Tag: birth

C-Section? God damn right you gave birth.

Brace yourselves. I have my ranty pants on. I try to keep this a place where I do not share bad things (I’m not into hate reading or outrage mongering), but as I’ll explain…there’s a reason I’ve made an exception for this one. Oh, and excuse my french. Oops.

Sadly, you might have seen this fucking bullshit on Facebook. It’s doing the rounds (originally shared by some whack job “church”). Honestly, I don’t think it deserves air time. When I first saw it, despite having had a C-section, despite this garbage going against everything I believe, I just rolled my eyes at these pathetic people (who I will not link to because that’s what they’d want) and moved on. There will always be people online who are looking for your outrage. Who will feed off the hate and the anger and the hurt of others.

But then, I thought about it. While I have had over 3 years to accept the feelings and thoughts and doubts that come along with having a C-section, I think back to a vulnerable time as a new mother. The second guessing. The processing of a birth that didn’t really go the way you thought or hoped it might. No matter how open minded you thought you were going into the process.

You believe things that you see in your newsfeed while you’re feeding your baby in the oddest hours. When you’re tired, you’re overwhelmed, you’re confused – how can you love another being THIS much but find it THIS challenging at the same time? WHAT IF I FUCK IT UP? All the so called experts up in your grille. The unsolicited advice from every human ever. All the self inflicted comparisons between yourself and all the other new mothers who for some reason always seem to have their shit together (hot tip: they probably don’t any more than you do) when you feel like you’re barely getting the hang of it.

I have some words to counter the utter crap spewed by this so called church below…
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OK. So are you in disbelief too? Speechless that people like this exist? Mad? Insulted? Got a bad taste left in your mouth? Well, firstly, you’re my kind of people and I love you for it.

Secondly, here’s my message to all new mothers who have had C-sections…

You are brave. You are a warrior. YOU GOT CUT IN HALF, YOUR INSIDES EVERYWHERE, AND YOU’RE STILL HERE LOOKING AFTER YOUR BEAUTIFUL BABY. Damn straight you gave birth. You delivered (with a little life saving help) a VERY special gift to this world. YOU ARE HERE TO MOTHER IT. YOU are a gift to this world. To this child. If you had your life and the life of your baby spared with the miracle of modern medicine, then you DID catch a lucky break. And there is NO SHAME in that. NONE. EVERY mother who gets through childbirth with their child alive has had a lucky break. There is NO SHAME IN HOW ANYBODY BROUGHT THEIR BABY INTO THIS WORLD. INTO THEIR LIVES. Hell, I’m adopted for pete’s sake!!

Chances are, you even had to go through labour AND surgery! How bad-ass is that?!

So tell people your truth with your head held high, “Hi – my name is *insert your name here*. My beautiful baby’s name is *insert their name here*. I GAVE BIRTH via a C-section. We are happy and we are here. The end.”

Here’s another truth: No woman is more superior than another for how she became a mother. All mothers are doing the most amazing, life changing job in the world. We are shaping the future and we are raising the world’s citizens. Whether you gave birth a certain way (or didn’t in the case of adoption), whether you fed your child a certain way or not, whether you work outside the home or not, does not matter. You brought life into this world. YOU DID GOOD. YOU ARE AMAZING.

And trust me. NO-ONE knows what the fuck they are doing (even if it seems like they do from the outside or from a bunch of social media pictures). I can tell you that much. But we do our best. We learn on the job. We are brave and we are committed. No matter what else happens, that baby has us. Because society believes we are valuable enough for them to intervene and keep us safe during childbirth. WE COUNT.

Your experience was just as real and valid as anyone else’s. It totally happened and it totally changed your life. FACT.

We are here so we can teach our children to be accepting, beautiful, inclusive human beings who believe in spreading love rather than hate.

I think that’s what’s really important here, don’t you?

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C-what now?

