Birthing baby

I was recently blessed enough to welcome my beautiful baby into the world! Below is a fairly detailed description of my birth experience. Overall I’d describe it as intense. It was nothing like what I had imagined or planned but I feel very lucky to have been able to experience it. I recognise not everyone has a good birth experience, but although not every part of the birth was ideal it all worked out and so I consider it a good experience.

Here we go!

So around 7 pm on the Friday I started feeling contractions. At this time my parents were around having take-away with me (although I couldn’t really eat) whilst my husband/baby daddy was at the pub seeing a friend. I messaged him and said not to rush home as there would be plenty of time. He came home within the hour, at which stage the contractions started to ramp up and my parents left. We went upstairs and my husband had put on my (electric) tea light candles, a scented candle and my chilled birth playlist. I tried to focus on my hypnobirthing as the discomfort ramped up. It felt like heightened period pains, and was mostly in my back – I expected to feel it in my front/ bump but never really did, it was always in my lower back.

Around 11 pm we phoned the hospital and they told us to hold on if we could. We did but then phoned again at midnight to say we were coming in. I had thrown-up a few times and we thought my waters had broken. When we got to hospital they checked me out and said I was only 2-3 cm dialted, meaning they could do a sweep and give me pain meds but then I’d have to go home. I told them that as I’d been sick I was worried about taking painkillers as I didn’t want them to just come back up! They gave me an anti-sickness injection then some painkiller pills. I waited for them to kick in and then be discharged. As I was getting off the bed to leave my waters broke! Turns out at home it was my hindwaters (didn’t realise there was more than one) and it felt like a water ballon bursting inside me. They told me to get back on the bed and they’d check me again in a bit. They came back and checked me, still only 2-3 cm but as the baby was in a weird position and adding extra preassure (and thus discomfort) that I could have a stronger pain killer. I accepted the Pethidine injection – although they said that as it crossed over into the baby not to have it if you are about to give birth in the next 3-4 hours but that there was no way I’d be giving birth by then so it was safe (of course I did give birth within this time frame).

Over the next couple of hours I was in and out of conciousness, but when I was conciouss my body kept pushing, so I kept shouting ‘NO NO NO don’t push!!’ because I knew it was too soon to push but I couldn’t stop it! Around 6.30 am I told my husband I thought I could feel the head. He had a quick look but said it was all good, so at 7 am I told him I needed to go to the toilet because if it wasn’t a baby then something else was about to come out of me that I would rather leave in the toilet. My husband helped me to the toilet and I asked him to stay. Instinctively I felt inbetween my legs and then exclaimed, ‘I can feel the head!!!!’ My husband was rather suprised, but when he looked he confirmed, ‘Oh my god yess!!!’ He ran into the corridor and found the first person who looked authorative (luckily a midwife) and told her. They put a towel down in the doorway of the bathroom and got me on all fours. Other midwives came and put a screen around – this is still in the triage ward. They then asked if I could move and I said yes, so I waddled over to the bed I’d been on and climbed on it so I was still on all fours. They then decided they could try and move me. So I’m on all fours on a bed, pushing and I’m being rushed through the corridors with my husband running alongside me trying to reassure me and let me know he was still there.

We made it to a labour suite and they asked me to transfer beds, so I climbed over to the other bed. I was then pushing and the head wasn’t quite coming out so one of the midwives told me to turn over and lie on my back. I did and as soon as I did the head came out! Instant feeling of relief! But as the baby had decided to come out sideways (rather than facing up or facing down) his shoulders were getting stuck. They kept telling me to push and I was, but nothing was happening. Then one of the midwives hit the emergency button and a whole bunch of people came running in. I just remember four people suddenly grabbing my legs and pushing them up practically behind my ears and then another person put their hand inside to pull baby’s back arm out. I then pushed again and he came out. Now, I don’t remember this because I was just in the zone, but apparently he was blue when he came out. So they handed him to someone they called ‘the baby guy’ and he put the baby on some special equipment and made him a pink and crying baby! My husband held him first. Hubby had brought a shirt to the hospital to wear for the birth to make skin-on-skin easier, but as it had all happened so quickly all of our stuff was still on the triage ward, we had to just abandon it all, so he was still in his dirty t-shirt he’d been sleeping on the floor in. He just whipped it off to do skin-to-skin. They then told me to hold the baby as the placenta didn’t want to come out (even though I’d had an injection to help). Eventually it did come out and then I got showered and stitch up whilst we came up with the baby’s name. My husband just kept going ‘Hello mummy, my name is….’ and I’d respond ‘no, it isn’t’ until we landed on the right one.

