Mums’ caesarean stories

Two mums share their different stories about emergency and elective caesareans

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“My emergency caesarean”

“My first child, Khanyo, was a big baby and was delivered by emergency c-section, weighing 9lb 4oz. During my second pregnancy, it was clear at the first scan that this baby was also big. I’m only 4’11” and didn’t feel that a natural birth would be possible after my first experience, so I really wanted an elective caesarean but was encouraged to try for a natural birth.

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I refused to be induced and finally went into labour with my husband, Lungelo, by my side. It was slow, but the hospital staff still thought that I could deliver naturally. After four hours, I’d only progressed from 2cms to 3cms dilated. I was exhausted and said I wanted to have a caesarean. Another consultant examined me and discovered the baby was face up, so I was relieved when they decided to go ahead with the operation, and I was taken into theatre at 11pm. I’d had an epidural a few hours earlier but it took a while to take effect. I felt a lot of tugging before I heard my little boy, Langa, cry. He was born at 11.57pm, weighing exactly the same as his big brother.

I saw him briefly before he was rushed off to intensive care, as the doctors were worried about his blood sugar levels, and I was sad that I didn’t get to cuddle Langa straight after the birth. After a few hours up in the neonatal unit, Langa was finally placed in my arms. I was amazed – he was the spitting image of his brother. Lungelo brought Khanyo up to the hospital later that day, proudly wearing his ‘Cool big brother’ T-shirt, and he just fell in love with Langa straight away.”

Rose Mtongana, 34, from London, mum to Khanyo, 7, and Langa, 19 months

“I had a planned c-section”

“I was hoping for a home hypnobirth, so was disappointed to discover, quite late in my first pregnancy, that my daughter Freya was breech. The hospital didn’t have much experience of breech birth, so they advised me to have a caesarean. At first, I was upset as I felt they weren’t looking at all the options, but I soon came round to the idea.

I went through my birthing plan with the consultant, which included things like having my gown on back-to-front so there could be immediate skin-to-skin contact, and that my husband, Chris, could be with me at all times. The only thing the consultant refused me was having the lights dimmed – I had wanted Freya to enter a calm, soft environment. We got to the hospital at 7.30am and I was given a scan
to check that Freya was still in the breech position. She hadn’t moved, so the consultant confirmed that the c-section would be going ahead as planned.

The anaesthetist had problems getting the epidural needle in, but I was so relaxed I didn’t even realise. Once I was numb, the screen went up and Freya was born 15 minutes later, weighing 6lb 12oz. She was placed on my chest and I breastfed her as they stitched me up. Maybe it’s unfashionable to say a caesarean birth was a great experience, but it was for me.”

Helen Redfern, 39, from Croydon, mum to Freya, 4, and Theo, 2

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C-section jargon

  • C/S – Caesarean section (otherwise known as a c-section, a Caesar or simply a section)
  • EDD – Estimated date of delivery (due date)
  • EDC – Estimated date of confinement (due date)
  • El – Elective (planned)
  • Em – Emergency
  • LSCS – Lower segment Caesarean section: incision in the natural skin crease just above the pubic bone (ELSCS = emergency LSCS)
  • PCA – Patient controlled analgesia (pain relief)
  • TOS – Trial of scar: term used for women opting for vaginal delivery after previous Caesarean
  • VBAC – Vaginal birth after Caesarean (VBAC 1, VBAC2, depending on number of previous Caesareans)
  • VE – Vaginal examination

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