When I gave birth to Elliott, everything happened quite quickly.
My waters broke at 12 pm the night before. I had just gone to the toilet at my husband’s work Christmas party. Yep, his work Christmas party of all places. Luckily it wasn’t the big GUSHING of waters, it was a trickle down my leg and enough to know that something wasn’t quite right.
I was still only 36 + 5 weeks and it was a surprise. I’ll never forget Mr G’s face when I whispered in his ear ‘we need to go NOW, I think my waters have just broken’. It was Mr G’s last night of freedom, I told him he could let it rip and have a good time because it’d be the last time before I had Elliott.
It was the most nerve-wracking drive home ever. There was no pain, I felt relatively normal, but because I had a pretty good idea of what was happening AND it was late, it took every ounce of energy and focus to drive home.
Mr G was pretty much plastered and crashed in bed, me in the spare room. At about 2.30am I felt my waters trickle out again. I went into the bedroom and told Mr G. The next morning at 7 am he couldn’t remember me telling him anything and I wasn’t surprised! At 7.30am, I called the hospital, told them what had happened and they promptly told me to have a shower, pack my bags and come into the hospital. WOW…what a whirlwind.
Seedy Mr G jumped into the car and off we went.
No sooner had I arrived, I was ushered into the birth suite, I changed in a sexy hospital gown, I was hooked up to a monitor and the horrible and painful stretch and sweep was performed. OUCH!
Without going into any detail, it was 10.30am when my contractions started and I gave birth to Elliott 5 hours later. I seemed to dilate quickly, I used my breathing and visualising techniques and seemed to be able to get through the contractions with the help of some gas. I remember screaming a bit too loud when Elliott’s head was coming and remember the midwife pretty much telling me to tone down and put my energy into pushing. But then, once the head was out, it was easy.
When people ask me about Elliott’s birth, I see it in a very positive light, painful yes, but a really great experience.
BUT…this does not mean I want to do the same again. Actually, no, I don’t. I’d prefer to have an epidural thank you very much.
Why the change when I know I can do it? It’s because I don’t need to PROVE anything to myself or anyone else, I don’t need to go through the pain of contractions and delivery again. I’m not sure why I would?
I know it’s good pain, I know there’s a beautiful baby at the end of it, heck, that’s one of the thoughts that got me through Elliott’s birth, but this time…this time, I just want to give birth without the pain. I want to be fully present during my birth and focused on the moment, not so focused on how I’m going to get through my next contraction and when the pain was going to end. Although Elliott’s birth was great, there’s a lot I don’t remember.
Heck, I’m completely aware that it may not go in my favour, I could completely miss out on having an epidural or I could go in for a c-section instead, and that’s fine, but I have a choice and this is my plan A.
When I was pregnant with Elliott I remember there being a lot of stigma around giving birth ‘naturally’, and there still is. Giving birth drug-free, naturally, homebirth, water birth AND, for goodness sakes, getting through pain by orgasm. WHAT THE? That would be the last thing on my bloody mind.
When I was due to have Elliott, I felt some pressure from this stigma and I must admit, it’s one of the reasons I chose to say no to an epidural. I think this is really unfortunate and I have a sneaking suspicion this is the same for many women, particularly those pregnant for the first time. There is so much pressure on mums to give birth naturally, to breastfeed, to do this, to do that and all the while people are missing the bigger picture!
I was asked numerous times after having Elliott ‘So, did you have him naturally?’ Why, what if I didn’t have him naturally? Why is this anyone else’s business?
And the bigger picture that I think is being missed while we can tend to be so busy focusing on proving something? It’s actually not that big, it can easily be missed, it’s the moments, it’s the emotion, it’s the look on your partners face, it’s the tiny moments in time that will never happen again, it’s the look of the room, the weather outside, the smell in the air, it’s being happy with your choice whatever it is, it’s being happy that you’re doing what’s best for you and your baby. The bigger picture to me is definitely not going through a drug-free birth for the sake of saying – ‘hey everyone, I did this, X hours with no drugs.’
I think we all have to stop trying to be superwomen.