Ezra Francis Hillier - 6.7lbs - born 28/06/2016
Where to start...I am finally a mummy! This post is a very special one close to my heart that I wanted to share with you all. The most special day of my life, the day my son was born!
Choice of hospital and delivery
Lets start with my choice of hospital and delivery... I always knew I wanted to go to a private hospital for maternity care rather than use the NHS healthcare available in the UK. This was mainly because I wanted the option to choose my own consultant and have much more control of exactly how I wanted my birth experience to be. After doing some research I narrowed my choices down to The Portland Hospital in London and the Kensington and Chelsea Wing. Both hospitals have very good reputations, being 2 of the top hospitals in the UK. After speaking with both hospitals and taking a tour I decided The Portland Hospital was for me. I found the staff extremely welcoming and helpful, as well as having fantastic facilities and high levels of staff. I just got that feeling it was the right place to have my son!
The Portland Hospital have a list of consultants you can choose from as well as a midwife led care package if you prefer. I contacted a few consultants and decided on Mr Chilcott. Your consultant is then available for you 24 hours a day if you have any issues or questions. This high standard of continued care was exactly what I was looking for. I found it so useful being able to call or email my consultant at any hour and he'd be there to help with any concerns I may have. It's also nice to have that consistency with care from the same person who knows about your pregnancy.
In terms of delivery I originally planned to have a vaginal birth, however further along in my pregnancy I found out my placenta was low covering the birth canal which would mean it was likely I would need a c-section. Although in the last few weeks of pregnancy my placenta did move up slightly, I decided to still go ahead with the c-section as I had already booked this and felt prepared for it now. I must say I am very happy I went ahead with this choice.
On the day of my c-section I came into hospital a couple of hours before and was shown to my room by a midwife. The rooms are all private with an en-suite bathroom and bed for dad! I love that the hospital accommodates for dads too so they can stay and get involved right from the start.
My consultant came to see me beforehand and I also had a chance to meet the anesatist and discuss what was going to happen/any preferences I may have. Despite my many tattoos I am a complete wimp when it comes to needles so I was definitely worried about the spinal/epidural. I was extremely pleased that the anesatists at the Portland are all consultant level and very good at what they do. Throughout my operation and stay I found keeping me comfortable and pain to a minimum seemed high on the staffs to do list, which I appreciate very much!
When the time came my hubby and I got changed into hospital gowns and walked down to the operating theatre. Each member of staff introduced themselves and said what their role in the operating theatre would be, of course I was already familiar with my consultant, the anesatist and midwife. The atmosphere was very calm and we even had some music on. I'm glad everyone else was calm as I was extremely nervous!
Spinal/epidural - this really wasn't as bad as I expected! Firstly a drip was put into my arm for medication to feed into throughout the operation. I was then asked to sit at the side of the table and curl over with my legs up on a stool. The anestatist cleaned my back and I felt a little sting when he put the local anaesthetic in, this was the only part which hurt a bit. He then administered the combined spinal/epidural. To be honest I didn't really feel much at all, just a bit of pressure but no pain. Before I knew it he said it was done, it seemed to only take a minute. Soon after my legs felt warm and I started to go numb. I didn't realise how numb I was until I was asked to lay down on the table. It is definitely a strange feeling...I still felt some sensations but no pain. My hubby was able to stay with me the whole time which was lovely.
C-section - The screen went up and my consultant began work. I thought he was still cleaning my tummy but actually he had started already! It didn't hurt at all, I just felt a little tugging at first but overall I was very comfortable and relaxed. It felt like only a few minutes had passed and the screen was lowered for us to see our son being born! It was such a surreal moment I felt like I was dreaming. He was passed to me and my hubby for a quick cuddle then taken to be checked and cleaned by the midwife. This was done next to the operating table so I could see him the whole time, We were able to take lots of photos and he was passed back to us for more cuddles while the rest of the operation was being finished. Throughout the c-section I felt slightly spaced out from the medication but overall still alert and comfortable. I was expecting I may feel sick as I heard this was common (and I am one to get sick easily) but luckily that wasn't the case. I was really pleased with how the whole procedure went, I felt like it was as perfect as it could have been. I was definitely expecting a lot more discomfort, I really feel that having an extremely skilled set of medical professionals made this the best possible experience it could have been.
