Because who doesn’t love a good birth story?!
I am always fascinated to hear people stories of pregnancy and birth, I don’t know if thats another weird trait you pick up when you become a Mum? I just find it amazing how different we all are, and ultimately just how incredible women are to be able grow and deliver these amazing little babies.
So Monroe was very much planned. To the point I had decided I would start tracking my ovulation on an app. However there was no need for me to do so, my body was actually super fertile this time around and I fell pregnant on my very first ovulation. I really thought it was going to be a bit of a waiting process as it took me six months to fall pregnant with my first – it is amazing how different your body works each time?!
We found out we was excepting at about 5 weeks pregnant. We was away in Norfolk for the weekend with friends and I had a gut feeling I might be pregnant, a mothers intuition is real?! After debating wether I should say anything I bit the bullet and sent my husband out to get a test, we decided to take it first thing the next morning, apparently its more accurate then?
When we had talked about having a second child I had all these plans in my head of how I would surprise Denholm with the news. But in reality my mouth is far too big and I just can’t keep anything from that man. The moment my boobs felt sore and I could no longer bare the smell of coffee, I started to drop the hints that I thought I might be.
There was no special surprise. Both pregnancies I have sat and pee’ed on a stick with my husband stood opposite me – the romance! However there is nothing quite like that moment when you both look at the test together and see a cross, to then start frantically looking at the packet to see what that means (you already know what that cross means!). So this is how we found out about our second little miracle – In a caravan toilet in Norfolk!!!
I didn’t get to plan a surprise announcement for my husband, but there was one person I just knew I was going to have to tell in a special way – My Dad!
I clearly remember calling my parents the first time I fell pregnant, I was just too excited and had to call my Mum straight away. She answered the phone and as soon as I said “I have something to tell you…” she started shouting “ADEEEE QUICK” I could hear my Dad in the background running up the stairs. When I heard him arrive to the phone I told them I was pregnant. With that my Mum started squealing with excitement, whilst my Dad began to sob and all he could get out of his mouth was “Oh baby” – he is the worldest biggest softie.
So this time around I wanted to capture the moment, I knew he would be a big girl about it, as per usual.
After everything we have been through together, he was the one person I was desperate to tell and share some happy new with. I left a little message at the bottom of a mug that I had brought and made him a cup of tea in…
I never used to understand when I met people that would say they didn’t like being pregnant?! I had the most perfect pregnancy with Carter, It was just a dream carrying that boy. I was 22 years old with no stresses for the majority of my pregnancy, I used to nap when I was tired, eat when I was hungry, spend hours relaxing in the bath and enjoy my evenings preparing for his arrival…
Then I fell pregnant this time. I know nobody should say this, in fact I actually used to get angry when I heard people say it, but I HATED being pregnant second time (I even feel like a terrible person for typing that). I am completely aware of just how lucky I have been, I know there are women out there that would do anything to experience pregnancy. In fact this is what I had to remind myself of regular basis – I know I was being ungrateful but I just couldn’t help the fact that I felt like complete crap, emotionally and physically.
So unlike the calm and happy pregnancy I had with Carter this time around life was completely different. I was now 25 years old with a two year old, a business which was booming, and I was grieving the loss of my Mum.
Being pregnant and still having a toddler to run around was so hard, much more challenging than I had ever thought it would be. In the beginning I suffered with bad sickness, I mainly just felt sick all of the time which I kind of think is worse than just being sick. A toddler doesn’t understand, he still wanted me to get up and play, I still had to change his stinky nappies when I already felt sick, and I couldn’t put my feet up when I felt like I needed to – because he needed me more.
Asides from feeling physically knackered, emotionally and mentally I was spent. I don’t think I had taken into consideration just how much grief would be resurfaced again. It took me right back to the worst moments of my life. I found the beginning of this pregnancy tricky, I didn’t have Mum telling me to slow down and take it easy like I did before – thats something I needed because looking back I definitely overdone it, I was putting a lot of extra stress on myself just trying to keep life perfect. I take life as a massive challenge and naturally never give up on anything, even when my body and mind is telling me to, it is one of my worst traits.
