Birth Diaries: 'We Talked About Brexit All The Way Through My Caesarean'

We'd found out Britain was leaving the EU two days before.

In HuffPost Birth Diaries we hear the extraordinary stories of the everyday miracle of birth. This week, Debbie Harvey-Evans, 39, shares her story. If you’d like to share yours, email

After three years of trying for a baby – and finally getting pregnant – I welcomed the certainty of a planned caesarean. And I couldn’t have had a more relaxed and, dare I say it, enjoyable experience.

My husband and I had been trying for nearly a year before turning to IVF. Two, long years of fertility treatment followed. Those years were hard. They were so up and down – emotional, all-encompassing, distracting, devastating. I have a genetic condition that makes me prone to miscarry, which was what happened the first time I got pregnant. It was on our third round of IVF, right at the end, that I found out I was expecting again – my miracle baby.

At six months, I found out my daughter was breech and was told I might have to have a C-section. I was uneasy about it at first, but started to think “at least I know what’s going to happen”. I’d spent years with everything up in the air, feeling uncertain about the whole process, so having the certainty of birth – and knowing what would happen – started to seem quite appealing.

I warmed to the idea, so when doctors told me they might be able to turn her, I decided I didn’t want to go through any more trauma. We planned in a caesarean and that was that. It was a wonderful feeling, to be honest.


On the day of the birth, we were full of nervous excitement. We packed and took ourselves off to have a coffee together in the morning, all giddy. It’s strange really, knowing for definite – well, 99.9% sure – that you’re going to have a baby in a matter of hours. It was a weird thought to get our heads around.

We were so relaxed when we got to theatre. I remember putting our gowns on and messing around with the hats – we were just on a real high! We took photos in our scrubs, snapping a few last bump pictures, too. The anaesthetist and obstetrician ran us through what was going to happen, and the atmosphere felt so positive. Perhaps it was a reward for all the pain we’d been through to get there.

I had my spinal injection and lay on the bed. The screen was put up, and they got to work. The Brexit result had been announced two days prior and, weirdly, that became our topic of conversation. The anaesthetist was like: “What do you think about it?” and we started chatting about how shocked we were at the result. We all were. “Really didn’t expect that,” she said to me.

It was strange, because I was feeling all this pressure while being cut open – yet I wanted to get involved in the chat because none of us could believe it had happened. We were out of the EU! I guess none of us believed we would actually vote to leave – I think we’d all been in a bit of a bubble.

It was a real talking point, and funny looking back on it now, how involved we all got in the conversation – one of the nurses joined in too. We actually got to the point where we were like, okay, we need to stop talking about Brexit now, because Ariana was nearly here. “Do you want to watch your daughter being born?” they asked my husband. I couldn’t feel anything, but I saw his face change when he saw her. He teared up. It was amazing.

And then I heard her – that wail she let out, letting me know she was here. God, it was so amazing to see her for the first time. She was a chubby little thing. “We made a chubby little baby!” I said.

Ariana was cleaned up and put on my chest. We were ecstatic and so in awe of our daughter, that I didn’t realise they had pretty much sewn me up in that time.

It’s strange, I guess – my birth was so removed from what I thought a ‘normal’ birth would be like. It was relaxed, we laughed, I had no pain. Perhaps it would’ve been nice to experience a bit of pain, I don’t know. All I know is that Ariana is my biggest achievement.

Oh, and that was three years ago – and we’re still talking about Brexit now.

My birth advice?

Be open minded about your birthing plan. Maybe it’ll go to plan, maybe you’ll end up having a C-section. A safe delivery for you and the baby is the most important thing.

As told to Amy Packham

Debbie runs Little Bundle Box, gifts for baby showers and new arrivals.