I am now 19 months postpartum, a mama to a toddler & am rewriting this post to let you all know the good, the bad and the ugly side of pregnancy & labour. If you are here to read a crazy ‘I gave birth & it didn’t hurt’ story, I apologise because this is more of a ‘I gave birth in 2 hours and it really did f@cking hurt’ kind of thing… oh and morning sickness sucks.. just saying. This is a long post so you might want to boil the kettle & make yourself a hot drink..
I was just 16 years old when I found out I was pregnant and I’ll be honest, I was in a bad place. I was struggling severely with anxiety & depression to the point where I just couldn’t go out, I just wanted to sleep all the time. I look back & I wonder why I felt that way, but there’s no explanation for it. I was depressed, I was poorly. I never thought I would ever be one of the girls who were ’16 and pregnant’ but what I did know is that one day I wanted to be a mum. It turns out it all happened a little sooner than we would have liked. At the time I was living with my partner at his parents house – not the most ideal situation to be in when you’ve just finished your exams. I had to pluck up the courage to tell my own parents & it went down like a led balloon. I told my mum via text, (probably not the best thing to do guys – just saying) she was more than supportive and reassured me that everything would be okay even though she was most probably thinking ‘oh sh*t what has she done.’ My dad wasn’t pleased in the slightest and my brother didn’t think much of me at the time either, which sucked because I had felt so alone for so long that I really needed someone to talk to. We were kicked out of my partners parents & we moved back in with my mum who welcomed us with opened arms until we finally got our own place. It wasn’t until I was about 6 months pregnant that my dad started to become more involved and it was great to have him back. He took me to hospital appointments and he payed for me to have a 4D scan which was lovely.
We found out we were having a girl:
August 3rd 2015 we found out we were having a baby girl, I had hit the half way point and by this time the morning sickness (more like all day sickness, who the hell made up that name anyway?) had finally.. FINALLY gone away after suffering severely since the day I found out at 6 weeks pregnant. I remember walking around the supermarket & needing to leave within seconds because I needed to throw up, just looking at the foods in the fridges made me want to vom. I was sick in my mums car on the way home from a shopping trip & I remember apologising the whole way home. It was honestly disgusting but I couldn’t stop it from happening. My record was 13 times in one day, not even joking & I was so so poorly. If this ever happens to me again I will be asking for help straight away because I could not possibly go through that again especially now I have a toddler. I couldn’t stomach anything & it really did drain me. I lost weight rather than gained it, my hormones were all over the place, the ‘pregnancy glow’ was a load of sh*te & I started to think that pregnancy sucked.. but finally at 20 weeks, morning sickness (all day every day sickness) stopped. Hallelujah.
I struggled to come to terms with my pregnancy:
I had hit the half way point & by this time I was pretty bloody big, round in fact. I suffered with an eating disorder before falling pregnant with Alyssia and found it extremely hard to accept that my body was changing shape, size, you know what.. but with help from my counsellor, I eventually learnt to love my body, a little bit anyway. I loved the fact that I was growing a baby & the fact that I needed to look after this baby meant that I had to start looking after myself. One day it just clicked and it was as if I had never been poorly. Pregnancy saved me from myself, seriously. Pregnancy flew by and I didn’t really have any problems until I was 7 months pregnant. We were on our way to go bowling & were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We were involved in a side on road collision where some idiot decided to pull out in front of us. Thankfully, we were all okay but immediately I started having pains in my stomach where the seat belt had instantly bruised me and I had pains in my lower back. An ambulance was called and I was taken straight in to be checked over – thankfully everything was okay with the baby but I have had back problems ever since and I do truly believe that this is the reason I was in threatened pre-term labour at 36 weeks & when I did actually go into labour at 41 weeks I had an extremely intense back labour with no pain in my stomach whatsoever.
