Saturday, 16 July 2016

Not pregnant, woo hoo!!

Hi lovelies.

So I haven't written for a while, and more importantly I haven't written my birth story down, not here, not on paper, not anywhere.  I am not even sure why I haven't, maybe it doesn't feel so mind blowing as my other two births, maybe I just haven't been able to find the time, or maybe I am just two damn tired!  I am not sure which it is, but I am starting to feel that the story needs telling, I am already forgetting the details, I am not sure I can even recall the pain any more (and there was a lot of that let me tell you).  So here goes.

The day he was born was a Thursday, the day after his due date, and I was feeling very very grumpy indeed.  Both my other babies had come before their due date and I had been ready since about 36 weeks.  Hospital bad packed, affirmations stuck up on the wall, absorbent pads at the ready.  So yes, I was a grumpy mama.  I waddled up to toddler group on the morning he was born.  Everyone was surprised to see me and I got the full range of the usual questions and comments, "not here yet then" ("no he's not humph"), "when are you due" ("yesterday, humph"), "any day now then" ("here's hoping, humph"), "Any sign he might be coming?", ("no nothing, humph").  Little did I know that just a few hours later I would be in the hospital pushing him out!  When we got home from toddler group I took this photo of the beautiful roses growing outside my house and shared it on facebook, it seems so strange that just 6 hours later I was holding a new baby in my arms:

I can't say for sure what made me think I was in labour.  I was getting some stomach ache, went to the toilet a few times, felt very restless.  I did lunch for the boys and at about 1.00 I mentioned to my husband I thought I might be in labour (he had been working from home for the past 2 weeks in the expectation that the baby would arrive early). I decided to have some lunch myself though I didn't really feel like it, but thought I might need the energy later.

I rang the hospital.  We were booked in for a home birth so informed them of this and waited for them to get back to me.  A few moments later I had the call to let me know that there were no home birth midwives available and that I would have to go into hospital. So this was pretty much my worst case scenario (save giving birth on the way).  I got off the phone and thought for a moment about crying.  Then I decided "Fuck it" and got to work.  I got on the phone to one of my friends from a group who had agreed to be on call for me when the time came (aka, my dream team) and I rang my mum to tell her what was happening and for her to get over here ASAP ("yes mum, please leave now, no mum I don't think you will have time for your chiropodist appointment").  I finalised the packing of my hospital bad,  and packed bags for the boys. My friend arrived sometime before 5 and she took the boys to her house and we set off for the hospital.  My husband driving like the clappers with plenty of horn honking and getting angry at other drivers! We arrived at the hospital at 5 and went straight up to the midwife led unit. 

We hung around waiting for a midwife.  They wanted me to go into an assessment room but I said I was declining an internal examination and I just couldn't bring myself to go into the examination room which had no windows and one of those horrid hospital beds so I walked around the entrance trying to find a comfortable position when I was having contractions.  Eventually the midwife realised we had been booked in for a home birth and took us straight through.  And then more waiting for someone to come and assess me and book me in.  The midwife led unit at the Royal Berks is really lovely. The rooms are much more like a home from home and not like hospital rooms at all, all the medical equipment is shut away behind white cupboards, there was a big bath in the room and a sort of big bed which was made of a big foam block with a bean bad and pillows, more like a treatment room at a spa than a hospital room.  

I wandered around the room trying to find a comfy way to be, I laid out my birth affirmations that my friends wrote for me at my mother blessing and read through them trying to focus on my visualisation (the waves of the sea going in and out).   I was feeling the contractions very strongly now and felt like I was beginning to transition.  The midwife said that they would monitor me every 4 hours, then every half an hour and then every 15 minutes etc.  I laughed to myself thinking "no bloody way am I going to be in labour for another 4 hours!" She palpated my belly and asked if I was feeling a lot of pressure in my back, (this led me later to wonder if the baby was back to back.)  My husband was rubbing my back during contractions and I settled on the floor by the bed on soft mats.  The midwife had filled the big bath (I thought why not make full use of the facilities, even though I knew I wanted to give birth on dry ground)  So I got in, it was lovely and did help with the pain, and the contractions were painful this time.  I felt my body starting to push and my waters went with a pop and a gush.  The midwife advised that as I didn't want to birth in the water I should get out now as the baby was probably on it's way, so I did.  I settled back on the floor but struggled to bring my visualisations to the front of my mind.  It was bright daylight and although there were blinds at the windows a gentle breeze blew them releasing flashes of sun into the room, distracting me from the image I was trying to focus on.  The pains were strong, and got stronger as the baby moved down.  I could feel his head coming very very slowly with each contraction, but he felt very far back and the pushing was hard work.  I was screaming now with he contractions and the pushing, I couldn't help it, it hurt! 

