This will probably be the biggest blog post I've ever written and the most personal photos I'll ever share.
Before I start though, I'd just like to let you all know that I'm guest posting over at Chronicles Of A Reluctant HouseDad today so, after I've bored you with my birth story, you can head over to Keith's place and I can bore you with why I love being a Stay At Home Mum!
So, got yourself a brew? Comfy? Then I'll begin.
Back in July 2008 when I found out I was expecting my first child at the age of 34 I was ecstatic! So began my preparations over the following months - picking out nursery furniture to convert the spare room, buying baby clothes, choosing names and also writing my birth plan.
I wanted a water birth.
Think low-lighting, music playing. I had the perfect picture in my head.
I started listening to hypnotherapy CD's to help me with the birth and I thought I was in control of everything.
My bump had never caused me concern until around week 28 when, at a midwife check, I was told the baby was feet down (breech). The midwife didn't seem too concerned saying there was plenty of time for he/she to move.
As the weeks went on it was apparent that the baby was not turning. By 35 weeks I was really starting to panic and booked to have a treatment of moxibustion to try and turn the baby naturally. We even continued this at home - yes, Matt ended up basically burning candles on my toes! I was also positioning my body to encourage turning and also playing music to my lady garden! The things you'll do.
I was in sheer panic at the thought of not being able to deliver my baby naturally. I cried endlessly and sought comfort in baby forums. I was a wreck although I hid it from the outside world. We had paid for NCT classes and felt we were so knowledgeable about natural birth but we weren't prepared for the possibility of a caesarean.
I was booked in to have the section Wednesday 11th March 2009 (due date was 16th March). There was only one person, other than Matt, that knew I was booked in and that was my Sister. We took the decision not to tell anyone to lessen their worry and also let it be a surprise when the baby was born. Again, this was one of the best decisions we made.
I used the next couple of weeks to prepare myself for everything I would need to get through the section with as little upset as possible. I bought the NCT Caesarean Birth book which was excellent. I bought myself a caesarean belt from Mothercare and I bought myself some arnica pills from Boots.
The night before the section Matt and I went out for a meal to the restaurant he'd proposed marriage and where we'd had our wedding reception meal. It was lovely. The two of us were wrapped in this little bubble - we knew we were going to be parents the next day and our lives would change forever.
That night I woke up at 2am and I was really sick. I had bad tightening pains that felt like severe
menstrual cramps start in the morning and I was leaking fluid. On the way to the hospital I had a couple of really bad pains and I'm still convinced that I was in early labour and that the baby knew it was time to come out.
I was so calm at the hospital until the anesthetist came in to talk to me about what was going to happen. I felt uncontrollably teary and down the corridor I heard a baby enter the world with it's first cry and I started to shake.
I couldn't believe how relaxed and friendly it was inside the theatre when we got there. The radio was playing and everyone was lovely. The spinal block I had was fine although the sensation of not feeling your legs is a little strange at first! Matt was sat next to my head holding my hand. I felt quite calm.
Within 5 minutes of them starting the procedure I remember the midwife (who was standing next to us) saying "Your baby is about to be born".
Matt and I both got a little emotional as we looked at each other for a brief moment as 'childless parents'. Matt said "listen to the radio" and I heard an old early 90's song called You from Ten Sharp playing with these words:
You, you were always on my mind
you, you're the one I've been living for
you, you're my everlasting fire
you're my always shining star
Then our beautiful baby was held up by the for us by the obstetrician so we could both see she was a little girl.
|New (and knackered and emotional) parents|
Matt was able to cut the cord and then she was passed to us for some immediate skin-to-skin. We were just so happy, even writing this post makes it all come flooding back like it was only yesterday.
I was stitched up and we were taken back into the recovery room where we were able to cuddle our daughter and then phone our families. They were so shocked as we hadn't told them. I'll never forget phoning my Dad, who was on the golf course at the time and I heard him get very emotional.
When I think back to how upset, angry, worried and frustrated that I couldn't have the 'natural' birth I wanted I have to laugh at myself. For me, my section was the most amazing experience ever.
|Freshly wrapped Mini Cheddar|
I know when there was the prospect of me having a caesarean I did receive a couple of comments (one from a stranger and one from a 'friend' who is anti-caesarean) who made me feel bad, like I was failing at being a 'real mother'. Well, you know what? I don't feel any less of a woman for not delivering naturally, in fact I'm proud of myself that I went through all that I did.
However a child is born us mothers are strong, determined and courageous to carry our bundles and give birth - whether that's naturally or not.