Childbirth...it can't be that hard - right?
After a heart-breaking miscarriage I was desperate to become pregnant again - after two years I finally was.
Birth plan - water birth - no pain relief under any circumstances only lavender oil and Bach Flower rescue remedy.
Interestingly enough every time I spoke to the midwife about this she always smiled sweetly and said: "please keep an open mind Tina" - I scoffed knowing full well I did not need an 'open mind' as it was all going to go just beautifully thank you very much!
No intervention - this was going to be the most beautiful, ethereal moment of my life and that of my unborn baby.
This moment was going to be everything I dreamed off. My child had lived in my pure, clean only organic vessel for 40 weeks. Preparing for this...
Not one pain killer had passed my lips or one drop of alcohol. Nothing unhealthy either. All good clean foods to make sure the baby had the best start in the world. His immune system would be 100% - he would be super healthy and intelligent.
I would not have to get an episiotomy, stretch marks or tear as I was going to use olive all everywhere to make sure my skin was soft and supple. I read an article in a magazine where Pamela Anderson had written she used Palmers Coco Butter and had no stretch marks - so I figured olive oil would be even better.
I swam each day, slept as much as I could - spoke and sang to the bump - played all kind of music - meditated - read every book under the sun about pregnancy and birthing - prepared everything with meticulous precision for the perfect birth and child to arrive.
Nothing was going to get in the way of this experience... I was born to be the earth mother I envisaged myself to be.
My due date approached...and went.
I was assured by the wonderful midwives that this was very common in first time births.
Two weeks overdue I was asked to come in to be induced...
'Fine', I thought - I will get the pessaries and still have my ethereal water birth.
My bag in hand full of organic potions to see me through the hours ahead - fresh juices prepared to give me the strength and nutrition. I was ready.
Arrived in the ward late in the evening as they said that was the best time to come in as the pessaries could take a long time and I could sleep all night before the main event.
In they went. Within the hour I was in agony...
"Nurse, nurse" I begged...
"Please help me ...I'm in agony. What's happening"
The nurse looked very confused and said normally they took hours to start the dilation process. But she would check anyway.
She had a quick feel and apparently my cervix had not dilated one tiny bit - I was in for a long night!
"have a nice bath" I was told.
Off I popped with my lavender oil to the bath - I lay there in agony for an hour. Feeling sick and very upset.
Flower remedies needed and used in abundance - nothing changed. I was still in agony.
Suddenly the realisation of the midwife's words kicked in my head, "have an open mind Tina"
OH NO!!! I can't cope with the pain - send help.
I threw the lavender and remedies in the bin. Begging the nurses for an epidural as I no longer wanted a water birth. They could not even give me anything as I was not even dilated yet...
Paracetamol only -
By morning my pain was about a 10 and I was not even in labour yet! I had not slept either.
I was wheeled down to the labour suite. I heard blood curdling screams from a room next to mine. I looked at the midwife and said with hope and fear "what's happening next door?"
She looked at me and laughed: "a lady is giving birth", she said astonished at my question...
"surely it can't be that bad?", I said in horror and fear.
Within a few hours I was begging for a caesarean section - delusional with pain - the gas and air was making my blood pressure drop. I kept passing out. I was shaking and crying in and out of consciousness.
My water birth was a far distant memory as I lay thinking I was about to die in excruciating pain...
The contractions where horrendous. I could not bear them. They gave me an epidural but it only worked on one side. Baby was head up presentation and the pain across my back was excruciating.
I'm sure at one point I too was screaming louder than the lady earlier.
Finally after many hours of me passing out, being sick and unable to make out nightmare from reality my baby boy was born.
I loved him through the pregnancy and as soon as I lay my eyes on him I loved him even more.
The weight scales were brought to the bottom of the bed to weigh him. I caught a glimpse of what I could only describe as bloody carnage. I quickly looked away unable to hold in my fear of what had just happened.
I began to cry...I was in shock. I felt traumatised.
But I did not want any of this to affect my baby and I immediately began to feed him.
Over the next two nights in the ward with my beautiful unsleeping baby I began to get agitated as no milk seemed to have flowed yet...
My midwife came over one day and asked if there was any questions I had. "Yes, when is my milk arriving", I asked very naively.
She giggled saying: "oh sorry did you not put the order in with the milk man" as she walked away
Of course it came through eventually but I had no idea how difficult it would be or how long it would take to happen.
I went home with my baby feeling like I could not be a good mum as clearly everything I had learned over the last few months I could not even get right. It had knocked all of the confidence out of me... I was in pain, demoralised, exhausted, confused, tearful and disappointed.
Slowly things started to fall into place... my new obsessions came to the fore just to keep me on my toes. But that's another story.
The reason I'm telling this story is because so many mothers feel so pressurised to be the perfect mum - there really is no such thing.
Also to let others know that although your birth may not go according to plan it does not make you a bad mother or a failure in anyway.
I've had many new mums crying about how bad they feel... but it's normal.
It's normal to have it all go to shit... it's normal to have it all go to plan... it's normal to have something in the middle.
It's all normal!
Everyone is different and unique. So please don't beat yourself up about birthing plans... and as a wise old midwife one told me, "Please keep an open mind"
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