“It is said that women in labour leave their bodies … they travel to to the stars to collect the souls of their babies and return to this world together” – anonymous.
On Friday 24th of February at exactly 00.08 I did just that and returned to the earth with the most precious soul that made his mummy & daddy shine brighter than all the stars in the sky.
In the weeks leading up to being induced when I was asked about giving birth and how I felt about it, I would reply confidently that i was excited; for meeting the soul I had spent so long trusting and waiting for, to share this experience with the man I have given my heart and life to and I had complete trust in my body and strength to take on the journey and the challenge of childbirth. Of course I had the usual fears and as the days got closer my pregnancy anxieties that the little cub would stay safe and happy turned to the birth and although trying to keep any negative thoughts aside, they would still creep in, however I still felt positive and confident for the experience we were about to have.
Our induction wasn’t booked in until the afternoon at 4pm, so having spent the day preoccupying ourselves, going for the last breakfast before our world changed, cleaning & organising the house and packing the hospital bags many times we arrived at the consultant led unit early and so headed to the cafe for the longest 15 mins wait whilst our bed was made ready.
The induction process was extremely straight forward (in theory) we were being induced at 38 weeks as since week 27 of the pregnancy there had been problems, first it was suspected my waters had gone early, then after that was a succession of bleeds, episodes of no fetal movement and our cub’s growth was right at the lowest end of the chart, a scary few months where we were grateful for every day our baby stayed safe and sound in mummy’s tummy. In the days prior to the induction I tried to prepare for body as much as i could for an early labour, after a couple of trips to my Chinese doctor, much bouncing and hip rotations on my pilates ball, raspberry tea and deep squats to get my cervix as favourable as possible I was ready for the clinical team to take over.
After a round of initial observations the procedure was explained and at 6pm on Wednesday 22nd February I was given a 24 hour vaginal pessary, which was to help soften my cervix and promote contractions, I wasn’t really very hopeful that this first dose would do the trick, as had heard that it can often take many doses over a period of days, so after a hospital bed picnic whilst watching the Brit Awards, I was only having slight discomfort and so sent Mark home with the plan for us both to try and get a good nights sleep whilst we still could … hmm, best laid plans, I should know now (especially after seeing so many episodes of one born) that as soon as the husband leaves the baby makes plans to arrive!!
At around 1:30 in the morning my contractions were coming every couple of minutes and lasting the same amount of time, after messaging Mark a “few” times with progress reports he had returned looking a mix of excitement and in trepidation. By 9 in the morning the contractions were still coming thick and fast, although my cervix was still being allusive and was tucked far out of reach. However I was feeling confident that I was managing the pain without pain relief and to be completely honest started to relax and was confident I would be able to cope with labour … oh bless me for being so naive!
An hour later I was floating in the most blissful state of being suspended in water whilst the waves of contractions washed over me, lying in the bath, watching my tummy tightening, laughing and chatting with Mark I was feeling relaxed and completely harmonised … this was about to change!
As we walked back into our room I experienced what felt like a balloon go pop inside me, I instinctively looked down expecting my waters to have broken, but nothing, but then a pain more intense than anything I could explain shot through me and I fell to the floor in front of a very alarmed Mark, that only seconds before had been laughing with me.
When the midwife examined me my waters gushed out over the bed, they had gone with the pop, but had stayed inside me due to the swelling in my perineum covering the hole in the bag, I had also dilated 4cm. Here is where I experienced my first haze, the pessary was still inside me and the contractions were still coming every minute, but the intensity had gone from what felt like 5mph to 80mph and I wasn’t coping well, so decided to leave my body for a while, next thing I knew we had been transferred to the labour unit, I was sucking up on the gas and air like it was oxygen and the anaesthetists were on the way, I glanced at Mark who looked tired with worry and I just wanted to hold him, then another contraction came and I was back floating away.