I kept mentioning these back pains to my health visitor & to the midwife when they did their home visits. I was eventually taken into hospital to get examined despite not wanting to go. I found out I was 2cm dilated and I panicked like hell thinking I was going to have a premature baby. I was nervous, petrified in fact despite only being 2 weeks away from the safe zone (38 weeks in the UK) The nurses hooked me up to the machines & monitored me continuously for 10 days. We were on edge every night wondering ‘will today be the day?’ until I got fed up, the hospital got fed up & I was discharged at 37.5 weeks pregnant – she clearly wasn’t going to arrive anytime soon and I felt like such an inconvenience for causing everybody so much stress. I suffered for another month with this horrible back pain, I hit my due date & still nothing… so my midwife booked me in for a “stretch & sweep” at 41 weeks. I was absolutely mortified at the name of the procedure & really didn’t want it done…
My waters broke:
I mean ‘stretch & sweep?’ imagine, just imagine. Ouch! Call me a wetwipe all you like but I found being examined uncomfortable, let alone someones hand being shoved up there and moved around. The night before the ‘stretch & sweep’ we ate the spiciest pizza and the next morning at 41 weeks exactly, my waters broke (thank god, I really didn’t like the sound of that stretch & sweep thing). It was 5.40 am and I woke up needing a wee, I got off the toilet and honestly I was so tired I thought I hadn’t finished. Call me stupid whatever, but I had what I thought was piss running down my leg and went to sit back on the toilet until it didn’t stop and the flow changed dramatically. I then realised that actually it was my waters, (its not like the movies where it all gushes out and you hear a pop, I actually thought I had wet myself. After all I did have a baby on my bladder. I shouted across the hallway to my partner who was sound asleep but even me shouting didn’t wake him up, so I stupidly walked to the bedroom leaving a lovely watery trail behind me. His reaction was hilarious & I think at first he was in utter shock, I stayed in the bathroom and text my mum telling her not to rush & that I was in no pain whatsoever (she was my 2nd birthing partner and was also my lift to the hospital) within 20 minutes, I was eating my words… by this time it was 6 am and I was bent over on the bathroom floor in absolute agony. “Don’t rush” “No Pain” oh come on.. It didn’t just hurt, this pain was excruciating but I felt it all in my back & hips rather than my stomach.. weird & definetely not what I was expecting. This isn’t what the midwives had told me to look out for and I think that was why I wasn’t taken seriously the first time round. I was timing my contractions at first and they were between 1 and 2 minutes apart (I mean they say ring the ward at 4 minutes apart but it just didn’t happen for me).. we rang the maternity ward & they told me to come in straight away, so I did.. well I thought I did..
Little did I know, it took me just over an hour to get off the bathroom floor. The pain was so bad I couldn’t stand, walk or even sit down – I was just lying there on the floor fighting the pain and letting my body do its thing. I eventually walked to the car in robs huge t-shirt and no pants holding onto the wall (I am so glad nobody saw me), I live in a ground floor flat so it was literally just outside but it didn’t seem this simple at the time. I couldn’t cope with the pain and I was on all fours in the back of the car (not safe, don’t do it). I should have called an ambulance. It was only 10 minutes into our 30 minute journey & I needed to push.. Oh sh*t, now what? We’re not even half way to the hospital yet. I remember my mum telling me not to push & to ‘hang on’ as if I could just wait a second? Probably not the best thing to say to somebody who has the urge to push a baby out… sorry mum but that was a stupid thing to say. My body took control & I began to push in the back of the car. My contractions were so strong, I seemed to just zone out of my body for a few minutes each time – they completely took control of my body. It’s a very scary feeling and If I’m honest, I can’t even explain it without sounding like an idiot on drugs.
Finally a baby:
You know those crazy women you see on one born every minute where they’re practically giving birth in the car park & all the midwives come rushing out… Yeah that was me. We got to the hospital at 8 am, my mum abandoned her car literally just outside of the maternity reception & ran in for help… I was pushing & was in so much pain. From then on it was all a blur, I remember about 5 midwives came running out to the car to help me, bundled me onto a wheelchair & sped me down to my own room where I got on the bed and continued to push.. there was no need to examine me as it was clear that I was 10cm dilated already and they could see a head of hair… how scary!!! Within 40 mins of being at the hospital, my baby girl arrived at 8.40 am weighing 8lbs exactly. I had just given birth to an 8lb baby with no pain relief whatsoever, I was so proud.
I felt so relieved, the first thing I said was “oh my god, I did it” and burst into tears. My baby was beautiful, and I just loved her so very much. I was absolutely exhausted after pushing for so long, but I was so happy.. finally the wait was over! But then it was time to push out the placenta, I feel like this is something they don’t really tell you much about? I did not want the diamorphine injection – I wanted a physiological third stage (meaning I wanted to do it all naturally) but they can only give you a certain amount of time to deliver the placenta without the help of the injection. The midwife rubbed clary sage oil onto my now (then) saggy empty stomach – there was no baby in there anymore, my belly was like jelly.. literally and it was the strangest thing ever. I remember my friend once telling me that after birth she turned on her side & her belly just flopped over.. this is exactly what it felt like. My placenta did not want to come out and all of a sudden I started to lose a lot of blood & was at risk of clotting. The red alarm button was pressed & loads of doctors came running in, I didn’t have a clue what was happening – I was absolutely terrified but I knew I was in the best place. The midwife stabbed me in the leg with a needle & I had to push again with what felt like a dull period pain. The bleeding slowed down after the injections & I seemed to be okay until I was then told that I needed to go down to theatre for stitches, yay more drama.. just what I needed after going through all of that.
