There are good days and then there a bad days. The good days are the ones where I wake up to a cooing, gurgling baby who settles and sleeps in regularity and makes funny faces at me while I change his nappy. Those are the days where the responsibility of parenting doesn’t feel like a burden, and the days go by quickly.
The bad days are the ones where I feel like I am on a constant rollercoaster of feedings, nappy changes and hours of trying to get him to settle to sleep while I ignore the rumbling, aching pit in my stomach as it cries for food and the fogginess of my head as it aches for sleep. It’s worse when Evs isn’t here – he’s gone back to work for two days a week and those two days by myself are the longest in my life.
I stare at this little face, trying to interpret the screaming and watching with almost a detachedness at the alarming shade of red he is slowly turning and feel like a failure. I rock and soothe, and offer my breast until it is sore, but nothing seems to work. He pushes away at me, his limbs lashing out at my face as he screams. I feel inadequate, like I should KNOW how to do this, but somehow I missed the mothering memo. The voices of people telling me “I’d be a great mum” taunt me as I try and figure out why my baby hates me so much.
I haven’t changed out of my pyjamas, my hair is a mess and he knocks my glasses off for the millionth time. I smell like baby vomit and have traces of the milk he threw up on my shirt, but I haven’t had the time to change it, let alone think of a shower.
So I place him on the bed and walk away.
His screaming follows me as I walk down the hallway and will myself to take a deep breath. In desperation, I look for the packet of dummies that Evs bought on a whim “just in case”. I was pretty adamant that I didn’t want to be “that” kind of mother that stuck a dummy in her baby’s mouth, but if there is one thing I am learning – all bets are off and you do what you can.
Ironically, I can’t actually get the packet open and I pick him once more and hold him close. Tears fall from my eyes as I hold him, willing him to calm down and wondering where the hell I left my life. As if he gets it, he goes limp and nuzzles into my neck. His breathing slows, and his eyes slowly close as he drifts off, mouth slightly open.
In that moment, I feel a fierce kind of love for him that makes me forget the how the day has gone by. I kiss his cheeks and realise that he is only little, not even a month old and he knows no other way. That he will only stay this little just for a moment, and never realise it. That he is already almost a month old and I feel like I just brought him home yesterday.
He is asleep now, and I place him on the bed and swaddle him. He stirs briefly and I hold my breath, knowing that a single wrong move might mean we start the dance again, but he just yawns. Finally, I put him into the bassinet and place the blanket over him. I stand there for a few moments, and smile. He smiles in return, and I pretend it is for me, even if it just probably gas. He is angelic when he sleeps and I fight the urge to pick him up again and hold him to me. I’ve worked too hard.
Weary, I make my way downstairs and make myself a cup of tea and toast – the first things I have eaten since noon. I stare at his face through the monitor and feel myself relax.
Evs will be home soon and I can then take that shower. Showers are my me-time and I revel in them. Mum will be over with some hot food and then there will be people who I can pass Rehan to while I try and pick up the pieces of the day.
As evening falls, I think of tomorrow and how I have to do it all again. And I make a pact that no matter what, I WILL make it a good day.
Luckily for me, that particular midwife left and another came onto shift who, to my relief was a little more accommodating to my requests. There was also a student midwife there and she was particularly helpful and helped me feel at ease. The contractions started to come a little more frequently now and I gritted my teeth and breathed through them. I had hired a TENS machine, small electrodes that attach to your back as a non-drug method of pain relief. Every time a contraction happened, I would press the booster button which would apply a buzz that would distract me. I had no idea before this what a contraction would feel like – they came in waves and I would ride the discomfort and pressure on my uterus until it faded. Because of the hormone drip, I was limited in my mobility – going to the toilet with a IV stand wasn’t much fun. I also had a monitor tied around my belly to monitor the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions. I wanted to use the shower to get some pain relief through the hot water, but again my request was denied.
