Watch: New mum spent months 'in agony' after her caesarean scar became infected
A new mum has shared her experience of spending the eight months after her son's birth in agony when her caesarean scar became infected.
Dawn Schamely, 40, from Ware, Hertfordshire describes having to bite down a flannel daily to manage the pain caused by the infected wound.
While she says she has now recovered physically, the mental scars from her ordeal still remain.
But despite coping with a difficult post birth period Schamely says it was "all worth it" after previously being told she would never have children.
The former restaurant chef suffers from endometriosis, which doctors said could prevent her from getting pregnant.
"Part of me had been adamant I'd be able to have a baby one day even when the doctors said I couldn't," Dawn explains.
"When George was born it was so surreal holding him for the first time - I couldn't believe I was a mum."
Dawn met her now-husband Dan, 43, in 2017 and they began trying for a baby quite soon afterwards as Dawn had always dreamed of being a mum.
Two years in the couple were warned Dawn's endometriosis was so advanced there was "no possible way" she'd get pregnant.
They agreed to discuss adoption later down the line and began planning their wedding, but three weeks before their big day Dawn started experiencing stomach pains.
She put it down to her endometriosis symptoms, but to her upset doctors revealed she was actually having a miscarriage.
"When the nurse told me I was pregnant and had miscarried, my legs just gave way," Dawn says of the traumatic moment.
"I was convinced miracles wouldn't happen twice and that had been our only shot at being parents."
But a scan showed both "a sack of blood" and a "viable baby", with doctors explaining she had been pregnant with twins, and one was still alive.
Dan revealed their pregnancy to their loved ones in his speech on their wedding day with their son George arriving on March 13 2022 via emergency C-section weighing 6lbs 4oz.
The couple were thrilled to take their new baby home two days later to begin their life as a family of three, but Dawn started experiencing some problems with her C-section scar.
As well as being extremely painful, the wound showed no signs of healing.
Read more: Mum on her life-changing incontinence after birth trauma left her with third-degree tear (Yahoo Life UK,
When it began "oozing and bubbling" Dawn returned to hospital where she was told she had developed an infection.
On March 31 she had debridement surgery, a procedure to remove infected tissue from the wound, which measured 6cm-deep, 10cm-wide and 15cm-long following the procedure.
Dawn says the wound had to be left open to heal and needed the dressing changed daily.
"We had to pack the wound every day which was agonising," Dawn explains.
"I made Dan take George out of the house when my dressings needed changing because I didn't want him to hear my screams."
Read more: Dad delivers his baby in Land Rover after partner gives birth on the way to hospital (Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read)
Finally, after eight months of what Dawn describes as "horrific pain" and Dan being forced to quit his job to care for his wife, the wound healed, but she says the mental impact remains and may "never go away".
Dawn is now raising awareness of birth trauma, via the Birth Trauma Association.
"Birth trauma is such a taboo subject, but it needs raising in conversation because it happens and I am living proof," she explains.
"Even though the wound healed it had a massive impact on our relationship, Dan was scared to even hug me for months in case it hurt me.
"The after-effects of birth trauma are constant and quite lonely because it's difficult to understand unless you've been through it.
"Both Dan and I have been having therapy - the after effects of birth trauma are constant."
But as difficult as the experience was Dawn says her son was worth all the pain.
"We have our little miracle George, and as awful as it was, I'd do it all again for him."
Read more: Couple who don’t want children of their own donate eggs and sperm to help 16 others start a family (Yahoo Life UK, 6-min read)
Looking after a C-section wound
The NHS provides some advice on looking after your caesarean wound
gently clean and dry the wound every day
wear loose, comfortable clothes and cotton underwear
take a painkiller if the wound is sore – for most women, it's better to take paracetamol or ibuprofen (but not aspirin) while you're breastfeeding
watch out for signs of infection
Contact your midwife or a GP straight away if you have any of the following symptoms after a caesarean:
pain when peeing
heavy vaginal bleeding
your wound becomes more red, painful and swollen
a discharge of pus or foul-smelling fluid from your wound
a cough or shortness of breath
swelling or pain in your lower leg
These symptoms may be the sign of an infection or blood clot, which should be treated as soon as possible.
Additional reporting SWNS.