We aren’t born parents and babies most definitely do not come with a manual (maybe if we were robots?). We had The Bean when we were both 21, so young, fresh-faced and in the middle of our uni degrees. Now, of course, I knew about contraception but you know how things get sometimes when you’re in the throes of passion and you’re just really feeling it? Well maybe not for some people, some people can be strict with their contraceptive choices and really thorough when not wanting to make a baby. Well, we were just completely reckless, no regrets though! The Bean has been quite a presence in our young but love-fuelled lives, I’m totally biased when I say this but she is such a cool kid! And I like to think a lot of people agree with me, yeah?
Here’s how it went down, not how babies are made but how I found out I was 21 and pregnant! For starters, my period was all over the place and I never knew when she was gonna surprise me. So, super irregular period plus unprotected intimacy equals love child… So yeah that’s the short version.
Side break: I think it’s really cathartic to share your birth story. For some mother’s it can be really traumatic, for me it was and it still affects me. That’s why I share it with you because I was young and I felt like I was judged for having a baby but it was exactly how my life was meant to be. I will admit, I am scared to go through it all again because of the chance of postnatal depression but I can’t let that become a defining point for me. I am always learning how to manage my mental health and well-being, I will overcome this fear and manage it when it when the time comes. I just have to remind myself to take it day by day.
I was in New Zealand on a university trip and I already had suspicions that perhaps I was pregnant, I mean come on, I was 26 days late for my lady business! So two days into the trip I was crazy nauseous with everything especially scrambled eggs, they were the death of me. I was super lethargic too, of course when you’re growing a small human that’s what happens. So usual pregnancy symptoms were occurring and I was freaking out! My travel buddies weren’t as suspecting (I don’t think they were) but I dodged a lot of activities cause I was dying from morning sickness and tiredness. I missed out on the hot springs in Rotorua, not to mention the sulphur smell in the air killed me if you’ve ever been there you know what I’m talking about. I feel like I missed out on a lot of stuff, especially the cultural tours which I really wanted to take part in, so basically finding out I was pregnant in New Zealand was a buzz kill. Also, I was so far away from my man, who was in Australia, and I couldn’t share the moment with him when the little plus sign came up on the pee stick… But thank you technology.
We were living on campus until I was about 5 months pregnant, but I wasn’t showing at all. No belly, no titties. Nada. We needed to find our own apartment with space for our new human on the way, so the search began and we found something relatively quick! We move in and I’m getting swole, like finally! The baby products started to accumulate all over the place which was both exciting and terrifying. When I’m reminiscing with my man about when we (yes we, because we’re in it together) were pregnant, we both have different sides to it of course. Apparently, I was super angry and a little hard to deal with the whole time, meanwhile I thought I was loving and sweet which was something I totally fabricated in my mum brain.
Fast forward and it’s our due date, May 31st 2016 and The Bean wasn’t budging. It was around 11:30 pm and we were both settling in for a good night’s sleep, then BAM! Contraction. If I could describe how it felt, it was similar to period pain but all over the belly and back. I start to get nervous because it’s painful as hell and I’m not prepared for the pain. We make one to the labour ward at the hospital to let them know that I am in early labour and if they could give us some guidelines on pain relief. They recommended I take panadol and I’m thinking is this woman crazy, does she know how much this hurts? I call my foster mums and tell them that The Bean is on her way and one of them comes over and I’m so grateful because I really needed her. I can’t eat anything, the pain is searing down my thighs, in my pelvis and back. I try to sleep it off a little, which was incredibly hard because it just hurt so damn much. I laboured at home for about 16 hours because I didn’t want to go to the hospital and have them turn me away, I call them to let them know I am on my way and they say they have been waiting for me to come in since 3 am that morning. We cruise in the car, me (and The Bean), my man and my mum. We get into the labour ward and I get an examination from a male nurse with the same name as my man, turns out I am 4cm dilated and they book me a room! Whoo hoo and then the real fun began.
I walk around a bit to help The Bean make her way down, I feel heavy and I am exhausted! Finally, I get in the room and the contractions are getting closer. The first midwife I had was a nightmare, in my notes it said to explain everything to me and had a brief mention of my history as a survivor of sexual abuse, yet she failed to talk through what was happening and why she was doing this and that. She gave me an internal examination and ripped my cervix forward without warning me and holy fuck, it was worse than the contractions. I was and still am deeply hurt because I was in such a vulnerable position and she failed to assist me safely physically, emotionally and mentally. She left and then a new midwife came in and what a beautiful woman, she just made me feel so safe and in control which is all that I needed.
I was put on the drip, which is a synthetic hormone that fastens the time between contractions and I feel like I need to push. I push and nothing is happening, and I’m freaking out, my man is freaking out. The midwife calls in for a doctor to give me an ultrasound (it’s like 9 pm) and for real like 2 or 3 hours later (I don’t know, I was delirious by this point) the doctor arrives. Turns out my bladder was full and I had a choice of trying to pee myself or them assisting me with the catheter, so of course, I opt for the first option because have you ever seen how big the tube is and how small your urethra is? No thanks. I try to pee but end up contracting on the toilet, so they hoisted me up on the bed and went to town with the catheter. A little death happened inside me right there and then.
Finally, the bladder is empty and they do the ultrasound and The Bean is head down but is facing my belly button which means a larger head circumference to push out. That was the problem, so instinctively I get up on my hands and knees and I start swinging my hips side to side, well actually more like I was pushed side to side because my energy was spent. I had my foster mum on one side and my man on the other, TEAMWORK makes the dream work! And then I pushed, pushed and my midwife said to stop… I stop because right then if I had pushed I would have torn from my front to back! My midwife is fantastic, guiding me through every step and then The Bean’s head is out, that's the hardest part. Her shoulders quickly follow and I reach down and I pull my baby from my body and what a whopper! She was just everything and my god the love I felt was immense. The first thing I said when The Bean was out was “Oh my god, I did it!”. It was incredible and she was just divine. I look to my right and my man is crying and can’t even speak. I tried to force myself to cry but man I was so exhausted from that good 26 hours of labour, but we did it!
The Bean weighed in at 3.927g, a head full of dark hair and was a lovely pink cherub. My life changed, both of our lives and that’s the story of how I was reborn a mother and my man reborn a father. I will never regret becoming a Mamma and it is and always will be my greatest accomplishment. I adore you my daughter, thank you for being ours and you will never know how much you saved me.
How many mamma’s are willing to put it out there, laid bare for all to see, their story of child birth?
P.s I did leave out a bunch of gory detail because childbirth is full on man, I don’t think you’re ready for all that jelly. Or maybe you are? Hmm…