I remember lying on the operating table, waiting for my body to be sliced open a third time. My third baby was about to be born and the anticipation was literally dripping from the hushed voices around me. All was calm. All was still. All was just so. I looked up at the huge light above the table as the anaesthetic coursed through my legs, sending a warm and fuzzy daze through my body, and all of a sudden I was gripped with fear. And I thought: I am never ever going to do this again.
Let me take you back. Twice previously my body had been cut open, but in very different circumstances. Each emergency c-section had almost been a sweet relief. Intensely painful contractions and highly tense emotions came to an end, just like that. Terror, fear and agony out like a light. As was I.
Those sections were horrific. But at the point where they put knife to skin, those c-sections were necessary. They saved my life. They saved my babies. They were an absolute end to a means.
This time, the 3rd time, was different. This time I’d chosen it. This time I’d walked into theatre. This time I knew what they were about to do.
And I vowed never to put myself in that situation again.
But then here I was. October 24th 2014. Sitting on the edge of the operating table, waiting for the anaesthetist to inject my spine with medicine. A busy room filled with people. Some were there to take blood from me. Some wanted pieces of my placenta to take away for analysing and research. Some wanted nothing more than to deliver my baby safely. And there was that huge light above the bed again. My reflection in it’s surface, my face saying it all.
That’s what the 4th section was really like.
Prior to my op, the surgeon came to see me and told me how she would perform the surgery. Because it was a 4th section, she would cut very slowly. She would be mindful of the potential for lots of scar tissue. She would cut through each layer slowly and there may not be much conversation as she needed to concentrate. It would take a lot longer than I was used to.
I was to be a piece of meat again.
No matter how many times you’ve been there, it never gets want easier. You are still lying, alone on a table, waiting for someone to put a knife to your skin.
And afterwards, though you may want to get up and walk, and lift your baby and go home to your family, you really cannot. You feel that knife for weeks. You cannot cough. You cannot laugh. You cannot sit up without a searing pain to remind you of that table.
My body was not riddled with scar tissue and the surgery went very well. Despite that, and despite the fact that my section was a calm planned procedure, my recovery was horrific. The pain was intense. The guilt more so.
That’s what the 4th section was like for me, but that’s not to say it will be the same for you. Just know one thing. It’s major. You need to be kind to yourself. You need time to be. You need to remember that each time you’re been cut open, your body has eventually healed and although it may take longer after the first one, you will get there.
I don’t think of that table with the huge light quite so much anymore.