My 'post birth' story - premature baby, c-section, breastfeeding

Although my birth is over, my post birth story definitely isn't. I have never seen a post or someone talking 
about having a premature baby, the real recovery from having a c-section or just the initial few days. This 
post could be re-wrote every few months giving new updates, but I wanted to share the journey over the 
last few weeks and hopefully help those who are in a similar situation or want to educate themselves 
further to know that not every birth and baby is the same.

After giving birth I woke up 2 hours later with my partner and 2 nurses in the room. I was pretty much still 
out of it, but I remember asking about Codey straight away. I was told he was born with a temperature of 
38.8, was doing well but needed to be on a ventilator to help him breathe. My partner got to see him when 
he was bought out of theatre an hour later and took a few pictures which he kept for me to see first, which 
I will always cherish. 

As I was put to sleep to give birth, I don't really feel like I did give birth as I wasn't there to fully 
experience it. Not only did I miss the last 8 weeks of my pregnancy but, we also missed things like 
hearing him cry when he came out, having skin to skin straight away, cutting the cord, changing his 
first nappy and all the little things that you don't think off. 

They kept me on the labour and delivery ward for the first night and allowed my partner to stay with me 
which I was thankful for as I was a mess after everything happened. We were allowed to go downstairs to 
see Codey properly for the first time and he was beyond perfect. The hospital told us that as he was born at 
32 weeks and needed to be on a ventilator they were transferring him to another hospital (unfortunately 
the only one with a bed available was over an hour away). He was then transferred later that night. 

Unfortunately we were messed around on the Sunday and didn’t get to see Codey that day. They kept 
saying they were transferring me, then they weren’t, then they were waiting for transport and so on. 
Everything was very back and forth. Again my partner was allowed to stay with me for the night, but 
only because they messed us around, but we were moved to the post labour ward. I was put in my own 
room as I didn't have my baby with me so didn't need as much attention as the other people on the ward. 
I remember crying as they wheeled me to my room as I could hear other moms with their crying babies 
and all I wanted was my baby with me. 

I eventually got discharged on Monday and we got to the other hospital as quickly as possible to see 
our baby. Due to the travel we only spent 2/3 hours a day with him for the first few days. We were then 
offered one of the parent rooms at the hospital which we were so thankful for as it meant we didn’t have 
to rush off and could spend all day with him. The staff were wonderful with both him and also ourselves. 
Thankfully he was only there for a week before being transferred back to the original hospital, closer to home. 

Nobody ever wants to think about having a premature baby or a baby that goes into the NICU. The ideal 
situation is to give birth around your due date and go home a few days later. Unfortunately that isn't 
always the case, and things can change so quickly. Being in the NICU/neonatal units are horrible. You are 
thankful your baby is being taken care of and looking after, but all you want is to bring your baby home 
and not have them connected to wires and tubes. On top of that you are also recovering from birth and the 
mental/emotional side of that. 

As Codey was born at 32 weeks this obviously meant he was a lot smaller than expected. Despite this he 
was a good weight for his gestational age, and weighed 4lbs 3oz. His temperature was very high when he 
was born as they suspect I had sepsis, but he has since remained a normal temperature and has maintained 
that throughout. He was also only on oxygen for 4 days and has been breathing on his own ever since. 

His feeds are where we have struggled. As he was early he hasn't got a stomach big enough to hold a lot of 
milk and he also didn't develop the sucking technique initially to take bottles. This meant he has been tube 
fed since he was a few days old and worked on increasing the volume of milk. We first tried him on a 
bottle at 2 weeks 4 days old and continued to work towards him taking full bottles. We had to wait for him 
to be 50/50 with his bottles and was allowed to take him home on April 1st. We came home with support 
for his feeding tube, but after only 1 week at home, he was taking full bottles every feed and was able to 
have his feeding tube removed. 

Every baby is different and have struggles in different areas, but all are hard to see your baby go through. 
Some babies aren't in the NICU very long and don't need much help, others can be there for months as 
they need some extra assistance. If you have or had a baby that was in the NICU, whether it be for a few 
hours or a few months, I send you all my love and admiration and just know that you are stronger than you 
can ever imagine. 

Any time I thought about having a baby and giving birth, I tried to avoid thinking about having a c-
section. I was beyond terrified of this ever happening to me that I didn't want to think about it. In hindsight 
this wasn't ideal. When they initially told me that I needed a c-section I began to panic, but had to remain 
calm as my baby was in destress. Although I knew I wouldn't feel anything during the operation, I hated 
the thought of being awake. Within minutes the doctors changed their minds and were putting me under 
general anaesthetic as they needed to get Codey out immediately. 

