Monday 18 December 2017

'Caesareans aren't always a bad thing'

Opinion remains divided on C-sections, but for these three women who had planned natural births it wasn't all negative

Emer O'Bryne has no regrets about daughter Edie being delivered by caesarean section.
Emer O'Bryne has no regrets about daughter Edie being delivered by caesarean section.
Emer O'Bryne 'As long as I was okay and the baby was safe, that's all that mattered.'

Una Rice

Qualified nurse, Emer O'Bryne (34), lives in Bray with husband John and baby daughter Edie. Edie was born by caesarean section in January of this year.

'I HAD a definite view on the type of birth I desired; this was our first baby and I wanted it to be as natural as possible.

"I'd had difficulty conceiving and had been having regular acupuncture to help, so I continued with this treatment throughout pregnancy. I also did yoga twice a week from 14 weeks, walked daily and in general kept active. Plus, I was a nurse and on my feet a lot.

"At the time I was thinking of using relaxation and breathing techniques from yoga for the birth. I wasn't adverse to pain relief but had an open mind.

"At 30 weeks we found out our baby was breech. Seven weeks later, when she hadn't turned they attempted an ECV (External Cephalic Version) but it didn't work. With assurance she could still turn, I was given a date at 39 weeks for a caesarean.'

"During the next two weeks, I knew my baby didn't change position – I could feel her head under my ribs. The idea of a natural birth was becoming more unlikely. But I had time to get used to the idea of a section. If it was necessary I didn't want it to be a negative experience. As long as I was okay and the baby was safe, that's all that mattered.

"On our appointed date, John and I returned to the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street. There was one final scan; if our baby had turned, I'd be sent home to proceed naturally. But she still hadn't moved, so I was prepared for theatre.

"After a spinal anaesthetic to numb me from the waist down, John joined me. The entire experience was relaxed and calm with a bit of banter. It seemed to take only a few minutes and after strong pulling and tugging sensations there was a guessing game for us: boy or girl. Then, a little head appeared, as the surgeon lifted our newborn daughter above the dividing screen.

"After a few minutes with Edie I was taken to recovery. I was uncomfortable, but the pain wasn't excruciating and I had excellent pain relief. I'd been a little worried about lack of skin-to-skin contact but on my return to the ward Edie was brought to me for a breastfeed.

"Because of the wound, staff assisted me in semi-sitting. By next morning I was on my feet and in the shower.

"Caesareans aren't always a negative experience. I understand that an elective caesarean can be very different to an emergency. I also know that women who want a section usually have a very good reason for it.

"Yet, when I mentioned having a 'date', three people including a mother said those words: 'Too posh to push!' and I found myself explaining why it was necessary.

"If I were to get pregnant again I would definitely try for a natural birth. But I don't regret Edie's Caesarean arrival. Despite it being major surgery, I was euphoric after her birth. It was all an extremely positive experience."

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