My mum and my sister alternated their time in the birthing suite with me, I would grip their hands and Evs would rub my back and talk me through each one. My mum would sneak me some grapes, because I wasn’t allowed to eat much in the event that I would need to go into surgery. For hours, this is how I laboured – sitting on a large fit ball, head down on the edge of the bed and moving around when I could.
After some time, I noticed that the midwives hovering around – she was concerned that the monitor wasn’t picking up the baby’s heartbeat properly and they said the best course was to have an internal monitor. This would be attached through a tiny clip onto the baby’s head and done when they performed my internal exam. Apparently my waters HADN’T fully broken and they were broken by the midwife which released a huge gush all over her. I continued to leak throughout the night.
I was found to be 7cm dilated, which they were happy with given the time and that I had not needed any medical pain relief at that point. However, having the internal monitor meant that I had to remove the TENS machine.
All this time, the hospital was a madhouse. Over the intercom, there was several codes called for emergencies and often the doctors who came to check on me were whisked away. They decided to stop my hormone drip, because the doctor was in surgery for the delivery for that night’s first set of twins. There were to be seven emergency caesareans that night along with twins and triplets. I had an hour or so of relief – my contractions continued to come naturally but not as intense and further apart. My labour was slowing again.
It was close to midnight by now on Thursday and I had been labouring for almost 24 hours. I sent my mum and sister home and only Evs and I remained. I sent several texts and calls to Jess but with no reply – the twins must have been keeping her busy there. Of all the things that happened, this is what I was disappointed with the most – I REALLY needed her there to help Evs and I navigate the medical choices we were being forced to make and deal with the way the labour was going.
The change of shift happened just before midnight and a new midwife came on call – I nearly cried with relief because she was a godsend. Her name was Zoe, and she was a midwife with the family birthing centre part of the hospital and she “got” what I was wanting. Immediately, she said I could take a shower and that she would adjust the portable monitor for the baby’s heartbeat so that I could go in – the hormone drip stand would have to stay outside the shower, but it could be done. I was in the shower for 30 glorious minutes before I was told I had to get out because the monitor wasn’t reading baby’s heartbeat properly.
Now that I didn’t have the comfort of the TENS machine or the shower to help me manage the pain that kept sweeping over me and I finally opted for some pethidine gas. This helped to take the edge off a little bit and I continued to labour and will this baby out of me. The hormone was cranked up to see if that would help, but all it did was to bring the contractions on harder and faster. My back was killing me and the gas wasn’t helping. My goal at this point was to avoid an epidural and/or c-section. Zoe, suggested that another drug-free method of pain relief was to inject four sterile water injections into my back that would take away the back pain. I nodded weakly, ready to try anything and barely registering that she said that it would hurt. At this point, I had been jabbed, examined, and moved so much that I thought that I could handle it.
Boy, was I wrong.
The PAIN from the water injections was like nothing I have ever felt in this world. Searing, hot stabs of blind pain into my back left me crying and begging for it all to be over. I took in big, gasping breaths of the gas – hoping that it would help, but all it did was leave me woozy. Evs was distraught next to me, seeing me in that much pain, and all I could do was hold him and weep into his shoulder. I think I called out for my mother at one point as well.
I was checked again and found to still be 7cm – I hadn’t progressed and there were mutters of a “lousy cervix” bandied around. I had been getting checks fairly regularly, something else that I wasn’t keen on, but the doctors were mystified to why baby seemed to be ok, but wasn’t descending. Again, the c-section word was mentioned.
The back pain had reduced to a dull throbbing, but it had moved to my front and I doubled over – certain that either I was going to die or this baby was coming.
I was exhausted,
I asked Zoe whether there was anything, ANYTHING else I could do.
Zoe looked me in the eye and gently said that while her philosophy due to her experience in the birthing centre was to try and encourage a natural birth as possible, she also knew when it was the right time to take medical action. With that, I asked for the epidural.
