Bringing a child into the world is supposed to be a happy, exciting and incredible experience. While it is for many women, there are a lot of women who didn’t or won’t have that journey and that is okay.
While I never had a proper ‘birth plan’ in place I did have an idea of how I wanted it to go. I knew I wanted it to be natural but if it was too intense or I wasn’t coping, I was open to an epidural but that was before I knew my body didn’t enjoy pregnancy and that’s when I changed my mind frame to accept that what was best for the baby was what I was happy with.
My first pregnancy was both harsh on myself and my little girl. It wasn’t long after those two pink lines appeared on the test that the hospital became our second home. The bleeding, constant hospital admissions, nurses administering suppositories when I was bed bound to help prevent a miscarriage when I was losing her at 13 weeks and her lack of movements and that was all before the gestational diabetes diagnosis.
At 32 weeks, our little girl was in the lowest percentile. I ate as much as I could to try and get her to grow and rested as much as I could but at 35 weeks, she wasn’t even on the charts. My heart sank. I had no idea what was to come next especially as her movements were minimal.
Be a good role model. Teach and model kindness and good manners online. Because children are great mimics, limit your own media use. In fact, you'll be more available for and connected with your children if you're interacting, hugging and playing with them rather than simply staring at a screen.
My OB then arranged for me to go to the birth unit every 2 days for monitoring. Low and behold I went in for that first monitoring to be told I wasn’t leaving any time soon. The monitors were strapped on of majority of the day for the 3 days I was admitted in the lead up to her birth, which at the time I didn’t know was going to be so soon.
My anxiety started to kick in
The nurses would come in, check my vitals but whenever I asked what was going on, no one could give me an answer.
One nurse came in with a smile and apologised before saying: "We are going to inject you with steroid shots to boost your baby’s lungs just in case she needs to come out now.”
I remember reading about those injections and how much they hurt but with everything happening so fast I didn’t feel a thing. Until that night. My cheeks and chest felt as if they were on fire and were bright red. I was itching all over and when I couldn’t sleep they said there was nothing they could give me straight away, I broke down.
Set Smart Limits
This wasn’t how it was supposed to be
Then I heard a kick on the monitor and Sienna’s little heartbeat started going faster again and in that moment I knew I had to be strong. This little girl was fighting this battle and so was I.
Over the next couple of days, there was talk of an induction but it was all dependant on how Sienna was doing. I went for another scan and she still hadn’t grown so it was back to the monitors.
Monday, January 6th was then here. I woke up and I looked outside. It was a beautiful, sunny day and little did I know it would be the day I officially got to be a mum. After breakfast, I was put back on the monitors. Barely any movement, and a very irregular heart rate. Our little girl’s heart rate was dropping at a fast rate then going back up ridiculously high.
'Giving birth gave me PTSD'
Any choice I had on my birth was then out and an emergency c section it was. I didn’t even have time to think about surgery or what was to come.
I called up Rob and told him to get to the hospital as quick as he could as well as contacting our family. After what felt like an eternity, Rob arrived, got changed into his scrubs and then we were on our way down to the operating room.
The happiest and hardest day
As I sat on the bed, my back arched over getting ready for the spinal, everything around me felt so surreal as if I was watching an episode of ER or similar. I then felt a cold rush through my body and as I laid down on the bed I slowly lost feeling in my legs. Everything soon felt warm and heavy and it made me feel really uneasy not being able to move my body which was a normal and natural thing to do.
Set limits and encourage playtime. Media use, like all other activities, should have reasonable limits. Unstructured and offline play stimulates creativity. Make unplugged playtime a daily priority, especially for very young children.
Adrenaline shot through me and I just longed to see my little girl. I could feel the rummaging in my stomach, not painful but it was strange. Finally, I heard the cry of my little one and I knew she was okay. I literally got to touch her for a second and then the whisked her away to be put on oxygen. I could feel my heart racing as I was being sewn up. I was then whisked into recovery where I was uncontrollably shaking and freezing. I kept asking about Sienna but they said she was in special care and I couldn’t see her yet.
When I was leaving recovery I begged to see my little girl and they wheeled me through the NICU unit. I saw her for not even a minute before being taken to my room where I then couldn’t see her for the next 14 hours. The nurses said she was doing well but I was bed bound and the spinal hadn’t even worn off while Sienna was still on oxygen.
Longing to hold her
My family came to see me, and the grandparents were allowed in the NICU unit and told me she looked so beautiful and they were proud of me. Rob took videos and photos of her and would bring them back to show me when the nurses told him to come back and get some rest.
Encourage daddy time. The greatest untapped resource available for improving the lives of our children is time with Dad - early and often. Kids with engaged fathers do better in school, problem-solve more successfully, and generally cope better with whatever life throws at them.
It felt as though I hadn’t given birth. Everything happened so fast, I went for surgery and then I was shown pictures of this little baby that I had just given birth too but I couldn’t be with her.
I put on a brave face until my family left and Rob went back to special care then I fell apart. It wasn’t fair. The pain of having your child but then you can't see or hold them is excruciating.
She was perfect
The next morning, when the nurse came in, I asked if I could go and see her. She told me to take it slowly but I felt fine and with help, I was able to get up and walk a bit. They said I was allowed up but only in a wheelchair so I got in one and off we went up in what felt like the longest corridor up to the locked doors to where my little girl was laying. My eyes welled up as Rob pushed me in. There she was, finally.
She was off the oxygen and we were just waiting for the all clear to be able to give our little girl her first ever cuddle. Rob slowly picked her up, wrapped her in her blanket and handed her over.2.2kg and 43cm, our princess was perfect.Birth trauma is real. Your experience, story, trauma are all real and they matter. I still struggle with mine and I feel extremely blessed to have my little girl but that doesn’t take away the feeling that I failed my daughter because my placenta failed to nourish my daughter due to a disease called Villitis (which you don’t find out about until your placenta is tested) causing her to stop growing or the fact I was never able to labour with either of my girls. But in whichever way you have your child, you gave birth. Plain and simple. Vaginal or c-section, you grew your baby inside of you for 9 months and you should be proud of that. It’s not going to affect how you parent or the quality of life you are giving to your child.
Related: The Real Joys of Being a Mom
Be easy on yourself mama, you’re a superhero