Caesarean section it is then (squeaky bum time!)
Yesterday was our follow-up appointment to see if the placenta had moved, and it had – a whopping three millimetres, to be exact. To be fair, it's moved about as much as I feel like I have this week so can't really hold anything against it. But anyway, hearing this meant we weren't surprised to learn that our little girl will be born via planned c-section.
I've had the last week to get my head round this being a possibility so I felt much less emotional about it today, however, it's fair to say my anxiety levels about the whole thing are still quite high. I know c-sections are common practise, but this is a first for me, and it didn't help to learn that I am at a higher risk of bleeding because of where the placenta is lying.
I went in armed with a number of questions about c-sections: recovery time, how long would I be in hospital (best case), could Eamo stay in with me, what happens with the placenta, do you bleed much/at all after a c-section? I got answers to them all, but I'm still feeling incredible apprehensive about the entire thing still.
I am honestly the most squeamish person (seriously, I fainted watching someone squeeze a spot once), and the thought of being awake during such a major operation, right now makes my whole body just want to shut down. I'm very aware of what my mind is capable of and the dark places it can take me, so I really want to get a hold on it as much as possible beforehand.
I was utterly terrified of childbirth before Rex, and so did a hypnobirthing course before I had him in the hope it would ease my worries about it all. I'm ashamed to say even after I booked the course I was highly sceptical, and thought it would be a load of (sorry) 'floaty crap' that wouldn't help at all. But I felt better in just doing something to help allay my fears.
I am pleased to say I have never been more happy to be proved wrong. Hypnobirthing is completely underrated, in my opinion. It's not just about being mindful and teaching breathing techniques (which really work, by the way), it offers a real in-depth look at how a woman's body works during and is completely equipped to deal with labour and childbirth. It also teaches you to listen to and trust your body during that process, which was a huge source of comfort to me the entire time I was in labour with Rex. What you learn in hypnobirthing is, I think, the epitome of the saying knowledge is power.
I have clung to everything I learnt in that course during this pregnancy, knowing that I would need to draw on that knowledge and those techniques the second time around. But then the news of a c-section threw a bit of a curveball, how the hell am I going to manage this completely unknown, excuse my French, shit-your-pants-scary experience?
Thankfully, I've followed The Mindful Birth Group on Instagram for a while now, and had seen that they offer courses in abdominal births. So today I downloaded their 60-minute audio course, half of which I have already listened to and am already feeling much more positive. I have positive affirmations and relaxation audios to listen to each night, which I know will help prepare my mind for before, during and after surgery. I would highly recommend this account to any mum-to-be, no matter what birth you end up having, these guys have some really excellent resources to help make it a super-positive experience.
I think one of the hardest things about all of this (aside from the major surgery bit, obviously) is the limited time Eamo will get with me before surgery, and then with us both after the baby is born. As it stands, he has to drop me off for all the pre-op stuff, and then literally just come back for when I go to theatre. I guess we should be grateful that he can be there when she is born, but the thought of having to go to hospital alone at first on the day our baby is born is hard. And the fact that he can't stay long after, or overnight is a tough pill to swallow for both of us.
Depending on how long we have to stay in, it's looking very much like the first few days of our little lady's life will just be me and her, which on one hand is lush. But on the other, it's a little heartbreaking for him, and actually hugely daunting for me. I remember the first night with Rex being the scariest thing ever, so I'm really hoping I feel a little more relaxed this time around.
As much as I feel a little overwhelmed right now, a lovely friend of mine reminded me earlier in the week at how much I've been through, as a human, as a mum, since Rex was born, how strong I am and how much I've grown in the last almost four years. And it made me think that when I find myself in tough situations, I very often surprise myself with the amount of resilience and strength I can muster. And if there's ever a time I would need to do that, having my baby delivered safely and getting home to my boys is it.
Breastfeeding: It doesn't work for everyone (and that's ok)