About to have my 5th Caesarean!

Just thought I would put my own experience with previous caesareans here, as other mums have found it helpful and reassuring in the past, due to the positive experiences I have had with my caesareans.

I am actually due to have my 5th baby (and 5th caesarean) in 2 days time!

When I had my last caesarean, my obstetrician let me know that my previous scars had all healed remarkably well each time, and that it looked like I should be totally fine to have more.

She is highly experienced and I have had great recoveries each time, so I was confident of her recommendation, even though I have had so many people look shocked when I tell them that I am about to have my 5th caesarean, and countless people have said, "but I thought 3 was the limit".

I have had 4 caesareans so far and although the first one was scary because it was emergency, the next three planned ones were all wonderful!

With my first born, I was overdue at 41 weeks, when my waters broke and were full of meconium. My contractions started and I went to hospital.

About 9 hours later, during one of the contractions (which they were monitoring because of the thick meconium in my waters) his heartrate dropped from 120 down to 60 and then didn't come back up again. I was in a country town, so they phoned the major maternity hospital in Perth who told my doctor that the baby needed to be born immediately as I was not dilating properly and he was stuck and in distress.

Anyway, I was *rushed* into the operating theatre and told to sign a piece of paper (which was near on impossible with my minute-and-a-half apart contractions which were lasting a minute each!) and then they gave me a GA and then next thing I knew I was waking up with a baby in my arms! He fed immediately and my milk came in with in 2-3 days. I bonded perfectly with him and everything was wonderful. My doctor told me not to drive for 6 weeks, so I didn't and I think that really helped with my recovery. I also had heaps of help and ladies from our church brought me meals at home just about every night for the first few weeks which was wonderful!

Any pain was always dealt with almost before I felt it and with in a few days I could get by with just panadol and then after about 6 days I didn't even need that.

The worst pain I felt after the caesarean was wind pain on the second day, and referred wind pain which you feel in your shoulder when the wind inside you presses on your diaphragm. I recommend taking peppermint tea for the wind pain and ask for a gentle laxative if you need it.

Also it helps to get up as soon as you can and begin walking around a little bit, otherwise you can seize up a bit. Try to walk tall and straight but be gentle.

I was absolutely amazed at how quickly the cut heals over and goes back to being completely normal. After 5 days, they remove the tape (and stitches if you have ones that need removing) and the cut is all perfectly sealed back with just a thin clean line to see. Anyone who saw it was absolutely amazed as they had expected a big wound or something!

With my next birth, I waited until my due date, and then had a planned caesarean as I was too scared to go through that whole emergency saga again. It was really wonderful and I healed so much faster and had very little pain at any stage.

I had a spinal block which I was dreading but it was fine and there was nothing painful about it in the slightest. I preferred the thought of a spinal block (as opposed to an epidural) as it is just a quick needle in and out and no tube remains in your back like it does with an epidural.

First you sit on the edge of the bed in a gown (or lie on the edge of the bed on your side, depending on the anesthetist) and they clean and paint your back (with antiseptic stuff) and then put the spinal block in which lasts a few seconds. Then they roll you onto your back and after a few seconds your legs start feeling heavy. Next they check that there is no feeling there by using a cold pack, and finally, when everything is ready (after they have put in a catheter), the doctor who is performing your caesarean comes in.

The baby is literally out within a few minutes and you get to cuddle them straight away. You feel nothing but tugging sensations at any time. Your legs just feel cozy and warm and your husband sits by your head and talks to you the whole time. Your husband usually gets to hold your baby and bond with them while you are being stitched up. My husband went with our baby to the nursery and then back to my room every time, while I was in recovery.

In recovery, they just monitor you and make sure you are fine until you get a stable blood pressure reading and stable temperature. I always get the shakes afterwards and that is a normal side effect, but it's nothing to worry about. I also always get a really itchy face as the spinal block wears off, but again that is very normal and just a slight annoyance and it doesn't last long.

With all four babies, I was able to sit up and feed them as soon as I came out of recovery and was back in my room (about an hour after the birth). All of them latched on immediately and fed for a full hour the very first time. I found that they have all wanted to feed for hours on the second day and second night and so I just let them, as this is what helps to make sure your milk comes in by the third day. I think the other reason that some people who have caesareans have problems with milk supply, is that with a planned caesarean, the doctor often wants to perform the caesarean up to 3 weeks before the due date. I have always tried to have it as close to the due date as possible so the baby is definitely ready to be born.

My next two births were also planned caesareans with a spinal block as my experience had been so positive with the last one that I wanted to repeat it. I have had the same obstetrician for the last two and she had my baby out both times within 7 minutes of walking into the room (but took much longer to stitch me up which is good!) I healed so perfectly well that I could do sit ups and run around after the 8 week recovery period with absolutely *no* pain at all.