The midwife kept telling me to "breathe, breathe" and I was but I needed to scream too, that head! It finally came out, eventually followed by the body which flopped onto the floor and I breathed, really breathed, a huge sigh of relief. "Thank God that's over" was my first thought and I had to be reminded to pick up my baby (as specified in my birth plan) out of the pool off poo he immediately created!.  He was kind of blue and needed a bit of encouragement from a good rubbing down with a hospital grade towel to get him breathing, but there he was.  All 8lbs 15oz of him, phew!  

Was it more painful because he was back to back and had to turn at the last minute?  Or was it the flashing sun distracting me from my visualisation?  Maybe the fact he was my biggest baby? Or could it have been the mere fact of being in hospital rather than at home as I had wanted?  I guess I will never really know.  But what I can tell you in all honestly, 5 weeks on, I feel like none of that even matters.  I have had the most wonderful time riding the waves of post natal hormones, fully tripping out on Oxytocin and loving big time on my baby.  (Having a newborn baby is the most wonderful thing, did anyone tell you?).  I didn't get that feeling of elation when he was born as I did with Biscuit but the joy that has been bursting from my heart ever since fully makes up for it. 

He is more than likely my last baby (never say never) so I am trying to fully soak up every moment, fully savor his smell, the feel of his rose petal skin, the little tufts of hair on his ears, the way he does the most incredible beautiful heartbreaking smiles in his sleep, the snuffly noise me makes when he feeds and enjoying every moment with him.  I feel very blessed to have another healthy baby, and have learnt a lot through this delivery. Namely that every birth is different, and every mother experiences childbirth differently. Experiencing a painful birth doesn't mean you are less in tune with your body, or that you aren't as much of an earth mother as the next lady, maybe it just means your baby was big, or he was back to back or he came before he was ready or any number of other reasons.  Every birth is different and every mother and baby symbiosis is different, maybe you had an orgasmic birth, good for you, maybe you needed an epidural to get through the pain, I hear you, each journey is unique, each story our own, there is no one on earth who can fully know or understand your experience. It is totally unique to you. I have also learnt that how you feel after giving birth is also unique.  After I had Boris, I didn't feel right, I couldn't understand how my friends who had had really traumatic births felt normal and I was feeling totally messed up.  It wasn't till I had the healing experience of my home birth that I realised how the way I felt the first time really wasn't right.  This time, in spite of not getting all my wishes for the birth I feel amazing.  No rhyme or reason to it at all!  
I recently had an imagined conversation with God about it, it went something like this:

Me: "Hey God, I prayed for a midwife for a home birth and you didn't give me one, what's up with that?"

God: "Yeah, sorry about that, here, have some Oxycontin to make up for it."

I am told God gives us what we need not what we want.  I am not sure why God decided I needed a painful hospital birth this time, but I am bloody grateful for the wonderful gift of a joyful heart, He has given me since.  I really hope it lasts a long long time because it is becoming clear that life with three children under the age of five is going to be interesting to say the least!

I love how the post card in the back ground says "We can do it"

Friday, 3 June 2016

Still Pregnant

So I am currently waking up every morning, looking down at my bulging belly and feeling like it's groundhog day! How can I still be pregnant?!  In fairness, I am not yet 40 weeks, but Biscuit was born two weeks before his due date so I was fully expecting this little one to be here by now.
I am feeling pretty fed up, I am uncomfortable, have a lot of pain in my hips and lower abdomen and have awful indigestion!  Everything is a massive amount of effort from picking up a sock from the floor to getting the children in and out of the car and I am TIRED!!  My patience is wearing very thin and my feet have swelled up and look like giant marshmallows! Parenting two under 5's whilst 39 weeks pregnant is bloody hard work. Oh and it was my birthday on Tuesday and it was rubbish! I thought I would be cradling a new born baby in my arms, watching box sets, instead, I was parenting two pre-schoolers with cabin fever on the wettest day in weeks with a  trapped nerve in my hip. There were tears, mostly mine.

