Editor’s note: We believe that all birth stories and all birth experiences matter. This post is part of our ongoing series of birth stories featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences.
Shikha had her baby in Ireland, far from friends and family. But despite being away from home and needing an emergency C-section, her delivery was the best birth experience she could have asked for.
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The birth of my daughter, Myra
We moved to Dublin, Ireland from India for a work assignment while I was in my first trimester. Initially it took some time to understand the maternity care process in a new country but everything ended up going surprisingly smoothly.
The maternity care I had in Dublin throughout the pregnancy was just the best. It wasn’t just the medical care, but also the love and warmth I noticed around me, affectionate people who would stop to have a chat, the medical staff who were so kind and patient.
Being my first pregnancy, I wanted things to go as naturally as they could. At my 40-week appointment, my OB did a membrane sweep after assuring it was totally safe and could jump start labour.
12 hours later, on January 1st, 2020, my contractions started. But as they ask you to labour at home as long as you can, I stayed at home for the first 12-13 hours. When the pain was too much to bear, I decided it was time to go to the hospital. I assumed I would be at least few centimeters dilated by then.
Little did I know that I was still a long way from active labour, and the contractions were causing the baby’s heart rate to drop too low. They broke my waters, but when things didn’t go as expected and there were clear indications of fetal distress, they gave me a heads up that I would need to be taken in for an emergency C-section within minutes.
I could sense panic in the room. I was in immense pain and in no condition to ask any questions. I just asked if my husband would be allowed to scrub in. They wheeled me in, and the baby was out in minutes. It felt like a dream. We both had tears in our eyes when we first saw Myra. I would have 100 more C-sections to hear that first cry and catch that first glimpse.
The best part was that my recovery was very smooth. To my surprise, the healing was quick. I didn’t have any pain in my stitches, probably because of being heavily drugged, and it wasn’t remotely as bad as people made it sound. I feared having a C-section as I had a picture in my mind that I wouldn’t be able to walk around and my wound would hurt and whatnot. I even asked the doctor when I should expect to feel pain.
I felt immensely thankful to my body. The hard work from all the pregnancy workouts, yoga and most importantly having a strong core paid off. In the end, it felt like my body didn’t fail me, it rewarded me.
We had our baby in a different country far from home with no family or social circle around us. We had hoped that someone from our families would visit us around the birth, but that didn’t work out, so we had mentally prepared ourselves to take of things by ourselves. My husband was always very confident that we would be able to manage things and kept reassuring me throughout.
The support I received from the nurses was outstanding. Like they say, it’s a steep learning curve for a new mom, but the nurses were a godsend. I don’t know what I would have I done with out them, especially the first few nights in the hospital when my husband was not allowed to stay overnight and I didn’t know what to expect being alone with the baby for the first time.
Having our baby in Ireland turned out to be a blessing in disguise. No hassle of visitors and no unsolicited advice. With just the two of us, things became much more easier to manage and we got so much time to bond as a new family. My husband stayed home for 6 weeks and took care of us and all the household chores. Undoubtedly, I had a super quick recovery thanks to him. If I had to summarize the whole experience, I would say it was the best birth experience I could have hoped for.
Having a C-section was the most unexpected yet rewarding experience. After this experience, I feel my body and mind are so much stronger than I imagined them to be. My body repaid everything I did to keep it fit, and my mind kept me sane, lovingly accepting the marvel my body just created.