Hannah's Birth StoryApr 11, 2022
"I’m really proud of what my body did! I would love to see the stigma around C-Sections disappear & ALL births celebrated!"
After a tumultuous pregnancy, a Maternal Assisted C-Section birth was a dream come true for Hannah, as she welcomed her gorgeous daughter Harriett earlier this year.
With 3 beautiful children already (aged 2, 3, and 5), Hannah and husband Nick had suffered through 3 consecutive miscarriages, before falling pregnant again in early 2021.
Hannah's story is full of ups and downs, but her positivity throughout, as well as her photos (and video!) are absolutely inspiring.
I hope you love reading Hannah’s words as much as I did!
This pregnancy was stressful at the start. I had just lost a baby the month before, my 5th loss all up. This was our last try - I couldn’t keep putting myself through it. My HCG was really low, I was having bloods done every few days, my 2 year old was in hospital... I was stressed!
I went for my first scan and the little blip on the screen was too small for the dates.
A few anxious weeks passed, I began some medication… and at the next scan, there was a happy, healthy little love bug, growing just as they should!
The weeks then flew by until I reached 28 weeks...
One day, I had just picked my son up from school, had all my kids & my niece in the car, when I was hit by another car at the traffic lights. I was in total shock, I didn’t see it coming! I remember my hands shaking uncontrollably! I rang my husband and just burst into tears. The kids were all ok but I spent the night in hospital, as I had started bleeding.
The pregnancy from then on was just different. My baby didn’t move like it had previously, my obstetrician picked up a bleed on my placenta. I had extra scans, an iron infusion and lots of check ups.
In the final weeks, I was being seen 3 times a week, all while Covid was going wild around us! My previous caesarian scar started to thin, and was at risk of rupturing; I was having on/off contractions, and with all of this going on, in my 36th week, after two doses of steroids, it was time to meet our baby.
Before I could go in to hospital, we had to get PCR tests, and then isolate. This was when results were taking over 7 days to come back - cue a little more stress that we wouldn’t have results in time!
Less than 48 hours before our baby was born, the hospital rang to say Nick could come for the birth, but that once he left (to look after our other 3 kids) he was not allowed back at the hospital at all due to their restrictions!!!
I cried for an hour straight!
The day before our baby was born, all “elective” surgeries were canceled at lots of hospitals, including ours. I didn’t know if this would have an impact on us or not.
On the morning of the birth, we dropped our kids off to my Mum and went to hospital. I cried the entire way there! I was just feeling so many different feelings, the main one being 'overwhelmed'!
Theatre was delayed due to the cancelations, and I was wearing a hole in the floor while I paced backwards & forwards waiting.
Finally we went to theatre, but it was another long wait.
I was wheeled into theatre, had my spinal put in, then got “scrubbed in”.
I wore an extra gown, and I wasn’t allowed to move my arms, as I had to keep them sterile.
The staff were incredible, telling me everything they were doing (catheter going in, meds they were giving, etc). Then the caesarian started!
Our amazing anaesthetist and my husband were swapping fishing stories, I was chatting away to my doctors... I remember just feeling so excited and nervous!
Then my obstetrician said it was my time to shine!
He helped guide my hands to feel for my baby’s head... that moment was something else!
It was a lot harder to pull my baby out than I thought it would be. I managed to get my hands under bubs’ armpits, and pull her straight up onto my chest.
I had been so worried that she wouldn’t be breathing, as that had happened with one of our other kids and she was ‘technically’ premature.
But what a set of lungs!!
I pulled my baby girl into this world with my own hands, and onto my chest, something I’d never been able to do before!
Our paediatrician just let us be, and only did a brief check while she was still on me.
It honestly was amazing!
Our beautiful Harriet Grace was here. There was such a vibe in the room and I was on cloud nine!
What was so positive about this birth experience?
I’ve had 4 caesarian births, and every one of them was different.
For this birth, the entire thing was positive!
The first thing would be - having a team that we ‘picked’ to deliver her. We chose our doctors, so they knew us and had been there for our other births. We felt safe and ‘heard’ as well as cared for.
Another positive would be that it was calm; it wasn’t rushed. We knew what was happening because the staff kept updating us, and I watched what was happening in the reflection in the light on the roof.
"The biggest positive was having such an active role in birthing my baby, something I never thought I’d experience!"
Anything unexpected or surprising about this birth?
It took a long time! Longer than the others due to scar tissue.
A part of me was worried, but then our anaesthetist kept explaining what was happening, and why it wasn’t as quick as we were used to. Lots of scar tissue!
After Harriet was born, watching Nick kiss her goodbye & say “see you next week baby girl” broke my heart.
The stay in hospital afterwards was tough, without any support from my husband - big negative!
And, having to walk out of the hospital on my own, with my baby and my bags, to meet my husband in the car park the day we were discharged really sucked!
What advice would you go back and give your pre C-section self?
- Keep up the pain meds in those first few days!
- Accept help (although I’m bad at this!!)
- Everyone recovers differently! Just because someone else was up walking and running a marathon 48 hours after their Caesar (!!) doesn’t mean you have to! Just like I had 4 different births, I also have 4 different recoveries!
- Be much, much kinder to myself 🙏 .
Anything else to share?
I used to be really ashamed that I had my babies via Caesarean.
My first birth was the most traumatic experience I’ve ever had. Afterwards, I had some really negative things said to me, like “you took the easy way out”, or “I’ll ACTUALLY push my kid out, not like you”, or “fat people have Caesars” etc.
I was also very aware of the strong presence of “organic, vaginal births” promoted on social media & anything less is “bad”.
When I was pregnant/in labour with my first son, never did I think I’d end up having a Caesar. But now, I’m really proud of what my body did! I would love to see the stigma around c-sections disappear & ALL births celebrated!
It would also be awesome if more Maternal Assisted Caesarians were being offered. Most people around me had never heard of it, so I hope my story will encourage Caesarian mums to consider if it’s something they’d love/possible.
Ahhh! How amazing is Hannah's story?!
I love watching her bring her baby girl on to her chest, it's just magical!
Thanks a million Hannah for sharing your story with us!
There's more beautiful photos and video of Hannah's birth story over on our instagram page @completecsectionrecovery
If you'd like to share your C-Section birth story here, please email [email protected]
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