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My journey from Maiden to Mother

This weeks blog I’m feeling all types of ways, reflecting back on my journey to becoming a Mother I feel happiness, pain and journeying back through the lens of the present version of me I see more how traumatic this birth was.

Trigger warning this blog contains triggers surrounding traumatic birth and abortions please tread carefully.

I found out I was pregnant with Ryley just after I had a termination, I had gone onto the depo right after this termination so to find out I was pregnant again was such a shock to my system, especially because I had sold all my furniture, even my car and moved cities.

In my heart I knew that I had to take this path, this soul really wanted to be here, he beat the odds, the depo shot ranges from 94 - 99 % accurate so I just knew this was meant to be.

The pregnancy itself was a struggle both mentally and physically. I felt extremely ungrounded, unsure of my future and so alone.

My friends were mostly all in party stage still and no one really resonated with this new path I was on or respected it.

I decided that I needed all the help I could get, I self referred to three young mum agencies and surrounded myself with all the support I could. My goal was to become the best mother I could, offer a life I had not experienced and try to learn how to love.

I felt so disconnected from my body in this pregnancy, I had this urge to find stability and safety while experiencing a baby grow within me and feeling wierd, and that it wasn‘t real.

During my pregnancy I decided I wanted to do birthing classes, I kept saying I just want to know how to breath during labour, something instinctively told me that breath would be my biggest ally during labour.

It was recommended to me to join the young parents birthing group as I may not be suited to the ’normal’ classes, my faint instinct felt yucky by this, but who was I to know what was right.

This was probably the first traumatic event of my journey to motherhood, my Mum who was my birthing partner felt the same. This was far from a birthing group, I don’t even know what you would call this.

It became clear about 15 mins in that you would not be learning the things I had expected like how to breath, how to wrap a baby, what should you pack in your hospital bag but instead what child protection would look like, how to keep your baby, who wasn’t keeping their baby, how to tell with family group conferences and so on.

I left halftime, this was not what I wanted to know about, why would someone take my baby? Why would this be my birthing classes?

So many feelings arose from this. Why would my midwife send me here? Was I not cut out to be a mother? A fear was installed me.

Can see how vulnerable these spaces are, the knowledge that is fed through these spaces has nothing to do with how to journey through labour but all about how you might lose your baby 😳

I think it’s safe to say that I never attended anymore classes again and decided that I would know, I would just know and my body would take over.

Thursday 18th July 2013, my estimated due date but I knew that he would come on Saturday (funny fact I also knew when Kenzie was going to come too!)

Friday 19th my contractions began, ever so slightly but I knew it was happening. I sat at my friends house at her dining table about 1pm in the afternoon, her dog at my feet and I unknowingly to her timed my contractions on her clock in her kitchen. After about an hour she said I bet you’ll go into labour soon the dog always knows and then I excitingly told her I was already in labour.

I went home to have a bath and do nipple stimulation to hopefully bring my contractions closer.

Its hard to say if nipple stimulation actually worked or if everything was timing as it was meant to but by Friday evening at around 11pm I needed to go to the hospital, I was having the urge to push.

Unfortunately my midwife was off and I was to have my back up midwife who I had only met briefly, crazy to think I couldn’t even tell you her name now, that’s how disconnected I was from her, I felt like a burden, she was sober driving was what she kept saying and so from the start I felt like I was a nuisance and she really didn’t want to be there.

At the hospital I asked for lights down and silence. I spent my time in the birthing pool and in my mind I was envisioning a line and each time a contraction would come it would be like a hill on my line and I knew I would just reach the peak and then it would come down for some relief.

At about 2am I was having the urge to push, I was told not to because my baby was posterior not that I was really explained what that meant just that even though I was 10cm I was not allowed to push.

I lasted until 6am when I finally asked for help, my body was just pushing against my will and I was exhausted. They put the monitors on me to see that I was having back to back contraction, so instead of a wee break in between I was having two immediately one after the after.

At this stage I decided to get the epidural, there was no way I could not push any longer, I had done my best.

About 10am they noticed there was meconium (this is when the baby poops inside you basically) I kept joking wow everything that could go wrong really is.