Finally, the doctor came back in and said that the baby’s heartbeat was dropping and that there was no choice left but to do an emergency caesarean. I had just taken the epidural and it was taking effect, giving me the first bit of relief in hours. I looked at her, and looked at Evs. He nodded at me wordlessly, and I closed my eyes and agreed. I barely heard her go through the list of potential side effects and signed my name on the consent form.
I felt defeated. I started crying to Evs and telling him “I tried, I couldn’t do it, but I tried.”
With that, the birthing suite was whipped into action. Evs was taken outside and told to put scrubs on and wait there until they wheeled me into surgery. I was drowsy from the gas and the epidural started to send me into violent shivers – a common side effect of the drug. It hit me, in all the chaos, that I was finally going to meet my baby – there was no other way about it.
I was wheeled to the operating theatre and I was relieved to see Zoe there, who rubbed my bare arms to help me stop shivering. Then Evs was there, stroking my hair and in the haze I felt a strange pressure as the doctors started the operation.
I heard the doctor’s gasp as they realised the reason why my baby wasn’t coming out – he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck THREE times.
Every time I had a contraction, the cords would get tighter on his neck. In this case, I was always going to end up with a caesarean.
Less than ten minutes later – I heard the most beautiful sound in the world.
My baby’s cry.
At the sound, I felt tears come to my eyes. Even now, just thinking back onto that moment, the tears flow. I heard Evs with tears in his voice tell me – “Look babe, there’s our baby boy”. Both of us were just swept away in the moment of our child being born.
He let out on lusty cry and then was quiet and alert as they wrapped him up, while waiting for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating (since I was keeping it, I had requested they only cut the cord once it had stopped pulsating. This allows up to 30% of the blood and nutrients from the placenta to still be given to the baby which is lost if you clamp it too early). Evs cut the cord and then he was placed onto my chest for skin-to-skin contact and I stared at this little wonder, this tiny human being that I had carried inside me for over 40 weeks – he was HERE.
He stared right back at me, and I swear it was like I KNEW him.
I have mixed emotions about Rehan’s birth – in the end, I had my baby boy but I cannot be honest and not say that I have been mourning the loss of giving birth to him naturally. It was far from what I had envisioned and imagined it to be, but as the days have gone by, I know I have to move on and realise that no matter what, I did everything in my power that I could and the doctor’s did what they could.
And now, I have the cutest, most perfect little baby boy. He is the reminder that I can and WILL do anything I can for him.
Hey folks! It’s the weekend again! Not that it really matters for me – the days also have melted into one. BUT, I can still be excited because it does mean that Evs is home for the next two days and he can help alleviate some of my boredom free time.
I am plodding along and literally waiting for baby to arrive. My due date is in about a week (Easter Monday in fact), so every post could be my LAST. Duh duh DUH.
(Yep, I like to be dramatic somewhat).
Despite my lack of internet, I have painstakingly gathered some links that I have read over the last week and that caught my eye. I hope you enjoy them too!
For those people who aren’t really into heavy breakfasts – typically with either some sort of grain or bread – Maria over at Econest has some ideas to switch it up without getting all blah. Bonus – sugar-free as well.
I was looking at this list and thinking I should have known half of these things while I was in my corporate job. A great post for any professional woman with career tips from the most successful women in the world. My favourite – “Forget the ladder, climb the jungle gym”.
A beautiful post that reminds me that everyone’s love language is different. So Evs might not be a classically romantic guy, but he shows love in a different way.
I am really, really wishing I could go along to this – but alas small thing called a baby will be here. Melbourne peeps – if you are free – I’d highly recommend it. These girls are amazing.
With Winter coming upon us (and thus the shorter days and lack of natural light!) and the urge to take better photos (it’s half the reason I don’t post many recipes – Instagram can only do so much lol) – I’m considering building my own light box. Here’s a great tutorial on how to DIY one of your own.
Did you hear about Lululemon’s recall on their new line of yoga pants because they were too sheer?? Jimmy Kimmel give us his (hilarious) opinion on it through this video about the yoga pant shortage.
