C-section birth stories: Susan’s 1st C-section following sudden onset pre-eclampsia

Susan writes about her first time C-section experience when baby Conor made an early arrival:

So our first baby, a little boy, was due the 4th July 2013. At my 22 week scan (the ‘big’ scan), all was apparently fine and the sonographer was nice and cheerful telling us everything was good. We came outside all happy with ourselves and my other half went back to work while I waited to see the midwife. However, when I saw the midwife, she referred me to my consultant, based on a high BP reading, and before I knew what was happening I was admitted and in a bed. This started a trend of almost weekly consultant visits, urine tests for protein, blood tests and BP medication and a few overnight stays.

At my 33 week visit, the baby’s growth had been minimal since last scan, so I had steroid shots on a Friday and the second on the Saturday with a lovely midwife called Melissa. My BP meds were upped to the maximum dose so I very much felt like a ticking time-bomb.

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I struggled to sleep on the Sunday night, but put it down to the steroids as I was told they could cause restlessness. On the Monday morning I felt unwell, had a pain which I thought was indigestion/heartburn and while I was taking in lots of fluids, I wasn’t using the bathroom much. I had a BP monitor and used it a few times, but my readings were so high I thought the monitor was broken!

I rang my other half who was on the road with work and asked him to come home, something stopped me from heading to hospital solo. I also asked him to get batteries so we could check the monitor! He came home and we got in the car in rush hour traffic to cross the city. When I walked into the labour ward, two things acted in our favour – Melissa the midwife I had seen on the Fri and the Sat was on duty so barely needed to read my file, and also there was nobody else in labour at all.

About 30 minutes later, the consultant on call, whom I had met a few times, came into the room. She was ever so calm and ever so lovely and made a very daunting scary situation seem very normal. She told me the pain I had was epigastric pain and was my liver distending and that my kidneys were losing functionality too. Yet I had no headache, limited swelling, no vision issues and clear bloods.

The diagnosis was that I had hit sudden onset pre-eclampsia and baby needed out asap – to quote her ‘your baby will be fine and will be here within the hour’. Right so!

So the hospitals routine kicked in, in which I was the smallest pawn and just got ferried along. I had a fast loading dose of magnesium sulphate, into theatre I went, onto the operating table and sitting on the side bent over for the spinal block. Johnny was brought back in and they were working away on me. I had been told there was a 50/50 chance of baby making any noise and that while we might see him, to be prepared not to in case he needed to be taken off to NICU immediately.

Then we heard the biggest scream, and she held our lovely son Conor up over the screen within the first minute of him being out, and I think that was when I finally felt like I could breathe.

The paediatrician then whisked him off and gave him a full head to toe beside us on the resuscitation unit , he scored 9 on the apgar, and after almost 9 minutes of being there beside us, I gave him a kiss, and the baby team and Johnny left with him.

Susan and her 1st C-section baby

He came in at 3lbs 14oz (1.78kg), born at 21:03pm on the 20th May and a grand total of 17.5 inches long at 33 weeks and 3 days gestation. He came home with us 21 days later and is just perfect.

Susan is a busy Dublin mum of two, Conor was born 7 weeks premature in 2013, and Freya arrived in 2015. She survived the magic combination of 2 under 2 for six weeks.

Watch out for her second C-section story coming soon! 


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