It’s that time of year where lots of babies are being born.
How can I tell?
Well our Newborn Nappy Hire program is getting a big workout!
In talking to new mums, you can hear the concerns, excitement and anxiety about giving birth, particularly for the first time. So I thought I would share my experiences. Yep, I didn’t do it just once, but 4 times. 5, if you want to be really picky!
So as my mum always says, “We wouldn’t keep going back to do it again and again, if it was a horrific experience”.
I promise there wont be any gory details, but I just want to show you that no birth is the same, and you cant predict what will happen.
Abbey, was my first birth. My first child. My only girl, it turns out. And extra special as well. Abbey was born at 41 weeks, she just would not come out. I was huge and uncomfortable in the last trimester. The labour was 9 hours, but 4 of that was her being stuck. According to James I spent 3 hours in the shower for the contractions, when it felt like 15 minutes. James froze, but I was comfortable.
There were no dramas with her at all during the labour, she was born with assistance, as I had just ran out of puff.
With a few stitches later, as she decided to flick her hand out as she entered the world. So I spent the next 6 weeks sitting on rolled up towels and frozen condoms (has anyone told you that great hint?).
Abbey was, and still is gorgeous. Beautiful lips and creamy skin.
Lesson: Baby will arrive in any style they like.
Now Danny, well he was in a hurry. We had to plan an inducement for all subsequent births, due to the needs of Abbeys medical condition. There had to be someone who could manage her seizures, and this always came down to her Grandparents, my mum and dad.
Danny was planned for 2 July for an inducement. But no, he decided to start his grand entrance on 1 July. Contractions all day on the 1st, and then they really ramped up on the trip into the hospital at 7am on the 2nd. I remember squirming in my front passenger car seat. We arrived, the Ob broke my waters and 2 hours later, Danny was here. No concerns at all. He was beautiful, and continues to be to this day.
But, what was not planned? My mental state. As Abbeys was a 9 hour labour, I thought it would be the same. So when we reached the third stage of labour, they told me it was 10am. I thought I had another 7 hours of this pain to endure. I lost the plot. But with great support people, they rallied around and ensured I understood that I had about 15 minutes to go to meet Dan.
Lesson: Great, caring, non judgmental support people are vital.
Next in line here I had an Etopic pregnancy. There was the thought we may not have any more kids, if both tubes were taken during surgery. But I still had a tube! He, Henry, was 7 weeks old, ‘born’ 30 December.
Then we went on and had Nathan. Wow, he was a huge baby. You would think the previous two had made a nice canal for him. Nope. Now to be honest I dont remember much from this birth, apart from finding out the winner of the Rubgy World Cup and the piece of artwork on the wall of 2 cups. Oh and the view of garbage bins outside. I was definitely concentrating on the negative.
Why I dont remember much? I had a terrible in-hospital experience while caring for Abbey in my first trimester. We traveled to Melbourne for some diagnostic tests for her. The ramifications of this visit presented themselves 6 months later. The result was that I was terrified of hospitals. Bit silly given I was about to give birth and Abbeys condition. I sought professional assistance, gave birth and just kept going. And I still get help when I need it.
Lesson: Your pregnancy presents you with all sorts of challenges. Seek any assistance you need to get through. Pregnancy or labour is not a sport to see who can endure the most pain or discomfort.
Oh our Ali. Our last, our surprise. We were stopping at Nate as his birth was a real mental trial for me. But Ali was conceived with a 1 in zillion chance. Pregnancy was pretty boring, apart from some bleeding, which was fine. I had great doctors who took great care of me, while I cared for myself and my other children. I was just too busy to really care for this pregnancy as I did with my first, Abbey. Attracting and seeking people who could care for me, remind me to care for myself, was so important.
The labour was all over the place. He just would not come out. We sat, we rocked, we walked, we rolled and bounced. With my previous boys I was induced with just the breaking of the waters. But Ali would not move, so I had the drip. Not what I wanted, at all. James knew this too. So we compromised with the drs and just did a small dose to begin. It didn’t do anything, but I was petrified of the drip. This was from horror stories other people had told me.
Well come 3pm, after starting at 7am, ALi was still not here. They upped the drip amount. The contractions came hard and fast. I used that happy gas like it was going out of fashion, or a big bar of chocolate. James was there, a great midwife got me in a position to help move him. It was not that bad, at all. It was needed if I was going to have enough huff and puff to push him out.
Then he was here. He was smaller than Nate, so just squeezed out. No worries, no issues. Just a beautiful boy.
Lesson: Listening to other peoples stories are not good. They only increase your anxiety and does not make you prepared for YOUR birth story. Surround yourself with beauty and love.
So there we go. 5 kids later, 4 with us today. All different experiences, sizes, times, pains.
How do I end this story?
Like this…It was sore, but seeing that baby at the end, is worth it. Feeling that little joy arriving, is something only you experience. That first skin to skin contact, or however you will spend those first few minutes, is precious.
There is no right or wrong. Its done in so many different ways around the world.
And if it does not go to plan, thats ok. Know that you made a baby, you cared for your baby for 9 months, you gave birth to your baby. Embrace what happens, dont fight it. Embrace it.
It becomes your story, your experience. Only you and baby share that story.
It was a pleasure to contribute a blog on tips for new mothers. If you need some encouragement, check it out here.
To this day when I look at my babies, I am sentimental about their births. It shows me how strong I can be, and how vulnerable I am. And both of these are beautiful.
From a mum
PS I can swear like an Army Sargent during labour!