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I was inspired to write this post because lately I’ve had a few friends facing the idea of a first time C-section delivery of their bubs. I remember what it felt like having all these questions and concerns beforehand and I have decided to share what my experience was like. I hope that you find it interesting, positive or even helpful x

I think I always had the weirdest gut feeling (haha funny no pun intended) that I would end up having a Caesarean Section with the Little Mister. While I was pregnant, I constantly tried to psych myself up for the fact that I might end up with an emergency one. I just felt it in my bones. Maybe it was ‘pessimism’ (I’d not had the smoothest of pregnancies), but maybe it was just mother’s instinct. Either way, it felt daunting and way out of my comfort zone. Before my C-section, I had never even been in hospital, unless I was visiting someone or had a routine appointment (which only happened for the first time when I was pregnant).

I was all like, “WHAT? They might have to cut me? In my belly? And PULL out a baby?! A whole entire baby?!”

I wasn’t a stickler for a birth plan (thankfully), but I did have a few concerns about a C-section birth!

Would the anticipation of surgery freak me out? 

A part of me suspected that if I needed an emergency C-section, I wouldn’t have time – or the presence of mind – to worry (I was right), but I still worried that if I was told to have a scheduled C-section that I would psych myself out so badly that I would be a terrible bundle of nerves (and perhaps not a great patient)! I mean, the idea of being awake during a serious (and life changing) surgery just weirded me the eff out.

Also, I’d been watching that One Born Every Minute series and they’d shown a C-section taking place. I saw the way that baby just schlooped out of the mother’s surgical wound – pulled out almost violently – and I found it quite confronting!!! Not gonna lie! I was glad to see the real deal (I’m a ‘knowledge is power’ kind of person) on TV, but having that happen to me? WHOA.

I can’t speak for those who have had scheduled C-sections, but I have heard that the experience can be incredibly (and surprisingly) amazing. You can plan it all out, you have time to try to wrap your head around it, it happens before you’ve just suffered through hours and hours of attempting a natural labour, and I’ve even heard women talk about how they could do their hair and make up and have nice photos of their first cuddles!! 😮

What I do know from experience is emergency surgery and I honestly was in no position to freak out. For one, I had gone a little loopy on gas (turns out I’m very responsive to it) and in anticipation of possible surgery, I’d had an epidural administered (something else I am quite responsive to it turns out). I was quite out of it! But seriously, it was all about getting the Little Mister out healthy and well. I had never done this whole baby creating/birthing thing before and I just trusted the incredibly capable staff around me.

I was wheeled away to theatre and while I do remember being a tiny bit apprehensive (sh*t starts to feel real in there – I won’t lie), I had Mr Unprepared holding my hand and somehow an inner grit just kind of shone through. I just had to do what I had to do. There was no fighting it. Besides, I couldn’t run away – I had no feeling in my lower body haha.

The anaesthetist was very comforting too. He talked me through it a little (even made some great tension breaking jokes) and did all the tests to make sure I really couldn’t feel anything. That was comforting. They don’t just start cutting – they do have to check some things with you first. A relief, really haha.

Would I feel it? Because I so don’t wanna! 

I was told that some women will feel a pulling sensation while having a C-section. This made me squirm. Not so much in fear of pain, but it just sounded kind of “urgh” (I don’t have a better word for it). I was lucky. I felt sweet eff all. Those who have told me they felt the pulling, have never told me that it scarred them for life or that the pain was unbearable. That’s kind of comforting, right? Can’t be as bad as pushing a watermelon out of your hoo-ha all by yourself, right?

What if I could see it happen? Holy sh*t that would just horrify me! 

As I lay there with the curtain divider thingy up, I suddenly noticed that if I wanted to, I would see my reflection in the big metal apparatus (was it a light or something? I don’t honestly remember). This worried me a bit and I tried really hard to keep my eyes away. Just when I thought I had managed to do this (and was cool with it), someone angled it away deliberately. How thoughtful of them – yay. I know some people would rather see it happen but I was not one of them! Again, I didn’t want to scare myself seeing the surgery play out. I had never had surgery for ANYTHING in my life. No broken bones. Not even any stitches!

Would my wound be itchy? Because damn, I’d had enough of being itchy and the thought of being itchy again seemed unbearable!

