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  • Writer's pictureMidwife Pip

Amelia Goodhead-Barry’s Birth Story: Planned Caesarean Birth

If I told you the day I had major abdominal surgery was the best day of my entire life, would you believe me? Not only because we got to meet our son for the very first time, but also because I felt like a flipping superhero. It's not every day you agree to be sliced open for the welfare of a tiny human you haven't even met yet. But that is my birth story. The day our lives changed forever. And I wouldn't change it for the world.

C-sections are no walk in the park. Like any birth, they come with risks and the recovery can be gruelling. But they can also be beautiful. You still have options, choices, ways to make it a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I think it's important to share that positive C-section births happen too. Every single day.

There’s something pretty cool about knowing your child’s birthday before they’re even born! Not only can you make sure you have everything ready for their arrival, but you can also plan some last fun things in for you. The week before our C-section, we made so many lovely memories. We planned dinners with family, day trips out, ate a LOT of food and even went to a spur-of-the-moment puppy yoga session (the last spontaneous thing we’d do as a couple for a while!). The night before, we baked him a birthday cake and went out for one final date as a couple, just us two. Going to bed felt like Christmas Eve; I don’t know how we managed any sleep!

On the day our son was born, I woke up, had a cup of tea in bed and ate a slice of toast spread thickly with peanut butter – the last food I’d see until that evening – and then I hopped in the shower. I brushed my teeth while he was kicking away, put on my maternity dungarees, picked up my hospital bag and we got in the car. Driving to the hospital was the most surreal journey. Knowing the next time we’d be sat in this car together there would be another person in the back – it was so strange! Honestly, it felt like a real privilege to be able to count down like that to the most special day of our lives.

Checking into the maternity ward was calm and exciting as we were allocated a bay to sit in before being officially admitted. One of the doctors came round to talk us through how the day would go and asked us if we had any preferences around how we wanted our birth to look. We did. We knew we wanted to watch him being born. For us to find out the sex ourselves, instead of being told. We wanted him to be ‘walked out’ as much as possible to help with the clearing of fluid and I wanted immediate skin-to-skin with all his weighing, measuring and everything else to be left until after. The doctor listened intently and said the words we were hoping for: ‘That all sounds great, let’s do it.’

There was a lot of waiting that day, which we came prepared for with games and lots of excitable family members and friends on the other end of the phone. To our surprise, we had our own room so we unpacked, settled down … and I tried not to think about food! Then, before we knew it, we were being called down for surgery and it was time to go.

Before we went into theatre our surgeon came out to meet us. She was kind and calm, answering our questions, listening again to our preferences and, with her hand on my shoulder, she reassured me it was all going to be OK. I was led in for my spinal block as my husband waited outside and, in no time at all, he was with me again and we were ready to begin. 

The feeling in theatre was joyful. Everyone was smiling, chatting and laughing together – everyone was just so nice! Within what felt like minutes, we were asked ‘Are you ready?’ and the drapes were lowered just in time for us to see our son enter the world. My bump was in the way so we saw nothing else but his face appearing and shortly after we found out we had a son. We watched him take his very first breath and, in that same moment, he took ours away. 

I can’t even begin to describe the beauty of it all and I feel so incredibly grateful we got to experience it. As he was placed on my chest, it was like we were the only three people in the world. The sounds of the theatre faded away as we were hit with the overwhelming love of becoming parents. Honestly, the rest of the surgery was a blur (in the best possible way) and in the blink of an eye we were in recovery feeding for the first time.

My first steps out of my hospital bed later that night were painful, and I felt a little woozy as I made the epic journey from my bed to the toilet after my catheter was removed. But the midwives were on hand to steady me and every step got easier from there. I didn’t sleep a wink that first night just staring at this tiny little person lying there next to me in that bassinet – something I’m sure the majority of mothers feel on that magical first night. But despite not sleeping, the hours flew by, and before I knew it my husband was here again bearing gifts of hot coffee and pastries, and we were fighting over who got to cuddle him first! Later that afternoon – after health checks and visits from the feeding team – we were walking (albeit very slowly!) out of the hospital as a new family of three.

My recovery was great – something I know isn’t the same for everyone, but it can, and does, happen. Home the next day, no complications, manageable pain (keep on top of your meds!) and, with help from my wonderful husband and a slow first two weeks, I felt relatively back to normal. Incredible really.

When I look in the mirror now, my bump is gone. I don’t have any stretch marks and, apart from my boobs now practically sitting on my belly button(!), it’s almost like my pregnancy, the incredible journey my son and I took together, never happened. And then I see my scar. The most beautiful scar in the world and my favourite part of my body. A permanent reminder of what we went through together and the day my life changed forever.

I know some people feel like they’ve failed in some way giving birth via C-section, but, honestly, I feel the opposite. I feel like I won the lottery walking away with the most positive and empowering birth experience and our beautiful son safe in my arms.

My C-section truly was the best day of my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

If you are committed to achieving a Positive Birth make sure you check our Your Pregnancy Journey HERE


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