Last Sunday was Mother’s Day and I got a message from a lady I know who asked me to write about my birth experience, before Lily was even born, to tell me she did not want my birth story now. I, like many moms, had a plan, I knew what I wanted and I was willing to put it all on the line to have what I had decided was the best birth for my baby. To say I did not get the birth I wanted was an understatement. Do I think that means it is not worth telling? Absolutely NOT! Hearing that a friend of mine is right now sitting in hospital with her friend who had a traumatic birth made me realise, women need to be empowered.
Lily’s birth was supposed to be a home birth, so smooth and fast that it was a unassisted home birth. Her father was supposed to catch her, she was supposed to be placed on me right away, the cord was not to be cut until it stopped pulsing, she was to be skin to skin on me or her father for as long as possible, days if we could. She was not supposed to be poked, measured, weighed, examined, or otherwise messed with. She was supposed to be welcomed into a tranquil oasis.
The reality was, I pulled a muscle a week before she arrived low in my belly, our labour started at 3:30am Monday morning, we had no home birthing midwife as back up because of the laws in France. Wednesday morning we headed to hospital as nothing was happening but endless contractions and no sleep for me. I could not lay down, not to sleep, not even to rest. They said ‘yes you are in labour, come back when the waters break’. Thursday night I was running out of energy in a bad way. I was so tired, I had lost control of my bladder, I sat a foot from a roaring fire or swayed back and forth in pain, Denis did all he could to help me but I needed help from the doctors. They said I could stay but I should just go home until the waters broke. I was so tired, I went home, could not sleep, could not lay down, could not eat… and I stayed strong still hoping for our planned birth. Friday found me hallucinating with fatigue and we headed back to the hospital. This time they admitted me and after a epidural and breaking my waters and drugs to make my cervix open it was decided that it was a no go. Lily needed out a different way, as my body refused to let her go.
Strapped to the table, curtain up they cut my baby from me, once she was out of the room I gave in. All of my worst nightmares had happened. Intervention, early cord cutting, drugs, surgery, I had failed.
But did I? Who did I fail?
Part 2 tomorrow.