I’ll admit it. As my due date became closer and closer, I started to become more worried about having an itchy wound than I was about the actual possibility of surgery! I had been so ridden with itchy conditions (PUPPP rash and the infection that eventually brought on my labour), that the thought of having my Little Mister out of my belly and still suffering the torture of itchiness seemed unbearable. I know I’m a wuss, but for me I think being itchy is the worst physical torture I’ve ever experienced! I’m the first to put my hand up – I can’t leave an itch alone. But a C-section scar? I’d be forced to leave it alone and the idea drove me nuts!

Right after surgery I was on pethidine (painkiller) and it thankfully did not seem to cause itchiness as a side effect. I had a big pad over the wound (can’t remember if I had a proper dressing first up or not) and I was on bed-rest of sorts for 48 hours (although it is normally 24 for those who have a routine kind of C-section). I was so relieved to not be pregnant anymore that I think the stress levels decreasing did help me to not focus on the wound.

I spent a lot of time gingerly shuffling around in the first few days at hospital. I probably could have been a little less shuffly, but I was nervous about the wound as I had never had surgery before. When I got home from hospital I remained very cautious. It did really help that Mr Unprepared was home on leave from work for a few weeks. He was able to do the things I couldn’t (they advise that you don’t lift anything heavier than your baby for a few weeks), and while this was frustrating for me at times (I wanted to be the on-top-of-it new mummy who knew how to do everything but I couldn’t – my husband even learnt several baby related tasks before I did), it was also quite nice to know my biggest job was just to recover and to cuddle and feed my baby. Good bonding right there 🙂

I started to feel quite good within a couple of weeks, which really surprised me. It was so nice to move again without feeling a bit sore or shuffly. Getting in and out of bed to pick up the Little Mister for a feed became much easier (at times Mr Unprepared had to get up for me and pass him over in the middle of the night) and I started to enjoy being physically free (well compared to just after surgery haha).

By three weeks, I was ready to take my first solo outing with the Little Mister – a very big deal for a new parent. I was able to lift my stroller out of the car and get the Little Mister in and out of his seat. I was probably twisting and lifting a little too much but the fact that I felt mentally ready really was a great milestone.

In the present day, my scar is quite visible and dark in colour (I always scar prominently and dark), but I don’t care too much. I’m not bikini ready and even then, the scar sits quite low so I’m cool with that. I probably could make more of an effort with bio oil etc to help it fade but it is honestly not of much concern to me. Sometimes it will get itchy (if my skin is a little dry or my underwear rubs on it a tad uncomfortably), but it’s not horrible. It’s just a little uncomfortable occasionally. 99% of the time it’s completely forgotten. I don’t feel less attractive because it’s there. In a weird way I’m proud of my battle scar. It’s evidence that I lived through something life changing (and ultimately positive)!

Two years later on reflection, I don’t regret that the Little Mister had to be delivered via C-section. In fact, to be honest, it’s all I’ve known and I’m cool with that. I don’t think I ever felt all cut up about how he was delivered (eek – excuse the terrible choice of words). You have to do what you have to do and I think I was quite the little trooper 😉

In fact, there are advantages to a C-section. I was able to avoid doing any damage to my lady bits! While this can still happen if you have a long labour before you head to surgery, I was lucky. There’s an upside to everything, right? I was also lucky that it all happened so fast. While the reasons for this were a bit scary, I did feel glad that I hadn’t suffered for an eternity beforehand. I still call it ‘giving birth’ and I don’t think I’m any lesser than someone who was able to deliver naturally (good for you if you have – what a champ!)! Each new mother goes through some kind of adversity or pain delivering their baby – however your baby comes into the world isn’t what’s important – it’s their health and the fact that they’re alive and well that matters. It’s the fact that you have your beautiful baby that you’ve dreamed of that matters.

Do you have any questions? Or advice for those facing a possible first time C-section?

Don’t bother having a birth ‘plan’.

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I honestly don’t know why they call them that. The fact is, you can’t PLAN your birth process. Even if you have a wonderful labour, you didn’t plan it. It was just a wonderful surprise to know that you were able to have a relatively good experience! To suggest that we can plan childbirth just seems like bollocks to me. Big sweaty ones. It says we’re in control of the process. I’m sorry, but while that thought is nice and sometimes keeps us sane, it just isn’t true.

My advice to first time pregnant mums is to throw out any notion that you are in charge and that everything will happen the way you want it to, because you’ve thought positively, avoided all negative horror stories and you’ve got a birth plan. Hasn’t anyone heard?? You have a birth plan! You did research! People who do research are better at this, right? Everything’s going to go just as you want it to! The truth is, positive thinking and making smart choices are never a bad thing – in fact, I recommend them. However, they don’t make a ‘good’ labour (ie the one you hope for) a sure thing. I feel like society keeps telling us we’re in control of everything. It feels like a comforting thought, but when despite all of your best efforts, something goes wrong…you feel like a failure. You’ve been fooled and pressured into thinking that you’re in charge of such a crazy biological process.

It’s actually liberating to realise you can’t be in charge of all of it. When my pregnancy started to get a little bit nuts, I blamed myself. I was ashamed that all these weird things were happening to me. I thought that those around me (the lucky ducks who have pregnancies that make them feel great) would think that I must be doing something wrong. That I must be thinking negatively, making some erroneous choice with my lifestyle or my diet etc. I knew it wasn’t my fault on an intellectual level (and was told so by more than one doctor/medical professional), but the fear of judgement was probably my biggest mistake of all! It’s just that we have all been brainwashed. It’s misguidedly comforting to tell ourselves that the other person over there with the pregnancy problems or the terrible labour must have done something wrong, because then we can just do it all ‘right’ and we’ll be fine. In a sick way, it reassures us.

In some ways, my crazy pregnancy was the greatest gift. It taught me that I’m not the one driving this bus (at times I looked like one haha). That you can do all of the ‘right’ things, think all of the most positive thoughts, and nature will still take its course. By the time I got closer to my due date, I threw all ideas of a birth ‘plan’ out of the window.

I had birth ‘preferences’. Birth ‘hopes’. Birth ‘wishes’.

I wrote a list of what I hoped for. I wrote a list of things I was willing to do to save myself or the baby (I kind of knew it wouldn’t be straight forward – intuition perhaps). I wrote a list of guidelines for my husband and my family – who I wanted there and when. It wasn’t fancy. It was pen scrawled all over an A4 piece of scrap paper, written off the top of my head. Maybe a list of only about 15 items. Some being very significant, like what I hoped would happen if something should happen to me (incapacitating me in some way), to the not so earth shattering, “Here’s my iPod, if my labour gets long just play it on shuffle – the songs on it keep me calm and inspire me.”

I was obviously hoping for a natural, vaginal birth, but I knew that drugs might help (I was quite unashamedly open to the idea) and that a C-section might be an emergency necessity. I knew from the start of the whole process that I would just be happy to have a healthy baby. I would not spend time mourning the death of a ‘plan’. I had already mourned the smooth, normal pregnancy I hoped I would have. I wasn’t going to do that to myself again.

My new attitude paid off. Because, as you may know, sh*t got crazy. I was in hospital for a mere 3 hours before I was in surgery. I only knew I was in labour about 2 hours before that. My labour was brought on by an infection. I got to 9cm dilated before they had to get me in for an emergency C-section. The epidural was administered in full dosage ahead of time (which made it a bit weird when I tried to push in a last ditch effort – can’t feel ANYTHING down there). I had no choice. I was then tethered (by catheter) to my hospital bed for two days (rather than the customary one day), while my firstborn spent the first 3 days of his life in another hospital without me because he was sick too.

If I had been all about a ‘plan’, I would have been exponentially more devastated and traumatised. Instead I was just shocked and dazed (perhaps it was the pethidine too) and later realised the enormity of what had happened to my baby and I. It took weeks to come to terms with what had happened. It was the biggest thing that had ever happened to me, my baby, or my body and of course it was going to take some getting used to! I am just glad that I didn’t also have the added sadness about things not going to ‘plan’ during the birth. I’d made my wishes known and they’d been respected, but I hadn’t outlined my preferred labour process without having an open mind. I knew anything could happen.

