If you know me, you know I’m passionate about pregnancy, birth, women, the sisterhood and the feminine. I havent really spoken much about any of this here on my blog nor a lot on twitter or facebook but if you get me started, upon my soapbox I will jumpeth.
I’m not here to tell people how to have their babies or experience pregnancy, it’s each to their own. BUT what I am, is a devotee to connecting to oneself and baby and with this bringing empowerment to self and the situation. I have many a belief about this wonderous topic but this isn’t what this post is about.
I have Mama R guest posting again today, maybe she should start a blog 😉 No, I absolutely love having her on here as she brings a different layer to many issues I am passionate about.
Today’s post I am proud to be posting. It’s about perspective and about perception. It’s about the fine detail and it poses whether we can manifest what we ask for without even realising it sometimes. I will now leave you to Mama R:
When preparing for the birth of my second baby, I hoped for a labour / birth like my first little girl. I didn’t really have a birth plan so to speak – my obstetrician and I had the goal of delivering a safe and healthy baby with the hope that it would happen as naturally as possible and similar to my first delivery. However, I did have a kind of dream, ideal or hope. It went like this …
- Little Girl #1 safe with a close friend or family member and she would not see me in pain,
- relatively quick
- as natural as possible
- my husband by my side
- mostly at home
- the baby straight onto my chest when he or she was delivered,
- and, above all, a safe and healthy baby.
I had, however, considered that other outcomes were a possibility and prepared myself so that, should I not have the birthing experience I was after, I would hopefully not feel guilty, disappointed or let down. But the birthing experience that did occur was one that had not even entered my radar and has taken a lot to get my head around. As a close confidant said to me, perhaps I need to be more specific when asking things of the universe.
So here goes…
At 9:30 a.m the labour started, Little Girl #1 was popped in front of Play School and Daddy R was called home from work. When Daddy R arrived home, I was adamant that Little Girl #1 be taken to our friend’s house without me in the car as I was already in too much pain. So, in between contractions, I helped Daddy R get Little Girl #1 ready and gave her a big hug goodbye. She had no idea I was in pain and Daddy R took her to be with a close friend (Request #1 – check).
By about 10:10 a.m my water broke and I called Daddy R to tell him to hurry up. Very shortly afterwards the baby’s head was crowning (Request #2 – check). Drugs were never an option. I had to listen to my body and do what I needed to do (Request #3 – check). Daddy R arrived home just after I had pushed the baby’s head out with literally a minute to spare (Request #4 – check). And so, after rushing to grab some towels, Daddy R caught our little baby girl on my own bed at home at around 10.20 a.m (Request #5 – check). With guidance from the 000 ambulance staff, we moved Little Girl #2 onto my chest (Request #6 – check) and waited for the paramedics to arrive. We looked at each other and laughed. We looked at our newest addition in awe. We tried to comprehend what had just happened but were grateful that we had a safe and healthy baby girl (Request #7 – check).
I am now at the point where I realise that, not only did I get what I asked for, but that I did an amazing job. The reality is that it has taken a long time to get here. This wasn’t part of my birth plan. I know that people plan home births and that years ago home births were the norm but this was not my plan and it had never occurred to me that it would happen.
I was not prepared for a home birth emotionally or practically. I was on my own for most of the labour and birth. Whilst many women say that you are really on your own, in your own head space, during birthing this is not the same as literally being alone. People ask me whether or not I was scared. The scariest part for me was when my baby’s head was out and my husband was not yet home. Beforehand, I listened to my body and did what needed to be done. After he arrived home, he looked after the two of us and his presence calmed me. But at that moment, alone and about to deliver my baby on my own, I was scared.
The enormity of what happened hit over the next 48 hours (and drifted in and out over the following weeks / months). The fears came into place with the “what ifs” and guilt came regarding not getting to hospital in time. Hindsight was in full swing. With talking to my close people, I eventually came to realise that I made the decisions that were right at the time and I did not risk my baby’s life. I knew both instinctively and from my previous experience, that the birth was progressing as it should. Yes some of the fears were there and mine, but others came from other sources; for example the fear regarding me haemorrhaging was from medical people and not me. The fear about whether she cried quickly enough was from medical people. I heard her cry when I checked to see if the cord was around her neck before the final push and it was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. (I should note here that my obstetrician was fantastic afterwards and is not included in the people who increased my anxiety.)
However, in trying to move on from the ‘trauma” of the experience, I found myself losing the joy of it. I was worried that I hadn’t bonded as immediately and quickly with Little Girl #2 as I had Little Girl #1. Actually what had happened was I had become too afraid to remember the birth due to exposing myself to the scary bits, but in fact losing the wonderful parts as well. With the support of those closest to me, I allowed myself to remember and found it was beautiful, intense but what I wanted (with a few variations!).
I went to visit my friend in hospital today after she had delivered her first baby yesterday. So little, lying peacefully in her crib. I don’t usually get emotional or “goo and gah” over babies; unless they’re my own. Don’t get me wrong; I think that they are beautiful but I just don’t seem to get the buzz that other people do. Today, however, was different. It was different because it was the first time I had seen a (very) newborn baby since Little Girl #2 was born. It overwhelmed me to the point of tears. She was gorgeous and precious and tiny but it wasn’t those things which got to me, it was my own memories of Little Girl #2 that came flooding back. I was looking at her and all of a sudden I thought “Wow, I really did do an amazing job.”
In all the saga of getting my head around my unexpected home birth, I worry that I missed out on some of the initial wondrous bits. But I can’t dwell on that. What I can dwell on is that I have this amazing beautiful charming little princess who I delivered all on my own. I listened to my friend and husband talk about different parts of her birthing experience. I was pleased that it was so positive for them. Mine was, in comparison, very different but also positive. I listened to all the fantastic support she had; husband, mum, a midwife, a trainee midwife and doctor. I was on my own (until the end). I had my own strength, I had my faith in God, I had the spirits of my loved ones who are no longer here, the energy of the women in my life and most of all I had a precious, strong-willed little baby girl who took me to my limits but also got me through.
Today I thank Little Girl #2 for making me experience her birth in a way I otherwise never would have experienced. This experience has also strengthened the bond between my husband and I more than I could have imagined. I thank her for showing me the real meaning of trusting yourself and the meaning of faith. I thank her for forgiving me for muddling through the enormity of it all and being there on the other side when I was ready to face it all.
I know I am lucky. But I see myself as lucky because I had a safe and healthy baby rather than an unexpected home birth. I am lucky because the traumatic aspects of the birth are due to being unprepared for being at home and not because something went wrong. I am lucky that the birth was at home and not in the car or foyer of the hospital. I am lucky because, although not exactly, I did get the birthing experience that I wanted. Above all, I am lucky that I have the support of my husband and special family and friends around to get me to the point that I see things this way and can write this piece in the first place.