As my children get older I expect the feelings from their birth to dull. I was shocked last year to experience a labour pain for a split second as I remembered Tillys arrival.
Sinking so deep into the moment I felt a contraction.
I reminded myself I wasn’t in labour and carried on with the day. I will never forget the moment I held them in my arms uncontrollable tears of relief pouring down my cheeks. An explosion of love in my chest so deep it would drive a root into the earth and finally ground me.
Its not those feelings I want to dull or fade away. Its the feeling that I will never get invited into a very elite club. A club that Dads, partners family swell with pride and talk about. A club you are either in or out of. I will never pass the guardians of the I birthed my baby club.
Its a damn big club and I will never get to walk the hallowed halls, hear the praise or get looked at with wonder.
No not me ….My body just couldn’t do it…I couldn’t do it.
The girl with enough strength to lift 100kgs off the floor any day of the week.
The girl who had awards for bravery.
The girl who had shown dominant force with her body time and time again.
I can hold pain and carry on.
I was fit, I was healthy I had near perfect pregnancies.
I will never have the VIP card, no magical call the midwife moment for us.
My feminine power lost to me …..I had strength, buckets of it.
The ability to connect with my body and draw upon a unknown primal power. To bring my children into the world unassisted.
My body failed me
I carry the warrior scars – the openings that where made to bring those incredible lights into this world.
I would sacrifice any part of me to make it possible.
As I write this now the scar running into my right glute is set alive.
It has awoken, the memory of its conception stirring it from its beastly slumber.
They say never tickle a sleeping dragon. The impossibility to tip toe around them, when they are branded on my body.
A literal line to remind me of how I failed but also how we lived.
I disconnected from the person I believed I was… Strong a protector.
I held on for as long as I could. My beautiful daughter had been set free into this world.
She had been pulled from inside of me. I knew there where two wraps of cord around her neck…I didn’t need to be told.
I could feel the edges of the world dulling the sound rushing away from my ears.
I felt the sickness hit.
I knew I was about to fall. Fall unconscious.. Slip into the abyss.
My blood pressure had bombed like a heavy stone plummeting into a deep lake.
My medical experience running through my head as I monitored my own condition…
I told the doc, ‘my blood pressure just ….’
The alarms fired to life on the monitoring ….
I knew …
‘how much has she lost’ Fired out over me..
I watched as they pushed my baby out of the room I managed one instruction..” don’t leave her stay with her”. I said a hazy silent prayer asking for us to see each other again …I thought of my beautiful boy..
And I drifted….
I felt myself pulled in a direction I didn’t want to go.
Backwards and forwards. Between the darkness, and the clatter and energy of the operating room.
At some point I felt myself completely in my body, weak but returned to where I belonged. I was moved to the high dependancy unit.
I felt partitioned, my little girl not with me. I was in no way prepared to not have her with me. My heart was aching, with the burning need to have her close. My maternal instinct in overdrive.
I also knew I was incapable of lifting my head off the pillow without falling unconscious. Time moved painfullyslowly.
Eventually my beautiful baby girl arrived. A surge of maternal energy kicked in. Work to be done. I thought she must be hungry. I had no idea how long we had been apart. The dizziness hit me like a train. I was moving slow and even that was to fast. I had been handed my newborn and I was now alone.
Fighting the urge to not sink into unconsciousness. Her tiny body swaddled in blankets my arms sinking with the heaviness I pleaded with myself to hold on don’t pass out. The terror I might drop her building in my chest.
I needed help there was none.
Begging myself not to drift.
I managed not to loose my grip…to this day I don’t know how.
I was left doubting myself badly. My ability to care, protect and provide. But in some strange way it left me with a sense of loss.
I did everything I could and I still couldn’t do it.
A voice inside me wonders if my baby came to harm because I didnt opt for a section.
A second one.
I could of….I was asked over and over again.
Every time I replied I have to try…every time more doubt about the choices I made about our lives.
The preverbal buck stopped with me.
My first birth was an emergency section…just as it sounds..
But far less traumatic. My son was delivered by my working family…He arrived in a room I had worked in for years. I could not have had a better team around me even if I had hand picked them myself.
The amazing theatre staff from Peteborough City Hospital. I had worked in and checked that very theatre many times myself over the half decade I had worked there.
I knew from the outset I was in safe hands and my son would actually be born surrounded by people I loved.
The infection that followed unfortunately literally split me in half ….The site sheared open after 5 weeks. Pete went full on twilight pale when I removed the dressing and it opened like a violent volcanic eruption. Blood and pus poured out falling onto the carpet.
sorry about the hugely descriptive image. For me it was not so bad I had been in continuous pain and it was actually a relief.
It was the beginning of a whole new pain journey unfortunately.
I would rather endure 10 labours over, instead of revisiting the memory of a nurse driving dry gauze into the cavity in my abdomen.
It sent white hot pain searing across my body. The sort that locked you regid. For to move would render me incapable of anything. I soaked through my clothing with sweat. As the plastic implment drove it in deeper. The white flashes of pain sawing me in half.
It took me ten minutes to get from the car door into the drivers seat.
I could not face this again…
I couldn’t electively opt for it.
I was terrified.
I didn’t speak to anyone. This in hindsight was a mistake back then I truly believed nothing could be done or changed. As I sit here with my work hat on I know with every part of me this isn’t the case. Now I encourage women to seek out therapeutic support.
Back then I had my own dialog …
Who wanted to listen to the new mum, the outwardly strong girl who had now been broken in half by cotton wool.
I took the codeine knowing it would render mt breast milk useless.
My ability to breastfeed all ready destroyed by the rampant infection raging war across my abdomen and in my blood.
Failed again. Myself confidence and self esteem plummeted.
I cried tears of relief when Leo glugged down his first bottle of formula. That incredible replacement food, saving him from hunger as my milk dried up.
As I heard ‘will you consider a section’ all those memories pushed further forward into my consciousness.
Every memory flashed through my eyes …
” I will do what is best for us”
I was resolute I could not endure that again.
And here I was 2 years and a week later, flat on my back.
In a slightly worse condition..
A midwife looked at me and said “Well at least you got the VBAC you wanted”.
Yes I had A VBAC …
The surgeon cut through a vein. I had been losing blood, the anaesthetist unaware as it wasn’t communicated the rate I had been hosing claret onto the theatre floor.
I might have been in a position to verbally RAM your comment down your throat you utter FUCKTURD!
Yes I was weak and ANGRY…
And it began ….
Triggered left right and centre about birth. On the whole I avoided mama groups. I couldn’t hear about the wonder births.
I was happy for them. I was fighting with myself. My inner voice telling me how weak I was. Questioning the colic and screaming. Was it my fault. I will never know, of course. I carried the blame.
In time I would see these births gave me a perspective on what its like to be completely helpless and fighting for my life. That understanding everyone was doing the best they could to arrive all of us safely into our futures together.
For the first time in my life I had to be
vulnerable and place myself in the hands of strangers.
I had to try and trust in others.
I have to moved to a place of acceptance these are my birth stories. I look back now and what I see is me and the many things becoming a mother would unlock for me.
I had to wait for the magic, those first moments where I held my babies and breathed in their amazing smells. As I felt their tiny soft bodies against my skin. They are almost the moments that time stands still for me. As I fell madly and deeply in love. These moments are locked deep within my heart.
I will hold them close for all of eternity. My children grounded me, bonded me to this earth like no other force could.
I had been floating through life, lost until they locked my heart to theirs.
Today 2 years since the birth of my beautiful girl.
Today this is the story I’m accepting and so grateful for.