February 12, 2020

It is important to have a positive birth story

Hi guys, missed me?

I was a little absent from the blog, but with a very good reason. On January 28th I gave birth to my little daughter!🎉🎉🎉
I had a good pregnancy, I have not been sick once during that time, but indeed the ninth month was the hardest. The pregnancy was advanced, I was tired a lot, I had no energy and so all I could do was to binge watch videos on YouTube. Did you know there is such a thing as Vlogmas? Well I've watched all the vlogmas videos I could find, in January :)

But that is over, let's get down to business. A disclaimer first, this will not turn into a parenting/children blog simply because I am no expert in the field. Only from time to time I will post a story or two from my personal experience. And today we are going to talk about positive birth stories.

We met our beautiful daughter at CHL (Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg). It was not my choice, not that I would've been able to make such a choice, we went there because the gynaecologist that followed my pregnancy worked there. I had a c-section, partly by choice, partly by the doctor's choice. It is a long story, which you will probably not read on the blog, but it was my choice and I stick to it till the end and you will see that even with a c-section one can have a positive birth story.

Prior to the date I had meetings with a midwife and the anaesthetist, I could follow some classes (I chose not to as the ones I was able to attend were in French), I visited the maternity ward, but all in all on the date I felt unprepared for what was about to happen. And in all fairness, are you ever prepared for surgery? Or to become a mother for that matter?

So during all these meetings I was explained what was about to happen, how the surgery would go, what will happen after, and was asked what are my expectations. My only expectation was to get out of surgery alive and if possible with a happy, healthy baby. I maintain that was not an unusual requirement, but as other future-moms would opt for hypnosis, or a certain music playlist, or giving birth in water, my request was catalogued as weird.

I was scheduled for surgery on January, 28th, but I only found out the hour of it the day before. As it was at 10 a.m., I would have to come to the hospital in the evening of the day before. I knew that, but as it happened I entered into a state of shock and anxiety and cried my brain out the whole night before and during the preparation for surgery.

In the evening I listened the heart beats of the baby (CTG) and was put a cannula, a plastic tube inserted into my veins and in the morning I would have another CTG (cardiotocography) during which me and my husband narrowed down the baby name list and about 9 a.m. the midwife came to get me ready for c-section. They took me with my hospital bed, down two floors, with a private elevator to the surgery room. Everyone was friendly and welcoming and despite me crying I saw the women that was operated before me and she was happy holding her baby talking with the nurses so different from the wreck I was.

Some clarifications first. Because I was able to by my insurance, I opted for a single room and for my husband to be hospitalised with me. That meant he would spent the whole time in the hospital with me, assist at birth, he had his own bed and his own food. The room was bigger than a hotel room and had all the amenities possible. In the bathroom we had even clothes for the baby, sleeping bags, also for the baby, bibs, pads for me, pampers, cream, sterilised water, a shower, a baby bath, towels...I tell you all you could possibly need. Of course being a control freak, I brought everything from home, but if you are not like me, all you have to bring is your nightgown and some pyjamas for the baby. They even provide you with compression stockings for after the surgery, I bought them as well :). I would advise you to do the same (choosing a single room, that is), even if I saw the double rooms and I can only assume you have the same amenities, it is better to be with your family and with your own business.

So on the date I was taken to the surgery room and my husband was prepped somewhere else. They were even kind enough to send someone to accompany him and again I was with the midwife or with the assistant of the anaesthetist the whole time, they were cracking jokes and assured me over and over again that everything was going to be fine. The anaesthetist came at some point and recognised me and he again explained the procedure. After changing beds, I was taken into a room, I had the anaesthetic and was able to calm down. My gynaecologist came and she was happy which made me happy and confident, then my husband was brought to the room and he hold my hand or my shoulder the entire time and in less than five minutes I've heard her. She was screaming her heart out, which gave her a good Apgar score, she went with my husband and the nurse to be cleaned and then she was brought to me. They stayed with me a couple of minutes and then went into the recovery room. I was sutured and again assured by the assistant of the anaesthetist that everything was fine, the whole time someone had their eyes on me and despite not being with my husband I never felt left alone (one of my other fears).

Within 40 minutes the surgery was over. My doctor and the anaesthetist told me everything went fine and then was taken to the recovery room to meet my husband and daughter. She was so expressive and had her eyes wide open and she was the most beautiful child ever. She was born on January 28th at 10.33 a.m..

The following days came and went and here we are two weeks later, me telling you my birth story. Despite crying and having anxiety attacks before the surgery, everyone was so friendly and I was treated so nice, that I consider my birth story a positive one. And it was, to my standards, I am alive and my daughter is happy and healthy. The operation is healing nicely, Ilinca gained again her birth weight and she now is holding her head, I don't know what that means, but I was told that is a good thing. We had three visits from the midwife and are waiting for the forth and last, we scheduled a visit to the paediatrician and we are on track. We sleep a lot during the night, but mostly during the day, we went out a couple of times, Luna adopted Ilinca from day one and now they are best of friends and overall I had nothing to worry about.

I wrote this article to assure future moms giving birth in Luxembourg that even surgery is not a big deal and that I felt supported all the way no matter my decision. Because that is what I consider important and a positive birth story, to be given all the facts and then to support your choice, either you want to give birth naturally (I saw the rooms and they have all you could possibly want including a giant bath tub to give birth in if that is your choice), or you opt for a c-section, it is entirely your choice as a woman and no one has the right of contesting or questioning it. I've read the statistics and Luxembourg has 30% births through c-section, so what? I don't give a rat's ass about statistics, I was informed and supported, I was the one making the choices and after all it was MY story. If you decide either way about birth, if you decide to breastfeed or not, if you decide to put pampers on your baby or washable nappies, rest assured you will have all the support of the staff and doctors. A least that was my case.

Our lives continue as they were, Ilinca is the forth member of our gang of misfits, we already have our first vacation planned, we socialise and let me tell you, your life is not over unless you let it be over. Yes a child will change slightly your life as you make room for her/him, but your old life needn't be over. As for loving another being apart from your dog and husband, somehow your heart will grow. I love Luna as much as before and I love Ilinca in equal amounts. I think these are the worries of any new-mom. Soon, as I would gather more info I will tell the story of Ilinca and Luna, or of small babies and fur babies.

As usual we can continue the conversation where I am more active lately, so on Instagram @mademoiselle.ralu

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