We were pretty prepped for our labour. We had a tens machine so I could power through contractions without drugs for as long as possible. We had a playlist of our favourite tunes to keep the mood up. We had our most gorgeous photos saved to my iPad for joyful distraction. We had essential oils to ease anxiety and help labour progress. The works burger mate, with all the fillings.
We were booked for an induction, because I had gestational diabetes. Our baby wasn’t ready and my body wasn’t letting her out. Twice they tried to induce labour, a cruel jaws of life style device called a Foley’s catheter and when that didn’t work a hormone gel called prostaglandin. In the 29 hours we were on the labour ward no fewer than three other women went into labour. So many that at one stage we were without a midwife because one of those lucky (?) women needed ours, and well heck, nothing was happening in our room except growing anxiety.
We were offered two more attempts at induction or a medically indicated c-section. I don’t know if you’ve had multiple small-handed women reach into your heavily pregnant body to see what’s happening to your very high unripened cervix, but I was finding it increasingly traumatic. In lots of places they offer pain relief for that exploration… But I caved to peer pressure when I was finally offered something for the pain because I had done “so well with the last one” and I didn’t have the gas, fucking fuckers. I should have, I’d be less emotionally scarred and more likely to present for my next pap smear.
In any case, we opted for the C section. There was too great a chance we’d be in the same place after two more attempts or stopping early for an emergency Caesar with a distressed bub and/or me. The surgical team were AMAZING! They were warm, supportive, figurative angels who enveloped us in love and brought my baby girl into this world.
I welcomed my beautiful baby girl into the world the next day because she had some trouble breathing and was whisked away to neonatal intensive care in the company of her daddy and I had to be sedated because my body was shaking too hard from the epidural. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s here, she’s safe, she’s amazing. We’ve bonded despite not getting immediate skin to skin and my milk came in well before we left hospital. We haven’t suffered for how she was delivered, in fact the doctors were certain that her head was too big to come out any other way.
So I didn’t get to avoid an epidural and I got a dreaded catheter- which I was so grateful for, it was a joy not having to get up to pee! I didn’t get to use our playlist but I hammer it in the car now. We didn’t find calm with our essential oils and I handed the tens machine back untouched. I did look at our photos during a brief period that I was entirely alone on the labour ward and they did bring me temporary peace and joy. I’m not sure how useful they would have been during full blown labour though.
So our best laid plans didn’t pan out how we imagined, and it doesn’t mean a thing. We are happy, healthy and thriving. We are bonded and growing as a family each day. I didn’t push a baby the size of a watermelon out of my vagina and I’m okay with that, because however she got here, she’s here and she’s brilliant <3
A part of me briefly felt the need to claim my woman card back, you know, justify the C section, because society. But even if I had the cruisiest pregnancy you could dream of, having a c section still wouldn’t make me less of a woman and if I had been able to push her out of my vagina, it wouldn’t have made me a better mum.
Little love, I’m sure glad you’re here <3
“Before you were born I carried you under my heart. From the moment you arrived in this world until the moment I leave it, I will always carry you in my heart.” ~Mandy Harrison
Photo credit for title photo- Sebastian Merle Photography 🙂