baby. And there is so much to look forward to as your little one and your family grows. I do hope it all goes well – I’ll be thinking of you xox

  44. Hi there. I don’t usually comment, although I enjoy your blog, but I wanted to add my experience to the others as your post really struck a chord with me.

    Nearly three years ago(!), I was found to have high blood pressure at 36w, which ended up leading me to being induced at term. I was sad about this, but did lots of reading and figured that I should still have a chance of having a “natural” birth and it would hopefully not be too far from the birth I had hoped for. However, my body and baby had other ideas and, after 48 hours on the antenatal ward, I wasn’t responding to the induction and was recommended to have a c-section. This was a huge shock as, despite my research and chats with the mw and doctors, no one had told me that the induction might not work at all. Anyway, I had the section and my baby was born healthy and is now a very happy pre-schooler. We had skin to skin immediately (which was wonderful) and, although it was hard work getting feeding established, we bf for over a year. Having said that, I am still sad that I never so much as experienced a contraction and this really troubled me in the first few months, even with all the stories of difficult births that I was exposed to at baby groups. Being told you’re “lucky” to have missed that, doesn’t help when you feel that you missed out (no matter how irrational you know you are!).

    I think what I’m trying to say is that, of course, what you want is for you both to be happy and healthy and that you know that you’re making the rigt choice. However, don’t feel bad about being sad about where you’ve ended up. I had a second planned section a bit over a year ago and tried desperately to avoid it (five sweeps!), but it seems that my body and my babies prefer to let other people do the work! It does still bother me a bit if I’m honest (and if we have a third, I’d probably push for a natural birth again…), but it’s not so important now.

    In terms of practicalities, I pushed myself a bit much after my first (by walking to the end of the road when he was five days old!), s with my second I stayed at home for the first ten days. Frustrating, but definitely worth doing. In both cases, I was walking faster by 4 weeks than I had since I was 20w pregnant. With my second section, because it was properly planned, I didn’t spend time on the ward for a few days first and felt properly rested, which really helped. Our baby was born at 9.30 and I had the catheter out at 12.30 and was walking to the loo by 3.30! I had skin to skin with him in theatre and, unlike our first, he started feeding in recovery (and is still going strong now!). One word of warning though – don’t lie down on your back on the floor for a while. I lay down next to the cot of our eldest when he was tiny and found I couldn’t get up for 20 mins!

    Very, very good luck and enjoy the next few weeks and beyond.

  45. Coming to this really late but just wanted to say best of luck for the next few weeks and thank you for sharing with us. Birth is just a means to an end, once you’ve got your lovely baby in your arms it really doesn’t matter how it got there as long as you both come out the other side healthy.

  46. On a practical note- best advice given to me by the midwife who’d been with me for 10 hours in the birth center before everything went wrong: she told me the temptation after section is to stoop and ‘guard’ your tummy, but try not to. I did find that naturally I did stoop and it was a conscious effort not to- even though I wasn’t in pain particularly, so it was good to know about it to try and protect my back. Also- it’s not a pleasant thought, but take the laxatives 🙂 They should be prescribed along with the opiates, but you might need to ask.

    The worst bit I found was the first night when husband had gone home and little one wanted feeding every hour- it was really hard to get myself out of bed, and her out of the cot. Do ask the midwives for help- they’re happy to help and understand that you need the help. I used the bed controls to get me from flat to sitting, which helped a lot. It was easier when we got home as my husband could get her out of bed in the night and hand her to me.

    Generally the recovery was much easier than I’d feared it might be- though everyone’s different. I found the clexane injections horrid (one fond memory was my husband chasing me round the kitchen trying to jab me in my sleep deprived state!)

    Regarding driving I know people who felt they were ready at 2 weeks. Just phone your insurance company- basically most of them take your word for when you feel ready. I’m lucky that we live in walking distance of everything I needed and wanted, so I waited 6 weeks, and actually the walking was really good for starting to get me back into activity and getting me out of the house.

    Really hope everything goes well for you- skin to skin and cuddles, early feeding etc are all very possible with sections, particularly elective ones when you’re not the most exhausted person in the world 🙂

  47. I don’t really have much to add, as I type my little daughter is giggling away on her activity mat, 4 months old, and an absolute delight ( ok…not so much of a delight when she decided not to sleep last night!!) I had a natural birth, but even then it wasn’t the birth I wanted, I’d dreamt of a waterbirth with plinky plonky music, serenely breathing through my contractions with grace. In reality I had 24 hr of painful contractions and some choice language from me, midwives who just deserted me, almost giving birth on my own in a room, and I finally gave birth in a delivery suite on my back, legs in stirrups – everything I didn’t want – BUT…I got a beautiful, wonderful, gorgeous little girl. So even if you don’t get the birth you’d hoped for, look at the bigger picture, baby Norris is on the way! GOOD LUCK!

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