I hope you have been encouraged by my birth stories so far. I unfortunately never experienced a breezy birth, although I don't think anyone does really. My births came with many difficulties and aren't the most uplifting but the miracle and blessings that came from them were worth each one. That's all that matters at the end of the day hey? I sit and have a coffee with my besties who had great pregnancies with a little of the textbook symptoms and all three births painful but short, wonderful experiences with quick recoveries. I will never know that experience but as we sit there we watch our three kids all as healthy and as happy as the other. Yeah my story comes with a few tears but my kids are not scarred and they know they are loved and adored by me their mumma.
So my final story is with my little dream boat Franklin aka Frankie. He literally is a giant baby and always has been. He was born 8 pounds which isn't enormous but compared to the babies he spent 10 days with, he was never small. Now, a two year old toddler who looks like he could graduate from high school is as laid back as the day he was born. This comes as a huge advantage for me and when people would and do ask me if I'm worried I say, who would be? Too laid back to breath, to chilled out to roll, sit, crawl, stand and walk; now doing all those things, but happily let's his siblings take over all the answering of questions to people. Yep not a peep from this guy. If he slept amazingly and ceased on the midnight parties, I would enter him in the most perfect baby competition. His routine generally involves school drop off and pick up, watching siblings do sport and swimming, errands, shopping and nap times. As long as he is well fed and is carrying a monster truck or Thomas train he is happy to go with the flow.
My pregnancy with Franklin was a mixture of easy and sick. It was like being pregnant with Jack (who I didn't have a single pregnancy symptom apart from a growing belly) and Eva (who made me sick the whole 41 weeks) at the same time and I gradually worked out how to control my symptoms with Franklin's. As long as I stayed on top of my tiredness and ate, I was fine. The pregnancy flew and thanks to all the apps you could download, I used it to keep track of how many weeks I was!
Now living in the home we bought after Eva was born we were in a different area from our last place, so with friends recommendations I met my new obstetrician and he was awesome! I was so busy with the two others and them still at a young age, he was great for keeping me on track and up to date with where the baby was at.
The best thing about a planned caesarean is that it is PLANNED! I'm a planner so it was great knowing the date of when the baby was coming and because I knew this bub had to be a c-section I just sat back and enjoyed my whole pregnancy loving every minute of it. My bag was kind of sitting at the end of my bed packed but like everyone else I couldn't pack my essentials until the last minute. What did it matter anyway, this was planned!
Second to last appointment c-section is booked in and ready to go. This baby was coming Tuesday 19th Feb 8:00am Yay! The week following I started to get the house all organised for Cam and my mum to help the kids stay in routine and for their life to be as normal as possible. I guess doing all that I was getting some serious braxton hicks pains and ones that brought me to laying on the couch or floor, whichever was closer. Warm baths calmed them down and so I just ignored them. Last appointment and last Friday before I became a mother of three kids of four and under, eeeek what was I thinking with that one!
Laying on the table I was going over my week with Matthew the ob and he stopped me and put his hands tight over my belly. He looked at me, You are having a contraction! I explained how I had been having them over the week and he laughed and shook his head at the same time before telling me off (in a nice way) Your body cannot start contracting, this baby is trying to come out!! Woopsy my bad. I'm guessing if this was Jack I would have called him at the first one but honestly didn't really think it was anything.
So as I chatted away about my mum arriving Sunday and doing some grocery shopping on Monday and laying all the kids clothes out for the week before going in Tuesday to have the baby, I watched him pick up the phone and start talking to the hospital. Hey can you please put down for a possible emergency c-section over the weekend and change the booked one from Tuesday to Monday. Name is Kelly Ferguson......Um say what!
After chatting with Matthew he reassured me not to panic but to not be too planned out either. He also suggested that I have back ups to watch my kids over the weekend before my mum arrives in case anything happens. I just heard back ups for my kids and broke. As I called friends they all kindly said yes no problems but there was a party here so they wouldn't be free then and a lunch here so someone would have to take them then and I just saw my kids being handed from one to another having no idea what was going on and me not knowing who they were with.... so I called my mum. You know the moment when your mum picks up and you burst into tears, well that was me. I didn't even need to say anything and my sister who was with her turned on her laptop to change her flights and she arrived in Sydney five hours later.
The day after being Saturday I felt on top of the world (you know the moment before you are about to have a baby and you get a bounce of energy) and was back to getting everyone organised again now that I had lost a day. It was our bestie's 30th in the city and mum convinced us to go on a final night out as who knew when that would happen again. I'm not sure it really has. We were having a great time until I started to feel really ill and I mean not only was my tummy painful but I was feeling sick. I was reluctant to go to the hospital because I am always reluctant to go to the hospital even with my kids (do you think that could be related to all the times I was sent home with Jack? Who knows). Early in the morning I was really not feeling well so rang the hospital explaining how I felt. I felt sure I wasn't going into labour but something wasn't right. Sure enough after an hour in the labour ward, I started vomiting and spiked a high temperature. These are not great things to have before surgery and not being allowed to go into labour. make yourself comfortable Mrs. Ferguson because you are staying here until baby comes. Oh dear! No grocery shopping or clothes sorting for me.
