As a first-time mum, I was pretty naive to pregnancy and birth, which looking back I wish I had armed myself with as much information as possible to understand what my body was doing and about to do.
I wasn't coping well being pregnant, my doctors and midwives were waiting for something to happen they said. I just didn't seem right. I had irregular liver levels, gestational diabetes, a big baby and too much fluid around bubs.
They decided to induce me on the Thursday night. I was told my husband could stay the night with me; I was wrong. They made him go home as we had a big day ahead. As he left me at 9 pm terrified, I bawled my eyes out and didn't want to go through with it anymore. I needed my best friend. He was really unhappy leaving me and was scared he wouldn't make it back in time.
The tape was inserted and not long after I started to cramp, the midwives said it was due to my cervix being agitated. They gave me Panadine Forte, and it didn't work.
A shot of morphine in my bum and the nurses said I would be fine. I sat awake all night, scared of what was to come.
5 am Friday, and I begged them to check me; I was still in pain, and no pain relief was working. I'd gone from a posterior cervix to a 3cm dilated one, time for my waters to be broken. As the nurse went to get the tool to break my waters I felt a huge pop in my belly; I yelled out that the baby was making huge movements come and feel then I proceeded to what I thought was wee myself. This was, in fact, my water breaking.
I expected labour to ease in, have a few mild cramps, walk around, and maybe bounce on the exercise ball. Not in this case, I started to projectile vomit and lost control of my legs. My husband carried me to the toilet, where I cried. I honestly thought I was dying, I begged for pain relief and told my husband he would have to find someone else to give birth as I cannot continue to feel this way.
I felt I needed to push this heavy feeling in my bum and everyone said I didn't I was fine and to relax. We obviously didn't know any better, so my husband carried me back to the bed where I stayed unable to move for the next 3 hours.
Pain relief was nowhere to be seen, and I begged them to help me. They gave me the gas. Within the first 30 minutes, I had broken the top of the mouthpiece off. It didn't work. My body started to push, and I couldn't stop it. They proceeded to check my cervix. In one hour, I went from 3cm to 8cm, and they were putting on plastic aprons. My husband said they were getting ready to deliver.
I don't remember much from there; I went into a weird place in my head. It was black and dark, and it was an out-of-body experience. My husband thought I was doing really well, but really mentally, I wasn't. I didn't speak or mutter a word for the next two hours. It was like I wasn't there. Forty minutes of pushing and my baby's head was ready to pop out. One big push and what I can only describe as the burning ring of fire appeared. One more push and her shoulders popped out.
'Guess how much she weighs' the midwife yelled out, I muttered 8 pounds, as I had known I had a big baby. A casual 9.92 pounds was yelled back.
Perfect. End of labour, let's get up have a shower and pop some makeup on, I've got visitors coming. Wrong again, I started to convulse, my body went into shock, and my little girl got taken off me as I was unstable. I awoke to see three doctors looking at me with my legs on stirrups. A hospital gown was chucked on me, and I was taken away. My husband didn't know what was wrong and was holding a new baby, not knowing what to do. All I remember was being wheeled out, waving goodbye.
Apparently, I had a huge tear and needed emergency surgery. I didn't know what that meant, a few stitches and I'll be up and running around showing off my new baby, wrong again. I was down in surgery for 5 hours wide-awake looking at the clock. Was my baby okay, where was my husband, and why do I need three doctors stitching me up? When surgery had finished, I expected to walk out of there. I think this I what shocked me the most, all my girlfriends didn't have any complications, and they said labour was really relaxed with the epidural. Why was mine different?
I gave birth at 11 am and finally met my baby girl at 5 pm. Instant love affair right? Wrong, once again. I felt nothing; there was no love; why didn't I love her? What's wrong with me? Was I not meant to be a mum? All of these thoughts went through my head. Everyone told me as soon as I saw my baby I'd be besotted.
This scared me. My husband was worried as he could see the disconnect between us and the blank stare in my eyes. He had to look after her for the first few days while I recovered from surgery. I wasn't unable to get out of bed, I felt disgusting, and everyone was holding my baby getting beautiful photos together. I acted like I was fine, but I wasn't. I couldn't even connect with my baby.
I cried every day on this huge mistake I'd made, who was going to look after her, as I didn't think I could. I then found out I may not be able to hold wee, or poo in again. I had torn so badly I'd never be the same.
So I had to process the fact I have had a baby and the fact I'll never be the same? Who do I take care of first?
My poor husband was stressed he had to look after a newborn baby and look after me his wife, who couldn't stop crying day after day.
I finally after a week started to feel a connection to our little girl, I took it in baby steps and fed her for the first time (she was formula fed). I felt I was taking the right steps forward. We then noticed a red ring around her umbilical cord, we alerted the nurses, and she was whisked away to the special care nursery. I now couldn't feed or cuddle her. I felt as if I had taken a step back with our relationship. As horrible it was to see our little girl in an incubator we knew she was okay, and it gave my husband and me some time to get ourselves right.
After a week we got to take our little girl home, I still felt sad, but I didn't know why, talking helped me, I reached out to family, friends and Facebook support groups. It's okay to not be okay, and that's what I needed to teach myself. I needed to be kind to myself and understand I had been through a traumatic birth.
I have to now rebuild my pelvic floor muscles to ensure I don't have complications further down the track. They think I may have a small prolapse and have strongly advised I never have a vaginal birth again.
Some days now, I still get upset when I think about the start of our journey.
I hold my little girl and couldn't be prouder of what my body was able to do. Be strong and own your journey; we all have a different story but share something so magical.