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Jenny and Maxs' birth story

Our second child Max was born by Elective Cesarean Section (ELCS) in August 2021.

My first birth almost three years earlier with our daughter Freya was an induction (she was 12 days over her 'due date') followed by an emergency c-section (I had a very intense labour brought on by the induction, however my cervix never got the memo that a baby was going to be coming through it imminently!). I made the decision a long time before we were even thinking about having Max that any subsequent children we might have would be born via an Elective Cesarian Section. This was informed partially by the fact I had been told after Freya's birth that some of the complications that led to the EMCS were likely to reoccur, but also as a result of my experince of the induction. Although I was happy to consider a VBAC, I was not prepared to potentially go through another induction, and my experience first time round had been that although on paper you can refuse or delay an induction, in practice I had found it much harder to get medical professionals to agree to let me go past 12 days over, irrespective of the fact that I was otherwise a very low risk pregnancy. Once I fell pregnant with Max, I was very clear with my midwife team that my preference was for a ELCS. I had a very positve experience where my self advocacy and my preference were both respected and supported. After an incredibly supportive conversation with my midwife and consultant at the hopsital, it was agreed that the best course of action was for me to be booked in for an elective c-section as close to my due date as possible, but that if I were to go into labour spontaneously before that date that I would have a VBAC unless medical intervention was needed. I was overjoyed with this as a way forward, I felt it gave me full autonomy over my body and the birth of my child, whilst also side stepping the possibility of a second induction. On the day of my planned c-section we arrived at the hospital, got booked in and waited to be called to theatre. My experience could not have been more different to the EMCS I had had previously: it was a calm, collected, and smooth process from start to finish. The full procedure was explained to myself and my partner as part of the pre-op checks where we were also introduced to the medical team who would be looking after us in theatre. This reassured us both that we understood what would be happening, and in what order. I would have an anethisitst team monitoring me throughout, as well as an assisting nurse team. We were walked down to theatre just after midday and welcomed the perfectly healthy and gorgeous Baby Max at 12.38pm. The operation itself is a strange experience, you are awake and concious, but once the spinal block kicks in there is absolutely no pain at all, but there is an awareness of the sensation of the surgery and movement. You do not see any of the surgery taking place, but any nervousness myself or my partner had was melted away by the medical team and surgeon, and any questions we had, before, during and after the procedure were always answered. We were asked before the surgery started how we would like the first meeting of our baby to go, so even things like who hands the baby to mum, cord cutting, and gender reveal were all discussed beforehand to ensure that our preferences were accommodated. Just like any kind of birth, recovering from a c-section takes time. If we didn't know it already, the female body is amazing: with both my births I was lucky enough to know other new mums who gave birth around the same time as me and we found that our rate of healing and recovery post birth was very similar irrespective of the means by which our babies entered the world. C-section mums just needed to be a little more careful with lifting and bending, but that's just an excellent reason to get someone else to do the hoovering while you cuddle your beautiful new life xx

Thank you so much for sharing your story.

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