Tuesday 20 February 2018

Caesareans: 'I don't have regrets or feel I missed out'

Ups and downs: Niamh Broderick with husband John and their children.
Ups and downs: Niamh Broderick with husband John and their children.

Niamh Broderick (35 )is a sales representative from Ashbourne, Co Meath. She lives with her husband John, a bar manager, and three children – Tom, who will be five in June, Molly, who will be three in June and Dan, 13 months.

'I DIDN'T think in a million years I'd end up having three Caesareans for very different reasons, but now I know the possibility is always there.

"Tom was my first in 2008. The pregnancy was easy and I had my heart set on a natural labour, but it didn't go as planned. After labouring from early morning I went to hospital and continued slowly through the night on pethidine and gas and air. By the following morning, at 8cm dilated, Tom and I were both exhausted. An oxytocin drip helped speed things up, but Tom became distressed and I was rushed into theatre.

"I was sad at the time, but after labouring so long if they'd told me they needed to amputate my legs I probably would have agreed! I was awake for Tom's caesarean, but I couldn't even remember a lot of it; it was like an out-of-body experience, but I just went with it.

"With my second baby I had my heart set on a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean), but a 12-week scan revealed I had placenta praevia (low-lying placenta). My heart sank – that meant another caesarean.

"We hoped it might move up, and all would be fine. But at 32 weeks it was still low lying and now, there was an additional problem to consider. If an uncontrollable bleed occurred, I had to be prepared for the possibility of a hysterectomy. At age 32, that was unthinkable to me. It was a very stressful time.

"I was admitted a few days before the planned caesarean for monitoring. Then, another blow; I'd have to be put to sleep for the operation. This meant John couldn't be with me. Waiting to go into a theatre, a nurse walked by with bags of blood and said: 'Hopefully we won't need these.'

"Thankfully, the operation went well and our beautiful daughter Molly came into the world safely. I couldn't even cough, the pain was so bad, but at least I still had my uterus.

"When I got pregnant with Dan, I was convinced the placenta would be low lying again, but to my surprise that didn't happen and I had a fairly easy pregnancy. However, a VBAC after two caesareans with my history was extremely unlikely.

"My third caesarean was a totally different experience – no drama! And it was the easiest of all to recover from by far. There was no stress and I truly believe this helped me in my recovery.

"I don't regret my caesareans or feel I missed out – all I wanted was to have my babies. Also, I successfully breastfed all three of my children – sometimes that's a worry to women. There is such a thing as a dream birth, but it's not all about the birth. The problem is, no one wants to hear that this or that can go wrong. At the end of the day it doesn't really matter, as long as you have a healthy baby."

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