A Natural Caesarean section birth story

Arlo’s Birth story – A natural Caesarean section. You can read why I chose to have a 2nd C section here

After having our original C-section date postponed by four days (the longest days of my life, seemingly) we arrived at hospital at 7am only to be sat waiting until half past eight to be taken onto the ward to be prepared! The midwife double checked that I had taken the anti sickness tablets, the antacids and had been nil by mouth since the night before. I was then fitted with a lovely pair of green compression stockings (which I didn’t get in my first C section!) and then it was just a case of waiting… and waiting. The doctor popped in around 11am to check that I was okay to use the same consent form from a few days ago, and got me to re sign it. We were then told we were first out of the two scheduled operations, hurrah! A little bit later we heard the other couple get told the same thing by someone else! I quietly seethed, had a little nap and then woke up to a lovely midwife asking if we were ready to be taken to the operating theatre, as we were first!

Sam took our bags into the recovery room, and dug out the first vest/sleepsuit/hat and a nappy, and got into some scrubs, whilst I was taken through into the theatre to be introduced to the anaesthetist and the other people present (six in all, a lot less than the 12 or so at Athenas birth!)

A cannula was popped into my left hand and attached to a drip, along with some anti sickness medication as I was quite sick after my last C section. Because of this they monitored my blood pressure throughout the operation and topped this up a couple of times. Having the spinal block was fairly painless, I was asked to curl forward hugging a pillow and felt a small scratch which was the local anaesthetic, and then the main injection happened but obviously I didn’t feel that at all. After that had been done I had ECG sticky things attached to my upper chest but quite far to the sides, and on my back too. My gown was loosened and I was helped to lay back onto the bed with a pillow under my head. The table was then tilted to the left, and I remembered to ask why this time! It’s to take the pressure off your main something or others… to help blood flow, much like it is recommended to sleep on your left when you’re pregnant! A catheter was popped in too at this point, again I didn’t feel this and they had put a screen up too.natural c section

Sam was brought into the room sat at my head so he couldn’t see too much of what was going on. Once the anaesthetist was certain I was numb enough by using the cold spray up and down my body to check I was numb from the boobs down the lights were lowered, the overhead surgeons light turned on and off they went! It really didn’t take long for him to appear, probably around 15 minutes. The surgeon made the incision just along my previous scar and then we were told shortly after that we were about to hear the waters break as they cut through. Very soon after that a tiny little human was held up and passed up from the gory end and under my gown for immediate skin to skin. This was something that was really important to me as with Athena she had her cord cut and was taken and wrapped up in a towel first before being given to me for a cuddle.

Arlo had an Apgar score of 9 at 1 minute and 10 at 5 minutes. The two songs that were playing as he arrived were ‘Buffalo Soldier’ one of my favourite Bob Marley songs ever, and that blimming John Legend song that’s in the charts (All of me I think it’s called) but at least when I hear it I’ll have good memories! I wasn’t fussed about having my own music so it was just the radio that played. We were all chatting throughout the procedure anyway so it was more background music than anything I was relying on to keep me calm.

I was so lucky to get a midwife who knew what a ‘natural’ caesarean was, and also was happy to delay the cord cutting and to use a cord tie rather than the annoying plastic ‘sandwich bag’ type clip. I had actually met her a couple of times at my local Attachment Parenting group, and she understood how important it was for me to get skin to skin and for my baby to root for his first feed whilst still in the theatre.

You can see the cord tie in the photo below, you can buy them ready made but I made them myself from embroidery thread. It was tied round the cord once cut, and made skin to skin and nappy changes a lot easier, and then fell off after 5 days with no oozing or anything either.

Once Arlo had latched on for his feed the time went so fast, I honestly can’t tell you how long it was from being given him to being wheeled out of the theatre, but probably around the 30 minute mark I’d estimate. Once I was stitched up and had a pessary popped where the sun doesn’t shine for more pain relief Arlo was given to Sam to take through into recovery to get a nappy and some clothes on, and I was transferred onto a bed and wheeled through too.

