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Real life: "My IVF son was born by caesarean"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Four days after Christmas 2006, our IVF son was born by caesarean. After having an emergency Caesar 12 years ago with my daughter, I really wanted to have a natural birth this time. I prepared for it mentally and physically, but it wasn't to be.

I had a beautiful pregnancy — no morning sickness or major problems. There were a few hiccups, like an ectopic heartbeat (mine), then carpal tunnel syndrome (me again) and finally gestational diabetes. But despite all that, I just adored being pregnant. I spoke to our baby constantly, sang to him, meditated, did yoga — just enjoyed every single minute of a place I had wanted to be for the past 10 years and a place I may never get to experience again.

I had the GD under control. They told me I had to inject myself with insulin three times a day but I kept it under control with a very strict diet and exercise. They weren't impressed with me at the start but I chose to do my own research and then took the initiative and worked out a plan. It worked! Of course, I would never have taken any risks that might have harmed the baby. I was very careful and the nurses were happy with the results. I was having regular scans to check he wasn't getting too big as does happen with GD babies, but then I was told he had stopped growing and was too small. Hence a caesar at 38 weeks.

I had prepared myself for this possibility and wrote out a birth plan. I was still going to embrace this moment mentally, physically and spiritually. We took a camera and music into the operating theatre and captured some beautiful photos. My partner wanted to cut the cord. ("No, he can't.") Tick. Did it!

I wanted my baby and partner with me in recovery. ("Sorry, not possible.") Well, guess what! We tried really hard for this baby, I spent the past nine months telling him I would be there for him and there is no way you are going to rip him out and take him away from me just so you can give him a bath! As they wheeled me away, my partner was holding our son and when the midwife went to answer the phone, I called for him and he followed and off we went. The midwife ran behind with the baby cot, telling us it was not allowed. They both stayed with me in recovery and we had a nice little giggle about it. We went home two days later and spent New Year's Eve at home as a new family.

I don't feel as though I missed out on anything by not having a natural birth and I am neither traumatised nor in regret over either birth. Our son is healthy and at 10 months is still carried in a sling, sleeps in bed with us and is breastfed. Why? Because at 35 I'd rather go on instinct as opposed to what I "should" be doing. And because I believe it's better for him physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. He's happy. We're happy. It's all good.

Kathryn


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