Ok, so I think I can do this now

I think it is finally time to get an honest version of my son’s birth down. For some reason, I’ve started to feel as though I might forget parts of what happened and while this obviously means that I am ‘moving on’ it also means that such an important event in my life is being pushed aside in my mind- not sure I’m ready for that yet.. Maybe writing it down will help; maybe not.

Luka's birth story~ Ghostwritermummy.co.uk

So. We had an elective section booked, due the nature of E’s emergency section and both feeling like we never ever wanted to go through that again. I’d been induced and the pain was horrific. I was told I was not in labour and so was left in pain, scared and wondering what the HELL I was doing wrong. To cut a long story short, they examined me, rushed me to delivery and then cut me open after E’s heartrate wouldn’t play ball.

We went to the cinema on the 11th and we watched Paranormal Activity. I would NOT recommend this film to pregnant women. I kid you not, the contractions started (mildly) right there amongst the sweaty bodies and dry popcorn. I kept it to myself. The next day we took E to a birthday party and when one of the other mums asked if I’d had any signs, I lied. We went through a car wash. We came home and had dinner. We put E to bed. We played Mariokart on the Wii. We watched a film on box office. We went to bed. I took a cup of tea with me, afraid to go to sleep. By 3am ish I could no longer deny it. The baby was coming and it felt like a cold ball of steel in the pit of my stomach.

When we got to the hospital I was immediately classed as ‘high risk’, told I was not in labour but I could not go home. I was to wait in hospital until the 15th and my husband was to go home. They put me ona ward with a girl who kept talking to me about rubbish and I stayed curled on my bed, in pain, crying, until 11am when my husband was finally allowed back in. The first thing I told him was that I wasn’t in labour. The fear was unreal: If I wasn’t in labour, then what the hell was going on?

Finally, a midwife decided to stop ignoring me, examined me and rushed me away. I was given beauiful G&A and they called for an epidural. HOORAY!!

When I came round, my beautiful boy had been born, named, weighed, cleaned, wrapped in a blanket and cuddled. I later found out that they had cut his skin above his lip (today he has a small, silver scar there) and had put a tube down his throat to resuscitate him. Poor baby. My baby had come into the world without me, without his daddy and without loving arms to hold him.

What struck me after his birth was people saying congratulations to me. I didn’t understand. I couldn’t see the gorgeous baby lying in the crib. I could only see the terror that faced me, lying on the operating table thinking he was dead. I couldn’t accept that he was mine and therefore I didn’t want him. This wasn’t the baby that was inside me for nine and a half months. This was some other baby, surely.

If you look at L now, there’s no mistaking him- he’s a mini-me! Today. We’ve bonded, we’ve kissed, we’ve cuddled. We love each other. He’s my son. We got there. It was a struggle, but we got there.

I will never ever get the first hour of his life back again and I’m not sure I will ever get over that. But I do have so much more time with him to come and that’s no longer terrifying. It was such a long journey and the battles aren’t yet over but maybe one day I will tell him all about his amazing entry into this world and how it helped me to be me and to love him and E the way I do today.

I love you Luka XxX

56 Comments

A Very Muslim Christmas

I teach in  Christian school and when I was interviewed I agreed to uphold the Christian ethos of the school. In actual fact, we are a multicultural school as we have children that speak 16 different languages, over 90% of whom are Muslim. In my class this year there are no Christians at all. The children are, mostly, fantastic. All from deprived backgrounds, many refugees and asylum seekers; some of them have seen so much more than I would ever want my children to see in their short lives. Some of them use school as their safe haven and, as staff, its our job to make sure it stays that way. Since having my son I only work two days a week and let me tell you, that’s more than enough for me right now.

Our children are high maintenance. They need lots of love, lots of understanding, lots of consideration, lots of attention and lots of support. Some of them are even higher maintenance; these children just need someone to care just a little bit.

Anyway, I digress. Being Muslim, the children at our school don’t officially celebrate Christmas. They obviously cannot get away from the fact that it’s here- let’s face it, the baubles are bouncing in our faces from September onwards and the shops are pushing the season upon us earlier and earlier every year. But despite the fact that Eid is so much more important for these kids, boy do they give the Christian kids in our school a run for their money in terms of enjoyment!

