Cameron John's Caesarean
This web site was referred to me by one of our local
midwives, who has also had 2 caesareans, as a way to help me
overcome my grief at what I see as having been forced into a
caesarean, that was not absolutely essential.
I realise this is a very long story. I'd like to think
that someone else won't have to go through as much grief as
I did, if they know they're not the only one going through
it. I find it quite sad that society demands people keep
their problems to themselves. Everyone only seems to talk of
all the good and joyful things about having a baby. If more
people I know had spoken about their feelings and
experiences after their caesareans, I'm sure I'd have been
more prepared beforehand and would have coped so much better
As I'd left having children until I was thirty, I was
very surprised to find I glided through pregnancy without
one problem, not even morning sickness. I'd jokingly said
all the way through, that I'd had the perfect pregnancy, I
bet I have a terrible labour.
Being a very organised person, I thought I was as
prepared as I could possibly be for the birth of my baby.
How very naïve of me.
As my husband drives trucks and is away every second
night, I'd organised to ring my mother when labour started.
This is when I should have realised nothing was going to go
My waters broke at 5:00am Wednesday morning. I rang mum,
the phone had been knocked off the hook. I panicked, then
thought I'd ring her next-door neighbours, they had message
bank. So I rang one of her friends who lived a few streets
away to go and get her out of bed, forgetting to tell them
that I was still at home and everything had only just
I then rang the hospital, they told me to come in as soon
as I could. I asked if I should use the emergency maternity
entrance or the front entrance, and was told the front one,
they'd be waiting for the buzzer.
I finished packing my bag and waited for mum, who turned
up not long after in a huge panic, with my stepfather (to be
my birthing partner) and little sister, wondering if I'd
still be at home or at the hospital. They went back home to
collect a few things while mum stayed with me, then we went
to the hospital.
The front doors at the hospital were open, so we didn't
have to ring a buzzer. When we arrived at the maternity
nurse's station, the midwife who'd answered the phone asked
why we'd used the front entrance, which was the length of
the hospital away from the delivery suites.
We were shown into one of the labour suites and I was
examined and the monitor put on the baby. After half an hour
of this we were told to go for a walk and the baby would be
monitored every half hour.
My husband arrived at this stage, he'd had two hours
sleep since the morning before.
After walking and resting all morning, the contractions
were 3 to 4 minutes apart and only getting to the stage
where I couldn't talk through them by about 3:00pm, the
midwife decided to put in a drip to help bring the labour
along, my veins kept moving and she ended up jamming the
needle into my wrist bone before finally getting it right.
By 4:00pm they'd turned the drip up so far that my
contractions were one on top of the other, and hardly easing
at all. The pain was immense, so I agreed to use the gas
(which was the only drug I wanted to use). At first it was a
mix of 50%oxygen/50%nitrousoxide and only helped a
I then went into the shower, using the mobile gas unit,
turning it up to 40%oxygen/60%nitrus oxide. Then I totally
lost the plot and started pushing. The midwife examined me,
I was only 3cm dilated. She put me back on the bed to
examine me again, finding that the baby was posterior, with
his head flexed (tilted back), that's why I was in so much
pain and wanted to push. I was asked if I wanted pethidine,
I declined, I thought I could cope with just the gas. I
tried kneeling over a beanbag on the bed, it didn't help
either, but I stayed there for a couple of hours.
I don't remember what time, quite late in the piece I
think, but eventually I agreed to pethidine. It was harder
to cope with the gas than without.
I was examined again at about 10:00pm and was 5 cm
&endash; 6cm. This is when I agreed to have an epidural. It
didn't work!!!!! I'm not sure what the odds are, but it is
extremely rare. The tube they insert into your spine was
kinked, the anaesthetist said it should take about 20
minutes to work and kept pumping the liquid into the tube.
Meanwhile I was having to deal with the psychological
problem of thinking the pain would stop and it didn't. This
is when I started screaming, I couldn't take any more and
did the worst thing you could possibly do to your mother, I
asked her to please stop the pain. Of course she couldn't.
She was so upset.
The midwives then changed shifts. The new one examined me
again, but couldn't decide how far dilated I was, so went to
get the doctor on shift. She then examined me with and
without a contraction and said I'd gone backwards and was
only 4cm, and that I'd most likely have to have a
I was still in immense pain, the epidural hadn't worked,
I have a phobia of knives and needles - but had suffered
through all the needles so far. I was terrified. My family
was distraught because they were tired and couldn't do
anything to help me.
It was about 11:00pm.
The senior anaesthetist came in and pulled the failed
epidural out and inserted a new one, but before it had time
to work the doctor came back and said she'd spoken to the
registrar, who agreed that I should have a caesarean.
This is what made that day so horribly distressing. The
doctor then told us that I should decide now to have a
caesarean as the theatre staff had just gone home, and if
they were called out in two hours time they were likely to
make mistakes and that the baby was posterior and I wasn't
advancing fast enough.