But I am not supposed to moan and complain am I?!  I am not supposed to say how fucking hard it is, because I brought it on myself.  I wanted a baby therefore I have to put up with the consequences.  Also I am a full-time-mother so should be over the moon about not having to go to work.  Oh and choosing to home educate...another "rod for my back".

So my own choices have made my life harder.  This is true, but does that mean I shouldn't get to moan about it from time to time?  No one would think badly of someone moaning about their PAID job, even though they chose that, so why do I feel I have to put up and shut up? And why is it so damn hard to ask for help?  It's my choice, why should I expect help?

I don't have an answer.

So that's the bad news,

but here is the wonderful news.  I have the most amazing friends.
They know who they are and I couldn't be more grateful for them.  They are the best listeners, they don't mind hearing me complain about how hard it all is, they don't jump in to say "well you should have done such-and-such" and "here is the obvious but totally impractical/unachievable/impossible solution to your problem", they don't ignore me altogether because I bring them down, or because my problems are too big for them, or because they think I don't deserve help, or because they are too busy, they are just there, present in my misery, holding my hand.

And do you know what else?  They OFFER help!  They don't wait for me to ask (hard), they go ahead and offer.  I don't always take it because that's hard too, especially when I know that they have their own children to look after, their own pregnancies, jobs, sick parents, etc etc, but the fact that they offer to help, and mean it, means the absolute world to me, it makes me feel so loved and cared for and seen.

Just today for example a pregnant friend (just a few weeks behind me) is looking after my two boys so I can have a rest.  A couple of weeks ago another friend paid for me to have an hour of reflexology, while she looked after my boys so I could relax and have some time to myself, another friend had us over for the morning so I could just sit whilst the children were being amused, another friend offered to baby sit for an evening, text messages to let me know I am being though of,  yet another friend text me today just to see how I am doing.  I could go on, telling you about the small and big acts of kindness I have received from my friends, it is so incredibly heart warming and I am so thankful, so incredibly grateful. It's something I will treasure forever.

So friends, thank you for your kindness, not given through some sense of obligation, or because you owe it to me or because you feel guilty, but because you are kind, wonderful people who see need and want to help. How amazing is that?

I hope you know how much I appreciate you all and how loved you have made me feel.

And one other thing whilst we are on the thank you's.  I am incredibly thankful that all the pain and discomfort I am experiencing will disappear almost the moment this baby is born, I will have my body back.  My heart goes out to those who through no fault of their own experience chronic pain, are morbidly obese or are suffering in any way with out an end in sight.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

My Mother Blessing

Hello my lovelies, sorry I haven't blogged for a while, my brain is fried by this pregnancy and my two little ones, it hasn't been for a lack of trying to write, but the words just haven't flowed.  Lots has been happening and I will try and update on it all soon, I am feeling very inspired and creative at the moment, (which is deeply ironic considering the lack of time available to pursue my ideas), but I will share them with you soon.

My partially painted belly cast.

In the mean time, isn't this time of year wonderful?  Everything is just bursting into life, it really is a wonderful time of year to be pregnant and about to give birth.

I have about 3 weeks left of this pregnancy and trying to savor every moment.  It's easy to wish the time away, I am uncomfortable, sore, tired and I can't sneeze without peeing myself a bit!  But as I approach the end I am trying to record everything with as much joy as possible.  There is much to complain about but I don't want to look back and regret not making those memories.

Today I had the most wonderful mother blessing, organised by my lovely friend Vicki (visit her at her blog here) It was such a wonderful way to honor my pregnancy and I felt so special and loved.

We wrote down our fears about motherhood, I wrote my fears about childbirth and we went outside and burned them, my friends wrote beautiful birth affirmations for me and left messages for me to open after the baby is born. I was anointed with scented oil and Vicki read a beautiful poem, I had a beautiful henna mandala painted onto my tummy, and we enjoyed a delicious lunch together, it was a really special afternoon which I will treasure forever.

I was slightly skeptical about having a Mother Blessing before.  I had had a baby shower for my first pregnancy and didn't feel like I should be making a big deal about my third pregnancy, but I am so so glad I did, because pregnancy and childbirth is a sacred time that should be treasured, and I felt so supported by the wonderful women who came, all also full time mothers like me, and women I will be able to call upon if I need help during labor.  
So if you are pregnant and wondering if this is the sort of thing you would like to do, then I would say to go for it.  In fact do everything you can think of to treasure the memories of carrying life inside you, it's so precious and important.