Also, given my sporadic blogging – for the first baby news you’re more likely to catch me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
It’s been two weeks into my maternity leave and I have mixed feelings about all this time I have. Prior to leave, I was in a constant state of “I don’t have enough TIME!!” and felt like my brain was going to explode with all the things that I needed to get done and seemingly couldn’t in the 24 hour slot I had been given. Now that for the first time in about five years where I don’t actually have anything holding me back….mixed feelings.
Don’t get me wrong – I relished the days of freedom at the start – sleeping in until my heart desired (which really wasn’t very much because my infernal body clock still got me up around the same time!), reading, taking my time with tasks and much-needed naps in the afternoon. I started b-school, which has been my saviour because it keeps me focused on something and I’m finding that it is kicking my ass. I have to try and not let my procrastination tendencies get the better of me when things get hard and just push through it.
Being without internet for the last couple of weeks has been an interesting exercise in itself – I use my phone a lot more to check what is happening, which increasingly frustrates me because of the tiny screen. There is suddenly more time in the day and evenings where I am not glued to some sort of smart device or the internet. Evs and I have been making the most of it by being old folk and retiring to bed early to sit and read.
Blogging has taken a bit of a backseat, because, well right now, I don’t feel like life is interesting enough to blog about. You really don’t want to know that I had two bowls of cereal for breakfast, read a book on the couch with some raspberry leaf tea while the rain poured down, or that you would think my house would be spotless, but I’m still selective about the things I do.
I have a hundred and one topics that I DO want to write about though – some pregnancy related, some not and I’m making a list as we speak to get that mojo going again. But, part of me is ok with that as well.
As the days grow closer to my due date, I find that the time, the quietness, is in fact what I need. I often go into the garden with my cup of coffee, let the dogs into that part of the yard (they get excited because they know it’s a treat for them to be on the “good” side) and just look out onto the street. My neighbourhood, for the most part is quiet – the occasional dog-walker that gets the boys hyper and end with me threatening to put them into the garage unless they behave, door-slams of cars nearby as people return from errands, the high-pitched squeals of young kids in their backyard.
Melbourne, in its finicky way, is still holding onto the remnants of summer, but has begrudgingly started to cool down with the first signs of autumn starting to show. They are the signs of change and it makes me excited and nervous to think that in a mere week or so, my life will be never be the same.
This baby – I feel like I KNOW it already. That when I see him or her – it’s going to be “Oh hey there – remember me?”.
I know that he/she has a particular love for grapes and shows it by kicking up a storm every time I have some. I like to do that deliberately to see my belly move. I know that she/he doesn’t like it when I sleep on a certain side and only settles down on one. I know that if I drink water too fast, he/she gets the hiccups. I know that each movement is a way of saying hello – whether it’s a flurry of hands or a slow sticking out of his/her bum.
My body is as stretched as it can be, with faint marks on the lower part of my belly and I look at them with mild curiosity. At the start of my pregnancy I would have panicked to see stretch marks, but at this point, I frankly don’t care. They are to me, as many women have claimed them before me, mementos of the last almost 40 weeks I have carried this baby into creation.
I feel a strong sense of connection to my femininity as the days go by. My body feels strong and my mind is calm.
I have insomnia – perhaps pregnancy induced or maybe due to the way the days have already melded into one long, constant period – only distinguished by the sun rising and setting each day. I google “early labour signs” in the dark as Evs slumbers next to me and read while the whir of the fan cools my overheating body. I am on the lookout for any other changes, and seriously wish to get this thing started. I am looking forward in a way about the impending labour – that doesn’t worry me. It’s the what comes after, that I am terrified of.
I actually have to look after a human being.
And – irrationally – what if the baby doesn’t like me??
This has been a jumbled post I know, but it’s part of my commitment to go back to my old style of blogging – personal, uninhibited, honest. I am still going to have my health stuff here until I get the new one sorted, but it’ll be a mish-mash of everything until I do.