When I found out I was pregnant, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. My husband’s reaction whilst not mirroring mine, was similar, though I could tell the tears he shed were not entirely from the joy and excitement he felt towards his unborn son, but perhaps from the fear and uncertainty as one chapter of his life closed and another was thrown open….
Whilst always wanting children, the practicalities only began to dawn on me as I moved through the pregnancy. At around the 4 month mark it became clear to me that the baby would need to come out.
Now, I need to give you a little context here. I suffer from a condition called “health anxiety”, also known as hypochondria. I’ve had a number of embarrassing encounters with the medical profession. The time I raced to the emergency department thinking I had deep vein thrombosis, comes to mind. Turns out my DVT was actually a mosquito bite….A number of occasions I’ve found myself in the emergency room, with a triage nurse trying to convince me I wasn’t having a heart attack.
With the realization something extreme and potentially dangerous was going to happen to my body in delivery of my baby, I started to panic! After relating my condition to the obstetrician, it became clear that my only option was for a cesarean birth and as he handed back my birth card, I noticed in capital letters and heavily underlined the word anxiety!
From the moment I stepped out of the doctors surgery, it seemed that everyone I met was asking me about my birthing strategy and given the slightly controversial nature of an elective C-section, I answered them and the responses I got were mixed but not altogether pleasant.
While some people were supportive and understanding, I was also met with disapproval, pity and nervous laughter at times. There weren’t that many who empathized with my situation and thought I was missing out on the unique and beautiful experience of a natural birth.
I personally felt nothing but relief and as the feeling of angst and foreboding left me, I was able to truly enjoy my pregnancy, which was smooth sailing all the way.
When the big day came, I was of course petrified, my anxious little brain was telling me over and over that I was about to go into an operating theatre for major abdominal surgery. My obstetrician was however used to these jitters and he, and my husband distracted me with jokes before and during the procedure…..and then, I was being handed my beautiful son, Jack.
Twenty minutes later and we were in the recovery room, my husband cradling our son. He looked over at me and said “well that was very civilized!”
Not the classic labour story, but no regrets from me!