Not so long ago, in fact all of 8 weeks and 1 day ago, our son, Lewis was born. Extreme feelings of elation, fear, joy, guilt and exhaustion have since petered away into less extreme versions of themselves (except for exhaustion some days!) and we’ve all come to terms with our everyday routine.
There was so much I’d forgotten about having a newborn. The first one is, you will have the best of intentions before your baby comes but once it’s arrived, your fight to get through the early days takes precedence and all of those intentions go flying out of the window as fast as you can say “Epidural”. Yes, I wanted to not feed the baby to sleep. Yes, I wanted to rent one of those gorgeous baby hammocks to rock my little one to sleep at night instead. Oh, and I could have sworn I was going to sign up for a baby massage class!
The fuzz of the early months clears and suddenly you panic that you’ve not done enough or that you’ve gotten your baby into this routine that’s going to be a bitch to change, especially when you’re operating on minimal sleep. People will give you a lot of unsolicited advice. My advice would be- ignore it.
Then there’s “the stuff that not many people talk about”…. Like burning pee, constipation, giant, nappy-like sanitary towels, knickers made from weird, net-like material, breast engorgement, leaking nipples, public breastfeeding, flabby tummies, stretch marks, post-birth sex and choosing contraception (unless you fancy a crack at the whole bun-in-the-oven thing again very soon)…. And that’s just concerning your own ‘stuff’. When it comes to baby, you also have to deal with red pee, black poo (and it’s true that you will become the next Gillian McKeith, investigating the many shades of poo your baby might create), spit-up, vomit (and the differences between the two), gammy eyes, colic, loud burps, inappropriate farts and don’t forget to take a change of clothes for yourself as well because, a little like puppies, babies just love to show us how excited they are to see us by peeing all over our freshly-washed nursing shirts.
BUT you know that by the time your newborn is able to walk and talk and use a toilet with some success, you’ll have forgotten the pain of birth all of the above and who knows, maybe you’ll consider having another? That’s Mother Nature at her best: She allows us to retain all of the good stuff- the first time you saw your baby, his first smile, the cute noises he makes, the chubby thighs you’d like to just devour and all of the hard, unpleasant or uncomfortable stuff just falls away. Perfect.
Just under 4 weeks ago I was sat in a taxi, on a towel at 3 in the morning. No words can describe the elation I felt at the prospect of having a natural birth. Disappointed yet relieved are the words I’d use to describe how I felt when that didn’t happen.
Giving birth can be very painful. No amount of hypnobirthing or Ina May can change that. Your body goes through so much. Your baby goes through more, poor mite! After 12 hours of (well-controlled) pain, an epidural that only worked on one side and lots of position changes, there was just no way the baby’s head was going to fit through my pelvis- it was in the wrong position, a little like my last child’s, his heartrate was dropping and the amniotic fluid was brown. Sod natural birth, I was having another caesarean- they would simply open up my old scar and get my distressed baby out.
We got SO far in a fraction of the time of my last birth (which was induced) – I was 10 cm dilated and already feeling the infamous ‘urge to push’ (which, in case you wondered, feels like you need to take a big poo). Even more devastating was the epidural situation: In their arrogance, the anaesthetists tried to insert the catheter between contractions, though these were 30 seconds apart (the head anaesthetist actually had an argument with the midwife, who wanted to give me something to slow down the contractions). In the end, I still had sensation on my right side so they unexpectedly put me to sleep on the operating table, leaving my scrubbed-up man outside.
When I became conscious again, I waded through foggy dreams that made me forget I was even having a baby to see my wonderful partner with a gorgeous baby on his bare chest and couldn’t help but cry with happiness (and admittedly, a little confusion). When my little, chubby-legged baby was put on my chest and immediately went for the boob, all of the pain of the last 12 hours was absolutely forgotten. This, my friends, is the way we’re biologically programmed to forget so that we have more offspring!
So yes, I didn’t get the birth I wanted and I still have to come to terms with a few things but the end product was the same- a healthy 4505kg / 56cm bouncing baby boy!
Two days after my last post, I made a litre of ‘Wehentee‘ (labour tea) and drank half of it, had a nice dinner with a friend at my favourite restaurant, watched an episode of Breaking Bad and went to bed. Little did I know, the wait for our little visitor was almost over….