The kids in my class are all 8 and 9. The sight of Santa sends them into a frenzy. The eleven year olds, ready for high school soon, are the same. They LOVE that fat man in the red suit! They embrace Christmas. They love the story. They love that Jesus was born with nothing but some hay in a shed and they love the fact that every year we, for some reason, erect gaudy trees and spend loads of money to celebrate. They love the fact that we spend around two weeks eating cheesecake at ten thirty in the morning “because it’s Christmas”. They just love the celebration. And hardly any of them get presents at Christmas.

My daughter found my Christmas present stash today and my first thought was that I would have to go out and re-buy EVERYTHING for her… but hang on. It’s not just about presents, is it? We had a chat and we discussed the fact that Santa sometimes asks us to get things for him and we don’t know who those presents are for. I felt a little like a shady dealer of some sort but at least we averted disaster. It left me wondering, however, do my kids really enjoy Christmas as much as the kids in my class do? My school kids don’t get a tree at home or presents in a stocking. They don’t get a Christmas dinner and they don’t get to see pantomimes with bags of sweets. But they LOVE Christmas. Not as much as Eid, admittedly, when they do get presents and sweets etc- but they only get one day off school then. Imagine if we had to send our kids back to school on Boxing Day…

So, school’s broken up and my children have left me with a huge smile on my face. They really love this time of year, almost as much as my six year old, and for them it’s all about being happy and nothing more. Lovely.

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Happy Birthday!

I’ve spent the last twelve months secretly dreading my son’s first birthday, certain in the knowledge that I would be a complete mess and that I would become haunted once more with memories of his birth. In reality, my one year old keeps me so busy that his birthday was nothing like I’d imagined at all.

Determined to make up for last year, I went to town with his party and organised a do with his baby friends (without the mothers of these babies, I doubt I would be as sane as I am now) and family, as well as a family meal/ party for the actual day. I spent hours making a snowman cake in honour of the extreme weather when he was born, I shakily constructed a gingerbread house and I made party bags for almost everyone in the local vicinity. Yay, me!

Yes, it kept me busy. Yes, it kept my mind far away from the dark place I once never knew even existed. Yes, my baby loved every minute of it. Success! The only error we made was to give him a small bite of his own birthday cake- cue screaming all night in awful pain; that’s another story.

The only moment I had been truly but secretly dreading was the actual time of his birth. They tell me my baby was born at 6.45pm; I met him an hour later but again, that’s another story. So as the clock began to plod along to the special moment, we found oursleves sprawled around the living room watching the baby play quietly as his sister played noisily upstairs with her cousins. Now and then they shieked through the hallway,  lively reminders of all my baby has to come; mostly they stayed upstairs playing schools and leaving us to it. It. Watching my baby. Watching his chubby little fingers grasping a new book, watching him clamber over his nanna and toddle across the carpet in his new trainers. Watching him was lovely, seeing him there and being able to touch him. All of a sudden he looked at me and crawled over to where I was sitting, onto my lap and into my face. Then, you know what he did? He gave me one of his special, snotty open-mouthed kisses and rested his head on my shoulder for a cuddle. Over his shoulder I checked the clock again and it was 6.45pm!

I made the most of that cuddle. The year before, I was lying oblivious on an unforgiving operating table, tubes down my throat and a knife at my belly. I didn’t get the first glance, I didn’t hear the first cries and I never got to announce his name or say ‘Wow’ when I found out his weight… I never got to hold him. But this time, I did. He chose me! He kissed me and cuddled me and laid a few demons to rest at the same time.

So now I wonder what I was dreading. Memories, yes. But seeing my baby with his family and friends, playing- happy, healthy and loved? That’s all I ever wanted!

17 Comments

A whole year has gone by…

Today would’ve been the baby’s birthday, had the hospital not changed their mind about my lovely, calm planned section. If they’d listened and understood so much of last year would’ve been so different.

But would I be the person I am now? I truly believe that the things you go through only serve to make you stronger. I keep thinking of the hug my mum gave me two days after he was born, on the landing outside the bathroom as I cried like my heart was breaking. She told me I would get through this and I didn’t think I would- but I did. I am. 

What makes a person able to go right to the brink of all that is precious, stare over the edge of life and come back again, unscathed? What helps a person to forget the darkness they’ve glimpsed and the terror of a life that was nearly placed before them? How does a person move on through the days when they’ve seen a glimpse of a different world, a world that was meant for them, if only for a brief moment or two? I know.

My baby. When he smiles, when he laughs, when he cries, when he kisses me, when he clings to my leg, when he reaches up to be held… when his chest moves gently with every breath he takes and I know that he’s here. After all, what happened that day happened for a reason, hospital errors or not. It happened so that I could be the person I am today.

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