“With my third baby, I had a C-sec­tion.”

“The anaes­thetist called me ‘one of na­ture’s anom­alies’.”

Glamour (South Africa) - - Health Update -

Af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing both a nat­u­ral birth and an emer­gency C-sec­tion with my first two chil­dren, I chose to have an­other C-sec­tion with my third as I didn’t want to run the risk of tear­ing the scars from my pre­vi­ous Cae­sarean. Plus, I al­ready knew about the heal­ing process, and wasn’t pre­pared to go through the ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain of a nat­u­ral birth again.

When I went into labour on a Sunday af­ter­noon, I didn’t re­alise that I was hav­ing con­trac­tions, as I’d had a busy week­end and just thought I’d been overly ac­tive. The fol­low­ing morn­ing I had a rou­tine check-up, and learnt that I’d gone into early labour. I was two weeks away from my due date.

My doc­tor was wor­ried about the baby’s size, as my am­ni­otic flu­ids were low, which meant that the en­vi­ron­ment was no longer con­ducive for the baby’s growth, nu­tri­tion or gen­eral health. So I was kept un­der ob­ser­va­tion at the hos­pi­tal and con­fined to bed. The baby’s heart­beat was closely mon­i­tored for the re­main­der of the week, and my con­trac­tions slowly de­creased .

At 9.30am on a Fri­day, the anaes­thetist came in to dis­cuss the epidu­ral. I was ter­ri­fied to have a scalpel cut through my ab­domen, and I made him prom­ise I wouldn’t feel a thing!

Un­for­tu­nately, I didn’t re­spond to the epidu­ral: the anaes­thetist called me ‘one of na­ture’s anom­alies’. My legs even­tu­ally went numb, but that lasted for only five min­utes. The doc­tor waited and then be­gan cut­ting – and boy, did I feel it! The sec­ond at­tempt was even more painful, and I be­came so fright­ened I’d feel ev­ery­thing he was do­ing that I asked for a gen­eral anaes­thetic.

When I came to, the nurse placed my 2.2kg daugh­ter, Nosi­bu­siso, on my chest. Back in the ma­ter­nity ward, I was given painkillers, which made me quite drowsy, but I was able to get out of bed the next evening and was fully re­cov­ered two weeks later.

I was sad that I didn’t hear Nosi­bu­siso cry for the first time, but out­side of that, I would still do it the same way. I wouldn’t risk hav­ing my C-sec­tion scars tear open or want to en­dan­ger my child’s life or my own, and I’m just not will­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence the pain of a nat­u­ral birth again.

C-SEC­TION: THE PROS AND CONS

“A C-sec­tion, also known as a Cae­sar­ian, is a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure in which a baby is de­liv­ered through the mother’s ab­domen. As with any surgery, the de­ci­sion needs to be care­fully con­sid­ered, and the con­ve­nience of this method comes with con­sid­er­able risk, such as ex­ces­sive bleed­ing or in­fec­tion. The re­cov­ery time is also a fac­tor; it’s not easy to move around for six weeks af­ter­wards, which is hard to man­age, es­pe­cially with a new­born,” says Dr van der Merwe.

Thato Setl­hoke, 35, cor­po­rate ac­count man­ager

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