The important things happened. My parents were there to share in the experience (they stayed at the ‘right’ end of me haha) for the first time (I am adopted so it was hugely meaningful for the three of us as my mum has never experienced a pregnancy and I wanted to share this with her – I was so moved by my parents’ gratitude at being invited into such a special and private ‘event’). My husband got to the hospital quickly and was there for just about the whole time – by my side, encouraging me and saying all the right things (seriously!). I was kept safe, as was the Little Mister. No-one tweeted or Facebooked my labour process to the world in real time. I was given gas right when I needed it, surgery before things got horrible, and my baby was alive and likely to stay that way.

What didn’t I expect? What didn’t go to plan?

By complete chance, a top obstetrician just happened to be present when I came into the hospital. He was amazing and kept everyone calm in a tricky situation. Including me. I got optimum attention and care because while the time of my labour was unexpected (I was due to be induced almost a week later), I was the only person giving birth in the ward that night. The ONLY one! If I had been induced when I was expecting to be, the ward would have been FLOODED with people hoping to have their babies on the 11/11/2011 (as I found out later that week after a 6 day stay in the ward). Resources and manpower would have been stretched. The paediatrician who was present was also very good at her job (and to my mum’s delight – the wife of her favourite former professional AFL footballer)!

While not much went remotely as predicted, a lot of things went really right. I am so grateful. I am so glad I can see those blessings. Blessings I could never have planned for.

I’m calling on everyone to stop telling each other that we can plan our destinies. We can’t. We can’t be in control of everything. We can put our ducks in a row. We can be educated. We can make the best choices possible to encourage a great outcome. We can be positive and keep a great mindset. We can work hard. All of this might put us in the right places at the right times, but ultimately not all of it will always work out how we expected. Childbirth is no exception.

I love the way Mia Freedman of Mamamia puts it in her article about “Birthzillas”:

For many, it’s about control. One of the most confronting things about pregnancy and birth is the unpredictability of it and women often believe they can regain control by planning. Babies, however, like to raise their middle finger at your plans. They come early, they come late, they get stuck, they get suddenly distressed or tired or tangled…

After my personal experience, all I think we should care about is what’s best for the baby in that moment. I’m not going to compromise my child’s safety, by refusing treatment (or at least prolonging the inevitable) because I want to stick to a plan. Birth plans? Total first world problem/privilege. I’m sorry to put it so bluntly. My baby was in real trouble (as was I) if I did not have the first class care that I received. Who cares what that care involved as long as everything turned out for the best? A child who was/is alive (even if he didn’t breathe for four agonising minutes). Healthy after a little special attention.

Childbirth might not feel like the magical miracle everyone dreams of (at least it isn’t for everyone), but the result is what matters. It’s really important to go in knowing what is the most important.

If you got out of it healthy (if not worn out and needing some stitches somewhere) and you got to hold your healthy baby, take him/her back to your hospital room for cuddles and bonding for the first few days of his/her life… YOU ARE LUCKY. Your birth went well.

The birth of the Little Mister was shocking, surprising, a blur and hard to wrap my head around later, but I do not regret it at all. It went the way it needed to go. I wouldn’t and couldn’t change it. It brought me the most amazing gift and we all survived! I feel like a much stronger, more resilient person for it. I am proud of the fact that I was able to accept what happened (it took some time but had more to do with the trauma of being separated from my baby – as an adoptee since birth this was difficult to accept – my little man had to experience an immediate separation from me – something I’d dreamed he’d be spared of ever experiencing) and I feel like anything that brings you your gorgeous baby alive and well (even days later) is a success. I refuse to think of it as anything else.

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My advice to mums to be is to accept that life brings no guarantees. Know stuff. Do the stuff you can do. Then let the universe (and your beautiful baby you are so excited to meet) take its course. Some things are just bigger than us. Our self esteem and our pride should have nothing to do with something we can’t really control. We should not feel ashamed if something turns out differently to how we hoped. We did our best and life had other plans. That’s OK.

Sometimes life might put us on a path that will teach us the most, if we’re willing to learn.

Did your birth/s go to plan? Did you have a plan?

For some women, a traumatic birth or a birth that did not go to plan can be a trigger for post natal depression. If you are struggling, please click here for some resources. 

Some honest reflection one week out of hospital.