I followed doctor's advice and didn't drive at all within the first 6 weeks for all four caesareans which helped to keep me at home resting and bonding, and not gallivanting around injuring myself

With all four caesareans my milk has come in within 2-3 days.

I think I healed faster each time and was up and about faster.

Here's what I have done for the last three and would do again if I ever had another:

* Try to wait until your due date (or as close as possible) so your baby doesn't have to come into the world too early
* Have a spinal block if available (as opposed to an epidural)
* Cuddle your baby straight away and then give them to your husband to hold while being stitched up
* Feed immediately on arriving back in bedroom (has been for a full hour every time)
* Drink peppermint tea to help with wind pain
* Give your baby heaps of cuddles
* Keep your baby right there beside the bed all the so you can reach them
* Make sure you have a hanging thing above your bed that you grab onto with your hand to help you get up
* Ask midwives for help when you need to get up or get your baby
* Try to get up the second day and do a very gentle walk
* Get as much help as possible
* Don't drive for the first 6 weeks

Ummm, I think that's all... lol... You are probably sick of reading by now, but I'm sure a positive experience (or 4) will help you feel better if you are about to face a caesarean and don't really know what to expect.

Just ask if you have any questions as I am very happy to answer them


Home through the Stirling Ranges

We came home from Ravensthorpe yesterday through the Stirling Ranges. It was a beautiful drive and we even stopped to climb a "mountain"... well it was actually a hill. Oliver and I waited halfway up as I have been forbidden to climb any more mountains at this stage of my pregnancy!

Oliver took the photo of me by the pile of rocks. He took it very seriously and he looked so little as he intently peered through the viewfinder of the huge camera with the strap dangling around his neck.

We stopped in Kendenup and the kids had great fun feeding Nemo the horse and running around in the bush while we had a cup of tea with Heather and Bob.

This cheeky fox ran across the road in front of us just as we were almost in Kendenup, so we stopped to take a closer look at him.

He was very bold and just stood there looking at us for a few seconds. He even pricked up his ears and cocked his head when I whistled.

Prospecting in Ravensthorpe

We decided these that these school holidays we would let the kids all choose one fun holiday activity each.

Ben's choice was to go prospecting, so we drove over to Ravensthorpe on Wednesday.

We stayed the night in a funny little cabin in the Ravensthorpe Caravan Park and drove around to a heap of different locations hunting for interesting rocks. Ben had such a great time and really enjoyed every minute of it.

We visited a few old mines which were facinating and full of history and old equipment. There were colourful rocks everywhere we went and everyone collected samples to bring home and look up.

Some of the sites were quite dangerous. The ground in some of the areas of bush we walked through was full of pits and holes where people had tried to find gold. We had to keep a very close watch on the children, especially Jacob, who just wanted to jump in them all!

These ducks were so lovely. There was a mum and dad duck and heaps of tiny baby ducklings. We had to follow them slowly along the road for so long as they just wouldn't get off the road! The kids thought they were so funny.

Let me assure you that Jacob has no intention of collecting this big rock as a "sample". He just wanted to show how strong he was and then throw it in the nearest puddle!

Ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch... so simple but so delicious! I think it's eating outside in the fresh air that makes all the difference.

Jacob climbed up this sheer cliff face and then slid all the way down and landed on his head! He just stood up and dusted himself down, then checked out all his scratches and went off to find another dangerous activity to scare his parents with...

Here the kids were actually asking, "Can we go down there?" It was a big hole with steep sides and possibly no bottom... umm, I don't think so!

It was very windy at this lookout.


Day 2 - School Holidays

Well we've just had our second day of the school holidays. Michael was working today, so I took the kids to church this morning, then we came home and made bread!

I gave them all a piece of dough to make whatever they liked and they made all sorts of bread goodies, from plaited bread loaves to a bread man. They added sultanas to some of them which was fun.

I made 2 large loaves and they were very yummy and so easy!

While the bread was doing it's second rising and baking, I gave Ben a little dish of tiny choc chips to take outside and share with the other kids and when I came outside, they were all sitting on the bricks in a circle sharing them out evenly. It was so cute I had to take a photo.

When their bread treats were cooked, I took them outside with some butter and they ate them on the trampoline in the beautiful sunshine.


First day of the school holidays!

Yay! It's school holiday time at last!

Today I took the kids out to our block and we spent the morning there.

Uncle Ian came out to join us too, which was fun.

We lit a little campfire and cooked damper on sticks and had it with lemon butter, strawberry jam and cream... yum!

Obviously his mum never told him not to run with sticks!