So I’ve heard that writing out your birth story (or stories since I have more than one child) can actually be very therapeutic – and considering the birth of my first child didn’t exactly go to plan, we will see if that’s true.
My due date for my first little babe was September 27th 2011. Kenny and I knew that at eighteen and nineteen we were expecting a little girl, and truth be told – we were excited, but terrified at the same time. After going back and forth on names, I liked Ellie and he didn’t, or he liked something and I didn’t, vwe settled on the name Mia. Mia’s middle name was set long before we even found out the gender, Louise – which is a family name on my side, and my middle name. Her name was perfect, and I still think it is, it suits her and is just as beautiful as she is.
I wanted to deliver naturally, with minimal drugs – despite Kenny and my Mum laughing at the idea of me going without pain relief. I never wrote out a birth plan, but I did have a few things that I wanted when it came to Mia’s birth.
1. Deliver vaginally
2. Minimal drugs – but I would take them if I needed them
3. Kenny and my Mum were the only people to be in the delivery room
4. Skin to skin immediately after birth to promote bonding and breastfeeding
At twenty eight weeks I went in to pre term labour. I was so scared, I was having regular and extremely painful contractions. My stomach was going hard, I had searing pain in my lower back. After sitting with my Mum for twenty minutes, timing my contractions and her hand on my little belly feeling the change every six minutes, we packed up and headed to the hospital. Luckily my mother is a midwife and nurse, so having her with me was the biggest comfort, and Kenny being there also was a massive relief. When arriving at the hospital, I was taken into a room and quickly hooked up to the CTG machine, and had my observations taken. Thankfully, my waters hadn’t broken and there was no sign of dilation or effacement. Despite the intense pain I was experiencing, our little love was safe. They stopped the contractions with medication, and I was sent home after a few hours and double checking I definitely was not in labour.
The next ten weeks were horrific to say the least. I had SPD, which is where you have pain in your pelvis and it hurts to walk, get in and out of cars, or roll over in bed. I was also diagnosed with an irritable uterus, where I would have extreme regular contractions that didn’t progress in to labour, or do anything to my cervix. I would be in emergency at least once a week because the pain became to much, and to double check that we weren’t going to have premature baby.
And this brings the story to Thursday September 15th, yet again I was headed to emergency because yet again, my pain was out of control and my contractions were 4 minutes apart. I had so much hope that this was finally it, I was finally having a baby. After some strong pain relief, I was feeling quite drowsy, I’d already texted Kenny letting him know where I was and what was going on. Depsite holding out hope, we both agreeed he’d stay in class and I would be sent home. But after a very strong contraction, I wasn’t so sure I was going home this time. My OB and I had discussed induction, but due to the fact Mia wasn’t dropping and her head was not engaged, the risks of prolapsed cord and multiple other complications we had agreed that was not an option at this point – and would very likely end in an emergency cesarean.
After a few more contractions that the pain relief wasn’t even coming close to touching, I clearly remember turning to my Mum and joking that “How funny would it be if my OB walked in and asked if I wanted a cesarean?” The next minute, my OB did just that – and I burst in to tears. I immediately called Kenny, and I’m fairly sure I made absolutely no sense due to the fact I was crying, but he got the gist because he packed up and headed for the hospital.
Looking back, I wish I had said no; I really wish I had have had the experience of delivering vaginally. But due to my pain, and other personal circumstances, I decided to say yes to deliver my baby via cesarean section. We waited a further eight hours, I had eaten lunch so we needed to wait until a certain point, but then due to other emergencies we were pushed a bit longer. At this point excitement started to overwhelm us, and then fear, then happiness, then fear again. We were about to be parents, for the very first time.
I remember being wheeled on my bed, Kenny holding my hand and my Mum following behind as the staff took me towards theater. I met my aneathatist and after lots of questions, he sat me on the edge of the operating table, and told me that it wasnt going to hurt. He was right to an extent, a needle going in to your spine does hurt, but once the local anaesthetic started to work it was only pressure that I could feel. But it was so hard to stay still, I was shaking from being so nervous – my wonderful OB stepped forward and grabbed my hand. It was just what I needed; I knew that myself and my baby were safe in his very skilled hands. After everything that I had been through throughout my pregnancy, driving him insane with my issues, he was always so calm and always reassured me that it was going to be okay; and despite nicknaming me “Trouble” I knew I was never a bother to him.
I laid down (with a lot of help from the nurses) and realized I couldn’t feel my lower half – it was the most bizzare feeling I had ever experienced. Kenny was then brought in to the room and sat next to me holding my hand, and told me that he loved me. This was it, we were about to become parents.
Mia Louise Kenny was born at 11:34pm on September 15th 2011.
She weighed a tiny 6lb 2oz / 2.8kg and was 45cm long.
After a very short cuddle, Mia was taken to the NICU for RDS (Respiratory Distress Syndrome). She spent the first 36 hours in the NICU needing breathing treatment and observation, and they were the longest 36 hours of my life. I think this played a huge part in my postnatal depression; I didn’t get skin to skin after she was born, we didn’t immediately breastfeed, and I didn’t get to hold her against my chest and bond with her straight away, and she wasn’t with me for what honestly felt like eternity. I needed my baby, and blamed myself for her needing NICU treatment because I chose to have a cesarean at 38 weeks and 2 days. I struggled with breastfeeding, we couldn’t get the latch correct and I was too overwhelmed to try hard enough, and stopped on day three after my milk had come in.
I was a young first time mother and had advice, and expectations, coming at me from every which way – and as a response to everyone around me, I completely withdrew myself, and tried as hard as I could to bond with my new baby. Nothing turns out how you expect, and that’s okay. I have, for the most part, come to terms with Mia’s birth and the events that followed – but it is still a very sore spot, and I do have a lot of emotional trauma to work through still five years later. But that in itself is a whole other blog post.