I am not my birth story

I apologist in advance for those of you that don’t want to hear about birth stories. Believe me, this isn’t the story I thought I would be telling either. I need to tell this to get it off my chest, out of my head, whatever. Because despite my logical mind telling me everything happens for a reason, etc etc, a small part of me still feels like a bit of a failure. 

Despite the amount of research and preparation I did during this pregnancy, this was the extent of my birth plan:

  • Go into labour
  • Stay home as long as possible
  • Go to hospital, have natural vaginal birth, with as little amount of drugs as possible
  • Go home

I was sure that between my yoga, meditation, acupuncture, aromatherapy etc, I was totally all over it. How arrogant.

I went into labour on the day I was due (I was pretty proud of that!) I spent the day with intermittent lower back pain, nothing major. I knew I was close, as I had lost my mucus plug three days earlier, and had been even more tired than usual since then. I didn’t have much of an appetite that day either. In the afternoon, I felt proper contractions start, 45 seconds long and 10 minutes apart. I called my midwife who reassured me and told me to call back if my waters broke, or the contractions became closer together. Virgo man and I had dinner, watched tv and decided to go to bed to get some rest. The contractions were still bearable at this stage, just like mum had assured me – just a bad period!

As we prepared for bed, Virgo man suggested he thought my contractions were getting closer together. We were timing them on my phone app, but I wasn’t really paying attention. We realised the contractions were now a minute long, and three minutes apart, and the pain was starting to increase. We called the midwife again, who was already at the hospital with another woman from my antenatal group, and we headed in. My bag which had been packed for two months already (he is so organised!) had been living by the door since the weekend. I left messages on my parents phones to let them know I was in labour and to get on the next plane in the morning.

We get to birth suite, and our midwife examined me. Only two centimetres dilated. I couldn’t believe it. She offered we could go home with a codeine based pain reliever, or stay and have morphine. I don’t react well to codeine, so we stayed and tried the morphine. I’ve never had morphine before. Goddamn its good! Maybe I’ll become a heroin addict when I grow up. It took the edge off the contractions and let me feel like I was getting some rest in my three minute breaks. I encouraged Virgo man to sleep on the hospital bed with me, he needed the rest and I knew I would need him later.

By morning, I was still only two centimetres dilated, but still having regular strong contractions. I was moved to a private room to wait it out. I spent the time alternating between the birth ball, and being on all fours on the bed. My parents arrived around lunchtime, and it was so special to have these three people, the most important people in the world to me, supporting me. My mum rubbed my back, my dad massaged my feet, and my boyfriend held my hand.

By mid afternoon, the pain was starting to get more intense. The midwife examined me and decided I was about 6 centimetres, and could therefore head back into the birth suite. I was able to lie in a bathtub and my boyfriend sat beside me, holding my hand. He and mum and dad alternated going to get food and drinks. In the bath tub, my contractions intensified, and I was now having continuous contractions – one big contraction, then a little one, and so on, with next to no break. I tried the gas which helped for a while. I lost track of time at this stage.

When the gas stopped being effective, the midwife examined me again, and I was still only about 6 centimetres. I had now been having contractions for 24 hours. I gave in, I was so tired, I asked for an epidural. This was one thing I had always been absolutely against and was very vocal about never ever having one. I had heard too many horror stories about epidurals that go wrong. So I was really upset at this stage as I’m sure you can imagine. Virgo man held my hand as the anaesthetist did his thing. The decision was made to also use Syntocin, to try to speed up dilation. At first, the rest it gave me was miraculous.. I was able to eat dinner, some of the only food I’d had all day. However, I still didn’t dilate any further. The epidural started to wear off, and while I couldn’t feel the contractions, they were making the muscles in my back spasm, and I was levitating off the table exorcist style. I had to get Virgo man to tell me when the contractions were over and physically force myself to lie back down on the bed. We discovered that bub was fast asleep according to the heart rate monitor, and he only woke up when someone did a vaginal examination! He still loves his head being massaged. Virgo man was getting really distressed by now, and still maintains that every hospital employee that night had their hand up my vagina.

