This blog gives you a taste of some of the important information that was not shared with me about childbirth and labour. Such as…
I didn’t know…
1. That people were really telling me the truth and were not exaggerating when they said ‘You will know the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and the real thing’.
2. I knew that labour pains would hurt but I didn’t realise they would feel like a 30 stone body builder stamping on and squeezing your womb!
3. How many decibels my voice reached when the real labour pains kicked in but I know I was loud. Poor neighbours!
4. How much I would want to do something really bad to the midwife who told me to go home because my contractions were only 7 minutes apart!
5. That it could take 4 days to go from being 1 centimetre dilated to full dilation! That 4 days of excruciating pain!
6. I could go from having regular contractions whilst in labour to having none in two hours. It’s not always textbook.
7. How long the ground floor corridor of City Hospital was until I walked the full length in a bid to progress my labour. I felt like I was in the movie the Poltergeist when the corridor wouldn’t come to an end. When I did get there, it was like a whole new galaxy - it was bright, light and airy. There’s a restaurant, gardens, I’m sure I spotted a few UFOs too.
8. How great it would feel to have warm water streaming down my legs, knowing it wasn’t pee. I was on the hospital bed when my waters broke and for a few seconds, I felt like I was in a luxury pool located in a plush spa in Ko Samui.
9. That the doctors could feel how much hair my baby had on her head before she was born.
10. Until afterwards, that my mum and my aunt (who also happened to be my midwife in the hospital) found my facial contortions hilarious. So much so that they showed me what I was doing after the birth!
11. I would have a tired anaesthetist put the epidural in the wrong place in my back which meant that I could have been easily overdosed. Which I was – twice! The first time my blood pressure went down and so did my baby’s heart rate. The second time, I had so much of the medical concoction in my system that my airways started to shut down! This was one of the most scary moments of my childbirth experience.
12. That you could be pushing for an hour and a half and there would still be no baby. Instead you hear calls for a caesarean.
13. Connected to the last point, I feel I can now understand and relate to drug addicts when they get their ‘fix’. As soon as I heard the word ‘caesarean’ all I could think about was getting that spinal injection that would take away all the pain! And it did!
14. The doctors who performed the caesarean would be telling each other jokes and listening to music on the radio whilst they did it.
15. That during the caesarean operation (even though the doctors put a screen in front of you so you can’t see their actions) if you focus on the metal light fittings above you can see the reflection of ‘stuff’. I could see lots of ‘red’ but I was so dosed up, I didn’t have a care in the world!
16. The first time I heard my baby cry from behind the curtain, that it would lead my tear ducts to start acting up and releasing water.
17. The first time I saw my baby I would think ‘She’s cute but she looks like a Japanese Sumo wrestler’.
18. How naturally motherhood would come to me, seconds after holding my beautiful baby.
19. How grateful I would feel to my aunt and the rest of the medical team for bringing my baby safely into this world.
20. That I would instantly fall deeper in love with my partner in the moments we first spent time together with our baby.
21. I didn’t know I could get so damned sappy!
22. When I recalled the awful days many moons ago when I lost a child at 5 months pregnant, when I thought back to the harrowing days of sickness, when I looked back at my pregnant swollen face and my out of shape body I would think ‘My baby was truly worth all of it!’
It’s now 12 weeks after giving birth to our beautiful, healthy baby Jasmine and day by day I realise more and more what people have been telling me over the years: there is no greater gift than motherhood. Thank God I have been blessed with the honour of being my baby’s mother.