I was used to Braxton Hicks contractions but this was different. At 1am, I got up and walked around a bit. Around 2am, I went back to bed, thinking it was probably good to get some sleep, ‘just in case’. Five minutes later, my waters broke. So much for sleep. Delivering a sleepy toddler to a very generous and helpful friend at three in the morning, it occurred to me that the next time I’d be seeing him, another child would be in my arms. Needless to say, 12 hours later, our second son, Lewis was born. His birth was another adventure, which I’ll leave for another time. In the meantime, here’s a picture:
Since going ‘overdue’, every day has become that little bit more difficult.
To anyone who hasn’t experienced this before, I apologise that I probably sound like a bit of an arse. To those who have experienced this before, you probably have a good insight into the way I’m feeling right now.
Ok, so to set the scene: Imagine that something important is happening. You’re expecting a visitor, so-to-speak. You’ve waited more than nine months for the visitor to arrive, spent a lot of time preparing for them. Only, you can’t really know exactly WHEN they’ll arrive. You can’t google it, you can’t send scouts out to look for their impending approach like in a cowboy film, even the experts can’t tell you when your visitor will bestow you with their presence. You just have to wait.
However, you can’t really make too many concrete plans, just in case said visitor shows up. Also, the visit itself is so important that you actually start to lose motivation to do small stuff you could probably get done whilst waiting because all your mental energy is focused on the ‘big rendezvous’.
Oh yeah and on the subject of mental energy: You really can’t wait to meet your visitor but you know that in order to do so, you’re going to have to go through some seriously crazy shit. You’ll probably even suffer immense physical pain, the likes of which you’ve never experienced before. So you actually fear the onset of his or her arrival somewhat. However, you’re suffering physically anyway with various aches and pains so you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t and you can’t not anyway because the whole thing is absolutely inevitable, as sure as the sun will rise in the morning.
So yeah, birth is probably agonising but the waiting is potentially just as painful….
Today is my due date and I can no longer see my feet, which is an achievement, bearing in mind I take a UK size 8 (European 42)
Up until about a week ago, I actually thought I would be able to retain my relaxed, carefree attitude towards the timing of ‘the birth’. P returned from Oma’s and Oma stayed a couple of nights before making the trip back home. We joked that it would be typical if she drove home, only to have to return within a day because the baby decided to come. That didn’t happen.
H finished work for a couple of weeks (due to the unpredictability of birth, we agreed he should take some holiday around the EDD) and then all there was left was to wait. And wait. And wait. And we continue to wait.
Only one thing is certain about birth and that is, the baby will come out at some point in the not-too-distant future. So we wait.
Wow, WordPress just let me know that my blog has reached 5 years old! How did that even happen?
I don’t update so much and I don’t intend for the blog to be something spectacular- it’s very much a vanity project that keeps my brain ticking over. This is especially important when it comes to writing in English, since I often feel that my English is suffering on account of the amount of German I read, write, hear and speak. The other day, I couldn’t remember the word ‘cervix’ in English (’cause of course, that is a word that every pregnant woman needs!) It’s Muttermund in German, which, literally translated would be ‘mother mouth’. Sounds… er…. odd. Anyway, I digress. Happy blogiversary to me and thanks to people for reading and commenting over the last five years!
It’s been emotional, little alien-child. I feel like time’s slowed down and it’s now simply a waiting game. Your arms are wiggling around in my lower abdomen, your feet in my ribcage (as a friend put it “Boom, shake the womb”). I often get what feels like an electric shock in my right leg when you pluck my sciatic nerve like a bass string and my hips ache at night from the extra weight pressing on them.
I really thought I would be totally laid back at this point but I’m getting impatient to meet you. The harder your kicks, punches and nerve-pinging antics come, the more I want to see you. I wonder if you look like your brother? Will you have your father’s blonde hair? Will you even have hair at all? But before that, how will you make your entrance into the world? I’m hoping as uncomplicatedly as possible but birth is a bit like National Rail- you just never know. Either way, I know I’m in good hands. Gosh, maybe you’ll stay in there a bit longer than expected, get your money’s worth and all that and we’ll have to give you some friendly encouragement?
Don’t stay in there too long, eh? I know it’s cosy but there are a bunch of people out here, eagerly anticipating your arrival. Until then, you know what to do. Over and out, see you on the other side.