Today is the 2nd birthday of my youngest daughter, Miss S. At 7:55 on this day in 2013 she entered this world. It was an amazing day. An elective induction for social reasons – I had to ensure that I had care for my eldest daughter during the 4 days I would be in hospital, as I of course was going into this as a single mum.
I had my best friend there as my birth partner and from that experience I can understand why women choose to have doulas. During the birth of my eldest I felt totally unsupported and this definitely contributed to my birth trauma and PND. However this was different.
I was empowered through the whole process, a supportive birth partner and a very supportive OB. I chose the induction, I chose to have my waters broken, I chose to have the Pitocin, I chose to use the gas, I chose to have an epidural. I took control of the whole birth process.
But every mum knows that while you take control you need to be completely vulnerable. I suffered terrible referred pain in my left quadriceps. I remember the pain vividly. I’ve experienced two posterior births with Pitocin before crying out for the epidural and the pain in my thigh was worse than that. If I had had a knife I would have slit my leg open. I remember that moment, sucking on the gas with every contraction, the Pitocin flooding through my veins, sitting in the shower trying to kill the pain in my thigh. And I cried for the epidural, I had to be vulnerable. I had to give in. I could not control this any more.
Even as I write this I have tears in my eyes. My friend, whisked off to the midwives and organised it all. And before I knew it the room was full with staff ready to set up for the epidural. My OB was there, my midwife was there, my best friend was there.
I was 8cm dilated. Once the epidural was in, the midwife checked me and I was 10cm and ready to start pushing. It was the epidural and the release of the pain that allowed my body to surrender. Surrender to what was happening. The process of birth is not something with can fully control, no matter how you give birth. The phase of transition, is just that, a transition.
Transition from a place where we feel we can control, to one where we surrender to our bodies, surrender to what is happening, surrender to the process of birth.
And then you push.
Push for all your might, with every part of your soul and your body. It is time to bring this beautiful soul into the world.
Having had two posterior laying babies pushing was not exactly easy. My eldest required a forceps delivery and I wanted to avoid that. I was gifted with an amazing anesthetist… I felt no pain but could still move my legs. It was beautiful.
I pushed and I pushed. I was supported. My friend, my midwife, my doctor. But no baby.
And then I cried out “I don’t want to be a single mum!”
I cried it out with all my heart. It was suddenly real. In the next few minutes I would be responsible for two beautiful souls. Could I handle it?
In those emotional moments my true self came out. I was scared. I felt overwhelmed. I was truly vulnerable. But of course on many levels there was no time to be vulnerable.
My birth partner, in her love, in her always present strong nature and humour yelled at me “YOU ALREADY ARE!!! NOW PUSH!!!”
All I remember was her yelling, and it was not negative. It lifted me up, It filled my soul with the knowledge that I could do it, that I was already doing it, that she was there to support me.
And a few minutes my beautiful daughter joined this world.
And I haemorrhaged… 2 litres of blood, gone. I felt so ill. Lying there whispering “don’t let me die”. All I felt was love.
At the same time I felt no connection to my child. Placed on my chest, hardly a cry she just lay there. I remember saying “I don’t feel anything”. My best friend, a mother of two herself, reassured me it was okay, I would. And I did, about 6 weeks later – and that is a different story, a story of PND, colic and some seriously screwed up situations.
This post is not a deconstruction of what happened in the following days, some of it which has left a deep scar on my soul, and most of it other people’s stuff!
This post is about celebrating birth.
We all have different birthing stories. Whether you had a natural birth, or an induction, or a caesarean. Whether you chose your method of birthing or it was seemingly forced upon you, medically necessary or a true emergency. Whether you you heard that first cry or gave birth to a beautiful sleeping baby. The process of birth can still be celebrated.
We all have to surrender. We all have to be vulnerable.
And it is this that makes us strong. It is this that lifts us up, far above what we ever thought we were capable of.
For as mums what ever we think of ourselves, whatever and whoever we think we are, we are always more than that.
Sharing our birthing stories should not be about comparing. It should not be about who has the most natural experience or who had the most interventions. Who had the best birth partner or the worst.
Each story is unique, and each story shows our strength.
Because birth… no matter the process… no matter the outcome is an AMAZING thing. It deserves to be honoured and celebrated.
So remember, birthdays are not only for the child, they are for the mum. It is a reminder of the amazing thing that you did, however you did it.
You grew a child. You brought that child into this world.
YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!
P.S. I love hearing birthing stories, so why not share yours below here. Celebrate the strength that you had. Share the laughter, share the tears.