Caesarean Sections... Through A Dad's Eye

04/10/2017 13:40

With our twins 'coming out' early at 35 weeks, we were having a caesarean section which when 'planned' does feel like you're booking into some form of mini break, except as a dad, you don't get a bed, you're not included on the meal plan and you're the bag carrier...

Speaking as an 'experienced' male birthing partner, I have learnt there are some unwritten rules to be aware of:

1. Attend
2. Be sure NOT to disagree with anything unless you want the 'eyes'
3. Be on hand to magic any form of snack or brilliant sound-bite of encouragement whilst doing your best smile...

The worst part of the actual day is waiting, we all hate queues right? This is a different kind of invisible queue by which you can't see how annoying the people in front are but you know they exist. We had arrived early, around 7am and were second in the queue.

My wife, Dani hadn't eaten since the night before based on instruction so it's hard when several emergencies get put in front of you, knowing that she is feeling weak, tired, and hungry but somehow brilliantly calm and holding things together. I am rolling out some classic 'team talk' lines such as 'let's focus on the end goals '....

Although, I took a packed lunch like a school boy I was reluctant to eat in front of Dani, instead I smuggled bits of food out into the corridor to snack on.... At one point, early afternoon, I found myself out in the corridor wetting my finger and dipping it into the sugar bowl on the tea trolley!! A dark moment and it wasn't demerara either!!

With a C-section birth, you have the 'option' to be in surgery sat next to your wife but you must dress like the rest of the team in surgery...IN SURGICAL SCRUBS!! I had been ready to go in my 'scrubs' since 10.30 am - hair net and white wellingtons on one of the hottest days of summer. This only heightened my irritation for the delay and meant I didn't want to leave the ward as I just didn't fancy standing in the Costa queue looking like a surgeon, I just wouldn't be confident fielding the medical questions...

When the call to go down comes, it's like the kind of adrenaline sick feeling you feel when you're doing something out of your comfort zone whilst knowing that the end outcome will be game changing....

BUT, we had the added undertone of worry that we knew our twins were 'early' and very small. A couple of nurses and our doctor had already 'set expectation' that our babies are VERY likely to need special care and talked candidly about the options and things that could happen prior to going to surgery.

Meanwhile, my feet are dripping like a marathon runner wearing plastic trainers, Dani is looking increasingly nervous and I am engaging in small talk with the various nurses.

Once in the operating theatre, it's WEIRDLY calm.... Almost too calm, the radio is playing and the staff are laughing and joking... Internally, I am thinking 'any chance you could dial it down a bit and focus '.... but taking a step back now, it's important to remember two things:

1) This is their office and it's what they do, EVERY DAY
2) This is all part of the 'production' to keep you relaxed...

There is no real announcement of when the surgical 'cut' happens.... It just happens as Justin Timberlake blurts out on the radio and the chatter one point a nurse offers me the chance to go down 'that end' and film...generous offer!

Surgery progresses quickly and the babies seem to come out very quickly, the little girl first... a voice from the other side of the screen shouts ' Ohh she is a good weight, much bigger than we expected ' ... Dani and I shared a smile but knowing we still have the little boy who was the one of the two who was smaller.... three LONG minutes passed and our baby boy came out, silence for a few seconds which felt like minutes, then a cry... RELIEF!

We had brief cuddles with both babies before being taken away as they weren't happy with their breathing. Whilst all this is going on, it's easy to forget that Dani is being put back together and feels helpless...

Unfortunately, the breathing challenges continued and both babies were to taken off to special care for monitoring but assured that they were both OK. A sinking feeling as you worry there is something you don't quite know...

So.... it's off to special care they went, off to recovery for Dani WITHOUT our twins which was HARD and off to the changing room to de-robe from my surgical kit and end what I hope (in the nicest possible way) is the last time I am in a C-section operating theatre. It was an eye opening and draining experience that is hard to prepare for as a dad, but ultimately you hand yourself over to experts and stay as calm as possible...because you have no choice!!

I'm pleased to say we now have gorgeous twins, named Nelly and Teddy!
Thank you NHS Staff! You're brilliant!

You can follow our journey on my instagram page: