Elective Caesarean in March 2000

Helen tells of the very positive birth of her daughter, a planned caesarean; following a failed induction and emergency caesarean with her first baby.

My second caesarean was an elective following a failed induction and semi- emergency caesarean with my first baby. It was a truly relaxing and pleasant experience. Obviously, it was still a major operation, but everything went so smoothly, the staff were fantastic and the day was made as stress-free for me as possible.

I arrived early in the morning all prepared and there was some waiting around - probably around 2 and a half hours during which I read home interiors magazines and tried not to think about my first caesarean which had ended with me needing a dural tap. I did feel slightly frightened, definitely apprehensive.

There were two other couples waiting and after a while, one of the nurses popped in and told me that I would be first on the list and should be going in just after 1 pm. In fact, by 1.30 I was in theatre having the pre-op. It was a really surreal place, all painted in a sort of aqua green, and everybody had a bit of a starship enterprise quality about them. The surgeon appeared from nowhere, and the operation began. I didn't notice that he hadn't really spoken to me as the theatre assistants and anaesthetist were so friendly and chatty.

The operation was an amazingly efficient affair. I expected lots of strange tugging and pulling like last time, but within about 10 minutes, there were voices from behind the screen saying 'here she is, you've got a lovely little girl' and a second later a gorgeous, but blood-smeared purple baby girl was handed to me! I was stunned, as I had first seen Edward, my first child, wearing a little coat and hat and had not fully realised that he was my baby as the midwife had been holding him so proudly!

Words cannot explain how thrilled I was! We decided there and then to name her Alice. She was absolutely perfect, quite small and very beautiful.

I can see that this birth experience wouldn't suit everyone - Alice was taken very soon afterwards to another place and my husband accompanied her and dressed her and cared for her. I didn't see her again for about half an hour, but I had been warned that this was hospital procedure and for me, it wasn't a problem. The operation was so quick and smooth and to be honest, a bit like getting a fabulous Christmas present!

I have had a caesarean since then, in which the hospital tried to make it like a normal birth with discovering the sex, cutting the cord, skin to skin contact and immediate breastfeeding offered. This was okay, but I have to say, this was the best of the 3 operations I had, because it was the least hassle, I felt supported, safe and as though I was in the hands of experts.

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