The birth of your baby is up there with one of the most amazing and important moments in your life which you want to keep reminiscing about………hmmm but what if it’s not? For L and myself it was both terrifying and joyful, hideous and awesome, happy, emotional and gut wrenching sad.
This is THE most difficult blog I’ve written. In fact I’ve been putting it off for weeks because it’s really hard to think about this event and even harder to put it into words. So I’ve been procrastinating. Procrastinating when you don’t really want to do something but you know eventually you will have to. The type that you find any job more important at that moment than this. Suddenly that messy drawer needs tidying or I really should clean out the fridge or alphabetise the redundant dvd collection in the garage.
Well I can’t put it off any longer or I won’t be able to share any more of the hilarious stories, momentous occasions and life events so here goes.
Some people have good labours some have bad and I’m certain plenty of people have gone through similar traumatic births but for me at that moment in time it was the worst experience ever. I’m not going to bore you senseless with every little detail as to why my labour was like a Japanese endurance test or that I felt like a medical guinea pig available to try absolutely anything going on the maternity wing but basically my induction started on a Sunday and our baby was born on a Thursday. That should give you a little understanding as to what felt like a labour for the Guiness Book of Records.
12 days late our baby was finally dragged into the world with forceps in theatre where they were preparing for an emergency c section. I remember seeing their small face looking up at me with a little trembling lip and their first cry and I was overwhelmed with emotion. L and I were both crying and we shared a cuddle. We were elated. I remember asking what we had had…its a girl! We were so so happy and that memory I keep trying to remember so that I can try and scale down the other memories. Hoping the good bits will overshadow anything else that was to follow.
I hadn’t even touched our baby girl before it was obvious something was wrong. Not with her thank goodness. She cried the second she came out and for that I felt relief. I vaguely recall her exercising her lungs until everything seemed to go quiet or dull. People were no longer moving around slowly and reassuring me. In fact where had all of the people gone? I heard ‘bleeding’ and ‘won’t stop’ and thought oh no this can’t be good.
The lights were really bright I felt really sick but I couldn’t move or think or concentrate. Somebody just ordered blood on the phone. Just like they were putting in their takeaway order at the local kebab shop. Just like that blood was coming. Still nobody was saying what was happening or what had changed. People were moving too fast for me to take it in plus I couldn’t move from the anaesthetic and our baby was still crying. The anaesthetist came to say I have a bleed that they can’t stop but they are trying. Gulp. Ok. Next thing I see L walking towards me with our baby girl and see her almost collapse on the floor. She’s seen more than I can and it’s obviously bad. I’m just lying here trying to take it all in. I can’t talk. Someone take our baby from L and took her to a chair so she could sit down.
When she looks at me there is an understanding. We are both thinking the same thing without saying it or hearing it and that’s the moment when I think that’s it for me. That I’m not going to recover from this and this is where it all ends. I am sure it all sounds very dramatic but in that very moment I genuinely thought there was no tomorrow and what I felt was a calmness. I wasn’t freaking out I just accepted it. It was a surreal moment and somehow I found my words and looked at L and said ‘you’re going to have to look after her’ and that was that. I managed to give L my one last instruction of what I needed her to do and she just nodded. Bloody hell I was sure dying was going to be scarier than this and all dramatic.
L found her words and told me she was naming our baby after me. Well you can’t get any more heart-rending than that. It felt special and I felt proud. But what I also felt was guilt. Deep guilt and upset for L. It was me who wanted children so badly and look what I had now done to us. Our baby girl was here and I felt so protective of her but at the same time I didn’t know her and me wanting her to be here so badly was now about to change everything. Guilt. Guilt for L and guilt for our little girl I will never know.
People are pushing on me. Really pushing hard on my stomach. I learn later it’s to do with the bleed. I’ve been labouring on and off for too long my poor uterus has given up. It’s pretty much knackered and thought sod this I need a break! NEVER LOOK AT THE LIGHTS. I learnt the hard way. Some things you don’t need to see. But at least there were people here now. I wanted to ask. I didn’t want to ask. Have you ever been scared to ask a question as you don’t want to know the answer? Like do I look fat? Do you love me? Are there any cookies left? Am I going to be ok? There. It was out there. Now I will know either way. I hate smoking. I hate how it lingers and how dirty it is but as the team leader midwife thingy looked at me and said ‘there’s too much paperwork to not be’ and the smell of stale cigarettes hit me from her breath I felt alive. The scent of fag breath brought me back to the here and now. I’ve never been more happy to smell it. Plus there was a joke! Jokes are good. I knew then it would all be ok.
L did an amazing job looking after our fresh little girl as I was in and out of sleep. I couldn’t even lift my head up without needing to throw up and I only vaguely recall a midwife coming to lay our baby next to me to feed but I thought I was dreaming. L told me about it afterwards. There were talks from the doctors and midwives involved about what had gone wrong and discussions about possibilities for having further children etc etc but I couldnt concentrate or take any of it in. I was so weak but she nursed me better. Fed me twirl bites and sips of lucozade to try and give me some energy to feel ok and stronger. She’s my universe. We are both pretty self sufficient and we both don’t have a lot of time for sickness or illness but that day I needed L like I’ve never needed her before and she was there for me. I felt safe because of her but I wish I could’ve been there for her through all of this as I know it must’ve been so hard to go through it alone. Plus she had our little baby girl to look after and she did amazing. Whenever I would wake up she would just be sitting there staring at us both looking absolutely wrecked but tending to our every need. Like a coiled spring.
Finally about 8 hours after our little princess was born I was able to sit up and hold her for the very first time. What a moment that was. I remember it like it was yesterday and it still brings tears to my eyes. Thank god this is not on paper or it would be a soggy mess by now. L captured that moment for us so that we could remember the happy moments and to share them privately from a time in our lives and relationship that had been our biggest challenge to date and the tears came from both of us again.
I could finally enjoy the moment I became a mum and hold my precious baby girl and know that everything was going to be ok. Two became three. We had survived and are stronger for it.