There's not a mother alive in this modern age that hasn't shared her birth story with her nearest and dearest. In fact, I'm pretty sure a lot of us have shared it with complete strangers from time to time. These stories are our rights of passage into motherhood and we recite them like the folklore of Irish history.
I can say with conviction that I am finished having children so I can reminisce fondly, safe in the knowledge that I will never have to go through it again. But I hope this might help others facing into it.
In April of 2014, I was waiting patiently for the birth of my third child. Having split with my partner, I had to return home to my mother and it was a stressful time, to say the least.
Moving back home is hard, regardless of the circumstances, but I arrived - not only with sacks of clothes, but with two young boys and a bun in the oven (a pink bun, by the way, but ssssssshhhhhhh, you'll ruin the end of the story). Not ones to dwell on the negatives, we just got on with things and tried to look forward to the new arrival as best we could.
Fast forward to 13 days after my due date and I was finally being admitted to be induced. My mother and I arrived at the crack of dawn and the hospital was pure mayhem. There wasn't a bed to be had. We were determined that nothing was going to dampen our spirits.
We were gracious with the staff, friendly and polite cracking the odd joke. If you knew myself and my Mam you'd know we are freaking hilarious if I do say so myself. Later that day, the matron arrived at my bedside and thanked us for the way we behaved through all the delays. Myself and my mother were only thrilled with ourselves.
I told her, 'I may be a single mother to three children, with no job and no home, but I have manners..... all is not lost!!'
We spent the day getting tests and injections and gel and all the stuff they do to kick start you into labour. Nothing worked. At the end of a long day, I sent the mother home. She wasn't two minutes gone when I had a few pains. As quickly as they came, they stopped. No baby today.
A new dawn, a new day and a new baby. I was brought down to the labour suite and I was having a few pains but nothing major. The doctor had a look to see if he could break my waters. Certainly not the most dignified aspect of giving birth. It feels like you are wetting yourself continuously.... on the other, hand it keeps you warm. Ew, I know... I know I'm only joking.
Once my waters went, things began to progress at long bloody last. My Aunt and Mother were taking turns coming in and out to me and having them there was just the most wonderful experience.
The midwife wanted me to sit up on to this ball thingy. I took one look at my Mother and we both laughed.The midwife kind of insisted and so I sat on this purple plastic inflated sack of stale air and tried to remain calm through each contraction.
I pointed out a few things to my mother, ‘See that sterile pack, Ma.... when they open that.... there's a baby on its way.’
The pains were now fairly intense, and I was asked about pain relief and I requested, pleaded and eventually begged for an epidural. The nurse said she'd leave me another hour and see how I went. I looked at my mother and said...' oh lord I can't cope another hour'. The midwife and Ma gave each other a glance and all of a sudden I was a little child again - my mother looking out for my best interests. I had to settle for an injection.
Off she went to get my pain relief when I could feel unmerciful pressure at the top of my tummy. As she administered the injection, the midwife was a bit annoyed and scolded me telling me not to push. I pleaded innocence like I was being cross-examined in court. It is happening! With a flurry of motion, out came the sterile pack. My mother nodded, she knew what that meant. With one involuntary muscle contraction, my daughter was born. The midwife, my mother, a student nurse and myself all a little shell-shocked that she had come so quickly in the end.
I'd have to look up exactly how much she weighed and what time she was born at because really, those finer details pale in comparison to the lovely memories I have of her birth. She was healthy and worth the wait. I did it without pain relief, not so much as a whiff of gas and air, and I was as proud as punch. The injection I was given hit in about ten minutes after she was born and I was high as a kite. It was like being that perfect level of drunk just before you think shots are a good idea!
I spoke to my boys and told them they had a sister, and as the news spread that I had finally given birth, I was the happiest I had been in a long time.
The gravity of being a single mother to three young children couldn't have been further from my mind, as I savoured the sights and sounds of this miracle that I had created within my own body. The moon and the sun had their stars, and for that briefest of moments, life was perfect.