My last baby.
My emotions are running high right now because I can't believe my baby is 1. I have learnt so much about myself this year.
It has been my toughest year as a mother, my mental health has suffered and I had a hard time recovering from this birth. Juggling 3 children and running a business was a lot harder than I ever thought it was going to be.
So back to a year ago.
I was diagnosed with a condition called polyhydramnios, this is excess fluid, this meant that the baby was lying transverse and my risk of going into labour early was greater. I was told not to be alone with my children and if my waters went then to get down on the floor, bum in the air and phone an ambulance. This is not common and I was told not to worry but as yo can imagine this was quite unnerving. My stress levels increased and I forgot about the exercise program and the most important thing was getting to the end of my pregnancy. I continued to practice breathing technique and mobility exercises.
A c-section was booked in for 37 weeks and I was scheduled to go into hospital at 35 weeks. This was changed but eventually I asked to be taken in on the Monday when my C-section was booked for the Thursday.
The plan was to try turn the baby the day before the c-section. After being through this with Noah I was hopeful it would work. It didn't work and it was quite difficult and she wasn't for budging so back to the original plan.
I was given my steriod injections. The first one was pretty sore as the midwife gave it to me slowly, into my bum. That was the most painful one. Fast was the way to go!
I was instructed not to eat after 9pm so being the person that I am this sounded torture to me, I don't even eat that late so that was illogical. Turns out my family know me well and all brought me tasty treats. I filled myself up on them and then the heartburn was terrible. So then I had to fill up on the Gaviscon. I felt much better after that.
The surgeon then came to talk me through the process. He made me feel at ease and made sure that all my questions were answered. I felt relief knowing that I had spoken to my surgeon.
I was scheduled in for the first slot of the day because I was already in the hospital. Knowing when I was going to be taken made the process a little easier. Waiting around is not good for me as I am an overthinker.
I got a pretty decent nights sleep considering and the midwife came in and gave me my socks and a tablet to neutralise stomach acid. (How I wish I had access to this during the rest of my pregnancy!)
The nerves were ramping up and I was worried that Simon wasn't going to get here on time before they took me down. He had the task of getting the boys to nursery and getting to the hospital for about 8:30. When he came through the door I was so relieved. He is my calming influence and just knows how to make me laugh.
It was a completely new experience to go through this without contractions, I was nervous for the baby as she was going to be born 3 weeks early but it was the right choice for us.
We were taken down the theatre area and Simon was given his scrubs to wear and I was taken into theatre. I met the midwife that was going to be looking after the baby when she was born. She was as lovely as all the other midwives I have encountered birthing my babies so I felt at ease.
It was time for the spinal block. I was nervous because I didn't really have a good history with this part. The anaesthetist was struggling to get the right angle. Everyone was so supportive and caring that I trusted that it was going to be ok. I feel so lucky to have been given such an amazing team to make sure my baby and I were safe and cared for.
It was time for me to lie on down on the table. This was it. I started to get really overwhelmed and then Simon walked in. He had a goofy look on his face, it was mixture of excitement and nerves. It must have been overwhelming for him. I had been my sisters birth partner 6 months previously for her c-section so I was a little prepared. But this was all so new for him. But he was there holding my hand reassuring me. (Oh and taking photos)
Then they began the procedure. The anaesthetist was talking me through what was going on and Simon was watching it through the reflection. It felt very surreal because I could feel what they were doing but there was no pain. Then it came, the 'your baby is about to be born'. I was so overwhelmed and relieved that it was going to be over.
She was perfect and beautiful. I was completely overwhelmed with emotion. I started to feel a little unwell and they wanted to check her over as she was born early and they needed to make sure she wouldn't need to be taken to the neonatal unit. I had suddenly got very hot and felt sick and dizzy. The anaesthetist was so reassuring and caring, she adjusted my medication and got me a cold compress and I felt much better.
We then had to wait for them stitch me back up again. This felt like it took a really long time and I just wanted to be out of there now. We were then moved to the recovery room where I was monitored closely for any signs of haemorrhage. Relieved to have my baby in my arms and to have got through a birth process I had always been so terrified of was an fitting ending to my journey through pregnancy and labour.
I am incredibly lucky that despite the complications during my pregnancies that I ended up with 3 beautiful children.
What did I learn from this labour and pregnancy?
1. That you have to be your own advocate. To ask questions when you are not sure, no matter how silly you might think you are being. That you are not an expert at this so there is no reason why you would know.
2. That every birth, like every child, is unique. You will face different challenges and triumphs during this precious time.
3. That I am incredible. You are incredible. I know there are babies born every day and it is not a unique or new experience for the world but it is a new experience for us, the 1st,2nd or even 3rd time. The changes our bodies go through to grow our little babies and birth them is one of the many ways to show just how powerful and strong women are.
Becoming a mother has been, as cliche as this sounds, life changing for me. Not only in the expected way but it has awoken a passion in me. After some pretty hard recoveries from my labours I want to make sure that all mums have all the information they need to live a strong, pain free, fulfilling life.
We deserve it to be the best mothers we can be.
But more importantly, we deserve it to be our best selves.