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Look, I am going to toot my own horn here (or whatever that expression is). I am going to risk sounding full of myself but I am damn proud of how I’ve handled my crazy pregnancy and labour experiences. I’ve learnt so much about what I am capable of both mentally and physically, which sounds funny because a lot of things didn’t go right. It doesn’t mean that there weren’t moments I felt like my body had let me or the Little Mister down, but there were a lot of things my body did right.

They say you should talk about your birth experience – especially if things went a little haywire – as it can ward off post natal depression and keep you positive and supported. I totally believe this now and it’s why I’ve been so brutally honest about everything I’ve experienced. Sharing my story and talking to my husband and my family about it without being afraid of a few tears has really helped.

I feel a bit bad like maybe I’ll scare some people who hope to have children some day, but look. I’m here and I have a beautiful, healthy baby to prove that despite the challenges everything can turn out well in the end. I think I did teeter dangerously close to depression at some low points of my pregnancy. I was tired of everything that got thrown at me from rashes to diabetes to the mysterious infectious end to the whole ordeal (which luckily resulted in a healthy mum and bub after a bit of TLC). I thought that if there was something that could go wrong, it would happen to me. Oh, that condition only affects 1% of pregnant people? For sure, I’ll get it! I admit to thinking negatively and worrying a lot. I didn’t think of myself as a strong person at all. I felt inadequate and helpless. Sometimes I felt like I was alone (which I know I wasn’t but when you’re down you think you’re the only one).

Everyone said to me that when Little Mister arrived, I would forget all of those troubles and everything I’ve been through would fade away. I didn’t believe them. I was trying to be realistic about it all. I knew that in my position I might not feel amazing right away and I refused to pressure myself to feel that new baby euphoria immediately. If it happened (which I prayed it did) then I would be so relieved and if it didn’t, I would be mentally prepared, know the signs and ask for help.

I can’t believe my luck. Everything really does seem worth it with my little guy around. I love him so much. In fact, maybe I love him and appreciate him even harder after all we’ve been through together. Sometimes I do get sad flashbacks to my labour experience or the trauma that certain events brought me in the lead up to his birth. I acknowledge and honour those feelings. I talk them out and I give them a little time (and a couple of tears) before moving forward. I have so many new things to learn and love.

I am recovering from an emergency C-section and it can be frustrating. I don’t know where I would be without the help of my husband and the support of family. It really is physically limiting and I try not to let it affect the way I bond with our bub, but there are admittedly times I can’t jump up out of bed (on account of being too sore) and lift him up into my arms when he cries. I need a lot of help and sometimes I just cannot do everything I want to. I try to make up for it wherever I can and I am not pressuring myself to do too much or to be a super mummy right away.

Something that affects me a little is the fact that my baby was taken away to another hospital for special care hours after birth. He was gone about three days and I only got to see him when he was placed on my chest right after the C-section. This is hard for any new mum, but I think that being an adoptee, I found it particularly tough when on day 3 the baby blues kicked in (only I had no baby with me yet). I realised that my biological mother had been through a similar (albeit permanent) trauma. I had now felt what it was like to go through a lot to have a baby and then have nothing to show for it. I felt so blessed that it was just a temporary situation (a few days really is going to seem like a flash in the pan as we clock up the quality time with our gorgeous bub), but it made me very sad. I was so jealous of my husband because he was able to visit Little Mister (but also so grateful he wouldn’t be alone). I felt empty and shellshocked and it still brings tears to my eyes sometimes when I talk about it. I had looked forward to seeing my beautiful baby for so long – he was the reward for all my hard work – and now he wasn’t there. I was hooked up to drips and stuck on an uncomfortable hospital bed, feeling as if I was still pregnant because I had nothing to prove otherwise (a swollen post-surgery paunch didn’t help the matter). Each day I feel a little better about how everything’s turned out, but I doubt I’ll ever forget those feelings.

I now respect those who go through harder situations than me so much more than ever before. My small taste of separation from my baby was more than enough for me to go through. My heart goes out to those who aren’t as fortunate as myself and my husband. My husband said that it was humbling visiting the neo-natal ward at the children’s hospital. Our baby looked so big and healthy compared to the tiny, struggling premature babies who were in the humidicribs. The parents of those other babies would look on in shock at how much our baby was thriving compared to their tiny, delicate infants. They must have wondered what he was doing there. Our Little Mister might have had an infection and needed oxygen and intravenous antibiotics but he was big and strong. I love him so much and he already makes me proud.

