After my c-section I was sat waiting in a recovery room just to the side of the theatre where my poorly little premature baby boy had just been delivered. I was shivering uncontrollably and couldn’t understand why, I wasn’t cold! I felt fine! The nurse told me I might be feeling OK as the epidural would still be in effect but my body was in shock and he insisted on covering me in extra blankets.

Soon I was moved to a room where I was monitored for a few hours and my husband and I had a chance to process some of what had just happened to us. 1.30pm I went in for a scan 3.32pm my baby was delivered and was now fighting for his life in another part of the hospital.

The first night was horrible.

I had to be put on the ward with other mums who had their babies. The nurses were amazing and so apologetic that they couldn’t put me anywhere else. I told them it was OK but by morning I reached breaking point. I had my blood pressure and vitals checked every hour and at about 3am I was told they needed blood from me. After the fifth attempt I broke down and told them they had to stop, I couldn’t cope with anymore! I hadn’t had any sleep, I was exhausted and updates on my son were the same each time.

Upset woman. Photography credit: Kat J
Upset woman. Photography credit: Kat J

Later in the morning they wanted me to try and get out of bed – never have I felt pain like it! I just could not do it. I was tired and emotional so they allowed me to eat breakfast then removed my catheter. If I didn’t want to wet my bed I had to get up! (They are very clever these nurses). My husband arrived as I was getting to the point of desperately needing to pee. He helped me out of bed and I had the humiliating task of having to pee in a cardboard bowl for the nurses to inspect. It was an inspection that I passed – yay me!

The humiliation didn’t stop there though, oh no…

Next up was having a shower, I felt so weak and faint but so sticky and horrible that I just didn’t know what to do with myself. My husband stripped me and showered me, he’s seen it all before right? Well yes but when I have looked and felt a lot better than I did at this moment in time. He was a star though and I felt much better once I was clean and in fresh clothes.

I was told to start moving around and not to lift anything heavier than my baby. It was time to start moving around a bit but I still had to have a wheelchair to go and see my baby up in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I was so emotional seeing Neil, my beautiful baby boy was so tiny! His tiny little body was covered in wires, he had a breathing tube down his throat and medicine IV lines going into his umbilical cord. I didn’t have to worry about holding him, I simply wasn’t allowed as he was not stable enough at this point (I got my first cuddle at 18 days old). The visit was very overwhelming.

Me cuddling my little premature baby boy
Me cuddling my little premature baby boy for the first time

On the second night

On night 2 I was allocated my own room and was finally able to get some sleep! I must have slept well too as the nurse looking after me had obviously checked on me and tucked me in really snugly. Then I found out I had to have injections into my tummy for the next few weeks. I have a phobia of needles but after having the c-section what was a few more needles?! My skin got bruised and sore over the coming weeks but on the plus side I am now a lot better with needles.

Over the next few days I had messages from so many family, friends and colleagues as word got out that my little boy had been born. Replying to these gave me a much needed distraction and made me feel loved during a time when I was lonely.

After 5 days I was discharged from hospital. I cried all the way home, I was leaving without my little boy. Was he going to be OK without his mum being so close by? Being home was good though and I believe sleeping in my own bed helped speed up my recovery.

Woman sat in the passenger seat of the car with her head turned away. Photography credit: Kevin Erdvig
Woman sat in the passenger seat of the car with her head turned away.
Photography credit: Kevin Erdvig

The next few weeks

The first 2 weeks I could only shuffle about, by the third week I could do small household chores and each week that went by I felt more fit and able. The most crippling thing for me was losing my independence, I couldn’t drive! I relied on others to take me to and from the hospital, I couldn’t even nip to the shop. My husband and my parents literally did everything for me for those few weeks which I am extremely grateful for.

I can only share with you my experience but I was so grateful for all the care and help I was given after my c-section. Family and friends really rallied round to help. My husband was amazing too doing all the housework, cooking, shopping, dog walking and taking me to the hospital. You easily forget that a c-section is major surgery and that you need to allow yourself the time to heal and the sooner I realised that the quicker my body seemed to repair itself.

What can you do that’s caring for mum?

  • You can offer to take to her to or from the hospital
  • Send a text to see how she’s doing
  • Help with a bit of shopping
  • Help with any other children she may have
  • Cook a meal, or buy a quick meal that doesn’t need much prep
  • Walk the dog
  • Listen if she needs to talk
  • If she is still in hospital, is there anything she needs that will make her stay more comfortable?
  • Be patient.