The big difference between my first and second caesareans

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 Photo: Getty Images

Gowning up for the arrival of my second baby was just as exciting as my first. Although the previous nine months had taken its toll on my body and I was more tired than ever, I couldn't wait to meet my second son. 

Knowing that in only an hour or so I'd hold his body in my arms was enough to keep me brave. 

I say brave, because that's what I felt I needed to be. Staring into the face of my second caesarean, I was scared. Unlike the first time when ignorance was bliss, this time there was no ignorance to be had. 

With my first birth, I'd opted for a caesarean as I had gestational diabetes, as well as a paralysing fear of labour.

I knew that if push came to shove (no pun intended) that I could probably get through labour – after all millions of women before me had and that's what us women are meant to do, right?  But I'm a realist and the reality is I'm not good with pain.

After enduring the more emotional pain that had accompanied our journey of IVF, I felt it was time to take charge of something that I could control. I wasn't ignorant to the risks associated with a caesarean, and nor was I talked into it. I made the decision myself and never looked back.

My first caesarean went smoothly, and being enveloped in the joy that was 'the moment', my experience was perfect. 

I blocked out the number of people in the room and focused only on my husband. I relished in the pressure I felt as my son was pulled into the world. And I was blissfully unaware of the stitching up after as I lay in a state of amazement at the miracle of life.

So why was it so different when it came to my second caesarean?

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Sitting and waiting to go down to surgery I was naturally excited, but also really, really scared. I'd been overthinking the surgery beforehand and, with another child at home, was worried about complications and recovery.

Lying on the trolley outside the theatre I fluctuated between freezing cold and boiling hot. At one point, I felt faint and dizzy and clutched my husband's hand for reassurance that I was going to be ok. Being the calm and logical one, he was quick to respond to my fear. "You've got this," he said. "You've done this before."

But having done it before was half the problem!

When my legs went numb from the spinal block I felt like I was watching from above as they relocated me onto another bed. The nurses made small, polite chit chat to try to distract me. I watched their mouths move, not really hearing a sound. I just wanted it all to be over.

An overwhelming feeling of nausea rode up through my body just before they started to cut. The anaesthetist quickly added drugs to my drip to stop that, but my head was still thinking about what was happening below.

It wasn't long after that my second beautiful boy entered the world. Much like the first, he was perfection wrapped up in a pink, wrinkly skin and with a set of lungs to challenge Pavarotti. Naturally, I fell in love all over again.

But as I was stitched back up I still felt anxious and wondered if this time I'd made the right choice, particularly thinking of my recover ahead. 

Should I have tried to go natural? Would it have been any better? Was going into something with knowledge more fearful than not?

Lying cradling my son in the days after, I stopped assessing whether my decision had been right or wrong.  He'd arrived safe and sound and that's all that really counted.

But if there were to be a third child (and there's not!), would I rethink my labour plan? I honestly don't know. 

All I know is that there's no easy way to bring a baby into the world, and there's no option without some level of pain. But, for me, I'm just glad that that part of the journey is over. 

Even though, in hindsight, perhaps that was the most painless part of parenting after all!