Thursday, 3 March 2011

The 'baby birthing warrior' that wasn't

DIY daddy
30 weeks and nesting
30 weeks pregnant... nursery decorated, baby shower attended, pram purchased... next on the list, antenatal classes.

We attended NCT classes. I went in with no preconceptions or preparations, birth plan, what was that? I left feeling like a baby birthing warrior, sent on this earth just to give birth, a baby delivering super hero if you will. Hospitals? Doctors? Pain relief? Who needed that stuff? My body is built for this, I'm young, I should be doing this naturally.

My mind was made up, NO pain relief, NO doctors, I would have Belle at the midwife led unit in our local hospital.  

I was woken on the morning of the 26th June with major pains. I'd experienced small pains the day before, but this was it, she was coming.

After 8 hours of ball bouncing, deep breathing and bath soaking at home we decided, contractions 2 minutes apart, we were close.

After observation I was told I'd have an examination but they felt I was about 8cms from the strength and times of my contractions.  The birthing warrior inside me was overjoyed. I was so proud. I had done this, got this far, all by myself, as nature had intended.

The examination commenced...1/2cm...1/2cm dilated! I can not even begin to describe the heart aching disappointment I felt that second. But my inner birthing warrior was still present, so I continued, unaided, for 8 more long hours.

My waters still hadn't broken so they decided to break them for me after several uneventful examinations, I was still only around 4cms. I will never, ever forget the look on James' face when she did.  Shock, horror and disbelief all rolled into a reassuring smile, I knew him, I knew something was wrong.

I was rushed into the delivery suite quicker than I could say 'baby delivering super hero', from that second the birthing warrior was no more, it was taken out of my control.

Belle had been in distress, so we were hooked up to a heart monitor as the pain started to become unbearable. She was back to back in position.  More agonising hours passed and gas and air became my friend. More hours went by. Faces looked worried. More doctors appeared. A needle was used in several places. The heart monitor was making noises. The inner birthing warrior had turned into the frighted, 25 year old girl I truly was. In the mirror I could see the numbers on the heart monitor... dropping, dropping, getting higher, dropping again. The faces got more worried and panic filled the air. James was amazing and did his best to reassure me, but all I could see were those worried faces.

It was decided, I needed a c-section. I was heartbroken. I had watched so many births after my classes in preparation for this magical moment, birthing my first child. I got a grip, it needed to happen. At least I could still see her, still have skin to skin with her straight away, feel her against me the moment she is was out. James was sent to get scrubbed up.

I was alone, without my rock. Suddenly the faces changed from worry and concern to complete fear as the monitor made different noises. A piece of paper was shoved under my nose, I was asked to sign it. The comforting soundtrack that had been my daughters heartbeat was removed and within seconds I was being wheeled away, silence. James hadn't even come back into the room, we passed him in the corridor.

It was the silence, I couldn't hear her any more. It was worrying hearing the ups and downs but the silence, hearing nothing at all, I thought they had run out of time. I remember thinking 'wheel me quicker, hurry up!'

Face to the ceiling I could see people entering the room, lots of people. I closed my eyes. I sensed a doctor over me, I don't know what he said, but within moments I was gone.

4 hours later I woke up, and there she was in her daddy's arms, wrapped in a pink blanket. She was Isobelle Rose that day, later changed to Belle Rose. My daughter, my perfect, beautiful daughter.

We were one of only 6% of mothers and babies that suffer from a short umbilical cord. We were told that she had gone as far as she could have and was therefore in such distress as I tried to push her further.
But all was well, apart from a slight misshapen head, she was perfect.

In hospital still with Daddy
And so we were home, a new family, but why was I feeling guilt? Why was I feeling as though I had missed out?  I beat myself up about not delivering her 'properly' and was angery with myself that I had missed out on those first 4 hours, they had been taken away from me.

With time, the guilt surpassed, and I enjoyed being a first time mummy. The anger turned into joy, pride and thankfulness.  I was so lucky and honoured to have a healthy, beautiful baby, however she was delivered, it didn't matter.

