So this new blog is very much about motherhood. The highs, the lows and everything in-between. For some crazy reason I never talked about motherhood on my old blog. Mad I know, especially as it's my favourite thing to talk about, but I guess my first born, Ned, came into this world with a bit of flare and for some reason I found it too hard to write about, too personal to incorporate into my writing and so it was inevitable that my blog ground to halt. How could I talk truthfully when I wasn't being authentic to myself?
So this is my first (ever) blog post about my beautiful, inspiring, joyful children, Ned who is 4 and Alf who is 10 months. I thought it fitting to start with my birth story for Alf. No fancy words just simply told.
My first birthing experience couldn't have been more different. Ned came into this world 5 weeks early, and he was breach so I was told I would be having a c-section. I was completely unprepared for not only surgery (I had only prepared for the birth with hypnobirthing and yoga) but also unprepared for that world colliding, monumental shift of having another human that completely depended on me, and a baby classed as premature. I didn't have a clue what was going on from the moment I was briefed that Ned would be a cut out to the minutes afterwards where a nurse insisted we fully dress him and then tried to force him, screaming, to latch onto my boob. It was a somber, fretful experience that felt completely out of my hands.
During my second pregnacy I had to insist pretty hard with my midwife and Doctor that if I was able to birth naturally, I wanted to give it my best shot. I had to have meetings with consultants and senior medics to get the green flags. I wanted to do it in the birthing centre instead of the labour ward (home birth was an absolute no-no) which took much convincing, but in the end I got what I wanted which was, should the opportunity arise, to give birth, without any drugs in the water.
I worried the baby would not turn at 30 weeks (he did) and then I fretted he would come early (he didn't) all the way up to 39 weeks. Three days before my due date I had met a friend for lunch and later I was in a shop (last minute panic buying!) when I started shaking uncontrollably. Embarrassingly I had a throng of people fussing over me giving me water and sitting me down. I called my mama who was close by and she drove me home. I rang my midwife who said to go to the early labour unit to get checked out. Something deep inside told me this was it and I was pretty sure all the shaking was a huge adrenalin rush. Ross got home from work at 6pm and drove me straight to the hospital. I was monitored for a few hours and told to go home, that the shaking earlier that day was probably a sugar-low. My blood pressure was fine and I was not having contractions. I got home feeling a bit silly and settled down on the sofa with a box set. At 11:30pm I ran a bath before going to bed. But in the bath I felt my waters pop and soon after the contractions built pretty rapidly. We rang labour ward and they said nothing would probably happen till morning and to try and rest. So I went to bed but couldn't get comfortable. By 1pm I was out of bed telling Ross to get the car. We were going in. I got into labour ward and they went to get my room in the birthing centre ready while I was being assessed. I was starting to pace and it was clear I wasn't going to make it down the corridor to my birthing centre room. The best I could do was take the three steps across to a room on the labour ward that was, thankfully, available. I made it, stripped off completely, told I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing when I felt the desire to bore down. I didn't make the bath that was running. I had reached the point where the contractions no longer hurt, they were just breath-taking and all consuming. I remember a moment frozen in time where, between contractions I had focused on the bath tap in the room with the sound of the water flowing from it and thinking to myself, "this is all you ever wanted, go with it" before another contraction came and took my breath away. And then, just like that I began pushing and after a few times out came Alf at 3:45am, quiet as mouse, the midwife handed him to me and I put him straight onto my boob. He opened his eyes and his first sight was me gazing down on him in utter wonder. Four hours of labour, what? I felt like I had climbed the highest mountain. It was, without a doubt the biggest achievement and awe-inspiring moment of my entire life.
Later that morning Ross went to get Ned who had stayed the night with grandma. I was told not to be holding the baby when he came in. So I swaddled Alf (who still wasn't dressed) and put him in the bassinet. I waited for Ned by the door and when I saw him in the corridor he ran to me with open arms, looked down at my tummy and said "wheres the baby mama?" I took his hand and led him into the room where Alf lay sleeping. Ned tentatively walked up to him, touched his cheek and said "hello baby" and my heart exploded into a thousand fragments of love.