A mum-of-five has spoken out about her traumatic C-section experiences and revealed how she was finally able to give birth in a way she was comfortable with.
Em, a mother from Perth, has opened up about watching her fifth child being born by C-section after struggling to give birth naturally due to her Crohn’s disease.
The mum has revealed that since becoming pregnant for the first time at 25 she has hated the ‘inactive role’ she felt she played in bringing her babies into the world.
Em, who blogs at Kisses in Chaos, felt that giving birth by C-section was like having ‘surgery’, and something that was ‘done to’ her and her baby. By the time her third baby was to be born, she was determined to be an active participant in the birth and tried to make a number of changes.
The mum describes how she tried to take charge of her birthing experience and the wishes she asked to be respected by her doctor.
‘He said he would milk the cord. He also gave permission for my husband to videotape the birth and for me to play music in the operating room. I also asked for no forceps to be used unless absolutely necessary.’
Sadly, once again, Em felt out of touch with her birth as her doctor ‘was talking to the other medical staff like I wasn’t even there and the anaesthetist started telling me how her son won his soccer game on the weekend. I closed my eyes and tried to block it all out.’
As she was informed that her waters were about to be broken, the song the mummy blogger had walked down the aisle to came on, perfectly in time for her son to enter the world.
‘I smiled to myself and opened my eyes. How perfect it was that in just a few short moments our son would be born and to such a special song. My brief moment of joy was soon interrupted when all of a sudden my obstetrician started to swear. ‘F*ck I hate this song!’ he exclaimed, just as he delivered my son’s head… all captured on the video.’
Unfortunately for Em, her doctor also used forceps without hesitation and didn’t milk the cord, leaving her to feel like ‘a number, the next object on a conveyor belt, not a person and certainly not a mother.’
Finally, for the birth of their fifth child, the husband and wife team knew ‘this was my final chance to attempt to heal old birth wounds and have a positive birth experience – something I felt I’d always missed out on.’
After ‘reflecting for weeks’ on what could help her feel more connected to her birth, Em decided on using a birth photographer to ‘capture the moments that our (final) baby would enter the world’.
Em continues to explain how she attempted to make a deeper connection with giving birth.
‘Next I knew I wanted to make this birth more natural. The cold room, bright lights and sterile feel of an operating room is hardly conducive to get oxytocin flowing and my previous births all felt so surgical where everything was happening TO me and my baby.’
‘I wanted a nurturing and supportive environment. As our baby entered the world no one uttered a single word. In that moment the clock stopped, the world stopped spinning and I held my breath. For the first time, I watched in silence and marveled at this amazing human, this beautiful baby I was birthing right there on the operating table.’
‘I wanted to feel like was giving birth, not having surgery.’
To help her bond further to her baby, she ensured they had skin to skin contact and used a baby blanket that smelt of her.
‘I bought a baby blanket during my pregnancy and slept with it each night. Once our baby was born, he was immediately placed on my chest for skin on skin contact and covered with the blanket that smelt just like me.’
And even after the birth she continued to ensure she felt connected to the experience by grounding her placenta into pills.
‘As I took the pills each day I felt my hormones balancing and my oxytocin flowing, and slowly, the injuries my spirit had encountered from my previous births began to heal.’
Now, Em hopes other women can learn from the bad experiences she went through and gain from the lessons she learned to help her take control of her birth.
‘My wish for the future is that other women are able to have positive birth experiences, no matter which way their baby enters our world.’