My Journey: Pregnancy, birth and recovery
Every pregnancy, birth and baby website is cramped with the loveliest natural birth stories and only contain a few C-section birth stories here and there, so I thought I’d share a bit of what my experience was like.

The first scan was done at about 16 weeks, everything looked perfect and I felt fine, not even a hint of morning sickness. The next scan was at about 19 weeks –this is when we found out we were having a little princess...

I had a pretty easy pregnancy, experienced a bit of pain around my abdomen at about 20+ weeks and was kept overnight at Vincent Pallotti due to high blood pressure but it turned out to be nothing. My feet and ankles were quite swollen and I had terrible heartburn towards the end but other than that it was a lovely experience, I had a huge appetite and even picked up a total of 20kgs. (This was very unexpected as I have always been very slender and struggled to pick up weight my entire life.)

As the pregnancy progressed our princess developed so wonderfully and gained weight so nicely, only issue was that she wasn’t turning.  I ended up having an elective C-section as she was still breech at 36 weeks. Some say the baby can be turned, but I just wasn’t prepared to take that risk after hearing about what could go wrong. I originally prepared for and wanted a natural birth but was happy to go ahead with the c-sec as it didn’t really matter to me how Harper would come into this world as long as she was safe and healthy that was more than good enough for me.

So at my last ultrasound at about 36 weeks little miss still hadn’t turned so we made a booking for the 13th of Jan 2014 – at that stage I would be 38 weeks 5 days.

It was weird knowing exactly when Harper would make her appearance but so exciting as we counted down the days to her arrival.

We woke up at about 05h00 on the 13th, me tired, hungry, excited and so nervous. We left home at about 06h30ish and checked in at the hospital at about 07h00 and then waited for a short time in the reception area for all the documentation to be sorted. We were then taken to the maternity ward and I was shown to my bed, I unpacked some stuff and changed into the hospital gown provided. A nurse then came and strapped on an electronic foetal monitor for a short while. 

Allan and I just relaxed and chatted for a bit and were then met by the Anaesthesiologist who popped in to ask me a few questions so as to make sure there would be no problems when he administered the epidural in theatre. Then my Gynaecologist walked in and told us to get ready. Within minutes I was being wheeled up to theatre. Allan quickly changed into his scrubs – he looked so smart.

The Anaesthesiologist put in the drip and then administered the epidural – I am terrified of needles so I was really dreading this part but I was pleasantly surprised because it was so quick and easy. Not really painful just a bit uncomfortable.

Then the catheter was inserted, so glad this was done after the epidural as I’ve heard it’s not enjoyable. The screen was put up and we were told we’d meet our daughter soon.

Allan was sitting next to me on a chair, I can’t remember what we were talking about. I felt no pain, only a bit of tugging and like I couldn’t breathe properly as I was laying on my back with this huge belly, doc assured me that feeling would be gone really soon. A few short minutes later (at 08h45) he held up our daughter over the screen and we laid our eyes on her for the very first time.

She didn’t really cry, just a few little groans. Allan went with her to the other side of the room and watched as the paediatrician cleaned and examined her. He then cut the cord and held her in his arms for the first time. (I watched him pick her up, he just stood there looking into Harper’s eyes, he looked so proud.) 

Her weight 3.3kgs and height 52cm.

He brought her to me and gently placed her on my chest, she was so small and perfect.

We had our first family photo taken and were then moved to the recovery room for a short time so that my vitals could be monitored. During this time we tried to latch Harper – not very successfully might I add. 

We were then wheeled to our room, as we were pushed out into the corridor, Harper covered and still laying on my chest under a huge duvet, I saw my whole family come out from around the corner – they all looked so happy and were excited to see Harper, they all had a little peak at her as we were wheeled passed. 

We reached our room and settled in and were left alone to admire our little girl. A short while later we had a few visitors. 

I had a bit to eat and self-administered some pain medication through a pump like device which measures the medication for you and allows you to pump every few minutes. The lower half of my body was still quite numb so it was a bit awkward trying to move in bed and sit up properly.

The next morning the drip and catheter was taken out and I was encouraged to get out of bed. Surprisingly I did so with ease, I was extremely nervous as I’d heard how difficult a c-sec recovery can be. But it really wasn’t that bad.

Harper was latching from time to time but still wasn’t getting enough. One of the nurses suggested we give her a “top-up” formula feed after the breastfeeding just to ensure she gets what she needs – this worked for us.

We were released on Thursday morning, I was quite happy to get home after spending 4 days in hospital. I just wanted to be in my own home. 

Harper is a real lady, so sweet and well-behaved. Allan and I are really blessed. I’ve heard how other newborns scream and fuss and we’ve never had that problem with Harper. 

I am so thankful that my recovery has gone so smoothly and that Harper is happy and healthy. She is now a beautiful, smart and seriously funny little 6 month old. 

We are so in love with her. We have had the best experience thus far, I would not change a thing and I am more than happy to have another elective C-section one day when we decide to have another little one.

- Stephanie Knapp

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