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Beth Whithorn: My birth story

First-time mum Beth shares the story of her emergency C-section

Author Beth Whithorn
Categories   Birth Stories

The Edit

[TW: This article discusses the complications of an emergency C-section and may be triggering for some readers.]

It was Sunday 18th October 2020 and we had just come back from a dog walk at Camber sands when I realised I had missed my period. At 15:00 I took a pregnancy test which had a very faint line. We rushed off to the supermarket to grab another test which came back positive – I was around five weeks pregnant.

At about seven weeks the morning sickness started at full force. Everything I ate or drank came back up. At around eight weeks I was admitted to hospital with HG (hyperemesis gravidarum) and prescribed tablets. I was in and out of hospital until around 15 weeks when the sickness finally calmed down. From then on everything was pretty smooth sailing.

On 28th June 2021, which was two days before my due date, at around lunch time I was walking around TK Maxx when I started with some tightening, which I had been having for a few days on and off. After coming home, they slowed down and came to a stop. In the evening my partner Jack and I decided to go for a walk around Tesco’s to try and get things going again. We got home at about 20:15 and by 20:45 the tightening had started again but this time, it was a lot stronger and more frequent.

They were around five minutes apart, lasting 30 seconds to one minute long. By 1am the next morning, they were coming every three minutes and were quite painful. I rang the birth centre and they advised me to carry on monitoring them and call them back in a few hours’ time. A few hours passed and the contractions were getting worse – they were now in the bottom of my back.

At about 4:30am I headed to the birth centre to be examined as the pain was getting worse. The lovely midwife examined me to find my cervix was still really high and I was only 1cm dilated. After a couple of hours of monitoring I was sent home to try and get labour to progress. Throughout the day I had constant contractions and at about 7pm we headed back to the hospital to be checked again. Jack had to wait outside because of Covid which meant I was in the birthing room for about two hours on my own until I was examined. I was 3cm when they decided I could stay and Jack was then allowed in the hospital.

We were moved to the consultant-lead part of the birth centre and I was left to try and get things moving by bouncing on a ball. Tuesday night was a very long night and by 7am I was still only 3cm. My midwife spoke to the doctor, and they mentioned the possibility of induction after breaking my waters if things don’t progress. I was also given an epidural as it was recommended if I needed to be induced.

At 11am my waters were broken and then an epidural was fitted. A couple of hours later, I was examined and was 8cm dilated so things suddenly ramped up. After having the epidural, I felt I was able to calm down and rest after not sleeping for two nights. My community midwife Jo arrived came to help deliver Willow – it was so nice and comforting to see a familiar face who knew me. She examined me and I was at 10cm and ready to start pushing.

After pushing for about an hour it was soon discovered that Willow was in the transverse position and had got stuck. The only way to then get Willow out was by an emergency C-section. By this point my temperature had started spiking and Willow’s heart rate had started fluctuating. My heart broke when they told me I needed an emergency C-section as it’s something I really didn’t want but I knew it was the only way Willow was going to come out safely. My birth plan had gone completely out of the window at this point.

Having my C-section felt a little weird. All I could feel was the doctors tugging and pulling, but no pain. At 7:52pm Willow was born weighing 7lbs exactly on her due date.

While having my C-section I suddenly wasn’t able to breathe properly so when we got back to our room I was rushed off for an emergency chest X-ray where we found both my lungs had partially collapsed and I had fluid on them. By this point I had only held Willow for about two minutes.

I was then put on a bunch of medication and positioned upright in bed to help re-inflate them. After about seven hours of this I was able to breathe normally again. I was finally able to hold Willow properly as well and everything felt complete. We are so in love with our little girl. After a few days in hospital both being treated for potential infections, we were able to bring our baby girl home and start our lives as a family of three.

Now at 13 weeks old Willow is doing amazingly. She is a very happy baby who loves to smile at anyone she sees. We have also been blessed with a very good sleeper who will sleep from 7:30pm through until 6:30/7am the next day. I am doing really well after the C-section. At about four weeks post C-section I had an infection which led to a course of antibiotics which cleared things up.

If I’ve learnt one thing from my experience it’s not to rely on your birth plan too much. Things do change quite often. I had dreamed of a water birth and just wanted gas and air but that suddenly changed very quickly for me, needing all the drugs possible and an emergency C-section.

Author Beth Whithorn

Beth, first-time mama to baby Willow, is a content creator from Derbyshire. She loves to share all things positivity, lifestyle and motherhood with her followers.

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