So that’s the story. My first birth experience was nothing like I’d planned or anticipated. It was quick, I had painkillers and there was no water birth or delayed cord cutting (they obviously had to sort baby out quickly). Despite all of this I will cherish the experience forever. It gave me my little cub and I couldn’t love him more.

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Cashew

One in six pregnancies (where the woman knows she is pregnant) end is a miscarriage. Many more are estimated to happen without the woman even realising*. It’s just something that is very common. This doesn’t stop it from being heartbreaking, though. I also know 100% of lives will end in death, again that doesn’t mean it’s not a devastating thing to face.

As someone who has always wanted to have a child, I imagined that having a miscarriage would be too much for me to handle, I thought it would destroy me. I was both right and wrong. It did destroy me, for a while (and then for longer in secret because I just wanted to bury it). But I also got through it. It happened and I survived, I am making it out the other side.

This is not easy to write. I’ve promised myself I’ll try not to cry as I write this, so let’s see how that goes. As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I had a miscarriage. This is a sort of cathartic exercise to finally settle the feelings left over from that experience. It is the story of what happened and how it made me feel. I have not told very many people about this, in fact, I’ve kept it to the bare minimum. Not because I haven’t wanted to talk about it, but because I don’t know how to bring it up and I don’t like to bring negativity to others. Up until now, this experience has just felt like a big, heavy ball of negative energy on me (that I’ve shoved in the back of the wardrobe…but I know it’ still there). I need to release that energy and so that’s the purpose of this post.

It all started in December 2014, when I found out the great news…I was pregnant! My husband and I were thrilled, we’d been ‘not preventing pregnancy’ for a few months, just seeing what happened. Naturally, we…well I…took a number of home tests, from different brands, to make sure. They all said the same thing, I was pregnant. We had found out very very early on, so we were planning on keeping it a secret for a while. Circumstances dictated otherwise and we ended up telling our parents.

It was only about a month later, the day before we were supposed to be heading home after visiting my parents for a belated Christmas when I noticed some blood as I went to the toilet. I was very alarmed but tried to calm myself down, it was probably nothing. It wasn’t that much blood and if it was anything really bad it would be worse. I immediately told my husband what I’d seen (when I came out of the toilet). I’d heard of ‘spotting’ as something that could happen during early pregnancy. A quick web search confirmed this. The internet is both a blessing and a curse. For every source that reassured us it was nothing to worry about, there was another that told us it was likely exactly what we were fearing.

We got home and a day later there were still spots of blood when I went to the toilet. I was still trying to quiet the dread in the back of my mind, but it was getting louder. We decided to phone the doctors and let them know what was happening. The next day and things weren’t any worse, but they also weren’t any better, so we phoned again and this time we made sure we got an appointment. It was at the Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU) and they were going to check me out.

