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  • Home » Birth stories » Elle-Mary: Seventeen, Single and Emergency Caesarean
    Posted on Friday 22nd January 2021 in Birth Stories…

    Elle-Mary: Seventeen, Single and Emergency Caesarean

    My pregnancy was fairly easy and I enjoyed the whole experience of carrying my daughter and feeling really excited about the birth.

    At 17 I was really young and still only a child myself when my worst fear came true: I was pregnant! How will the baby’s Dad react? What will my Mum say? That’s all I could think of. My Mum was great, but things broke down with the baby’s Dad and we no longer spoke or saw each other. I was 17, pregnant and on my own!

    Luckily enough I never got any morning sickness and my pregnancy was running smoothly. At my 12 week scan everything was normal and my baby was healthy, my bump grew and I felt fine.

    I started to attend the Sure Start aqua-natal classes which I really enjoyed. All the other Mums-to-be were older than me, but made me feel really welcome and didn’t judge me on my age which was what I was worrying most about. I then enquired about other classes at Sure Start and started going to Pregnancy Yoga which was really, really helpful through my labour.

    By 20 weeks my bump was massive and I started to get a bit of backache every now and then. Through Sure Start I enrolled in a college course called the ‘YMTB’ – ‘Young Mums to Be’, and the ‘Think’ programme. It was very good and educational. To my surprise I was the oldest in the group. We worked through a work pack which at the end gained me a level 1 NVQ in childcare and taught me a lot about becoming a Mum.

    “At 17 I was really young and still only a child myself

    when my worst fear came true: I was pregnant!”

    As my pregnancy progressed I started to notice that my bump was twice the size of everyone else’s and I was experiencing pubic pain and horrific heartburn. I told my midwife about my concerns, but she reassured me everything was fine.

    During my pregnancy I was having bad mood swings and feeling totally on my own. Although I had my Mum and Dad there who helped me right through until the end, it was my baby’s Dad I felt I needed most, to share everything with him, to have him tell me it was OK to cry, it was OK to feel the way I did.

    At 36 weeks I still attended Yoga each week, but as I neared the end of my pregnancy I felt like a beached whale and I couldn’t sleep at night. My back was really sore, and I had a foot kicking me all the time. It was around this time I started to think about what the birth would be like; hard, easy, painful? I wanted a drug free birth and natural birth. I wanted to meet my baby as soon as possible.

    I didn’t write down a birth plan, but I had one in my head – no drugs at all. I borrowed a Tens machine from my local Sure Start midwife and I planned to use that. It inputs electrical waves to the nervous system and takes the edge of pain away.

    Before I knew it my due date had come and gone. Because I was so big my midwife made a home visit to see me and she was surprised to see that my bump had grown 5cm in 6 days! Just as a precaution she sent me over to the hospital for a scan and to measure the baby and fluid around the baby. Everything was fine. The fluid around the baby was at a minimum and I was expecting a big baby, around 8 – 8 1/2 lb they said. Because I was 3 days over the nurse did a membrane sweep which interrupts the membrane holding the cervix together as a ‘plug’ to stop the baby coming out, usually within 48 hours of having a ‘sweep’ you will go into labour. That night I had a ‘show’, but no contractions yet!

    “I didn’t write down a birth plan,

    but I had one in my head – no drugs at all.”

    I was getting really excited about the birth. I had been looking forward to going into labour and experiencing the gift of bringing a new life into the world.

    Two days later on the Friday night I was over at my friend’s house when at 9.05 pm I started getting pains, I thought nothing of it; I just thought they would pass. Then I noticed they were coming every 5 minutes and lasting about 1 min 30 seconds. They weren’t painful at first, just a pain in the bottom of my back, and my stomach was tightening and going soft with each contraction. By 11 pm I was home and the pains were getting really strong so I phoned the hospital and they told me to stay home for as long as I could and get a warm bath.

    After 4 baths within 7 hours I decided to go into hospital. My Mum and Dad came with me. When I got to the hospital at around 1.30am I was taken to the Princess Diana Suite and was given my own room. They examined me and I was 5 cm dilated. I used the Tens machine and walked around all night trying to pass time. By 12 that afternoon I got examined again and they said I should have the baby by 4 or 5pm.

    The pains were really fast and strong now and I was getting my Dad to rub the bottom of my back where the pain was. The nurse came and broke my waters around 3.15pm and gave me a sandwich because I had not eaten all day. I got taken over to the delivery suite and had a monitor strapped round my stomach to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. By 6pm I was in the height of pain and just wanted the baby out, but there was still no sign. My Mum and Dad were just as exhausted as I was. We had been awake for 34 hours now.

    “Then I heard the woman singing, ‘Que Sera Sera’, by Doris Day

    – my grandma’s favourite song.”


    Stars in Their Eyes was showing on the television in my room, and as the lady revealed who she was going to be, I turned to my Mum and said, ‘Mum, I can’t do this I am going to have a C-section.’ I don’t know where it came from because I hadn’t even thought about a Caesarean, and then I heard the woman singing, ‘Que Sera Sera’, by Doris Day – my grandma’s favourite song. My Grandma, Mary had died 4 years before, but I knew that was her way of telling me she was there with me.

    As the pains grew stronger I started using the sounds breathing that I had learned at Yoga, and I found it helped me a lot. It helped me concentrate on the breathing and not the pain; it kind of blocked the pain out.

    When I was 10 cm dilated I started to push. After 7 hours 20 minutes of pushing there was still no sign of the baby, so I was prepared for theatre for an emergency Caesarean. I felt like I had failed because I wanted a natural drug free labour and now I was having an epidural/spinal block injected into my back. I was numb from my neck down. I couldn’t feel
    a thing!

    My Dad came into theatre with me and after about 10 minutes I heard my baby girl crying. I never saw her though, I just looked away. My Dad went and counted her fingers and toes and brought her over to me so I could kiss her. I had given birth to a healthy little girl weighing a whopping 10lb, born at 12.27am at the Women’s Hospital. I named her Elle-Mary. After the birth I felt exhausted and wanted to sleep. Because of the drugs Elle was quite sleepy as she had had them too.

    The midwives were really good and helped me a lot straight after the birth. I was supposed to stay in hospital for 5-7 days because of my C-section, but because I was healing well and both the baby and I were fine we were allowed home after 3 days.

    I would like more children, not just yet though!


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