It is now midnight. I start getting a fever from being in labour so long. I was fading in and out of consciousness, just through sheer exhaustion. I would come around and ask Virgo man what was happening, as he sat beside me holding my hand the whole time. An obstetrician comes in and examines me, and informs me I am still only 7cm, despite the midwife suggesting I was at least 9cm. Knowing I was really attached to a vaginal birth, he offered I could try pushing and he would use forceps and venteuse to get the baby out. I cried. I didn’t have the strength to even lie in the bed anymore, let alone try to push, and the idea of dragging the baby out with forceps sounded horrible. I was so over the whole situation, I barely even cared that there was a baby involved anymore. I made the decision to have a caesarean, which I knew the doctors were pushing me toward, just none of them wanted to be the one to say it.

By this stage, I was nearly hysterical. I felt like a complete failure. I couldn’t even birth my child. If an epidural wasn’t on my to do list, a caesarean was the absolute last scenario I had even considered. I asked if I could still have immediate skin to skin contact, and delayed cord cutting, and the answer was no and no. There was now meconium, and with my fever spiking, they weren’t going to risk anything. Meanwhile, the midwife was trying to find a vein and punctured me four times before they found an appropriate cannula site. I HATE needles. That’s the first time I screamed, was getting the needles. My parents went out to the waiting room, and my boyfriend followed us into the surgery. I had him sitting by my left shoulder and our student midwife sitting on my right. They were trying to subtly hold me down, as I was so hysterical I was moving too much. Every nurse or member of staff who came over to talk to me patted or held my wrist, right over the cannula site, which made me scream even more. I take a while for drugs to kick in, so as they were testing to make sure the spinal block was working, I was told if it didn’t kick in soon, they were giving me a general. Thank god I finally stopped feeling at that point, I’m sure just through fear.

When you know a lot about anatomy, I think it makes the caesarean even worse. It’s true, you feel everything. I cried the whole time. Then, within 5 minutes, I felt a great relief, and suddenly there was my baby, being held up over the curtain. My crying changed then, to relief. He was perfect. They whisked him away to check his health and started stitching me up. I could relax. We took selfies of the three of us, much to the amusement of the surgical staff. Finally they brought him back in and Virgo man went to meet him. Apparently he also accidently saw my abdomen, I can’t believe he didn’t pass out. They were taken to recovery as I was finished off. Finally, an hour later, I finally met my little boy. They put him on my chest and he fed straight away. I can’t articulate the relief I felt, that despite everything, he and I bonded. The surgeon came in and told me that he had not only been asleep, but he had his head turned sideways and tilted back, essentially the opposite of what he was supposed to be. I felt a bit better after that, knowing that it wasn’t all my fault.

An hour later, I was in a room, and able to introduce him to my parents. They went home with Virgo man after that, it was after 4am by this stage and we had all been up for over a day, or two days in my case. A midwife put him skin to skin on my chest for me, and he and I lay there like that until breakfast. And I discovered how much love a person can possess.

I don’t feel like a failure anymore. I accept that there are many things we have no control over. I tried my hardest, and in the end, I have a beautiful, healthy boy. And that’s really all that matters.

 

