So it seems at this stage the most fitting place to start is birth, yes at some stage long ago I was born and as wonderful and exciting as I am sure my birth was, I don’t really remember much however I am sure its a story that I will back track to eventually. Due to my constant complaining to my obstetrician about the social pressures surrounding being another statistic joining the growing trend of pregnant teenagers in society, coupled with the fact that my once size eight to ten sporty physic had ballooned out by nearly twenty…..yes I said nearly twenty kilos and I could barely walk five feet before I felt like my pelvis was going to break, my doctor approved me for a non medically required labour induction two days before my due date.
It was a summers day, Friday morning February 25th, it was around 7:00am as I packed a leather patch work bag that my mum had loaned me for the hospital and I was 17 years old. Yes, you heard right I said 17, while most girls my age where playing sport, finishing high school and going out to parties I was waddling around packing my bag preparing to give birth http://www.motherhood.com.au/ . I had spent the better part of the last three to four months avidly reading every book on parenting I could get my hands on. All the judgement, scorn and lack of support I had felt directed my way in relation to my ‘unplanned’ pregnancy had motivated me to be the best possible mother I could be. I had red a million books on labour and giving birth and even had a birth plan!! I felt well prepared as though I had armed myself with knowledge and knowledge was power!! Hhhmmmmm I have since discovered that only knowing how to achieve inner peace gives you power…….
My mother and I stepped out into the cool crisp air to enter the taxi that was waiting for us outside our government rented house, leather patchwork bag in tow. At the age of 17 I knew that an induced labour involved some form of artificially stimulating a woman into giving birth, for me that artificial stimulation was via the use of Intravenous (into the vein) Synthetic Oxytocin. http://www.birth.com.au/Induced-labour/Oxytocin-for-induction-about# Upon arrival to the hospital we were ushered into a delivery suite were I was told to put on a white standard hospital gown, I had routine bloods, baseline vital signs taken and a cannula put in my left arm through which the Synthetic Oxytocin was given. This synthetic hormone is used to stimulate uterine contractions, so we waited and waited and waited some more……. And to that I say, people if your going to a birth be prepared to wait a lot longer than you think most times!! Take books, laptops, phones, music, cards whatever you can that is easily packed away to pass the time away!!
From the early hours of the morning until just after midday we barely saw a nurse or midwife and when we did I was met with noticeable hostility and questions such as “what are you doing having a baby you are just a baby yourself” or when I tried to talk about my birth plan and preference to not using drugs, I was laughed at. I had also not yet the entire morning experienced a single niggling of pain. When the midwife finally came in and we discussed that there was no pain the decision was made to turn up the amount of Synthetic Oxytocin I was receiving………… Holy shit!!! I had gone in with the grand plan of no pain relief, no intervention and no-one in the room except for the people I expressly wished to be there!!!
However the increase in the Oxytocin put a sudden stop to all those plans!! Within an hour I was in some fairly moderate pain with incredible associated nausea and vomiting. I tried to walk to the bathroom and just felt dizzy and sick. The next few hours of unrelentless pain are somewhat of a blur or maybe even a drug induced haze, filled with lots of happy gas and pethidine!! At around nine thirty in the evening I remember looking at my mum and crying and saying I cant do this any more and then when I looked up away from her face I noticed there were about twenty people in the room, no-one I knew other than the obstetrician and a midwife, I was delirious and vaguely remember being told about med/nursing students and anaesthetists. Before I knew it I was being prepared for an epidural and heard words flying around such as decrease in fetal heart beat and too young for Cesarean……. The epidural was terrifying to say the least, trying to remain still throughout the most indescribable pain, nausea and vomiting was a nightmare, however the procedure was over and successfully done swiftly.
My Obstetrician informed me that my cervix had dilated from two to ten centimetres in less than an hour thanks to the epidural. I was being encouraged to push my baby out by a see of unfamiliar faces with stupid useless analogies like imagine your cervix is a turtleneck sweater being pulled over your babies head…..ummmmm flushed with exhaustion I felt like saying to the midwife who said that “I’m sorry ma’am I don’t know what your cervix looks like but mine sure as hell doesn’t look like no floppy neck sweater”!!!! I had had enough and wanted out of the whole situation that I felt I had no control over. I felt like a victim of circumstance or a teenage pawn in the game of everyone knows my needs better than me…………
And then that was it, I cried some mildly embarrassingly primeval sound and out came this perfectly plump slightly pinkish purple silent baby…….. No crying….omg… there’s no crying and instant panic raced through my mind every movie Id ever seen, every birth scenario I had imagined involved popping out a screaming baby. Did no crying mean no breathing? It was as if my drug hazed brain cleared instantaneously and I could hear my panicked voice asking “why isn’t she crying”? and I was told she was fine but had swallowed some fluid and required a little suctioning. Then swiftly tucked into my arms peering up at me was a little puffy eyed princess, I felt contentment and exhaustion……..
These are still two strong feelings I feel today associated directly with my little puffy eyed princess who has now grown into a gorgeous eyed queen!!! At eighteen, the legal age in this country to go out drinking and night clubbing, I find sleepless nights exhausting half awake half asleep listening out to hear her arrive home safely, arrive home safely to me like she did at her birth…..I doze with exhaustion overwhelming me awaiting my courtesy phone call or text telling me she is ok and on her way. The birth was hard and I have since had far different birth experiences and parenting hasn’t been easy but the reward of having such a beautiful daughter and friend forever is priceless and to all those that judged……… You should see us now!!!! 🙂
What I would like to remind people who are healthcare workers, partners or support people for someone pregnant or giving birth, regardless of age, race, religion or marital status everyone can be scared or feel alone, even in a crowded room. So remember that kindness, non-judgemental support and unconditional love are amazing human tools of emotion that can be used to help someone through one of the most challenging and life changing experiences of their lives. Be an active listener, open and receptive to the persons needs at that overwhelming time, its the everyday heroes that make people feel that little bit safer and happier with their lives. Relinquish the need to express judgement or criticism, negativity breeds negativity. Aspire to be a person of love, support and peace and if you truly dont feel you can be then perhaps you are not the right person to be at the beautiful, magical and spiritual event of a new life coming into this world, birth, its beautiful and confronting.
And to my baby girl this is for you,
From birth to my courtesy phone call,
Thanks for always making me proud,
For never ever letting me down,
For never making me regret having you around,
For lifting my heart right off the ground,
From the minute you were born without a sound,
Just don’t drop the ball,
And keep me waiting on the line till 6am for my courtesy call,
Cause I’m still the mum after all xoxox
Peace, Love and Happiness 🙂