I was 16 when I fell pregnant with my oldest daughter. I had just left school and I wasn’t sure which way the path was leading me. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life until the day that I found out I was pregnant and it was only then that I knew I was destined to be a mum. Unfortunately at the time, finding out that I was pregnant caused both sides of the family a lot of upset. I think everyone thought I was stupid and had no faith in me but I worked hard to make sure that it all fell into place and wanted to prove everybody wrong. I suffered with severe morning sickness throughout my pregnancy but I felt so grateful to be growing a healthy baby. August 3rd 2015 we found out we were having a baby girl and we were over the moon. As time went on and my bump grew and grew, I started to feel more confident in my body and started to love myself despite previously suffering with body confidence and eating disorders. I do truly believe that pregnancy saved me from myself and I will forever be grateful for this. I had a relatively straight forward pregnancy other than when I was 7 months pregnant and we were involved in a road collision, thankfully we were all okay but I was taken to hospital to be checked over regardless. I did hurt my back in the accident and still to this day wonder if that is why I had such a painful back labour with my first and why I was in hospital at 36 weeks with threatened pre-term labour, though I was led to believe that this could have been due to stress. I stayed in hospital for 10 days at 3cm dilated until they sent me home and told me in the nicest way possible that I had to wait it out.I reached my due date and still there was no sign of labour.. I soon realised that this baby was a cheeky one. It wasn’t until the morning of my stretch & sweep that I finally went into labour.
How it all started:
I woke up at 5.40 desperate for a wee, I got up off the toilet and for a second thought I hadn’t finished peeing. It wasn’t until I tried to stop it that it wouldn’t stop and I realised it was my waters. I remember shouting across the hallway to my partner who was sound asleep but he wouldn’t wake up, I stupidly walked across to the bedroom leaving a trail behind me which is quite funny looking back. He woke up in utter shock and didn’t believe me at first. I text my mum telling her not to rush as I wasn’t in any pain. Within 20 mins I was in agony on the bathroom floor. It all happened so quickly and my contractions came thick and fast, I’m talking 1-2 minutes apart. The pain was all in my back and I had no obvious tightenings in my stomach whatsoever. I was under the impression that I should have contractions in my stomach and because I didn’t and had been coping so well with back pain for a month already, I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. We called the maternity unit and of course they told us to come in straight away. We had a half an hour car journey to the hospital and I was bundled in on all fours, I really should have called an ambulance as I couldn’t even sit down. We were just 10 minutes into our car journey and I needed to push. I remember my mum telling me not to, but my body didn’t give me much choice. My contractions were so strong by this point that I couldn’t even time them, I kept zoning out and let the contractions take over. I had never experienced labour before so had no idea what to expect. We arrived at the hospital and all I can remember is my mum abandoning her car outside the front doors and running into the desk to get help. A team of midwives ran out to the car, she could see the head and bundled me onto a wheelchair and sped me down the corridor. Within 40 mins of being at the hospital, my baby girl arrived at 8.40 am weighing 8lbs exactly. There wasn’t even time for gas and air, I was so proud of myself.
I felt so relieved, the first thing I said was “oh my god, I did it” and burst into tears. I fell in love for the first time when I met my baby girl and it was the most surreal feeling. 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 didn’t 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 jelly belly in hope that it would help speed things along. 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, just what I needed after going through all of that.
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 going to theatre alone, my partner was allowed to come with me. Being in theatre was scary, I had never had an operation before hence why I was so scared. 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 partner must have been so bored but I am so thankful to have him in my life, my labour was scary and happened extremely quickly. We stayed in hospital for 2 days, after surgery I couldn’t do much at all, I had no energy & I most definitely 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 upset 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?
Yes definitely, 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.. Initially that stopped me wanting another baby, ever again. But really 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, and it has absolutely changed my life for the better.