I plodded along through the second trimester and felt ok, then I reached the last three months of my pregnancy and they were the absolute worst for me. It started to get bad for me around Christmas, that is always a trigger. My mood just dropped and I found it hard to pick myself up again. I won’t go into too much detail as it is something I am still processing, and I will in time talk about. But distinguishing between prenatal/postnatal depression and grief is very tricky.
My actual pregnancy was really straight forward, I have been extremely lucky to have carried two babies full term without any medical complications – that is something I have always been extremely grateful for. I had a little morning sickness both times, something that feels like it will never end but before you know it you hit 14 weeks and it begins to disappear. I never get massive in pregnancy (yes I know I am annoying) my bumps are basically all baby. I always get some back pain in pregnancy, but that is my own fault for thinking I am superwomen and working 8+ hour days on my feet, with a massive belly.
If you didn’t already hate me for saying I have fairly easy pregnancies, then you might after this.
I had a really fast water birth with my first, however under the circumstances I was convinced it was so quick because my body was in shock. For anyone who is unaware, this is my story of my journey into motherhood. https://feathersandfamily.com/2019/06/12/my-journey-into-motherhood/
I was really prepared for second time around to be quite different. I thought it would probably be slower and perhaps more painful, I had got my head around that I might need to stay in the hospital, and I was so much more aware that things might not go as smoothly.
I had gone two days overdue and was starting to go slightly stir crazy, I was trying everything to get my contractions going. Being a bit of a control freak when my due day had been and gone I started to loose my plot. The fact everyone kept saying ‘she’ll come whenever she is ready’ only infuriated me more. I was SO ready to meet my baby girl – I know two days is absolutely no time in comparison to those who go two weeks over, but it really did drag for me.
The night I went into labour I had gone to bed in a bit of a huff, leaving my husband downstairs playing FIFA, I am pretty sure I had threatened divorce over that game that night – to be fair looking back I probably wouldn’t have wanted to have spent any extra time with me and my raging hormones if I was him! I went to sleep in a mood, to wake an hour later to my contractions slowly beginning – see throwing strops does actually work?! They started fairly calm but within half an hour they were rapidly progressing I knew it was time to get to the hospital.
We got Carter up and into the car, the poor boy was so confused as to what was going on. By the time we arrived my father in law was waiting to take Carter, he transferred into his car happily, but never have I felt Mum guilt quite like that moment. I was leaving my little boy and I was uncertain about what was about to happen to me, his mummy.
We had called the hospital on our way and they had asked us to go into triage as they wanted to monitor babies heart rate. So thats where we went first, but after waiting 5 minutes for someone to see us I had told my husband that I thought I needed to push. So off he went to get a midwife. They came over to say it wouldn’t be much longer and they were just checking my paper work. I probably waited another two minutes before I turned to my husband again and told him I was going to start pushing – I don’t think I have ever seen that man look more mortified in my life. So off he went again, a little quicker this time.
With that a midwife came and told me they would take me up to one of the birthing suits. I was so relieved as I started to think I was going to give birth in the waiting room.
By the time I got into the room I was in agony and I had lost all control over the pain. I was greeted by possibly the nicest midwife ever. However I couldn’t function properly let alone be friendly, In fact I cant do anything apart from concentrate on my breathing when I am in pain. So I literally looked at my Husband and told him he was going to have to talk for me.
Luckily she picked up how much pain I was in and decided to get things prepped. She had read my notes and could see I wanted a water birth, so off she went to run the pool for me.
By the time I had laid down I had completely lost it, the pains were now so intense that I felt like I wasn’t actually capable to carry on. I was screaming, I couldn’t catch my breath and I had gone into complete panic. This was entirely different to my previous experience where everything was quite relaxed and controlled. I kept thinking to myself how the hell did I do this last time?
