This is the moment I have been blogging for. The moment I can finally lay my soul bare and set myself free. I’ve spent the last seven months wondering if it would ever come. Wondering when I would feel brave enough, strong enough to think about, and perhaps write my birth story. Its 1am on a Thursday evening, and its now of all times that my brain chooses to finally regress. I’m trying to sleep, but I can’t. My head is swimming with thoughts of my labour. About that day. Or rather, those three days..
My head is scattered. Jumbled. My story a hash of thoughts and memories, a reflection of the fragments of the moments I remember. It’s so painful to look back, to think back. Because every time I do I wonder if it could have been different. If events were destined to play out the way they did.
It started innocently enough. Waters breaking, gently, slowly. Contractions beginning. Somehow progressing to pain…and fear. I remember feeling intoxicated by the pain. Losing time. Having no sense of it. Just remembering that day became night somehow. Being in our bedroom on the bed, trying to manage the pain. Each contraction a wave of pain which griped me and caused my whole body to shake and sweat. Having a bath, getting out of the bath, crying.. I think.. Throwing up. Putrid, green bile and vomit. Having a bite of pizza that I didn’t feel like. Throwing up. More shaking. Going to hospital. Throwing up. Being examined and told I was only 2cms. Disbelief. Being sent home and enduring the long and what seemed like endless journey home. Hours at a home a blur. How long, I don’t know. Sleeping briefly. Waking. Not being able to bear the pain anymore. Begging the husband to take me back to the hospital. More throwing up. More waters running. Being examined again. Two more centimeters. Not enough. Begging to be admitted. Relief at being allowed to stay in the birthing suite. Lovely doula. Pain relief. Pethidine. At last, sleep. A little, before the pain wakes me from my light slumber. Trying to walk around, but the pain is too much. Nothing is helping and nothing is progressing. We are moved from the birth suite to the delivery ward. 12 hours since my waters broke, no birthing suite for us. No natural labour. Monitoring. Bed. More pain relief. Gas and air followed by an epidural. At last, sweet relief. The pain is gone, with a click of a button. I feel its coolness around my spine. Sweet, sweet relief. I can talk, I can string words together and sentences. I can smile. I can laugh. I feel better. Happy even. I feel sane again. My mind returns to me. I reapply make up in a moment of consciousness.
I don’t know how long it has been. I have lost sense of the hours and days. Changes of nurses and shifts. Syntocinon administered to speed up the dilation, but baby doesn’t like it. Heart rate up, Syntocinon stopped. On and off for hours and hours. Maybe a day. I can’t remember. All I remember is the hunger. The insatiable hunger. Nil by mouth in case I need surgery suddenly. Begging to be allowed just one jelly bean. So hungry… and tired. I don’t remember when I last slept, and then we’re pushing. I can feel the sensation of the waves of contractions building up, but not the pain. I know when to push. I’m not scared. I know what I’m doing. Pushing. For an hour or two, or three. Examinations, lots of hands, and people. Talk of a c-section. Begging not to have a c-section. Being given one more hour to try. More pushing. Nothing. Off to theatre we go. Quickly and swiftly.
Somehow we are there. Its surreal. Scrubs. Bright lights. Scared husband. Being lifted from bed to trolley. Just like TV. Surreal. Lots of people. So many lovely people. Not feeling scared but calm. Knowing that soon we’ll meet our baby. Feeling numb. Legs put in stirrups. Then more pushing, and pulling with a ventouse. Ventouse violently flicking out of me. Thinking that can’t be good. More pushing and pulling. Seeing my baby’s head in the reflection of the glass. Determination and pushing. Being told I’m having an episiotomy. Asking not to have one then conceding. No more fight in me.
Then finally, my baby. On my chest. For a moment, or two, or three. Beautiful baby. Tears in my eyes. Emotions. Watery emotions. Not knowing, boy or girl. Baby whisked away for checks. Urgently asking my husband boy or girl? Tears in his eyes, voice breaking, mine and his. Frustration at not knowing if we have a boy or a girl and what is going on. Feels like forever. Stitching me up. Finally being told it’s a girl. Happiness and relief. At last she is here. At last it is over. At last the pain is gone.
Back in room. Husband goes to make calls. At some point we are moved from the labour ward to the post natal ward. When and how I don’t remember. I don’t remember those precious first few hours, and now that I can bear to think back on it all I feel robbed. I feel sadness, and disappointment. I feel grief. I feel despair, and regret. I mourn what could have been, and I don’t know how to make it better. How to make the sadness go away. It haunts me, and lingers in the back of my mind. I can’t watch One Born, I can’t talk about it with people, I can’t think about it and reminisce. Perhaps over time, the pain and sadness of what could have been will fade away. Or perhaps with another. To have one more and add to our little family. A boy or a girl. But I am terrified. Petrified, of having to go through it all again. I don’t think my heart could stand the disappointment, and my body take the pain a second time. But maybe one day, I will be brave enough to try again..
photo credit: Lab2112