I see so many positives out of this situation. I have a healthy fighter of a baby. I now know what I’m made of. Even when trying for a natural labour I kept my composure and I did what was best for me and the baby (never letting myself get too distressed). I now know I can handle pain I’ve never experienced previously in my whole life and now I feel like I could get through anything. My rash has disappeared and I can eat what I like again. I am healthier because my diabetes taught me better dietary habits and I can look at the warm, inviting spring sunshine and not be afraid that it will make my skin unbearable to be in. The small pleasures in life are certainly not taken for granted anymore.

Itchy stretch marks on my belly and pock marked legs? Who bloody cares! Look what good things my body did! It knew to get the baby out before it was too late. It responded to the drugs I was given and it is healing fabulously considering what it’s been through. My faith in my body is returning, which is actually a really big deal for me.

I have so many good things to look forward to in life and I’m on the craziest learning curve ever. Love really does conquer all if we let it.

If I have any advice (unsolicited again – sorry) for other new mums, it would be to not expect yourself to feel 100% awesome and competent and crazy with baby love 100% of the time. It’s OK if sometimes you need a little cry or if something isn’t quite working perfectly. Just get some support if you need it and you’ll be able to move forwards onto all the good things in life. The baby blues are real and that’s OK.

In saying that, sometimes it’s more than just baby blues and you shouldn’t have to suffer alone and ashamed – here is a link if you’re struggling xo

The birth story: Better out than in!

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Now here’s a story about being Awesomely Unprepared…

So I was going a little crazy in late pregnancy. I was suffering from my various pregnancy ailments and after being strong during ridiculous amounts of blood tests and doctor/hospital appointments, I finally cried in front of my baby GP and this got me a date to be induced for labour (I wasn’t intending to use my feminine wiles to manipulate a good outcome but I was glad the waterworks were effective). I was to enter the maternity ward with my bags packed, feeling calm and prepared on Thursday the 10th of November. I was excited and relieved. I had been anxious that my baby boy was getting bigger and bigger. My rash was unbearable and untreatable. My diabetes was just playing havoc with me. I’d lost my appetite and I felt like I wasn’t getting the energy I needed from my heavily restricted diet. I was psychologically breaking and it was hard explaining my “big picture” story to every health professional I saw, who questioned why I was taking certain precautions etc when I wasn’t even considered full term yet (and there were many from midwives to pathology nurses to doctors and a dermatologist).

I had always planned on being a calm mother to be while in labour. I didn’t want to be in hysterics or do anything to distress the baby.

On Saturday the 5th November, I felt good. I went out for brunch with my family and I didn’t have any appointments lined up until the following Monday! Yes! Weekend off! I was also relieved at having an induction date, which relaxed me immensely.

As soon as I got home I went to have a long awaited nap on my couch while watching trashy TV, but I felt a bit off. Like when you first start to get a cold. I felt flushed in the face and it wasn’t relaxing at all. I figured I was just fighting something simple off. I told myself I would wake up the next day feeling good again.

This wasn’t the case. In fact, when I woke on Sunday the 6th of November, I felt worse. I called my parents and my dad came over and took my temperature and checked my blood pressure (gotta love having a health professional in the family). I had a mild temperature and the maternity nurse said not to worry unless it got a bit worse.

Later that afternoon…it got worse. I woke from a nap with some mild cramps and thought it was Braxton Hicks (fake practice contractions). I instinctively took my temperature and realised it was not good. I didn’t want to be a wuss (it didn’t feel like labour surely…which defies logic as I’d never experienced labour before) so I called my parents and asked them if I should get Husband Pants to leave work. I called the hospital and they said that if I couldn’t talk through my contractions anymore (or the pain got too scary) then I should go in. I was still not convinced I was in labour but eventually I was in agony! This sh*t was real – or it had better be because if it wasn’t, I didn’t want to go through that again on Thursday!!

