When I told everyone I was expecting my first baby they all said ‘it’ll be the hardest, but most rewarding thing you’ll ever do in your life’…little did they know what was to come.
I’d smile, hold back the sickness that a green apple (because for some reason my growing child only accepted red apples) was about to bring, and think there couldn’t be anything harder than dealing with all the symptoms of pregnancy. My clothes didn’t fit me anymore, I was constantly tired but couldn’t sleep and the heartburn was indescribable – but my daily life had to go on. How naïve.
However, I now find myself muddling through parenthood, basically making it up as I go along, whilst the world around me is in chaos with a pandemic virus upon us.
So with all the free time that cancelled baby groups and activities can afford me I am going to write a series of blogs about my journey into parenthood and the crazy world we live in.
It seems fitting to start off with how my new bundle of joy entered the world. Ironically I went in to labour shortly after the passing of Storm Dennis, we were thankful that meant we didn’t need to travel to the hospital in a storm and that his nickname wouldn’t be Dennis for the rest of his life. Little did we know that he was would become a “Corona Baby”, arriving on the cusp of a new kind of crazy world.
Whilst nobody needs to hear the detail of my overly long (30 hours) and laborious experience, I definitely think some of it is worth talking about.
I think unless you have gone through a similar experience then you are never truly going to understand. I will say, however, that no matter how hard it is, it is worth it in the end.
I was never one for making a birth plan, I told my midwife that my plan was to have no plan. I knew that if I had one, and it didn’t happen the way I had wanted it to, then I’d be much more stressed. However, when everything started the way it was supposed to I was actually quite proud that my baby boy would enter the world naturally (with pain relief of course, I’m no saint.) The mere fact that I was doing what the human body was designed to do – which had fascinated me all the way through pregnancy – was pretty cool and altogether amazing.
However, it didn’t end that way and after a long time confined to the delivery room, my boy was delivered by emergency cesarean section. A bit of an anti-climax after my earlier elation! He was finally here though, the pain I had endured stopped and he was healthy. What more could I ask for.
And other than the jokes that followed, “can you legitimately say you gave birth to him?” and the fact that any question I have had about his ability to breastfeed or his blocked up nose or cough has been followed by, “oh, it’s just because he is a c-section baby” (a load of nonsense in my opinion) it hasn’t bothered me one bit.
I’m not one for fighting for the rights of women, or men, but I will say that despite what I had endured physically, the whole experience was worse for my husband (queue abuse.) I think women must have an in-built ability to distance themselves from the experience. Almost immediately I was able to talk about what had happened as a matter of fact, almost as if I was telling somebody else’s story.
My poor husband however had to endure hours of watching the person he loves the most (behind his son now obviously…oh, and the cat) in pain and wasn’t able to do that much about it other than say it would be okay, when he really didn’t know that. Even now, four weeks on, he struggles to talk about it or find anyone he can talk about it with. There are loads of support groups out there for women and I think generally we are better at talking to each other about stuff. There is not much for men that are new to fatherhood.
All I can say though is when you hear that cry for the very first time (and the very first time only, after that it’s a bit grating…) it is a feeling that you cannot replicate. Who knows what the future will hold for my son but I already know that when we tell him about the first few weeks, or months, of his life, he won’t believe us…