At the first appointment, they did an internal ultrasound, which is not as uncomfortable as it sounds when it is done by a professional. Back to that whole internet being a blessing and a curse thing. One of the posts I’d read that suggested I was right to be scared said that lady had known she was having a miscarriage when she got the ultrasound and the nurse performing it had been silent the whole time, with a slightly concerned look on her face. Apparently, in this lady’s previous, successful pregnancy, the ultrasound nurse had been very chatty and friendly, so the silence told her something was wrong. As the nurse performed my ultrasound she was silent. All I could think about was that I was right but that I shouldn’t cry until the nurse confirmed it, medical diagnosis is always better from professionals than from internet forums. So I tried to hold back the tears as I felt them welling up behind my eyes, just queueing up, ready to be released as soon as the nurse spoke. She did speak. She told us that we would have to come back in a week for another ultrasound to be sure, but it looked like I was having a missed miscarriage. I didn’t really take in much else of what she said, I just tried to hold back the tears (a lot of them had queued up at this stage) as I tried to wrestle my underpants and tights back on (why did I wear tights!) The nurse handed me a leaflet and we went back to the car. My husband and I both cried in the car, then we drove home to wait a week.

During that week not a lot changed, I was still seeing spots of blood when I went to the toilet but nothing more or less than before I had the appointment. I had started to go numb emotionally. I guess it was my way of preparing myself. We kept telling ourselves that we still hadn’t had it completely confirmed, but I think we both knew the truth. That week I basically just sat on the sofa and watched The Mentalist. I would wake up, come downstairs, turn on the TV, occasionally eat and then go back to bed. I’d shower occasionally as well, but I was mostly numb, trying not to feel anything at all.

After a week we had our follow-up appointment at the EPU. Remember how I said the internal ultrasound wasn’t as uncomfortable as it sounds if it’s done by a professional? Well, this time I had the trainee, she had not got her technique down quite yet. It wasn’t as quiet this time because the ultrasound nurse was talking to the trainee, not that this made things any easier. They confirmed that it was what we had feared, I was having a missed miscarriage. I remembered that the leaflet had said something about there being different kinds of miscarriage, but that didn’t mean much to me at the time. The nurses told us they were sorry as the tears crashed down my face and blurred my vision. My husband and I were then sat down in a room where a counsellor came to talk to us. She handed us another leaflet then said something about it being very common and not my fault. I vaguely remember her comforting me with something along the lines of, ‘people have babies in war zones, so babies are actually much tougher than you would think and if they can survive that then it is certainly not something you’ve done, it just wasn’t supposed to be this time.’ I wasn’t really listening, not because I didn’t want to, I desperately wanted to hear her words, for them to comfort me and for this to be okay, but I just couldn’t – I was shutting down.

We went home and waited. We had to tell our parents and I had to explain to my boss why I hadn’t been at work for a week and why I wouldn’t be back for another week. I cried some more and then just sat blank faced watching The Mentalist.

This part will be a bit graphic, my apologies but I feel like I need to tell this story in its entirety. After a few days of waiting, the spotting turned to what was essentially a VERY heavy period.  Then the pain started to increase as I was going to bed. Miscarriages hurt. A lot. I managed to find a good routine of painkillers (Ibuprofen, paracetamol, and co-codamol) combined with heat cushions and deep breathing that meant the pain was manageable. A miscarriage is basically a mini-birth. You have contractions and they are not fun. When I had the pain under control (still hurt but in a manageable way) we just lay down in bed. My husband fell asleep as there wasn’t really anything else he could do and it was very late, probably actually quite early in the morning by now. I lay there awake, I wasn’t going to be able to sleep with the pain. I found (as I’m assuming is the case with birth contractions) that if I pushed when I felt the pain it didn’t hurt as much. So that is what I did. I helped my body push out what was the start of my baby. That sounds very traumatic, but in the quiet and the darkness, after all the crying and the sadness, it was actually kind of peaceful. It was the best I’d felt (in retrospect that might have also been due to the painkillers). It felt like a kind of closure. This did not end the way I wanted it to but at least I had gotten to be a part of it in a weird way.