Once I was all stitched up I was taken to the recovery room along with baby and my hubby. I had decided to bottle feed so my hubby got to feed our son for the first time in the recovery room. Shortly after we were taken back to our postnatal room where we were cared for by the midwife.
The rest of our stay
I was very pleased to be able to eat soon after I was out of recovery and take advantage of the amazing food the Portland Hospital has on offer. They have a 24 hour fine dining menu...what a fantastic way to keep well nourished and help recovery! These little extras made the stay like being in a top hotel rather than hospital, it was just perfect.
About 6 hours after my c-section I was encouraged to get up and walk, I was amazed I could actually get up! I very slowly managed to walk to the bathroom, it wasn't painful just achey. Also as I had chosen to bottle feed, I was given a tablet to stop my breast milk coming in and making my breasts uncomfortable. I had never heard of this tablet before but it certainly did the job as I haven't had any discomfort in my breast at all. I was pleased the hospital staff respected my decision on how I wanted to feed and didn't make me feel bad like some medical professionals do.
There is a nursery facility at the Portland which the staff suggested we take advantage of at night so we could get some well needed rest. All mothers and babies are tagged so you know your child is safe and cannot be taken off the floor when they are away from you without setting off the alarms. We were also able to visit the nursery to be shown how to bath baby and change nappy ect. The nursery nurses were extremely helpful and had some good tips on how to take care of baby. My hubby and I didn't go to any classes beforehand so it was great to get some one on one help once our baby was actually here.
The next morning I got up again and slowly started getting myself moving. I managed to take a shower which felt amazing. At this point my dressing was taken off for the first time to be changed, I was amazed to see how neat and tidy my incision was! I could barely see it even at this early stage. I was thrilled with how well my consultant had stitched me up (using dissolvable stitches) I also had minimal bruising. Having seen other post c-section photos online I was expecting a large red sore looking cut with an overhanging belly haha. I found the c-section a very positive experience overall...the first days of recovery were not nearly as bad as I was expecting. I didn't have any sharp pains or anything like that, it was mainly just achey and a little sore around the incision. But overall I was still able to get up for short walks and pick up/feed my son.
During our stay I also had a daily visit from a physiotherapist and our son was checked daily by a consultant paediatrician. We all felt very well care for by all the staff, nothing seemed like too much trouble.
We stayed for a total of 4 nights, and it could not have been more of a perfect time. It was also my birthday the day after my son was born, the kitchen staff made me a lovely birthday cake for myself and family...it was the best birthday in hospital anyone could have asked for! I really feel like my experience at the Portland was everything I hoped for and worth every penny. I believe that their high standard of care and amazing job from my consultant made a massive difference to how quickly I was able to recover. Most importantly my son is well and healthy. His first few days in the world at hospital are ones we will never forget and i'm so thankful for everyone who made it the magical experience it was for me, my hubby and our little boy.
Since being back home I have been pretty much back to normal other than not doing heavy lifting or a lot of exercise. But I have been able to take walks with the pram and feel I am healing up really well!
For anyone choosing/needing a c-section I really hope this post has given you an insight on what a positive experience it can be. I feel like there is so much negative stuff online about how painful and long it takes to recover, when in reality this is not always the case :-)
Not the most attractive of photos but I know many people find these postnatal photos interesting :-) please excuse the slight bruising and stretch marks on my tattoo but as you can see just below, the c-section scar is looking very neat and tidy...even at this early stage which i'm extremely pleased about!
If any of you would be interested in seeing/reading further postnatal updates please let me know. Thank you so much for reading probably my most personal blog post <3
Welcome to the newest part of my site. Here I will be blogging about finance, interior design, food and other general lifestyle topics!