Back in touch

Wow, I can’t believe how quickly time flies. It’s been so long since I posted anything. I promise I’ve been thinking about you, even if I haven’t been in touch.
So where did I leave off?
I was headed to the UK and Spain to meet my future inlaws. It was such a great trip. Uk was having their heat wave and I actually managed to get sunburnt, which was very entertaining for an Aussie like me. Even though I was travelling to the UK during their summer, I still packed jeans and cardigans. Normally our winter is similar temperatures to their summer.
Anyway, my new family is so lovely. I was embraced immediately and made so welcome, to their family and their homes. I now have two of the most adorable nephews ever, two sisters and parents who are so similar to mine it’s nearly scary.
There was only one down side. Virgo man’s jealous streak came out during his sisters wedding. While I can’t deny it was my freudian slip that triggered it, it still really shocked me. It made me wonder if we would even still be together if I hadn’t fallen pregnant so early.
Anyway, let me explain. There was a general discussion happening around the table about girls changing their surnames when they get married. There were quite a few women there who had either gotten married recently or were engaged, and joking about how soon none of them would be their old name. I turned to Virgo man and told him for the first time in my life, I was really looking forward to changing my name when we married. (With any other boyfriend I’ve had, I was not inclined to change my surname). Unfortunately, I said the wrong name. I said Aries chef’s name by accident.
He looked at me strangely. It took me a few moments to realise. Then the earth opened up and swallowed me whole. What a F@$#*ing idiot. He stopped speaking to me for the rest of the reception. I found him in our hotel room an hour later. I apologised for the hundredth time and he let rip. That he felt he couldn’t trust me. He was the only one giving up anything, sacrificing anything for this relationship and I clearly wasn’t serious about us.
Seriously? I know, it was a major slip up on my behalf. And I don’t even know where it came from. I truly hadn’t thought about Aries chef in weeks, unless it was in passing when Virgo man was doing something wonderful for me like rubbing my feet and I thought “How lucky am I to have found someone this sweet, Aries chef would never be doing this for me”.
He’s the only one sacrificing anything? Do you know what is happening to my body right now? Let alone my emotions, my brain, my career, my finances?
A truce was called. We moved on. But every now and then I wonder if a jealous person can ever get past that personality trait. Is it my responsibility to prove my reliability – over and over again? I believe it is his to resolve his issues from the past. I don’t believe that I am untrustworthy. I’ve never cheated on a boyfriend. I can be flirty. I’m incapable of lying or even fibbing, I have no poker face. He can get cranky if mail gets delivered to the house addressed to Aries chef. I tried to point out that he hadn’t changed all of his mailing addresses either, wasn’t that just a man thing not a deliberate attempt to stay in my life, but apparently that wasn’t the same.
Anyway. Enough complaining. 99% of the time life is going great.
More life updates later.

Holidays! And meeting in laws

I have an hour and a half left of work before I go on holidays! Virgo mans sister is getting married in the UK on Saturday, then we head to Spain for a week, where his parents have retired. I can’t wait to get away from work and just lie around in the sun for a couple of weeks. I discovered I still fit into a favourite cocktail dress so I didn’t even have to buy a new dress (thank god for babydoll style dresses).

The long haul flights will be interesting – Australia to Europe is a long time on a plane. Doing it while 23 weeks pregnant will make it interesting…I’ve invested in some very attractive compression stockings to wear as per my midwifes instructions, and I’m sure I’ll be getting up every hour or so to pee anyway.

I’m also meeting his family for the first time in person – I think he is more worried than I am. What’s not to love about me?! Aside from getting knocked up to him, which I’m still blaming him for anyway. They seem lovely over skype, and once the wedding is over they will all relax. They sound like big drinkers, so I’m a little glad I’ll have to be sober this trip – I’m a two pot screamer at the best of times. Sober at a wedding…lots of new experiences for me lately!

In other news, I found out I’m having a boy. A soccer player by the feel of it,  he started kicking like a champion last week. So far it’s still adorable…he hasn’t gotten me in the bladder, or other vital structure yet.

And then…

So things have picked up. Still so tired I could cheerfully put my head down on my desk and go straight to sleep at any given moment, but my belly started growing and strangers started commenting (positively). Now it feels real, and even the hard days are easier when I rub my belly and feel this baby making itself more room.

And then…

My dad called on the weekend. After a routine check up with his doctor (and then some more tests) he’s been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. His surgery is in 9 weeks time. He had no symptoms at all. He’s only 64 years old.

As you can probably imagine, I’m a little bit of a mess over it. There are many families I know that have lost a family member around the time of a new arrival, and in the back of my mind I think I’ve sometimes thought that maybe there’s only room for a certain number of people.

I realise I’m being irrational. 

I tried to tell Virgo Man I was fine, then burnt my finger tips on a hot tray out of the oven and cried for an hour.

I think knowing your parents aren’t invincible is one of the hardest ideas to get used to.

So far…

I’m sitting here with no idea how to start this blog.

Just knowing that I need to write it, to get out of my head and maybe someone else feels the same way too.

