My adventures into Motherhood
Lots of people have given me this look – it’s the confused one when I tell them that I had a C-section by choice. It’s starts off with the slightly tilted ‘poor you’ and then quickly corrects upright with knitted eyebrows as they contemplate your choice and wonder what to say next. So I ask – What is so bad about me having an elective Caesarean???
A lot of the stigma is historical. They’re seen by my parent’s generation as the last resort to safely deliver a baby when something has gone horribly wrong, and you were very unfortunate to have to have had one. This was back in the day when they used to cut through the abdominal muscle and the recovery was long and arduous. You were essentially a cripple and couldn’t sit up or hold your baby, making everything very difficult and painful and probably contributing significantly to post-natal depression.
Some of the stigma is social. The catchphrase “too posh to push” was coined when celebrities like Posh Spice started having elective caesareans through private hospitals. It was seen as the ‘easy way out’ for those with money, and it was implied as elitist, selfish, and lazy. Only those with lots of time and money on their hands could afford to swan around in recovery after a C-section.
I found that alot of the literature and internet information is written from the perspective that the C-section is unwanted but necessary in some cases. This tone implies that it’s an undesirable delivery method to those wanting to evaluate what their options are for birth plans. This is essentially what the websites say;
“A C-section is recommended if you have a medical problem that we’ve caught early on in your pregnancy, or if your labour isn’t progressing correctly. But don’t worry, it’s pretty common – 1 in 4 women in the UK have had to have one – altho’ a quarter of those are repeat Caesareans cause once you’ve had one, you generally have to have another one. It’ll be sore and the recovery will be long, you’ll have to be in hospital for days on painkillers, but if you want to be prepared, have a look at these tummy shots provided by caesarean.org.uk” [Cue horror pictures of the ugliest post-pregnancy tummies ever]
Luckily for me, I don’t give a sh*t what other people think.
So I went private to give myself the option of an elective Caesarean if I wanted. The other benefits of being in the Kensington Wing of ChelWest were my private room with en suite bathroom, the fact that Nath could stay over every night, and there was an a la carte menu every day. Recovery with room service is pretty nice.
My recovery went like this:
The surgical epidural wore off slowly and I had no pain or discomfort for the entire rest of the day and I slept well that night. The pain medication they give you is just paracetamol, and I didn’t have to have any other painkillers at any other time during the recovery period. The morning after Sofia’s birth, the midwives came in and took out the catheter, took off my bandages, and told me to get up so I could shower. I used the bed tilt and my arms, to wriggle my butt to the edge of the bed and then lowered my stiff legs down to the ground. I stood up slowly, then walked slowly to the bathroom and showered myself. I did all this on my own while the midwives changed my bed linen.
Once I was showered and refreshed, I stayed standing up for a few hours holding my tummy in with my abs. The only thing that took time to master was getting up from sitting to standing which I just did very slowly. I’ve been mobile ever since and found that everything else I could do fine. When the midwife came to check on my scar, this is what she said:
Midwife: “Ooh, this is Nick Wales’ work.”
My thoughts: “OMG, he’s stitched his initials into me or something.”
What I actually said: “How can you tell?”
Midwife: “He does very good work. That is gonna be a neat and tidy scar.”
After she left, I got brave and really looked at my scar for the first time. Of course, I was expecting to see Dr. Frankensteins handiwork [Cue horror pictures of the ugliest post-pregnancy tummies ever] but instead all I saw was a thin red line that had been glued! Oh happy day! No stitches or staples for me, just one neat line covered in PVA.