This is a very special post. This is where I take Ghostwritermummy’s reason for being and turn it all upside down. This is the one where I write about a calm, peaceful and positive birth experience. This is where I, finally, know how it feels to be at peace with the birth of my child; finally I know how it feels.
It started with the pre-op. I was nervous, and thankful that Ghostwriterdaddy was at home and able to drive me to the hospital. The drive always stressed me with the traffic and the distance. We discovered that I did not have MRSA (yay!) and that I was second on the list for my section. I agreed to take part in some medical research into pre-eclampsia, which meant that samples would be taken from my placenta and womb following my section. We left feeling like the end of our journey was finally in sight.
On Tuesday night I put the toddler to bed with a heavy heart. The next time I would see him, he would no longer be the baby of the family, and he didn’t even know it. I wanted to take that moment and freeze it forever, to keep him secure in his little world for just a little longer. I wanted time to stand still.
On Wednesday morning I took this picture:
Hard to believe that just three hours later that bump became baby!
We arrived at the hospital at 7.30 and were shown to a small waiting room with another couple. The air was thick with expectation and yet we hardly knew what to expect. Within an hour we had listened to the baby’s heartbeat and had spoken to both the anaesthetist and the surgeon who was to deliver our baby. We had been shown to the ward and told where we could make a hot drink. We were told to expect to meet our baby around lunch time.
What to do now? How to fill the time without contractions to time or backs to rub? How to silence the growing anxiety in the pit of my stomach and to quieten that little voice that tells me what if, what if…
It turned out there was no time for any of that. Our midwife returned within five minutes to tell us that the plans had changed and we had been moved to the top of the list. I was told to get into my gown immediately. We were about to meet our baby!
I have never, ever felt anything like it when I finally walked into the operating theatre. I walked. I was not wheeled in a panic, in pain and fear. I was not broken and shattered and fragile. I was shaking, yes, but through anticipation as much as fear. I was able to take in the stark room, the number of people, the machines and the beeps. I saw my name on the board, second on the list, moved to first. There was a small heart drawn next to my name, a left over from valentine’s day… it ended up being the one thing I felt able to focus on. It helped me breathe calmly, took my eyes away from the numbers and letters swirling before me. Momentarily, my eyes drifted to a chart which rated c-sections, with number 1 being Luka, urgent, and 5 being now, elective… and back to the love heart.
I didn’t like feeling so exposed. There were lots of people in the room with me, sharing in my moment. There were students, researchers, anaesthetists and surgeons. Ghostwriterdaddy was not allowed in just yet and so I was alone with all these people who knew my name. I was alone on the table, growing numb, exposed and lifeless. Back to the love heart.
The curtain went up. Time for the final performance.
The knife was posed. Ghostwriterdaddy finally appeared and it all began.
I was told I was holding my breath. I hadn’t realised. I didn’t- couldn’t- breathe out until I heard it.
Think of the love heart.
A tiny wail. Life.
My own tears sprang out unexpectedly. I didn’t remember feeling like this before. The baby was brought round to us, still covered in goo and blood- we’d never seen our babies like this before- and we were asked:
‘Do you want to see him?’
It’s a boy?!
I’d been convinced it was a girl.
‘No, it’s a girl!’
They took her away. They took samples for research, then stitched me up. The surgeon erased my two wonky scars and gave me a new, clean, straight scar instead. Just like that, all evidence of what went wrong… gone. Back to the love heart once more.
My daughter was brought back, all wrapped in a clean white towel and with a white hat on her head.
In recovery, I was told I could not have skin to skin as my temperature was too low and I risked bringing my daughter’s temperature down too. It didn’t matter. She was here, in my arms. She was silently sleeping in my arms. At last.
It had been a long journey, in all. It had been an emotional journey. It had ended well.
Whilst on the table, I wished more than anything that it hadn’t had to be like that. I hadn’t wanted any of my babies to be born this way. But at the same time, the experience had become something more than being a piece of meat on the table. The experience had been my chance, at last, to feel at peace with childbirth.
Isobel Marcia, born 9.25 am 5lb 15 and perfectly healthy.