He was born at 4.07pm and I didn't start to wake up until around 6pm. As I was put under whilst he as 
born my partner wasn't allowed to be there and unfortunately was pacing in the hallway for around 2 
hours, not knowing much. It was around an hour later when Codey got bought out of theatre, before being 
taken to the neonatal unit. Thankfully my partner got to take a couple photos before he went down. He 
was then pacing again as he wasn't allowed to see me, until I woke up.

I don't remember much of the rest of that night. Other than going down to see my baby for the first time. 
I was constantly being pumped full of antibiotics and fluids so I was very out of it. The following day I 
started to move around a little and had my catheter removed, which was an interesting experience. My 
parents were allowed to visit me which made me very emotional as I had originally planned for my mom 
to be my second birth partner, which obviously didn't get to happen. With the mixture of hormones and 
not having my baby with me, I was constantly crying and got upset at the thought or sight of everything. 
I was discharged the next day, with no pain medication and a 6 week supply of blood thinning injections. 

The overall pain of the surgery was no where near what I was expecting. Yes it's a major operation, and 
my first, but I was shocked at how well I felt afterwards. I was uncomfortable and had a penguin waddle 
for a few days, but that was expected. After about 1 week I perked up and felt like my pre-pregnancy self. 
Around 2 weeks after having the surgery, I was given a cream and some dressings to put on my scar due to 
it being slightly red and the middle of the scar not having come together and healed correctly, however 
that will a few frequent check ups at the doctors that is now resolved. It takes 6 weeks to recover from a c-
section, so I am still having to be careful with what I do and how I move, mainly with how much I'm 
lifting and how long I spend on tasks. 

Throughout my pregnancy I battled with the idea of breast or formula feeding. I came to the conclusion 
that formula feeding is what was going to work best for me and was ok with that decision. As Codey was 
born 8 weeks early he needed extra help, this meant that the nurses were extra pushy for me to breastfeed. 

Despite me telling them that I wanted to formula feed him they got me on a breast pump and tried to get 
me to breast feed. As I had collected my colostrum whilst in hospital, my milk started to come in, but I 
wasn't getting anything when I was pumping. I felt pressured and almost guilted into breastfeeding as they 
kept pushing it and told me that as he was premature, its what I should do. I ordered my own breast pump 
to try online but was barely getting anything. As we were stopping in the parent room at the hospital 
Codey was transferred too, my birth hadn't gone to plan, him being in the NICU and other things I wasn't 
in the right headspace and it wasn't working for me. 

I came to the conclusion that formula feeding is what was going to be best and I didn't want to get 
him used to my breastmilk to then formula feed him, and mess him around. I did and still do feel 
really guilty and ashamed about this as I was made to feel like I wasn't doing the best for my baby as 
he was born premature. I try to remind myself that he got the most important bit, the colostrum, and 
that breastfeeding isn't for everyone.



  1. My heart breaks for you that they messed you around and you couldn't see your baby for an entire day, I can't imagine how that must've felt. It definitely sounds like a traumatic experience, and I hope you're doing okay and recovering well xx

    Hannah |

    1. It was horrible. We were so excited to go and see him and they left us waiting until 7pm before they told us anything else x

  2. Oh love! You're incredibly brave to go through all of this and have the strength to share your story. I hope you're all doing okay now. Sounds like you've had a really rough time port birth. Sending love! X

    1. Thank you! I'm doing ok now, slowly getting there mentally x

  3. Oh gosh, what a ride! It sounds scary but I'm glad it all worked out well in the end!


  4. That's awful that they messed you around and you couldn't see him! Sorry you had to go through this but glad you are all ok now!
    Amy x

    1. It's a lack of communication at the hospital, but it had a happy ending! x

  5. awe sorry to hear this sounds so frustrating!!!
    shy -

  6. My heart absolutely breaks for you and your time giving birth. I've followed your story so closely and I love to see all three of you thriving now but WOW what a journey.
    The breatfeeding thing is wild - I never felt pressure unless it was myself but that pressure and guilt is going to do nothing for your milk supply and latch techniques! Mum knows best!

    1. Thank you! Definitely been an interesting journey. I knew they would advise me to breastfeed but not push and judge as hard as they did x

  7. My heart breaks from reading everything that you have gone through Lea, I just hope that you're all doing ok now. I can't believe what the hospital staff did to you in terms of breastfeeding, it should have been your choice, not theirs x

    Lucy Mary

    1. I found they pushed their own opinions rather than what was best for the baby. Glad everything worked out in the end x

  8. I feel so sad for you reading this, giving birth is supposed to be such a special, happy and exciting experience and you were robbed of everything that makes it so incredible. You were so strong and definitely so patient to go through everything that you did, if you choose to have more children in the future, I hope that you get the birth you didn't experience this time. Your baby is gorgeous and you should be so proud of yourself for your strength and patience during such a hard time.

    1. It's all been such an odd experience. I don't feel like I gave birth or anything in any way, and for him to be in the hospital for 5 weeks didn't help. I'm just glad that he's healthy and home now x