As soon as the ECV failed (read about what we did to try and turn the baby here), the doctor took us into her room and we started talking about a caesarean section. I had been prepared for this moment so tried to hold it all together. I had prepared questions in the event of this happening and had reviewed our c-section birth plan. My first question, was posed as more of a confirmation: my husband will be allowed into the operating room, won’t he? “no” came the answer, and it was only the beginning. No to skin-to-skin, baby had to go straight in the warmer, no choice in vaccinations, baby is given whatever the hospital deems necessary and no to many of our other requests. Initially it was all brushed aside “don’t worry the operation is nothing to worry about”. I had to express that it was not ‘the operation’ that was upsetting me, but that this is more than just an operation, it’s the delivery of our child. More than that it was about having at least some say in how our birth went. I felt that the more questions we asked the less control we had.
We once again left the hospital with me in tears, I think it was starting to wear thin on my poor husband, but as usual he was excellent and said that we’d contact the head of operations and see if we couldn’t change their mind at least about him being allowed into the OR. Otherwise it would mean that it would be up to one hour before he knew the sex of our child and if everything was OK.
We did write a letter to the medical director and our request was rejected. They can’t change their policies or make exceptions. A part of me was pleased that, even with the threat of us moving to another hospital, they were not so driven by money that they would change their policies at the drop of a hat, but of course the other part of me was devastated. This is not the birth I had envisioned.
My husband called our midwives at Just Link and they immediately got onto the case and called their contacts. They spoke directly to Dr Shantala at Ambani hospital in Andheri and explained our predicament. Dr Shantala said she could help out and asked for me to call her. I called on the Wednesday evening, made an appointment for the Thursday morning, we were booked in for the c-sect for Saturday. What a roller coaster.
My experience with Dr Shantala was excellent. She took a long time to get to know me, my husband, our reason for being in India etc. She explained the procedure in detail, talking about which medical staff would be present, where my husband would stand, what stage he would be brought into the OR etc. Everything was so calm and clear. The complete opposite to Hiranandani. Every request we made was met with a smile and a nod.
We checked into the hospital on Friday night, and once again I shed a little tear, but I think this was more nervousness about the actual baby arriving. Was I ready? Did I really know what I was letting myself in to? How would I cope? How would Matt cope?
As soon as i was in the room I was racked up to a number of monitors, this continued through the night, nurses coming and going, housekeeping coming and going, room service coming and going… a good night’s sleep was not had! Oh well! Start as we mean to go on!
In the morning, I was fetched at 7.30am and taken to the operating room, the midwife arrived and my Mum and Dad were there too. My husband stayed overnight with me in the hospital which was great. Dr Shantala arrived, introduced me to a number of doctors and nurses that would all be present during the procedure and then wheeled me into theatre. I was draped, given the spinal block (i choose this over an epidural) and then catheterised and given an oxygen mask. As soon as I was in the theatre I practised some relaxing breathing techniques to keep me calm. I heard them bring my husband in, I think he was a little shocked to see me all draped and prepared, he was asked to sit during the operation, just in case!! I had a doctor by my head the whole time, speaking to me, keeping me updated on what was going on and who was doing what. Meanwhile I just remained focused on breathing. I kept my eyes closed.
Finally, with my husband playing Mumford and Sons – I will wait – Dr Shantala announced that she would start. It must have only been a few minutes, 10 maybe, before she said “ok, this is it, do we know what gender we are expecting”, my husband replied no but that we thought it was a boy. She said “ok, well I can tell you… it’s a girl”. “A girl!” we cried together. I shed a tear. They showed her to me over the top of the drapes, but I was still a little tranced and so don’t really remember. After a short while a nurse brought her round the drapes, wrapped in a blue blanket and said “you requested skin on skin”, I nodded. She opened my pyjamas, unwrapped our baby a little and then put her to my skin. I said hello to her alert big eyes.
After skin to skin, our baby girl and my husband went out to the recovery room to weigh, measure and check her. My husband said he was so excited about telling my mum and dad, who were waiting outside, that it was a girl, but that the anaesthetist stole his thunder, calling it out before hubby had a chance. This girl is my parents first grand daughter. They have 6 grand sons!
Meanwhile I was still inside being stitched up! Since hubby had taken away the music the doctor asked if they could play some Bollywood stuff. Of course I replied and listened to them all singing along to Kolaveri Di! A surreal moment if ever there was one!
After about 10 minutes our baby was brought back to me and the nurse announced “you wanted to feed her”, she opened up my pyjamas again and thrust the baby onto my boob. She immediately started suckling. A moment I’ll never forget. Whilst I couldn’t believe I was a mother I was managing to feed another human being. Incredible.
My husband was back with me and he said “so are you happy with our girls name?” The doctor asked what we had agreed on and we told her “Annabelle Agnes”. Annabelle because we liked the name and Agnes after Hubby’s Indian grandmother.
Annabelle was born at 8.46am on April 20th and weighed 3.97kg.