Birth: the most beautiful, natural occurrence that every woman is expected to aim for and go through. Realistically, not everyone wants children, not everyone can have children and even if you do or can, not everyone has those tranquil hippy births that you see on TV. It’s a bloody myth, mate.
I can remember being pregnant for the first time and looking forward to the birth of my first child. Determined to be one of those warrior mums that you see on TV; the ones who have water-births and make teeny tiny whimpers whilst they have contractions. They have calming hippy music in the background, candles burning and the amazing birthing partner who squeezes water on their brow when ever they feel a bit hot. It’s beautiful, it’s wonderful…no drugs, and you’ll meet your baby in a couple of pushes, and deliver a perfect tiny version of yourself. You and your partner will gaze at this little human that you created and smile and giggle whilst magical fairies come and bless you all with glitter and well wishes. A few minutes later your united family will come and bring you balloons and flowers and all of you will take photographs and laugh harmoniously whilst you glow. So much happiness, so much euphoria, you now know the meaning of life. BULLSHIT. IT’S ALL AN EFFING LIE, A LIE I TELL THEE!
I’ve realised, after having three kids that their births shaped their personalities. It was all a psychic premonition telling me what these kids will be like when they’re older. For instance, Dylan’s birth. I went in blind, thinking it was going to be beautiful. I read the books, I went to antenatal classes. I even watched Super Nanny, cussed out the stupid parents not knowing how to say no to their kids. I scoffed at it all so smugly. I planned to give birth in a birthing centre, in a birthing pool in complete tranquility. My last check up quashed that dream – the nurse checked my blood pressure around 36 weeks, and looked slightly alarmed. She repeated the check and then left the room to call someone to get a second opinion. Me being me, knowing all that I needed to know about births, you know, because I watched the DVD’s and read the books, was quite blasé as I waited for them to come back. I looked at my swollen feet as I swung them back and forth on the bed. I’m short, I can’t reach the floor. They came back, proceeded to take my blood pressure for the 3rd time and then asked if I’d given a urine test. Something you do at every appointment. They double-checked that too and protein was found. So, OK, yeah, you found protein in my wee wee…and what? The DVD didn’t say anything about that, blud. With petrified faces, with panic in their voices they said I’d have to go to hospital. Ok, so I need to go to hospital today- that’s fine, I can go after I go to Asda. The nurses panic turned into terror and she explained that I had to go to the hospital now, like this second, like emergency flashy red lights and siren now-now.
Turns out I had Preeclampsia, a condition that can effect both mum and baby, and protein had been present in my urine about a month before in a routine check, however my shitty doctor didn’t do any further tests. I had to stay in hospital and be monitored until I had my baby. Shit man, talk about boring, the DVD, the classes did not tell me about this.
Two weeks later, very puffy and round due to my condition, being pregnant, and the numerous Chinese take-aways that I had as soon as I found out that I was pregnant, the Doctors decided that I needed to be induced. Again, DVD, you didn’t tell me about this, I’m beginning to think this DVD was like one of those friends that lie at school. The ones that tell you they went to Disneyland when you ask them what they did at the weekend, and because you’re 5, you believe them.
After being induced, I had contractions for two days; that’s two days of strong period-pain like cramps. Again, me being me, still blasé, still believing that DVD, contractions, shit man, this is a breeze. No drugs, if contractions just feel like this, I am a ‘motherf***ing warrior’. This pain can be ignored. Damn it, I could have gone to the birthing centre if I wasn’t ill! The contractions continued but with no real progress, no significant dilation progression. Now with the baby getting distressed they decided to break my waters. Hmmm… now they did mention this, but they didn’t say how. Luckily, it didn’t hurt, after inserting a knitting needle looking device I had a sudden gush flow from my nether-regions. I guess that now that my waters had broken, this is when I start wailing and puffing like they do in films? Nope. Just these very bearable period-pain cramps. A few hours later they want to give me a C-Section due to the baby getting more and more distressed. Ok, DVD, now I think you lied to me. We are no longer friends, fam, why did you do this?
They asked my fourth midwife to get me prepped, and she came and chatted to me about her life, then sat down and read my Heat magazine. She kind of got in trouble when the Doctor came back as she hadn’t prepped me, and by prepped I mean shave my bikini line and the rest. Obviously I didn’t have time to go and get a wax, as I had hoped I would. A doctor quickly dry-BIC-shaving my lady garden wasn’t the most pleasant experience.
