Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How I gave Birth.

This was posted at the time on a pregnancy forum but it seems fitting to post it here now. Not long after I posted it originally I was back in hospital for a few days as I couldn't stop throwing up or eat. Somehow I managed to keep on breastfeeding which is miraculous. Thanks again are due to the staff at the Royal Berks - how many times strangers saved my life.

" Isn't she beautiful! Cheer Cheer Cheer Cheer Cheer

Also wanted to say how amazing I personally found the staff at the Royal Berks Midwifery Unit, they were amazing! My waters broke on Friday am about 5am so we went into hospital where they wired me up to a monitor for a short while to check on Deborah as my contractions weren't starting. Not much happened apart from pains on Friday night, and then many more, regular contractions on Saturday around 11 am. I was in the bath, so I got out and rushed to the hospital, throwing up as I went.... When I got there the MW said my cervix was only thinned, not dilated, and that I could go home and control the pain with paracetomol. For some reason I was too scared to go home, and was still being sick, so I asked to stay. I had some pethidine as the pain was so bad, and they put me in a non-delivery room. At that point it all gets a bit weird. I'd tried some gas and air, but it made me feel soooo drunk, but after the pethidine I could hardly speak. A new MW took over took one look at me and got really concerned. I was really out of it by this point, and all I could say was "I can't do this". I was still having contractions, but my cervix was opening really slowly. It was probably about 4pm by now. Fairly soon after they suggested an emergency c-section, and to be honest I was relieved. I was thinking of asking for one as I could feel the contractions weren't doing anything. So funny, I kept on needing to pee and wondering off to the loo shakily, hooked up to a drip, with just a t-short on and my kecks hanging out, past a tv room, but I just didn't care lol. The fetal monitor showed that Deborah was in distress, so they got me in theatre for about 6 ish. Honestly the moment I had the epidural it was bliss! I was so terrified of it, but it was like putting my legs in a warm bath. The anesthetist was brilliant, he spoke to me throughout the whole op, and kept a close eye on my drugs, so when the stuff they were using triggered my asthma he bought a nebuliser, when they made me sick he bought a little bowl, he was really good.
Deborah was born at 6.29pm and she gave everyone a little shock as she was still quite high up in my uterus, still at 3/5ths engaged. They think that after my waters breaking I caught a womb infection, and that this, plus the total loss of my waters made my womb clamp really tightly around poor Debs so she couldn't engage properly, and the contractions couldn't have worked. For anyone reading this whose waters do break before labour this is very rare, so don't worry! Most times it is absolutely fine. I'm really good at picking up bugs, so if it was going to happen to anyone it would be me lol.
Debs needed some facial oxygen but had good apgar scores. She weighed 7lbs 7oz's and is totally healthy thankfully. After she was born they were trying to put my womb back, but it started to bleed heavily every time it contracted, which meant I had a hemorrhage loosing about 2 litres of blood. I was on the table for another couple of hours to sort me out, and they sent Debs up to be fed as she had low blood sugar. Eventually they managed to sew me up, with the help of a rouche balloon? to control the bleeding. Luckily before the op I'd managed to warn the surgeon that I do bleed heavily with this sort of thing (although I've only ever had dental surgery before) which she said was helpful. No idea how I remembered that in the state I was in, but someone was looking out for me.
We went up to the HDU where we stayed until Sunday evening, after which I went on the main wards and I had a whole variety of MW's squeeze my boobies into amazing shapes to feed Debs. I was still hooked up to all sorts of drips, so it was quite difficult. On Sunday my colostrum dried up and I was in bits all day. I didn't expect to have a c-section, and still feel like I haven't really "given birth" which is silly. I had to start with formula feeding, and it's only really today that my milk has come in and with 2 visits back to the breast-feeding clinic that I've been able to feed Debs. I'm really hoping to able to keep on feeding her, it's been really difficult trying so fingers crossed. I still dont feel brilliant as am strong anti-biotics, but am making a good recovery. The most important thing is that we have our beautiful baby daughter - I keep on gazing at her in awe as she is so lovely, and OH is so in love and a dab hand at nappies lol. Apologies for the length, this is all bit long-winded! But, I'd do it all again 10 times over as I'm sure any mum would as Debs is beautiful!"

Quick recap - and joy!

