I was whole heartily shocked to have given birth to a girl. But there I was, daughter in arms, having just gone through one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I just couldn't believe any of it had really just happened.
This pregnancy was completely different to my first. My naive belief that positive thinking was the secret to pregnancy health was categorically contradicted. I struggled through with a cocktail of symptoms that left me dreaming of life in a wheelchair - I kid you not. But it was all in the name of a new baby! A much wanted and anticipated addition to our family. Finley ensured that it was a family affair. He carried a pumpkin in his belly which miraculous turned up in his bed one morning, and Levi a pizza, which is yet to materialise.
It's difficult to grasp hold of a shred of control in the birth process. I knew full well from experience how impossible it is to predict how things will go but I was determined to give a natural VBAC and a positive birth experience, no matter the outcome, the best shot. I had never imagined before Finley that I wouldn't have the opportunity to birth naturally and although I had to reconcile myself to that possibility, I held out hope that I'd get that chance this time. I gathered all the support possible. I chose a different hospital - Maitland, hired Gwen, my amazing Doula, my mum was going to be there and Levi and I, with the help of Gwen and past experience, were ready. By the time the birth came around we were a solid little team ready to make things happen.
I went into labour naturally on the 19th of May in the middle of the night but it was just the prelude. The hospital turned us around and I struggled through the next day and night. Feeling at the end of the rope we went back in on the morning of the 21st determined to have this baby. The stars most certainly aligned that day. I had a room with a beautiful outlook of green pastures and rolling hills, Gwen was there, mum was on the way and my midwife Leah was exactly the person for me. She wrote on the board 'today we are going to have a baby!'. I felt empowered...exhausted but empowered.
Unfortunately for me and any assigned medical staff, I struggle with anything medical. I pass out having my blood taken, feel woozy at the sight of a needle and want to run a mile when anything gynecological comes up. Despite my greatest efforts to see things rationally, I struggle. The need to get things moving was obvious and the only way ahead with this birth required all the uncomfortable stuff. I had a really incredible obstetrician who made light work of my fears. Quickly and easily, canula was in, waters were broken and cintocinin on. Time to breath, this is really happening.
The first few hours proceeded with increasing but manageable pain. At first I could laugh and chat with Team Baby between contractions but soon enough I was screaming with each one and trying to come down from the pain between them. When things stepped up a notch I felt myself break. I wanted out. Epidural. Please. Now. Help. I tried to visualise myself hiking the 6 foot track, the endless mountain one foot in front of the other...nope...I tried to think about how much I wanted to experience this naturally... nope...I tried to summon the anesthetist with my mind, I begged the midwife to drag him from the lunch he was obviously eating hence his absence...nope. Then I felt it. This primal urge take over my body...the urge to push. There was no way I was letting anyone know what was happening. I suddenly realised I was petrified to push a baby out! I needed that epidural. The anesthetist arrived but miraculously, divine intervention from a Heavenly Father who knows me better than I know myself, I was having this baby naturally, like I always wanted.
It really is the most amazing thing to feel your baby decend. Time stood still for me then. Nothing hurt like I thought it would. It was intense and carnal but my body wanted the baby out and was working in every way for it to happen. As soon as my mind gave over to the process it became instinctual and beautiful. I felt her head crown and her body twist and slide from me. I felt every part of it and was completely overcome by the miracle of it. They laid her on my chest but I could hardly process her. I had given birth, something that I was prepared to never experience naturally. I was given this amazing, miraculous gift and I could hardly believe it. Then for Levi to tell me we had a baby girl. I was beyond shocked. I had been so sure I was having a boy and here I was holding my baby girl, my daughter. My mum cut the cord and as the moments ticked passed, my emotions settled and the next 20 years of parenting flashed before my eyes. I had a girl. Dolls, dresses, headbands and pink. Teaching and preparing her for the world and the women she will become. And then I knew... what I'd just been through was the easy bit.
Our First Rose: Primrose Anne Catton. Born 21st of May 2015 at 2:03 pm.