My parents came over as soon as they could. It felt like they took forever and I was rocking about (standing up) like they teach you in ante-natal classes and was surprised that I wasn’t screaming. I had had a shower and it helped the tiniest bit, but I felt like there wasn’t even any gap between contractions anymore! My husband was notified and he sounded like he was in shock! He arranged to leave work an hour early and meet me at the maternity ward!

I got to hospital at 6:30pm (felt stupid being wheelchaired in by my dad but realised I could not have walked that long corridor by myself) and they monitored me for a bit. A doctor popped in just at the right moment (just happened to be a stupidly well regarded obstetrician who I am so grateful for) and told me I was 5cm already! I had been quietly going into labour and was already halfway! I never knew I was so stoic!!

I was moved quickly from the observation room into a birthing suite and the action continued. The midwife offered me gas at just the right moment (I thought I was tough but there was a point it all got hazy) and my husband was so good holding my hand and showing me he was proud of the way I was breathing well and taking it in my stride. All the ideas I had about my first labour being long and laborious (no pun intended) and perhaps even boring went right out the window. I didn’t have to worry about wanting music played on my ipod or eating light snacks to make it through. No-one had time to abuse any social networking opportunities (ie facebooking or tweeting anything inappropriate) and I didn’t even have a chance to try out various birthing positions or techniques!! I didn’t even have time to break any of my hubby’s fingers or ask him how guilty he felt (damn I had really wanted to use that line)!

The doctor kept telling me my labour could get dangerous for the baby and I on account of my fever. I understood what he was saying but his bedside manner was so good that I stayed calm despite the dangers and just kept doing what I was advised. I ended up having an epidural. The choice was taken out of my hands (which was a relief to be honest – that’s a lot of big decision making). I had to be prepped for surgery in case I would need it. I had no idea the magnitude of the situation. I was told to push really hard but I couldn’t feel much and I suppose that was disappointing because I was going to be wheeled off to theatre where they would attempt to get the baby out superfast with forceps (eek). I got to 9cm dilated but it became obvious very quickly that a birth by forceps (instrumental birth I think he said) wasn’t going to be good enough. Things were getting dangerous. So C-section it was.

Only three measly hours after I arrived at hospital, our Little Mister was delivered at 9:28pm. He weighed roughly 8 lb, 1 oz and was 50cm long. He was lifted above the curtainy-shield thingy and shown to us but he wasn’t moving or crying. I think they told me he was moving to make me feel OK but I was so tired and overwhelmed and drugged that I didn’t really have a chance to worry or feel traumatised. Luckily a couple of minutes later I heard him make some sound and my husband looked at me with a comforting smile and said, “Do you hear that?”

We had about five minutes of snuggle time (he was already cleaned and wrapped) and then he was gone again. I was told that I had an infection in my amniotic fluid and he had breathed it in and could get pneumonia or something equally nasty for a newborn.

I was in a daze and taken to recovery. I had been told he needed some special attention but to be honest I really didn’t understand just what a delicate situation he and I were in. We were both sick.

I was just relieved that I had delivered my baby. I didn’t know that I wouldn’t really see him for another three days, after he was sent to the paediatric hospital an hour’s drive away for special care and monitoring in their neo-natal ward (my amazing husband would have to divide his time between staying with me and visiting Little Mister so he wasn’t alone).

When I was back in my hospital room, I felt good. I was on pethidine and fluids (I had come to the hospital very dehydrated despite sipping on water all day every day for weeks leading up to the birth) and thought I was doing amazingly. My parents came into the room and my mother in law visited me too even though it was now the middle of the night. I feel a little sad for myself when I think back to that time. I was so out of it that I didn’t realise I had no baby by my side. My arm was full of drips and I didn’t know I was so sick and needing a hell of a lot of intravenous anti biotics and an extra day tethered to the hospital bed (most C-section patients are only kept in bed for one day).

I was happy (even if in a drug induced haze). I’d seen my baby briefly and he was alive. It was all I needed to know at that moment. Almost nothing had gone to any kind of original plan but I knew that the baby and I were in good hands (in fact – the best – I cannot even express how grateful I am). I am relieved that I went into all of this open minded, not trying to control everything. Perhaps my challenging pregnancy had made me mentally strong enough for what was to come.

Stay tuned for the next post about the aftermath of my crazy birth experience...