Anna, 33, from London had a traumatic time leading up to her birth of her son when her husband Graham had a cardiac arrest (luckily surviving!)while driving her when she was three months pregnant.
Did you plan to have a C-section?
No, not at all. I had really wanted to have a natural birth as I knew the recovery time from a C section was at least six weeks. I love sport and didn't like the idea of not being allowed to do any. However, the pregnancy was labelled high risk after Graham's episode as they first diagnosed a genetic heart mutation. Nothing had ever happened to anyone in his family before so this was very out of the blue. However they wanted to be safe with George and did not want his heart to be stressed during birth just in case he had the mutation too.
So how did your pregnancy go?
I was huge. You could tell I was pregnant pretty early on. I didn't sleep from 29 weeks as it was too painful lying on my hips. At 36 weeks the nurse sent me for a scan. I was told I had excess water and the baby was big for its time which normally means diabetes however the tests had come back negative. Since then I have discovered that the tests are very unreliable and it is likely that I did have gestational diabetes.
I really wanted to try and have a natural birth even though they said I needed to have a C-section. When I found out the baby was over 9lbs at 36 weeks I went straight to the reflexologist to try and get the labour started - I had curries, walked for miles but sadly nothing happened. A week later I was taken into hospital with high blood pressure. Two days later I had George by C-section. The doctors had to use forceps as his head was so large it was stuck in my pelvis. A C-section with forceps! I was sore for a long time.
So what happened next?
George got taken into intensive care as they thought he had water on his lungs. Unfortunately my spinal block wore off really quickly so they pumped me full of morphine which caused me to projectile vomit - not good when you've just had a C-section. Trying to see George in intensive care was a challenge as the ward was understaffed. I made it there but it was a slow and painful walk with the help of my father. I was in hospital for four days and came home with giant George - nearly big enough for school uniform!
How did you bond with your baby?
I didn't feel very connected to George for a long time - almost 3 months. I knew I had to look after him and that he was the most important thing in my life but the mother-son connection came later. Post C-section I was in a lot of pain and due to rather a lot of stress during my pregnancy I think I was suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome (that is what one doctor said). It was very traumatic seeing my husband that unwell and his illness overshadowed my pregnancy.
Do you feel like you've recovered from the experience?
I think initially the trauma does take it's toll on you. I wouldn't agree from my experience that pregnancy and birth is 'the most natural thing'. I found it barbaric. However I know lots of people who had the most wonderful pregnancy and birth experience and in some ways I feel like I had this taken away from me. George is now 15 months and I love him to pieces and think the world of him.
It saddens me to think back to when he was first born and not having that connection with him.
I went through a horrendous experience and unfortunately I associated the horrendous experience with being pregnant and having a baby. Until a month ago I thought there was no way that I would have another child. Now I know that potentially I need to have another one for George. In some ways I also want to experience a normal pregnancy with my husband being well throughout. I have a long way to go still to get there though.
Everything is good right now - my husband is alive and we have George. It is a miracle that George lived through a very traumatic time. He is a special little boy and will always be able to wrap me around his little finger.
Read more real life birth stories here.
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