Emma Reeves, 31, was disappointed to be told she would need a C-section because her baby was breech. But she was pleasantly surprised by the way things turned out...
When did you find out you were pregnant?
It was last year, in February 2010. We had been trying for around 18 months with no success, and then I was given the fertility drug, Clomid, because I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It makes you ovulate - which I wasn't doing - and after one course of treatment we were amazed to find out I was pregnant.
How did you discover your baby was breech?
I was out having a coffee one day when I was just coming up to 37 weeks, and I felt a huge shift inside me and a hard bulge appeared under my right rib cage. It looked and felt just like the baby's bottom! I saw my midwife the following day for a check-up, and she was concerned that the bulge was in fact the baby's head, so I was sent for a scan. She was right.
Were you given the option of having the baby turned?
After my scan I saw an obstetrician who discussed with me the turning procedure and risks. I was told that it would not be painful, just 'uncomfortable', but that I would need to be prepared for an emergency c-section if the placenta became ruptured. I thought about it, and felt the 40 per cent success rate was not high enough, so it was agreed I would have an elective c-section at 39 weeks.
How did you feel about having a c-section?
At first I was a bit disappointed because I had mentally prepared myself for having a natural birth. Once I had got my head around it I was excited and relieved to know my baby would be born in two weeks. I was naturally anxious about the risks and complications that come with a section though. I was also worried that I may not bond as well with my baby as I had heard some women struggle after a section.
What happened on the day?
It was a very strange day! I was tired, excited, nervous - feeling so many different emotions. I was due to have the operation at 8.30am and I had to have a scan first, to double-check the baby's position. After the scan, the midwife said they had an emergency come in so there would be a delay, but really, the two hours I waited flew by.
How was the operation?
In the theatre there were loads of people and I sat on the table with my legs hanging over the side so I could be given the spinal injection. This was an odd experience - not painful, just intense. I lay down and the anaesthetist put a cannula into my hand. Then suddenly I was totally numb from my feet to my chest - so strange.
Then my husband appeared next me. I did start to get a bit scared and shaky, but the anaesthetist reassured me this was normal and my husband was wonderful. He just kept stroking my hair and talking to me. Then the operation started. I can't really remember feeling any of the 'rummaging sensations' I'd been warned about - just seeing this little baby covered in goo appearing over the curtain.
It was a little girl! Gabriella, as we called her, was brought over to us and Mike held her. I was offered a cuddle and I said no because I thought I would drop her!
Were you pleased with the way it went?
I could not have had a better experience. The staff were amazing and I felt so well cared for. I still can't believe how well it went after hearing a few negative C-section stories when I was pregnant. However, I am not so naïve to think it couldn't have been without risks, and count myself lucky that I had no complications.
Did you breastfeed Gabriella?
Yes. I found the first few days incredibly hard - I had very painful nipples and it was difficult to sit up because of my wound from the C-section. When I got home it got easier, and in the end I fed Gabriella for nine months.
What would you say to other women worried about having an elective C-section?
It's an 'easier' option in some ways, because you know when your baby is going to be born. However, it's also nerve-wracking because complications can happen and it is major surgery so you do need time to recover afterwards.
I'm so glad I had one – Gabriella was a complete breech and we were told afterwards the cord was wrapped around her. It was the safest option for both of us but I think it is a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly.
Have you had a Caesarean? How was your experience?