· By Tiny Hearts Education
After originally being due on Christmas day, on 12/12/2022 we walked into the hospital at 6 am to meet our baby.
After a bumpy pregnancy and road to conception, including suffering from endometriosis-induced infertility, a thyroid and heart condition requiring extra monitoring for both myself and baby during pregnancy, a marginal cord insertion and having pregnancy-induced hypertension at 20 weeks, my obstetrician suggested perhaps the safest route for delivery would be a caesarean, slightly disheartened I went home and researched caesareans and found the option of a reasonably new technique called maternally assisted caesareans in which the mum scrubs in, puts sterile gloves on and delivers her baby herself via her belly. Being a nurse myself, I loved this idea, but through research found not many obstetricians were on board with this delivery method as it had some increased risks of infection. Prior to my next appointment, I had written a pros and cons list and was ready to advocate for myself for my ideal birth experience. However, this was not at all necessary, with my obstetrician being 100% on board from the moment I mentioned it!
After weekly CTG monitoring from 28 weeks and weekly growth scans from 32 weeks, having to relocate 2 hours away from our home at 36 weeks just in case I went into labour at 38 weeks and one day, we walked into the hospital doors at 6 am to meet our baby! Going into the hospital felt no different really to going into an appointment however, this time, we would obviously be leaving with our baby. After checking in at reception, we were taken up to our room in the postnatal ward which would be ours for the duration of our stay. It was nice to be able to put our bags away and feel as ready as you could to return to the room with a baby! Our midwife came in and did all of our checks, both on baby and me, bought in scrubs for my husband and said we were second on the list, so we would be taken down to the theatre at about 8:30.
An orderly then walked in the door at 7:45 and said they're waiting for you in theatre. Off we went! They'd been looking at the wrong doctor's list, and we were actually first up! We were taken into the holding bay and met with my Ob and anaesthetist, who I had already met a few times, and we rehashed the plan. Due to my heart condition and having rapid fluctuations and drops in my blood pressure, I needed an arterial line put in for constant monitoring. However, we then didn't know how we would make the maternal-assisted caesarean work while keeping the sterile field. They decided I would then have to gown and glove rather than just sterile gloves. I didn't care what I had to do as long as I could do it!
We then made the walk into theatre and had to lay flat to have my arterial line put in. I'd had this done previously for surgeries, which is never the most pleasant experience! I had some local anesthetic put in before they introduced a probe into the artery in my wrist. Once that was all hooked up and working, I had to sit up for the spinal, which worked just about immediately, and as I lay back down, my legs already felt heavy and numb. My ob put a catheter in whilst the anaesthetist pinched the skin on my belly, checking my block level, and then they started the caesarean. They told me to expect to feel some tugging and pressure however, I didn't really feel much of anything. My ob then said it was time to get ready, and at this point, the anaesthetist washed my hands with an antibacterial wash, then assisted me in putting on a sterile surgical gown and gloves. As baby was quite low, they had to use forceps to get her head out. During this, I definitely felt quite a bit of pressure and tugging. They then lowered the drape, and my ob assisted me in putting my hands under her arms as it was quite difficult to actually see her and to then pull her out of my belly and onto my chest, which was the most incredible and rewarding moment after the previous nine months.
She let out a little cry, and I remember rubbing her, trying to stimulate her, but the paediatrician stepped in and reminded me that she was ok! Our little baby Macey was born into the world at 8:32 am at 3.49kgs and 48.5cm. After some skin-to-skin, the paediatrician took her and did her checks, finding a big tongue tie which we permitted him to snip immediately but was otherwise beautifully healthy with perfect APGARS. Macey was wrapped up and then bought back over and placed onto my chest. However, due to some of the medications, I felt a bit nauseous and shaky, so my husband held her for the rest of the time in theatre as I was getting put back together! We spent about 2 hours in recovery before getting taken back to our room and then face timed our daughter to show her her new baby sister.
Overall, I am thankful I have two beautiful, healthy baby girls and two very different birth experiences. I will be forever grateful to my obstetrician for supporting me with my maternal assisted caesarean providing me with a calm, controlled and safe birth experience allowing me to take part in bringing our beautiful daughter Macey into the world.
Birth & newborn course
The Bump, Birth & Beyond course will educate you and your co-pilot (support person) on what to expect during pregnancy, birth and the first trimester with your new little love.