In recovery I had obs taken hourly (blood pressure/temp etc and still had the ECG whatsits attached) and was also sick once, but as I expected this to happen as it had last time I was more prepared and had a little sick bowl to hand! After a couple of hours I was able to scoff some toast and yoghurt and had a cup of tea. Now normally I would have been taken back to the ward after four hours but the hospital was actually having some sort of major baby-explosion and there were no beds! We were told that some labouring mums were being sent to other hospitals too!

At around 10pm I was taken to the maternity ward, given some oral painkillers and had my drip removed. Sam had gone home to relieve my mum from Athena duty at around 9pm so Arlo and I settled down for a night of feeding (him) listening to podcasts, eating mini eggs and being paranoid that I was leaking onto the bedsheets (those last two were me!) as contrary to popular belief you still have the same blood loss from a C section than you do with a vaginal delivery.

There was a very chatty couple in the bed next to me with a very waily baby who didn’t want to feed, and though I felt for them I really wanted to get some sleep! Arlo slept fairly well though, and I managed about three hours on and off. At 7am the next morning I asked to have my catheter removed so I could get up and about, and being able to stand up and move about freely was bliss! I stood up as straight as possible and really didn’t feel that bad around the incision, the worst pain I felt was at the back of my right shoulder were I had a constant sharp pain, but the midwife and the physiotherapist that came round that day to discuss the post op movement I could do explained that often a spinal block will leave you achey around the shoulders and it had gone by the next morning anyway! I was advised to keep the support stockings on for a week although I’ll be honest and say after a shower on day five I just couldn’t face trying to get the buggers back on again so they stayed off! Once I was allowed home I took paracetamol and Ibruprofen together to keep the pain under control for five days and since then have felt okay!

He looks like a chunk in the photo above but he actually has the skinniest little legs and loves to stretch them out and tense them so you can’t get them into the legs of sleepsuits! He’s still not filling out newborn sized outfits yet, but had only lost about 5% of his birth weight (7lbs 13oz, so an ounce less than his sister!) at his 5 day check.

If you have any other questions at all about the procedure (sounds so clinical!) then do please ask, I’m happy to help if I can!

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25 Comments

  1. 13th April 2015 / 9:24 am

    So interesting to read a c section labour story and it’s something you don’t read about as much – gives me an idea what I could expect if I need one this time! I’m glad you got the experience you wanted, he’s gorgeous 🙂 xx

  2. 13th April 2015 / 9:59 am

    Oh I am so pleased to read this! I want a natural C section with this baby, and I am also hoping for delayed cord clamping and have bought a cord tie, so it’s great to hear that it can be used. I am desperate for immediate skin to skin after never having had it with my other 3. Fantastic birth story, and so nice to read a positive C section post.

  3. 13th April 2015 / 10:00 am

    Sounds like a really positive experience. Great to hear you had the natural approach you wanted. He’s lovely. Hope you feel great now. X

  4. 13th April 2015 / 10:21 am

    What an amazing experience. So glad you got the birth experience you wanted under the circumstances, which should be every woman’s right. Well done and congratulations! 🙂 x x

  5. 13th April 2015 / 10:31 am

    So pleased you got to use your ties and have immediate skin to skin – thank you for sharing your story x

  6. Laura
    13th April 2015 / 10:47 am

    He is such a bonny boy! I love reading your pregnancy posts – I was fascinated by the umbilical cord ties and have just spent a good ten minutes reading up about them, it’s really interesting! I see what you mean about the plastic clips, they look so clinical and really obtrusive! Congrats again xx

  7. 13th April 2015 / 1:26 pm

    Fab post Lauren, it’s lovely to read about a really positive caesarean section and one that I hope other mums who opt for electives find their way to.

  8. 13th April 2015 / 2:29 pm

    Oh the closer I am getting to due date and vaginal vs c section the happier I am to read positive stories!! Sound slike a wonderful experience, my c section is a blur from last time! #MaternityMondays

  9. Becca Bunting
    13th April 2015 / 3:11 pm

    Aww sounds like you had a wonderful midwife . I didn’t realise that you could have delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin with a c section. Unfortunately I ended up in theatre for forceps and they said they couldn’t do delayed cord clamping and I didn’t get immediate skin to skin (both of which were in my birth preferences but never mind!).