Although I had some sort of closure, I still wasn’t over it. This was one of my biggest fears turned real, it was always unlikely I’d be able to just rub my hands and move on. Personally, one of the hang-ups I’ve had that stopped me moving on was that fact it was a missed miscarriage. That means that the baby stopped developing, but my body didn’t catch-on for almost 4 weeks. It means that I now know that when I told my parents I was pregnant I technically wasn’t. What I was is walking around with, essentially, a dead baby inside of me. Just that thought; that I was walking around beaming and happily thinking about my baby and what crib I would buy, but there was nothing other than a bunch of dead cells inside me. I know it’s not my fault, but I also kind of didn’t. It’s like how if friends and family tell you you’re pretty a part of you thinks ‘you have to say that’. I realise now that they were of course right, it was not my fault, but for a long time (as in up until about a month ago) part of me thought it was my fault. My body, my responsibility, my fault. I felt that I should have at least somehow known something was wrong sooner. How was my body able to just go about its business without realising what had happened. FOR WEEKS! What kind of dumb, useless body did I have? I get now that is not how it works, and that my body was just doing what it could, that it simply wasn’t meant to be for reasons outside of my control.

Another thing I’d like to address is the term baby. You’ll notice I’ve referred to ‘my baby’ and similar a lot in this post. I know some people would argue it wasn’t technically a baby yet, it wasn’t even really a proper foetus – more a collection of cells, an embryo. That’s the technical side, the medical interpretation. Sadly for me in this instance, I am not a robot. As soon as I saw that positive pregnancy test it was a baby. I was going to buy a crib for it, and clothes (although not too many because it would probably be spoilt by family). I was wondering what kind of pram to get, is it more economical to get a travel system? We were going to listen to music together and I would have fun seeing how it reacted to Fall Out Boy versus Slipknot, maybe it would be a metalhead baby. My husband and I had started to refer to the baby as ‘Cashew’ because it was a tiny little cashew size and that sounded cute, certainly preferable to ‘it’. So although Cashew was technically just an embryo, to me at least that was my little cashew, my baby.

I’ve come to terms with what happened now, and if it happens again then that would suck but I’ll deal with it and move on. It still makes me sad, but I’m getting strong. Good news is I kept my promise to myself by not crying, and this was a long post so that is pretty impressive if I do say so myself!

References

*NHS Choices website: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/miscarriage/pages/introduction.aspx

Hello World!

Hey, Lilly Stardust here.

Obviously that’s not my real name but we can talk about pseudonyms and all of that another time. Just wanted to introduce myself and let you know a little of what I’m about.

So, I’m a woman, I’m a millennial – and yes I do love social media…hello WordPress!

Other things I love include, but are not limited to, Disney, My Little Pony, tattoos, rockabilly dresses, WWE, NFL (Go Pack Go), NBA (Knicks rule) and more recently MLB (Let’s go Mets). I also really like comics, drinking tea, watching TV comedies, Nintendo video games and Vans – the shoes not for driving. Oh, and I’m vegan so, yeah that plays a pretty big part of my life as well!

I have started my own blog empire, to cover all of the things I want to write about but keep them separated for those who are only interested in specific themes.

So here are the blogs I have, follow the ones that interest you and ignore the rest!

Digi Domi
Technology and education based blog.
https://digidomi.wordpress.com/

Feminist Freak
My blog about feminism/ gender issues.
https://femenistfreak.wordpress.com/

Sinclair Sports
For all things sports (inc. NFL, NBA, MLB & WWE).
https://sinclairsports.wordpress.com/

Vegan Vista
All about the vegan lifestyle, from food to toiletries and more.
https://veganvista.wordpress.com/

When Inspiration Strikes
Poems and other creative inspiration as it occurs.
https://stardustinspiration.wordpress.com/

Finally…

Lilly Stardust
This blog, and where I will talk about everything not covered in other blogs (beauty, tattoos, dresses, Disney etc).
https://lillystardustblog.wordpress.com

Oh, and I’m on Twitter (@Lilly_Stardust), feel free to follow me there as well.

So stick around to see more from me talking about those things.

See ya soon!