To My Fellow Terrible Labour Mamas
Being a mum often comes with questions from those who don't have children about the experience of giving birth, which is something I've had to deal with since even before having Archie. The main difference between being asked before and after actually experiencing labour goes from " I know it won't be a walk in the park but I'm sure I will manage" to silence as I evaluate how much I'm willing to tell the enquirer.
Even writing this leaves me with tears in my eyes and a sour taste in my mouth as I re-hash over my sons not so perfect birth (to be quite frank it was bloody awful), usually this would be followed by me saying "I wouldn't wish it on anyone" and for the most part this is true, however, I wish that those people who have no idea what I went through but think I'm being overly dramatic could have just a little taste of what I went through. I had bad pre-eclampsia , which caused me to be in and out of hospital for 5 hours at a time on a daily basis, for weeks before having Archie. I also had my midwife come to see me nearly everyday during that period.
At 38 weeks I was induced meaning my dream of having a calm, beautiful water birth was shattered. That hurt. It still hurts now when people talk about their lovely experiences delivering their babies into water. But I was hopeful still that I would have a relatively calm natural birth.
Wrong. Now I really don't remember a whole bunch. A lot of my experience from this point is blurry to say the least. At the time , it was a case of being induced which meant my contractions would come along a heck of a lot quicker and stronger. They went from 0-100 in the blink of an eye and whilst they were ridiculously uncomfortable, I gained strength knowing that for most people the contractions are the worst bit. After a few hours of contractions, being monitored and my water breaking into my slipper, I was finally moved to the labour ward. At this point I was introduced to the devil that is gas and air. I did not react well to this. It made me feel sick and dizzy but I kept using it, I think as some sort of coping method or maybe I was hoping if I used it enough it would eventually kick in.
From this point I literally remember being told off by a senior midwife for having my medication mixed up and a yellow page being shoved in my face (which I now know was me signing my life away because my cheeky little boy was trying to push himself through a 3cm gap and his heart rate was dropping during every contraction.) I was then wheeled down the corridor of doom by about 20 random people to the operating theatre to have an emergency section.
I don't remember holding my little boy for the first time. Not really. I suppose I remember from the photographs but it's not the same as actually remembering. I never heard that first cry nor did I have the skin to skin contact with my fresh baby, that I so desperately wanted.
I met my baby when he was hours old and even then I couldn't stay awake, I drifted in and out of consciousness. It makes me feel beyond shit that I can't remember and there is nothing I can do about it. It hurts to go over those days, it hurts more than the pain after the C-section, (which is beyond painful and made me seriously wonder if the pain had been worth it.) I know right ? Did she seriously just say that ? What a terrible mum! Call the mummy police! But no, I lay here awake at 3am not because my little boy is crying for a feed but because the whole experience haunts me.
To my fellow terrible labour mamas out there who are still trying to come to terms with the shit that they had to go through whilst juggling their babies, You are amazing , powerful and strong beyond compare .
Written by Grace O'Leary