At 12pm on Saturday 20th I was told I could start pushing, pushing with an epidural is horrible you cannot feel a thing, I had no feelings of contractions and just had to wait for someone to tell me when to push and I couldn’t tell if I was pushing or not.

After what felt like 10 mins, I had been in a deep state (it had actually been 2 hours) I opened my eyes to a room full of doctors.

“Don’t panic but baby has stopped breathing and we’re taking you through to theatre.”

I remember crying and saying are you kidding me after all of this I don’t even get to take home a baby.

I remember my brother had been sitting outside the room while I had been pushing and he was crying, he thought we were both going to die.

I remember telling myself that in that second I would trade my breath for his breath, he deserved to be here, if your real god please hear this.

As we got into theatre I was meet with an amazing team, they said we are going to give you three pushes, if baby doesn’t come out we‘ll do an emergency c section.

By this stage I honestly did not care, just a breathing baby was all I wanted.

On the 3rd push with the help of forceps, Ryley was born. I remember relief washing over everyone and then I realised all the doctors were Irish which was so fitting for Ryley who was receiving an Irish name.

Ryley mean strong and valiant in Irish and that he was.

Ryley came out and did not make a peep, not one cry, his eyes were so wide and alert and almost looking around like what’s this big fuss guys.

In that moment all the trauma of the last 24 hours were worth it.

Ryley did not have his first cry for about 4 days (shocks me cause he’s the most emotional child now 🤣) he was so chill, he fed no problem, he loved to sleep and was just so easy going.

My recovery kept us in hospital for about 5 days, I had received very intense tearing from labour but was also experiencing bladder issues.

I would stand up and just pee myself, no urge at all, I was really misheard here and told that this was normal, after a break down I had some tests done and a catheter put in.

I ended up losing full bladder control and had to wear a catheter for 3-4 weeks post labour, this made healing my stitches extremely hard as the catheter would uncomfortably rub against them.

Somehow my results fell through the cracks at the hospital and it wasn’t until about week 2 or 3 of having the catheter in that they realised I had an e coli Infection in my bladder that would simply be fixed with antibiotics 😩

Due to how long the infection had been in there I had to keep the catheter in longer and actually go to the incontinence ward at the hospital and learn how to use my bladder again.

On reflection looking back alot of my experiences were ignored due to my age. When I felt my contractions were wrong, I was told they were normal, most of my labour I was told words without explanations and it took 3 weeks for them to address my bladder control issues I just kept being told this is all apart of being a first time mum and treated like a drama Queen when all along even though I had no idea, my body knew.

After my extra long recovery Ryley then caught RSV and almost died, if it wasn’t enough that he went through a traumatic entry to the world, he then had to fight for his life.

Multiple times at the hospital I would wake up to him having shit suctioned out of his lungs and then oxygen supplied to get him breathing again.

Until he was about 2 I would always check if he was breathing when he was sleeping.

After Ryley finished his battle with RSV came our next battle, breastfeeding.

Due to him being mix fed at the hospital he got nipple confusion and started to reject the breast, so at about 6 weeks we fully switched over to the bottle.

I carried a lot of shame for the birth I had and the lack of breastfeeding, so many Mothers wear those badges with honour that it’s almost embarrassing to say you had an epidural and that your baby is bottle fed.

All I would hear from Mums around me, oh I was completely drug free, I would never do an epidural.

Its taken me years to release this shame, I have no regrets, epidural was absolutely necessary for this birth and I did nothing wrong, it was all out of my control but the lessons I received from this whole experience was:

I never needed birthing classes my instincts always knew what to do.

Listen to my body closely she will tell me when something is wrong even if I’ve never experienced it before.

I had a silent labour through one of the most painful labour’s you could ever experience (double contractions and posterior!)

My labour with Kenzie was completely different (15 mins and almost in the car 🤣) I’ll share hers another time.

8 years down the track and he’s still alive so I must be doing something right 🤣

Finally I just wanna honour that 21 year old version of me, travelling back down that memory and wow she was fucking courageous and I am so proud of her.

Love Mel xo

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