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Photographed with son Stephen Hinson

Dublin, Co. Dublin

Charity of Choice: National Maternity Hospital Foundation

Until the end, my pregnancy was uncomplicated in every sense of the word. I loved it for the most part, and I felt good and stayed very active throughout with walking and a prenatal strength training program. Then, at my 40 week due date appointment, we realised my son was breech. After meeting with the doctor, we decided that delivery by scheduled cesarean section would be the safest route. I was shocked and disappointed, but also strangely calm and at peace. Our baby boy then surprised us again as I unexpectedly went into labor the night before my scheduled cesarean section and was 2 cm dilated by the time we reached the hospital. On Friday, the 27th of September 2019, our son entered the world wailing (and peeing, apparently!). That sound will forever be one of the sweetest noises I have heard. We had skin to skin while they were suturing me and the three of us just stared at each other in complete awe.

My surgeons were outstanding, and I am mostly grateful that they got our baby here safely. I used to work in the operating theatre with plastic surgeons, so my standards for suturing are perhaps a bit high, and I was so pleased when I saw my incision – words I never thought I would say. When we used to perform abdominoplasties (“tummy tucks”), I would often have nightmares about someone giving me that lower abdominal scar. I’m not sure why, but it had always been a fear of mine to have a long visible incision like that. But looking at my healing scar, I now feel like it’s a mark of honor that I am proud to wear. I would let them cut any part of me open and leave any length of incision to get my baby here safely. I was worried I would feel “less than” or somehow inadequate that I didn’t get the unmedicated, active birth I had hoped for and worked toward, but I still feel empowered and am amazed at what my body can do. I am proud to wear this body and have my swollen, round tummy as a mark of where he grew safely for so long. I am proud of the stretch marks on my breasts that now fill with milk and allow me to feed my baby and give him everything he needs. I am glad that I will never return to my “pre-baby body” and though I hope to recover and regain my strength to continue exercising and moving how I want to, I will always bear the marks of carrying our boy and getting him here safely, and for that I am forever grateful.

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