She left us to discuss it for a few minutes. I started
crying hysterically. It is impossible to describe everything
that I was feeling at that time, all I can say is that I was
exhausted, in immense pain, still out of it on drugs and
terrified of being sliced open. My family weren't much help,
they were just as tired and distressed. I kept thinking,
I've got no choice. The doctor brought in the consent form
for me to sign. While I was signing it I was thinking: I
don't want to have this done. Do I really have to do this
now, can't we leave it for a bit longer, to give the
epidural time to work?
They gave a shot of pethidine to settle me down and told
me to go to sleep for half an hour. I started becoming
hysterical again, once I woke up, and they started wheeling
me up to theatre.
When we got up to theatre, the first anaesthetist, who'd
stuffed up the epidural, stood over me and told me he'd be
in theatre with me. Needless to say I totally lost it,
thinking: Oh my god if he stuffs this up I'll feel them
cutting me open. Then they wheeled me in and put me onto the
operating table and put all the blood pressure things on me,
while they waited for my husband to put on the theatre
Then they started prodding me, asking if I could feel it.
No I couldn't, just the pressure. At which time they did the
cut, bringing my son into the world, at 1:17am on Thursday
I remember hearing him cry, then someone held him up over
the curtain for me to look at; he dripped on me. I said to
my husband: Oh my god, there was a baby in there, now what
do I do with it?
They took him away then to clean him up and do their
tests. The next thing I heard was someone saying, "Did
anyone take notice of the time?" They didn't even get that
right. My husband was asked if he wanted to cut the cord. I
was still crying and shaking, he didn't want to leave me, I
told him to go. For me the worst was over, they'd done the
one thing I didn't want them to do; cut me open.
One of the nurses had our camera and was happily snapping
photos, they brought Cameron over to me to touch and have
photos taken, then we went out into recovery where I fed
him. He had such a strong suck and good attachment. Then off
we went back to the ward, where they gave me a shot of
pethidine in the leg and some other drugs. By this stage,
after all the stress of the past 4 hours, all I wanted was a
cigarette, but I couldn't get out of bed.
Mum and my stepfather met us at the ward, had a hold of
Cameron, congratulated me, then went home taking my husband
I awoke at 7:00am, to the voice of our only male midwife.
He's a wonderful man and is perfect for the job. He was
saying, "You've done it the wrong way round you silly
duffer, your waters aren't supposed to break first." He
helped me up and into the shower. By the time I came back
out my husband was there and so was breakfast. Cameron still
hadn't woken up, so we went for a very, very slow walk out
to the back verandah to have that cigarette I'd wanted 5
Then I started thinking about everything that had gone
wrong. By day two, my nipples were as sore as my caeser
wound, I was extremely upset and something had to give, so
the breastfeeding went by the wayside. Cameron at least got
the colostrum and a full 4 days worth of feeding, then I put
him on the bottle, totally against everything I believe in,
I just couldn't cope with all the pressures put together. I
continued to express 5 times a day up until he was 2 weeks
old, but stopped that and tried breastfeeding him again with
a nipple shield, topping him up with formula. I came out in
a huge stress rash up my neck, which I haven't had for
years. So had to decide once and for all to put him on the
So in summary everything that could go wrong did go
wrong. My waters broke first, Mum's phone was off the hook,
the drip needle wouldn't go in and got jammed into my wrist
bone, I had full back pain, the baby was posterior, the
baby's head was flexed, the gas sent me to fairy land, the
first epidural didn't work, the doctor told me they might
make mistakes, I had a caeser, I couldn't breastfeed because
of the physical and mental pain, I can't do my housework, I
can't walk my dog, I can't get back into shape yet, I can't
drive, I've lost my independence (even if only for a short
while), I can't go back to work when I want or need to and
I'm scared to have a another baby. I wonder if the doctors
realise what effect their decisions have on their patients.
It seems to me, that these days, it's just more convenient
to do caesareans than to waste the time waiting for a woman
to do it naturally. Technology is a wonderful thing, but
when it starts taking one's rights away, is it truly that
So now after 3 weeks, and speaking to as many people as
possible who've had caesareans, quite a few who have had
VBAC's, I am slowly coming to terms with what happened and
am starting to focus on Cameron, not myself. I now know that
there is a high chance that I'll be able to have my next
baby naturally. What a relief. I know I'll probably never
fully come to terms with this, but I know I can't go back
and change what happened, but I can be fully prepared for
I am writing to the Director of Medical Services at the
hospital to let him know of the unethical way the Doctor
approached my situation. Yes, there may have been problems
if they'd let my labour continue, but I'd at least like to
have had a chance to do it on my own before they opted to do
a caeser. The problem was; the midwife was not very
experienced, the doctor is still in training and no one will
ever admit to any error on their part. I'm having my
six-week check up at the hospital, so I can look at my
chart. The only way I'll ever know what really happened, and
was said, is to talk to my family and see what they
remember. It's just a shame the doctor had to practice on
Written by Kellie Bryan.