Turns out the pain was so intense because baby was back to back, this is the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life. Both of my labours have started this way and I can’t even describe that pain. The midwife was trying to get the baby to turn, which basically consists of rocking side to side on all fours, she had told my husband it might be nice for him to massage my back – worst back rub of my life. I was in so much pain I couldn’t tell him to stop, so he continued to rip the skin of my back (or so it felt).
After around 10 minutes I looked at the midwife and told her I couldn’t do it. She assured me that it was ok and that the pool was nearly ready. I just needed to stay calm and focus on my breathing, but no matter how much I tried to catch my breath I just couldn’t. At this point she decided she wanted to see how far along I was…
After examining me she very calmly got up, walked over to the pool and turned the taps off. I thought to myself thank god, that must mean I am in active labour now and I can get in. How naive was I? The midwife looked at my husband and said that I couldn’t get into the pool… because the baby was coming now!!! With that she got her blue gloves on and I knew there was no way I was getting into that water.
From that moment it all became a bit of a blur, everything escalated so quickly that all I can remember is holding my husbands hand so tightly. In all I must have been pushing for a maximum of ten minutes, and that isn’t me exaggerating. It turns out my body must just be designed for quick labours and both my babies have been in a hurry.
I gave birth with absolutely no pain relief but I was in complete shock. The midwife put Monroe onto my chest and I just remember looking up at my husband and thinking what the hell has just happened?
I was extremely lucky and was able to be discharged on the same day as I gave birth, I was so glad that I was going to be able to get back home to my boy and get our new baby setteled into her new home.
I am sure all of the above sounds like a dream, and yes I guess in someways it is? I had a straight forward pregnancy, quick labour and I was back home within hours.
But nobody takes into consideration the emotional impact. I literally had people message to say ‘Congrats, that was easy’ ‘they fly out!’ (I know its all lighthearted fun). But I can’t help but feel like that the fact I had actually just given birth gets discredited, because I didn’t have a medically traumatic experience. Its almost feels like people think I didn’t have to do it properly?
Emotionally this time I was battered and bruised. I went through another labour knowing my Mum wasn’t there to hold my hand. Another baby she would never get to meet, and more awkwardness in the hospital when the midwives read my notes – it just brought it all back again.
The very day she was born I was up making visitors cups of tea, hoovering before people came over and I was making sure I looked presentable. All the things I told myself I didn’t want to have to do this time around. I put this down to me not doing sympathy very well, I am always the one who is up and ok. I really should have taken the chance to let people run around after me, but I just find that extremely hard do.
If I am honest behind the scenes I was struggling, the afterpains were horrendous, my boobs were engorged and I felt wiped of all energy. Its amazing that you completely forget the aftermath of giving birth, you almost erase it from your memory and just focus on the labour… until you are sat there with leaking boobs and are practically wearing a nappy, then it all comes flooding back to you!!
From the moment my little Monroe was born I have been in absolute awe of her. I remember staring at her moments after she was born and just thinking how beautifully perfect she was, I just couldn’t believe how lucky we had been.
After I lost my Mum I thought that would be my Mother/Daughter relationship gone forever. I didn’t believe I would ever be given the chance to build another in my lifetime. Until this little angel arrived.
Not only has she brought me so much love and happiness, she has come with so much hope. There is a massive hole in my heart, but each day that passes I can feel it mending ever so slightly. I now look at other Mothers and Daughter and feel excitement rather than resentment. I look forward to teaching her the things my Mum taught me, carrying on our traditions and building a bond as strong with my own daughter.
Everyones children are so uniquely special to them, they arrive into our lives just when we need them and they teach us things we didn’t think we needed to learn. Monroe is my healing baby, she is my reason to let go of control, to stop trying to power through life, and to stop living in chaos. I am still learning but when I look at her little face I realise the rest of the world can wait for a moment.
She is my little bit of heaven sent to earth.
Thank you for reading,