My baby has been born.
Not quite brought into the world as planned but that shouldn’t matter.
It’s not like I had a birth plan.
In fact, I was asked that very question on Wednesday, at my pre-admission appointment.
“Do you have any requests for birth?”
“We’ll just leave that part blank then.”
I wasn’t playing dumb, I just didn’t know what she specifically wanted from me.
We had a plan. My obstetrician and I…and anyway I am a go with the flow kind of person. I didn’t have an epidural in the past but I’m open and I didn’t want a water bath/time in the shower etc…whatever happens happens.
This is after all, my fourth time doing all this.
It was a planned induction.
After the stillbirth of my second baby, both my husband and I and my obstetrician were very aware of what losing a baby felt like.
We lost Sophia at 33 weeks but reasoned that as soon as the baby was developmentally ready, at 37 weeks or so, we should induce to get him out. It’s safer that way. Its easier on us psychologically and we were able to schedule in help for our boys while we were in hospital.
It worked a charm with my third baby. They induced me at 7am and after two hours (established) labour he was was born at 2pm, safe and well. Much to our immense relief.
Even if it did hurt.
Delighted to be in that delicious world of love and all things newborn I bounced back, and left the hospital happy and well three days later.
So the plan was there I guess, this time with baby number four, no reason to doubt a deviation of the plan. I had considered letting myself go into natural labour but it was a scary thought and an abnormal trace on foetal heart monitoring during the week blew any thoughts like that straight out of my head.
My birth plan, if I had one, was to have a live baby in my hands at the end of all this. My amazing little boy.
So once again, on a Friday morning my husband and I found ourselves arguing about time management and the fact he never gets anywhere on time. I distinctly felt a sense of dejavu as I yelled, “I’ll just drive myself there and you keep doing your hair!”
15 minutes late we turn up at the delivery suite, nervous and excited.
And then we waited.
The team at St John of God are so amazing. We had the same mid-wife that we had with Leo, coincidentally our neighbour. I’d asked if she was working but she wasn’t. Luckily she got called in that day and assigned to me.
We chatted and laughed our way through most of the day, despite the fact that there seemed to be very little happening and slight concern over the baby’s heartbeat when we cranked up the syntocin (used to get me into labour).
At 3;30 with no sign of a baby she left for the day and we got our lovely new mid-wife who had high hopes of seeing a baby born during her shift. My obstetrician asked me if I would get an epidural. He felt it would help my pelvic floor muscles relax more and maybe get things going. I agreed to go with this advice and felt quite relieved as I wriggled around pain free, realising this meant that the birth was going to be so much less painful than my past ones.
Much, much later, as my second midwife handed over the third shift at 9:30pm we started to get worried. Worried that the baby wasn’t liking any amount of syntocin. Worried that the baby didn’t like it when I lay down (there goes any chance of sleep) and worried that my obstetrician, who kept popping in, looked worried.
We agreed to stop it all overnight and try and get some rest. Starting again in the morning when we were fresh.
Fresh was going to be a problem.
Every time I lay down and closed my eyes the mid-wife would come in and shake her head. Baby not happy.
So I sorted out a sitting upright sleep and the next time I opened my eyes it was 1am. My obstetrician was standing in front of me in his trackies. They can actually log in from home and get updated on the stats so he had been checking and was not happy with how the baby was going.
Fear washed over me as I realised that he was here to do a caesarean.
I said to him, “Your not here for me right? Are you checking on other patients?” As he shook his head my husband woke up and I looked at him, trying to hold back my tears.
I guess it was a casesarian then.
Trying to learn from the stories I had been told of my girlfriends who had emergency caesars, I tried not to panic, just letting everything that needed to be done, be done.
I was asleep on the table.
They woke me to show me my baby being born and my husband, who was holding my hand the entire time, and I just looked on in amazement.
He was here and he was perfect.
I closed my eyes again and minutes later I was handed my beautiful bundle. Daniel and I took turns holding him and then they wheeled me out, letting me feed him for the first time.
We named him Elijah.
The next day as the full impact of the pain hit me I admit I was thrown.
My attitude had changed and I resented the painkillers, the fact I could hardly move and my poor little organic baby being fed my breastmilk, which would contain the drug cocktail.
When the pain got too much I realised I was being stupid to try and manage without anything.
I topped myself up too quickly and the world turned upside down.
I’m not good with painkillers. Most don’t sit well with me.
I hate being out of it and that feeling of not being in control. My family and close friends were talking to me, handing me gifts to open and it all felt very surreal.
The next day I found the balance of pain relief my body needed so that my head was clear and I could start to move around.
I was still feeling sorry for myself but I have enough tools in my arsenal now to turn that around.
….and when I finally did (day 3) the sun shone again.
How blessed am I to have a perfect baby? There are so many worse things than some painkillers and a caesarian – I’ve known them first hand.
And that’s how we pick ourselves up.
That’s when we acknowledge our strength to go on in this world and recieve all the blessings that we are entitled to.
That’s how we allow ourselves to be happy after tragedy and enjoy each moment as it comes to us.
We deal with our present.
Not our what if’s.
And we choose happiness.
Photo by Dana Gallop Galleries
Photo by Dana Gallop Galleries