Thankfully by morning morning after a full days pumping of meds, I was once again laying half numb (the bottom half) and waiting for the scream. Woah there was a scream. A scream so loud everybody stopped and had a good laugh about it. Recovered and my new little Franklin laying on my chest the screaming ended but so did his healthy breathing. My room went from our little family to a meeting place for every midwife and doctor. Umming and ahhhing my baby, my beautiful little boy was pulled from my arms and that was the last I would see of him for 24 hours. Panic stricken would be the closest to describing how I felt but the questions in my head turned into negative thoughts so I started praying. Cam was back and forth with as much details as he could and took pictures for me so I could see him. Obviously not the same! Desperate to see my little man, I needed to stay strong so I could get out of the bed asap. However when the midwife rolled in a breast pump, I broke.
Franklin's lungs hadn't quite developed properly and he also never made that switch babies do as they come out of the womb so in his little brain he thought he was still there and having everything done for him like breathing. So back when I said he has always been a giant baby, well walking into to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and seeing him next to three very premature babies you can understand why.
Cam wheeled me into the room and the midwives came and introduced myself and explained what was happening. I swear they were talking on mute because all I could hear was my own heart beating and the sound of my anxious breathing. A hand pressed onto my arm and Beth the midwife softly wiped the tear from my face and said there is a little boy here who was missing his mummy. There he was; his little jaundice body and wearing nothing but a nappy. Hooked up head to tow in wires and a tiny feeding tube coming out of his nose. His tummy looked like it had an invisible ball sitting in it making it concave the opposite direction it should. Chest completely still as it made his tummy do all the motions of breathing. I just didn't understand why this was happening. He was my third child and I just had got it all now. I knew what I was doing and this whole pregnancy and birth was supposed to be normal. Everything went as best it could and as good as expected but these things happen. If I could have taken his place I would have done it on the spot. My little boy needed to get better but he was getting worse.
Cam brought Jack, Eva and my mum in and I pulled every ounce of strength in me and from somewhere managed to find a smile. I know that was from seeing their faces but their worry and confusion was heartbreaking. We explained as much details we could. Some people will look at them as kids and think they won't understand and if you think that let me clarify that they pick up and understand more than we will ever realise. They only had to look at my face and see a room minus a baby and know something wasn't right. Cam took them to meet their new little brother and show them that he was getting lots of help to make him better.
Each day his breathing went from good to bad and back to good again. We were able to hold him for small amounts and I even had a few goes at breast feeding him while he had oxygen blowing on his face. His breathing finally began to settle and he started to breathe more than what the machine was doing for him. As good as the news was I was getting so over being in the hospital. I craved being home and missed Jack and Eva incredibly. Sitting next to Franklin and being with him gave me so much joy but the moment I left the ICU and crept back to my room, I was overcome with so much sadness. I wanted to be home and starting my life with my little baby. I didn't want visitors and felt bad turning away my friends but was not up for being social especially having no Franklin around to show off. I was holding out for that magical first pic of Franklin in a cute little outfit being cuddled by his big protective brother and adoring sister to show off to the world via social media. That wasn't going to happen yet so we took a pic of him from above his oxygenated cot and ask for our friends to pray instead. One afternoon I decided to roll my pump to the nursery to surround myself with other mums and chat with them. They innocently stared and awkwardly talked around me. I felt like the big fat elephant in the room and before I was about to scream yes obviously my baby is sick and not with me stood up and left. Big mistake and I never did that again.
Getting in the car to go home was both difficult and relieving at the same time. I hadn't slept properly in days because I was worried and depressed but going home without my baby felt so wrong. Thankfully we were a short five minute drive away so I spent most of the day with Frankie and came home at night. My time at home was spent with Jack and Eva and cuddled them every chance I got. I set night alarms to pump and took the milk into the hospital with me the next morning. For number three babies, your boobs know exactly what they are supposed to be doing and as the first time mums held up their 20mls they had been expressing for an hour, I was calling for extra bottles after 20 minutes.
Ten days later and the midwives and I lined up behind the paediatrician with our fingers crossed as he assessed Franklin. I just wanted to hear those magical words ... he can go home. Debates went back and forth between the midwives and him until I spoke up promising I would come back every couple of days for a check up and would also ring or come straight in if I was concerned about anything. A smile, handshake, lots of tears and some giant hugs later Franklin was on his way home. Our family was whole and we were ready for the rest of our lives. And yes we are living Happily Ever After.
I hope you have been encouraged my my birth stories and I have been really touched by reading the one's you have sent in. This is also about awareness so if any of your friends has had a c-section especially unplanned then hopefully you can draw something out of my experience to help you support them. Mummas who have had caesareans are no less brave or looking for an easy way out of child birth. Trust me that is not an easy way out. Whatever our birth story, we as women are courageous and strong and so we should support each other through each of our experiences .
If you would like to share you story in hope to encourage someone else, feel free to write it in the comment below. Or if you would like to share your personally with me or ask questions, you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org xx
© The Realistic Mum
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