    Loved reading your birth story! Congratulations on your gorgeous little man!

    X Becca

  10. 13th April 2015 / 8:41 pm

    What an amazing experience and so different to mine. I had that shoulder pain and no one told me why. I’m so glad I read this, it’s made me feel better in a strange way. Congratulations he’s lovely xx #MaternityMondays

  11. 13th April 2015 / 8:50 pm

    This procedure sounds amazing. I have an emergency section with first and now 14 months on I still feel I missed out. We are due a second later this year and I am already worrying that I will need a section again and that I will once again miss out of the first precious moments on our baby’s life. How do you get a natural section?

  12. 13th April 2015 / 9:43 pm

    Great post, it is so nice to here how it works the other way as I had a natural birth. It all sounds very calm unlike my unplanned home birth!
    I’m glad you’re all doing well 🙂

  13. 13th April 2015 / 9:44 pm

    This is amazing to read, thank you for sharing. I had a horrible csection first time round and would like a nice one when we decide to have number 2. Reading this really put my mind at rest as its something that really scares mRae xx

  14. amy squires
    14th April 2015 / 1:20 pm

    aww he’s gorgeous! So glad you got the have him the way you wanted. Hope you are doing well too!

  15. 14th April 2015 / 3:23 pm

    Ahh congratulations. The birth sounds wonderful. I will probably be having a section for my second and its so nice to read this very positive experience. I’ve not really heard of a natural cesarean before so its really interesting reading about this.

  16. 14th April 2015 / 3:52 pm

    Aww so glad to hear it all went so well! Huge congratulations on lovely baby Arlo too! Thanks for linking with #MaternityMondays xx

  17. 14th April 2015 / 8:03 pm

    love the amazing new born photograph, what a great picture to have. Glad it all went to plan and you are recovering well.
    A planned section is much less traumatic than an emergency one but sometimes these things have to happen.
    Child birth is so much better than it was in my day.

  18. Mazzy
    14th April 2015 / 9:41 pm

    What a great post, Lauren! Glad you had such a nice experience with planned natural c section. Really happy for you all. Arlo is such a sweet boy and has a very unique and lovely name. Hope you are both well. All the best!!! Xxxx

  19. 15th April 2015 / 1:23 am

    Ahh so lovely to read this and such great photos too! I hadn’t heard of a natural c-section so I was really intrigued! The cord tie is so interesting, I wish I’d known about that before as we had one of the horrid clips and I swear it was bigger and more intrusive than the one Tyne had! They did delayed cord clamping with Noah…again I hadnt heard of it (I’m so slack?!) but they said they recommend it now.

    Arlo is such a little doll! Noah is the same…looks chunky in photos but is actually a skinny little thing! xx

  20. 15th April 2015 / 7:36 pm

    This is fascinating. Partly because I’m well nosey, but you’ve described it all beautifully. Glad to hear that everything went so well and Arlo has joined your family safe and sound 🙂 xxx

  21. 15th April 2015 / 10:25 pm

    This was such a lovely birth story. It sounds like it went exactly to plan and was as natural as possible. He is just the cutest! Love him x

  22. Eimear
    17th April 2015 / 9:06 am

    Lovely lovely story, I had an elective on my second too after an emergency one on my first, I always get so sick from the pain medication that I wasn’t able for skin to skin right away so my husband did it instead. Your story is lovely and really take the fear out of an elective section for those not knowing what to expect!

  23. 20th April 2015 / 2:29 pm

    With all the controversy and debate concerning cesarean procedures, it is truly refreshing to read a success story such as this about c-section birth. Regardless of how a mother delivers ( c-section by choice or due to medical necessity, via traditional vaginal birth, or through emergency intervention), medical teams must be properly trained to provide the highest quality of care. Thank you for sharing your story! http://bit.ly/Cesarean_TrainingCAE

  24. 1st September 2015 / 10:21 am

    Thanks so much for this read, I really have no clue what to expect and this has really helped so much!!

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