Some of you know that my mum was recently admitted to a psychiatric unit under suspicion of a suspected suicide attempt. It wasn't that, it was actually that she'd taken too many of her anti-anxiety drugs in order to stop thinking for the day. The trigger for this was that she had just been to visit us when Debs was 3 weeks old and she found it very difficult as it brought up too many memories of past stillbirths/miscarriage that she had before she had me. Anyway we've been talking on the phone as I have not felt strong enough to see mum, and last week I sent her some lovely photographs of Debs. Last night I got a phone call saying she has been readmitted to a psychiatric unit for intensive medical therapy. In a way it's been really helpful as something inside has finally clicked and I no longer feel responsible for any of it, just really, really sad. I always used to feel really responsible as when I was little I was told mummy got ill when I was born, and I figured that therefore her being ill was my fault and that it would have been better if I hadn't been born. She was also a serial abuser and used to regularly hit me leaving marks as well as lots of shouting and emotional abuse. She only stopped hitting me once I was big enough to hold her off but she was still hitting dad in a "play" way before he died. I did stop her when I saw it happen. Obviously I love her as she is my mum and I do think that it's quite obvious that she has never had adequate medical support. Also I'm aware that somehow our family slipped through the net to a certain extent to allow the abuse to continue. As a child I didn't realise it was abuse that realisation came later, also accompanied with the realisation of how awful it must be to be the perpetrator of all of that. As the survivor of it one can go forward and be joyful about the future but as the perpetrator the guilt stays with you. It certainly stayed with mum and many of our conversations during the time I was pregnant dwelt on my childhood and and even more so on her previous stillbirths (2) and miscarriage. It was always very hard as I actually want to leave my childhood behind and don't feel I can absolve mum of her guilt. I have said many times it's ok, as I do understand she was ill but it's up to her to drop that final burden. The times when she talked her children were particularly difficult as Debs was growing fast within my womb and I was extra vulnerable then. I asked her a few times to not talk about these issues, the last time was 2 weeks before Debs was born. Then I wrote her a letter asking her to seek help elsewhere I was unable to give it. This triggered some major psychosis which also involves feelings of guilt about my father's death. This then led to her first admission into hospital after meeting Debs.

Last night was a blessing in disguise. I have finally twigged that I am not responsible for any of this and despite the fact that many of mum's episodes seem to be triggered by good things happening to me I've finally realiesd it's not punishment. It's not mum beating me up anymore which it felt like but just her irrational brain doing irrational things which I can't hope to understand. So although I naturally feel very sad about it and want to cry I no longer feel at fault. This is such a huge relief it's like dropping the biggest ever piece of luggage so in a way I am grateful to mum right now. It is good she is back in hospital - the mental health worker I spoke to last night feels that mum has been treated for too long with the wrong dosage of the older type of anti-psychotics - mainly because mum has refused newer treatments and will not take stronger doses lol. Hopefully that choice will be taken away from her in order to benefit her which seems a funny thing to write.

As I write I can feel my neck extending upwards. For years I have suffered from a huge emotional flinch that has dominated everything. Like many other survivors of abuse I felt compelled to re-create this flinch as it was the only form of love/attention I felt happy with, hence when I was presented with real happiness I had to re-produce my flinch through fear and perfectionism. But now I see my flinch for what it is a conditioned response not a crutch and its ok because I can make friends with it. it's good to make friends with my flinch as this I can do. I can't undo the past, I cant stop mum from hurting, but I can make friends with my flinch :)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Here and Now

I like meditating! It's so nice to reconnect with that softer side that allows space for all of me all the nice and nasty bits without discrimination. That softer space is pointing to all the perfectionism still governing my relationships - guess what with mum lol. I've realised it takes 2 to tango and although there is love between us there is a lot of other stuff too and its ok for all of it to be there. So next time we talk on the phone and she complains about hmmm well everything lol I'm going to try and remember the middle path through it all, I dont need to jump and solve it, or feel guilty that I feel resentful for being placed in a "saviour" position, I can just allow it to be there and smile at my perfectionism.

Deborah is wonderful - nothing like a small baby as a teacher. So much love which gives me a nice break from the fear and perfectionism, giving me a good opportunity to appreciate all of me. Gazing in her deep grey eyes which sparkle like heamatite while she nurses is mind-blowing. Such a thing to be born a female and to have offered a ride to someone else for 9 months! Gratitude to all the Buddha's but especially Green Tara.