Relief came in the form of 2 lovely men and a catheter into my spine, as I felt my body start to relax once more I had to smile to myself that if things had been different we were planning to deliver our cub at home, however we also wouldn’t of had a synthetic induction, I certainly felt aware that the waves of contractions I was experiencing weren’t natural for my body and were completely medically induced, it felt like my body wasn’t sure how to process them and therefore had just gone into fight and flight mode and was in a state of panic.
The next few hours passed with bouts of vomiting and moments of calm intimacy between me and Mark as the time to meet our son got closer.
At 8.26pm on Thursday I messaged my mum “10cm dilated, just going to wait an hour and then start pushing, here we go”
I had refrained from administering the epidural dose for about 40 minutes in order to be able to feel the contractions. I knew straight away from that first push that something wasn’t right, as my body surged with a wave of pain from my back, into my bottom and round to my tummy I took in all the air and energy I could summon, opened up and pushed.
2 hours later I was still pushing, my mind was on board and desperate to bring my little man into the world, however my body wasn’t able, my contractions had practically stopped and our baby was still high up in the birth canal, I was put on an intense Syntocinon drip to try and induce strong contractions, but aside from the pain it did very little else, however more worryingly was that the little cub was starting to get distressed with everything going on and his heart rate kept dropping, within what felt like seconds the room was full of people, our little mans heart rate was 40bpm, there was a consultant getting my consent for an emergency c section and another explaining anaesthetic, then we were off, searching for Mark in the crowd I saw my big strong husband surrounded by all the bustle looking so very small and vulnerable, filled with fear for his little family wanting so much to keep us safe.
The one thing I remember about theatre was smiling and laughing, it may seem a little strange, but for me I just wanted us to be calm and positive, although it wasn’t the scenario that I envisaged when I thought of birthing our son, I had strangely for a while had a feeling it would go something like this and I was not going to get upset about something out of my control, I thought of the birth plan we had done, that for all the wishes on there, one stood out “just go with the flow” (not that I had any option) It was going to be a positive experience, I wanted to remember every second of it being wonderful, we were blessed to have an amazing team around us that were going to deliver our baby safe and happy and that is all that was important to me, my body had been incredible and now it was time to give it some help, a few minutes later I was going to meet our baby and I didn’t want there to be any stress or anxiety around him.
The anaesthetist administered a spinal into my epidural cannula, which unfortunately didn’t seem to be doing much, on the third dose I had lost all feeling in my left leg, however the right was still very much alert, the decision was made to try an assisted delivery first with forceps. Our little darlings head was still far up and I was no longer having any contractions, so a deep episiotomy was done to get the forceps into my cervix, I remember all this as clear as day, I remember the feeling in my tummy as the excitement grew and the overwhelming feeling of love I had for the man looking down at me, I knew that our baby was showing signs of distress, but I felt certain that he was ok, just a little reluctant to leave the warm bubble he had spent the last 9 months in. I remember saying to myself “time to come and join us earth side little man, there is a lot of love waiting for you” hoping that he would hear my thoughts and trust he would be kept warm and safe.
It would appear he did, as seconds later I was told to push and out into the world came our Bodhi.
I am sitting here now tears rolling down my cheeks, thinking and feeling back to that moment of hearing his cry “here I am mummy & daddy your precious miracle”. The bond between us all was instant, he was placed onto my chest and looked up at us with his beautiful wise eyes wide open and knew who we were, our souls were all one at the moment and for all that had been in the days leading up to this second, his entrance into the world was the most beautiful, gentle and loving, our hearts were full of happiness.
In the hours that followed we just absorbed ourselves in this beautiful little soul, yes there were nurses, doctors, midwifes rushing around caring for us in a clinical environment, but I didn’t notice, I was on my fluffy cloud with my family. My body started to feel tired, weak and broken but I had never felt more empowered, strong and energised in my life.
The birth of our Son, Bodhi River was the most amazing experience of my life, yes it was really bloody scary and painful, but it was intimate, exhilarating & spiritual. Mark was just incredible and was with me in the journey throughout wrapping me up in love and strength, I felt so close and connected to him and so very proud to introduce our son to him.
Now we all go forward together in this beautiful new adventure, our little family ♥♥♥