I love nothing more than thinking about my daughter and remembering her coming into the world, so I'm jotting down a few thoughts for your amazing campaign.
Giving birth to my daughter was the most extraordinarily intense and beautiful experience of my life. And I think it always will be so. I miss that momentous day every day.
It wasn't free of intervention (long-planned induction at 39 weeks, induced over two days, a day of labour, agonising contractions that went from nothing to everything within a matter of minutes due to oxytocin drip, losing my daughter's heartbeat in a dramatic "push the red button!!" and doctors flying in situation, endless pushing with no progress and an eventual episiotomy and forceps delivery). But I look back on my labour as an incredibly positive, thrilling experience. I haven't previously taken the time to dissect why this somewhat un-straightforward labour felt so positive. Here's why I think it was;
1. It went well. My daughter came out 100% healthy and perfect. I wasn't in a bad state. The first. The last. The everything.
2. My wonderful, kind and calm husband was with me throughout. I can't imagine it any other way.
3. I had a sense of what I was expecting and yet didn't have too many expectations. I knew I'd be induced. I thought it might be rough. I had no preconceived ideas of whether I'd want an epidural (in the end I did). I didn't cling on to the water birth or the natural birth or the birth centre birth etc etc. I went with it.
4. I had an epidural. I had many hours of calm, quiet, sleepy, pain free contractions while my body got ready. That epidural was magic. It changed everything for me.
5. I felt in good hands. I trusted that my baby would be ok and that I would be ok. I had a great antenatal experience and enjoyed my pregnancy. I wasn't daunted by the idea of the labour or scared of the early days of a newborn. I felt equipped to handle what was coming.
And I just kept telling myself that if the shit gets real, they'll whip my baby out. She'll be fine. I'll be fine. I'm in a great hospital. I'm one of the luckiest people giving birth on the entire planet. We'll all be ok.
And though this wasn't to do with my labour per se, one of the absolute best decisions I made was to discharge us both within 12 hours of giving birth. The post-natal ward was an impossible place for me to spend the first night with my baby. I couldn't handle her in a plastic box. With the strip lighting. The crying babies. The visiting children running into our curtained space. The shared shower. We'd spent three nights in hospital already. We were exhausted. We were done. And I knew that both my daughter and I were healthy and well enough to go home (10 mins drive back to the hospital should we need it). Coming home, all getting into our clean, big, bed in a calm, quiet house was the best best best thing we did. (Obviously we were lucky enough to be well after the delivery)
I miss it. It was incredible. I feel so lucky to have had, in my mind, a wonderful experience.