I do wish I hadn't put so much pressure on myself to have 'a normal' birth. I shouldn't have been so insistent  on something that is so unpredictable. External pressures on first time mums are immense, every birth, baby, and pregnancy are different, there shouldn't be so much pressure to do any of it a certain way. I get angry when I hear people in the media talk about c-sections as -'the easy option' and the notion of  'too posh to push', some of us just didn't get the choice.    



  1. Hi! I am following from Social Moms!

  2. Hi, great to hear your story. I too had a c section and I know the feeling of not having gone through what you felt you were supposed to and feeling a failure. Mine was simply due to the fact the cord was around my sons neck and because I was being induced, I couldn't progress past 6 cms without his heart rate plummeting. Luckily for me though I had an epidural in place (my super warrior bit went out the window once they broke my waters!) so I was able to be awake during the birth, to have a general anaesthetic must have been tough. You just have to remember that your little girl is here safe and sound and that's the main thing :-) xx

  3. Ooooh, not fair. I wrote a comment and then had to log in to my Google account and came back and the comment was gone. *sigh*...Anyway, I had wanted to go w/o pain meds with my 3, but was unable to because of blood pressure. Belle sure is a cutie!

  4. I have not had an experience the same as yours, but reading your post it brought back to me my first birth experience, and the feelings and emotions I had. When Ella was born at 36 weeks she was fine and healthy, nearly 7lbs. Nothing to worry about. Until my mum started to feed him. I just remember saying to the midwife "she's turning blue!"... I remember looking at her at this moment, and the words that came out of my mouth, but I don't actually remember her being blue. The midwife grabbed her, pulled the emergency string, and ran off. Medical staff were running along corridors shouting things. I didn't know what was happening. I was just left in the room. There wasn't the silence (as I was SCREAMING) but there was no reassurance that she was ok. Is my baby alive or dead? It seemed like hours that I was just left. After those hours (it was probably really 10 minutes, I do not know), she was brought into me, I kissed her, and then they whisked her off to NICU. It was gone midnight, and I wasn't allowed to go and see her til morning. Being away from her for so many hours was awful. There were nurses caring for her in her first hours instead of her mummy. So I can really relate to the fear and guilt you felt about that.

    However, I really hope that you don't lose all faith in being a baby birthing warrior when you have your next baby. The same thing may not happen again, and you could have that birth that you imagined you would. You'll just be better educated in all birthing options! Baby Isaac was born in October and I had the most amazing birth experience EVER. Like, out of this world. It took my fourth baby for that to happen though!

    I do think people are mad when they choose to have a c-section for non-medical reasons, and I'm sure you'll agree with that. It's THIS what people comment on through the media and such. I've never heard anyone slate c-sections that were necessary, and urgent. Anyone who does, needs a slap!

  5. Love your inner birth warrior and your determination to have a natural birth. You're right though each birth is different and the plans need to be flexible and reactive. Congratulations on the birth of your daughter (just waiting for baby number 5 myself - 7 days left - so fingers crossed all goes well and I'm planning to go au naturelle too - we'll see!)

    Thanks for following me on The Mummy Grapevine

  6. Thank you all for your comments so far. Every birth is different and amazing, we should all be praised, however it happens :)

    Amanda, you gave me goosebumps this morning, I could not imagine what that must have been like, glad everything is ok now. Plus, may I say without sounding really sucky uppy - 3 businesses + 4 children - you are an inspiration!

    ccccccc - I can't click onto your blog but thanks for coming over and good luck with number 5, wow! (extra choc hobnobs for you!)

  7. Wow,aren't we lucky that we live in this day and age and not even just 50 years ago? Your kind of story is what C sections are for, so don't feel in the least guilty about it.
    The birth of a baby is to motherhood, as a wedding is to a marriage. At the time it seems the most important thing in the world, but it's really insignificant when you look at the bigger picture.

  8. wow, love the story. Thank you for sharing it with us. I am so glad that Belle is here and perfect:) I am a new follower from Social Moms! Hope you will come visit me! :)

  9. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm getting our plans together for the birth and of course we have to keep remembering that we aren't in control of everything and that that's ok. I'm sorry that you felt guilt but am glad that it passed. In the end, the most important thing is that you've got your daughter. :)