But this pregnancy isn’t progressing the way I thought it would. Don’t panic, the baby’s fine. It’s me that’s the problem.

I had such expectations for when I was pregnant. From working in the natural health industry, I thought I had it all sorted. Healthy food, lots of exercise, vitamins, etc etc etc. The weight of expectation has crushed me and the mother guilt that I thought I would be immune to seems to start the moment you see the lines on the stick you just peed on.

I feel guilty that the only food I could hold down when I had morning sickness was McDonald’s chips.

I feel guilty that I’m too tired to exercise, go to yoga, do anything besides go to bed when I get home from work.

I feel guilty that I’ve cried nearly every day for the past week, and I don’t know how much of it I can blame on normal pregnancy hormones.

I’m possibly a little too in tune with my body that I can feel every ligament stretching, every organ changing shape, every function altering to accommodate this baby and most of them make me worry.

I’m scared that if I’m uncomfortable at 16 weeks I don’t know how I will cope when I’m 20, 30, 40 weeks?

I’m scared that if I’m an emotional wreck now, how am I going to cope when it’s just me, the baby, and a lack of sleep?

I’m sick of other peoples opinions, no matter how well meaning they are, about whether I find out the sex of the baby (I want a surprise, apparently that makes me strange), the looks and comments I get if I mention I’m researching vaccination (heaven forbid I should be informed, clearly I just want my baby to die of whooping cough, or maybe just infect some other innocent cherub with it, although surely if they’ve had the vaccination they shouldn’t have to worry?!) when I should go back to work (as quickly as possible apparently, this could be more of a staffing issue rather than about me..), the sniggers I get if I say I want to try for a natural, drug free birth.

Anyway.

Thanks for listening. I’m trying to stop doing this in front of Virgo Man as he has no idea what to do when I cry. And I don’t like to do it over the phone to my mum, because then she feels guilty about being in another state.

Time to dry the tears and get on with the day.

Life update

So.

I’m now 13 weeks pregnant. I made the official facebook announcement last week by posting a picture of my first scan, as that seems to be the social media etiquette these days. The Virgo boyfriend has moved in (and completely reorganised my entire house), the housemates are moving out soonish, and I’m getting a promotion at work.

Life is good. It could just be the oxytocin coursing through my veins, but I’m really happy right now.

Getting to know you (TMI alert)

So I had a realisation this weekend past.

Virgo man and I went away for the weekend to the beach. Which was awesome, and relaxing, and romantic, thank you for asking. But it certainly highlighted aspects of our relationship which I found intriguing.

So, as previously mentioned, we’ve only been together about three months. We don’t live together yet, although this will change within the next month when he breaks his lease. And I realised that obviously, we still don’t know each other that well yet. There isn’t yet the familiarity and comfortability (is that even a word?) that long term relationships have. And I assume that most couples who become pregnant already have that familiarity with each other.

Ok, enough dodging the actual topic. TMI time. Being still in the honeymoon phase, I haven’t farted in front of him (that he knows of, tee hee) or gone to the toilet for a number two, etc etc. Over an entire weekend away you have to do that! Especially when you’re pregnant.

The ONLY pregnancy symptom I have so far (despite the obvious lack of menstruation) is constipation. It’s really common, due to the progesterone in the system. Which leads to bloating, gas etc etc. So he was HORRIFIED the first time I farted.

Seriously?

That stuff does not bother me. Please, I’ve been ignoring his gym socks and wet dog smell in his house since we met. I have a legitimate excuse for bodily functions right now! And let’s be honest, it’s only going to get worse.

I decided that you can’t call a relationship “committed” until you have overcome some major obstacles together first:

  1. At least one of you has had food poisoning/gastro, and the other has had to look after you. Preferably the roles get reversed at some stage so you both get to experience the joy.
  2. You have babysat a friends child, or high maintenance pet.
  3. Spend considerable time (at least a long weekend, or Christmas lunch) with the various crazy members of each others families.
  4. Know how much each other earn at work.
  5. Go traveling together. Extra points for overseas, a different language, and driving a hire car.

I’m sure there’s more, but it’s late and my brain is shutting down. Update to the list soon. Feel free to add your own