Complications after birth:
I went down for surgery & was in there for nearly 2 hours. Usually the mums would go down to theatre alone & the other parent would stay with baby but because my mum was there & I was so terrified of surgery, my partner was allowed to come with me. Being in theatre was scary, I had never in my life had an operation before therefore I was petrified. I had a spinal in my back & a cannula drip in my hand.. within minutes my body was completely numb and I didn’t feel a thing despite being tense the whole time and being scared that I would feel it all. I kept drifting out of consciousness due to the morphine, time went so quickly for me and it literally felt like twenty minutes, little did I know we had been in there for 2 hours. My OH must have been bored sh*tless but I am so thankful to have him in my life, my labour was scary and happened extremely quickly – the midwives have told me that next time I’m going to need to have a home birth or at least going to need to ring an ambulance if labour comes on suddenly again. They say your 2nd baby comes quicker so that’s going to be fun & it will be interesting to see if I have another back labour or if I experience ‘normal labour & contractions’ with baby number 2. However I still to this day can’t believe that my body housed a baby and then pushed her out without any pain relief whatsoever. How the hell did I do that? Women are absolutely incredible & labour is a beautiful thing (probably not if you’re at the other end) but the whole concept of it amazes me.
We stayed in hospital for 2 days, after surgery I couldn’t do much at all, I had no energy & I most definetely couldn’t walk which meant that Daddy changed the first nappy, got her dressed for the first time and comforted her when I couldn’t. I felt so guilty, and when you’ve had a baby inside you for so long and they’re suddenly being taken away from you and handled by somebody else while you just have to sit and watch, it’s heartbreaking. I remember being too weak to hold her & that really did upset me and I cried a lot. On the plus side I had a catheter fitted after surgery meaning that I was essentially pissing in a plastic bag (it’s quite funny when you think of it like that) which needed to be emptied regularly by one of the nurses, oh what a job.. You can’t feel anything waist down so you don’t know when you need a wee, the bag leaked and it looked like I had wet the bed, what was I supposed to do about it? I couldn’t feel a thing. The nurses had to get me dressed & help me in and out of the chair. It’s no joke when they say you lose your dignity that’s for sure, but I didn’t really care I just wanted somebody to help me.
I tried to breastfeed and she just wouldn’t latch, your milk doesn’t usually come in until day 3 anyway so I found it incredibly hard to feed her and with help from the breastfeeding nurse I managed to feed her through a tiny syringe (I didn’t know this was a thing either but apparently syringing milk off your boob is the new norm when you become a mum?) who’d have known.. I never did manage to get her to latch and I successfully express fed my milk for 2 weeks straight before I couldn’t deal with the pain anymore. I do regret not trying harder and pushing through it but I know that I made the right decision because at just 3 months old Alyssia was diagnosed with CMPA which would have brought a whole load more of problems getting the diagnosis as I eat quite a lot of dairy in my diet anyway.
Would I do it again?
Hell yeah. But if you had asked me that question at 3’oclock in the morning when my boobs were leaking, my baby was screaming and I was crying.. I would have told you no, never in a million years. The recovery from labour put me off a lot, I wasn’t warned that I wouldn’t be able to walk or that I would have no energy to even be able to lift my baby up out of the crib next to me. PND put me off completely, It is one of the worst things I have ever gone through & even now at 19 months postpartum I am still affected by it. Initially that stopped me wanting another baby, ever again. But now that I know that I can cope & that I am enough despite what my brain might tell me at times, I can do this & another baby isn’t going to tip me over the edge, if anything it will make us even stronger as a family. I would love nothing more than to have a sibling for Alyssia, she’s at the age now where she is wanting somebody to play with. She loves babies & is amazing around other children. She’s always the first to share, the first to give a cuddle and is genuinely just one of the kindest little girls going. Becoming a mum really is one of the most disturbing but beautiful things ever, trust me.. It’s not all fun and games, there will be days where you’re at your wits end but there are also days where you look at your children and remember why you’re still here. I love being a mum, I love being mummy to Alyssia and I love being a partner. Life gets better, you’ve just got to find your feet..