I needed to have an epidural, which is an injection into your spine that numbs you from the waist down. I don’t like needles as it is, so the thought sounded horrendous. The started to inject me, couldn’t find the right spot, and then continued trying to inject me up and down my spine, 2, 3, 4, 5 times, I lost count. This is when I started fitting and seeing stars. I remember the doctor standing over me and I was laughing, not because it was funny, but I literally couldn’t think straight, it was like I wasn’t present, remember, I wasn’t even on any medication or pain relief at this point. They got me to scribble some paperwork that basically meant if I died no-one could sue them. Yeah, cool DVD, I F***ing hate you.
I was put to sleep and the first thing I remember is someone pointed to my baby with a nurse who was feeding him. I was upset, I wanted to feed him, why couldn’t I hold him? She came over when she realised that I was awake. She handed me my baby, all small and not podgy like the babies born on the DVD or in films, he was tall, and skinny, but with chubby cheeks. He was cute, making funny noises like a little goat, a goat kind of grunting. Now TV had taught me that babies cry, not sound like goats. Was this just something they didn’t tell me? I called the nursed and asked if these noises were normal, I’m not an expert, I don’t understand these little people. I saw that face again, the face that those nurses had when they took my blood pressure. They took him away immediately and didn’t explain why. WTF is all this? This is not how all this was supposed to happen. WTF was my kid? Where were my balloons and flowers and photo opportunities. Shit man, I picked the short straw with all of this.
Baby boy had Group B Strep, an infection that can cause breathing problems. He was admitted into the special care unit along with premature and seriously ill babies. He was in an incubator, he had tubes in his nose, he had a a needle in his tiny hand connected to a drip supplying him with antibiotics. This wasn’t supposed to happen. We weren’t supposed to fear being told they that they weren’t sure that he was going to make it. I wasn’t supposed to feel the fear that we wasn’t going to be there whenever I went to visit. This wasn’t my birth plan.
Newly named Dylan was in intensive care, then the special baby unit for two weeks before he came home. He was fine. He worried us, he made us think we were completely at fault for bringing him into this world in such crappy conditions. 11 years on, we still have the same feelings, not because he’s ill, not because he is affected by all of this in any way, but because he is the biggest attention seeker that did ever live. He loves praise like any child, but he also likes to cause drama… he likes to worry us. Just like those days and weeks that surrounded his birth.
Much like the other two, their births seems to shape their personalities. Zachary’s birth was a planned C-section. My waters broke on my due date, so he couldn’t wait to come and cause havoc on the world. I had an Epidural, and like the first time, they couldn’t find the right spot. I had about 12 injections in my spine before it worked. The pain was horrendous, but he was a chubby little boy who slept like an angel. He slept most of the time and just wanted to play and do his own thing. Much like today, he’s a pain in the backside, he has no patience and is very stubborn. Has a great sense of humour though.
Lastly Ziggy. After having a miscarriage and trying for a year for another baby, he was born. Another planned C-Section, another Epidural, but this time they found the spot after about two attempts. I had a playlist that they said could be played during the procedure, much to the Surgeons and Anaesthetic’s pleasure I didn’t have Whales singing, but a playlist made up of Jess Glynne, Mary J Blige and other chart music around that time. I’m pretty sure Ziggy was born to Beyoncé. This may explain his love of music and dancing. His birth was easy, he latched on straight away and didn’t really let me go once that happened. Didn’t let me put him down and didn’t let me go anywhere, I carried him around like those Essex girls with Chihuahuas. His choice, not mine. Today, we are basically inseparable. He’s my little bums, and we have inside jokes and easily understand one another. Not in a creepy clingy mother and son way, we are just very in tune with each other. Which is nice.
The DVD’s, the books, your best friend’s mate who gave birth and pooed during labor may not be able to give you the best advice when it comes to birth. Your impending birth may turn out Zen-like, like the one I planned, or it may not work out how you expected. Either way, it’s your way. Don’t let anyone (other than a professional if necessary) persuade you otherwise. Oh, one last thing, if anyone even dares judge me for having 3 C-Sections, I’m gonna come and kick you in the nuts. Thank you.
How did your birth go? Are you pregnant and contemplating writing your birth plan? Let me know below x
GIF oversharer, Starbucks lover and advocate of the side-eye. Woman of Wakanda and collector of all things materialistically minimal but bold. *Often known to contradict oneself.