So here we are, what a different experience it has been. Despite going into spontaneous labour at 37 weeks I was still able to have the calm, controlled birth that I had hoped for.
The Thursday before going into labour I had a growth scan and was told baby was measuring large, particularly their belly.
After being diagnosed with gestational diabetes this was an indicator that baby wasn’t managing the diabetes very well, despite my blood sugars being well controlled.
I was always booked for a csection due to the traumatic birth that I had last time. I had seen an obstetric consultant from the beginning (a bloody brilliant one). I was consultant led for a few reasons, physically I had a third degree tear last time and lost quite a bit of blood, and mentally I had obviously had very severe PND and anxiety. So I was always consultant led.
Straightaway I was given the choice. I could have a vaginal delivery again. I would need further tests, to test my muscles to check I could Labour naturally. This included a camera probe to check my bum muscles…this was part of my reasoning for deciding not to have a natural birth. My dignity was just about intact again after everything that happened last time so having a stranger look at my bum with a camera whilst I was awake, I wasn’t too excited about this.
Also my pelvic muscles would need to be checked, more tests and probing, this just fuelled my anxiety and made me feel more apprehensive about a natural birth.
The consultant I saw for the beginning half of my pregnancy spoke about how a natural birth after a traumatic one can be quite healing. It can help you feel some closure from the past, help for you to see that it is possible to have a positive natural birth. But for me it just felt too anxiety provoking. The fear of the unknown. I won’t ever forget the absolute fear I felt during Arthur’s birth. I don’t think it’s something I will ever overcome. But this time around, this birth, it was healing in a way. I was scared but it was a world away from before.
I knew what was happening every step of the way. I knew who everyone was. I felt so much more at ease, I felt like everything was so much more controlled.
When they pulled G out, he didn’t cry, he was silent and I was terrified. No sound. But they showed us him, he was perfect, just quiet. They took him for about 10 minutes to give him some oxygen and bit of a poke. That was the first time I held my breath but he was back with us before we know it. First time with Arthur’s birth I felt like I held my breath the whole time. I felt like I was just waiting for the next thing to go wrong. I was constantly waiting for something bad to happen. I often think about it now. I don’t think it will ever completely leave me.
Despite our positive birth, heading home from the hospital after George’s birth I felt like I was just a timebomb. Just waiting for the wave. But it never came. I waited till around day 3 when my milk came in, no wave. I waited till day 5, that’s when I first felt it with Arthur, it never came. A week down the road but still, no wave. So here we are, 1 month in and still no wave. Yes there are moments. Occasional intrusive thoughts, feelings of sadness but it’s nothing like it was before, nothing even close.
I’m not sure how, but I do know taking sertraline protected me. I also know I have had an amazing support system around me, professional and personal. I know I was more prepared this time. More prepared for everything. I know so much more than I did before. I feel like it’s all less of a shock to the system.
I still often feel anxious, often about George feeding, SIDs, how Arthur is feeling. My secret for anxiety? Taking deep breaths. Something so simple which takes me back to that moment. It helps me stop thinking so much, it helps my mind slow down. So simple but really works for me. Like I said before I still have moments of feeling down, feel like everything is a bit grey, a bit dark. But these are moments, they’re fleeting, they don’t stay, they don’t linger. It’s been a completely different experience this time around. I cant praise the incredible professional support I have received enough. The support I have received from my family and friends, who are just wonderful. And those little white pills that once saved my life. Sometimes I wish I could just stop taking them, I wish I could be free of them but they saved me and they continue to save me. One day I hope to not need them. But it’s ok if I do. It’s always ok.
So here we are, second time around, a world away from the first.
Sorry it’s been so long since my last post, but stay tuned for another one.
Love, Kate. X