I couldn’t wait to be a Mum.
I just knew it was something that I would be good at.
One of the first weekends I went away with my now husband, I was telling him all about my dreams of becoming an Actress or a TV Presenter. He encouraged those dreams and was excited for me but he said: “You know what I think you also really want to be?” when I asked what? He said: “A Mum” and he was right!
Before I continue, I would like to state that there is no right or wrong way to be pregnant, to give birth, or to be a mum. There is only your way, the way that you and your partner, or by yourself, have chosen. You make these decisions to suit you, your lifestyle and your baby.
The following is my personal story, not a condemnation of anyone else’s birth choices. It feels very raw still, just one year later, and very sensitive to be sharing, but then I think about how I craved real-life birth stories when I was pregnant. I thought if I read it all, then I would be prepared for every eventuality. Well, unfortunately, I was wrong as nothing could have prepared me for my childbirth experience.
I was overdue, so I was induced. I had no problem with this really. Obviously, I would have preferred to go into labour naturally but I knew going over on your first baby was a strong possibility so I was “prepared”.
I went into Hospital on Monday lunchtime and was given my first induction gel to help bring on labour. We were told to go walking around for an hour as this would help the process, so we did. We walked and chatted and giggled, both equally scared but mainly excited, like two little kids. Nothing happened anyway, so that night I was given my second gel and my husband headed off home, he would have his phone near him and I’d call him if anything happened during the night.
Nothing happened again, only I couldn’t sleep with the excitement. I was listening to all the mamas coming back up to the ward on the trolleys with their new little babies. The babies cry, the joy, just watching these ladies with their little bundle squeezed into their nooks, staring into their eyes, trying to express their love through their gaze. I couldn’t wait, this was going to be me in the morning, eeeeeeekkkkkkkkkkkkkkk.
Morning arrived, and this was it, we were going to have our baby today no matter what. The doctor came and gave me a third gel, almost instantly I began feeling something happen. This was it.
A few hours later, when things started to get quite uncomfortable I was brought down to the induction room. I was given some gas and air which I thought was great, even my husband had a go. Our excitement was building. The pains/contractions got worse and I asked for an epidural. I got one and oh, what a relief. Everything slowed down then though and the hours just went on and on and on.
Midwives changed shifts again and again. My hubby was trying to keep me entertained (and I’m sure himself too at this stage) chatting to the nurses about anything and everything, telling funny stories. You see, he is always very positive and never worries about anything unless he must. I’ll just say, unfortunately, I am the opposite, a total worry wart, I’m working on it ;)
Our consultant had gone home but was on the phone constantly to get an update on how I was doing. I could hear them saying I’d say she will be 10 cm at 10 pm - so from what I gathered he would be in before that and it would be time to push. 10 pm came and I wasn’t fully dilated so he was going to come into us closer to 11 pm. This was all fine and I was still excited although totally and utterly exhausted.
At 11 pm, he came in, everyone was ready and it was time to push. The first push I gave it my all, every little ounce of energy was going into these pushes I was determined that I was going to “do a good job”. By the third or fourth push, I was told to stop.
I was told that our babies shoulder was stuck and that he needed to use suction. I didn’t panic, I was in the zone and I just did exactly what I was told. No, this didn’t work, I was told straight away that forceps were now going to be used. These again were not the answer, he needed to do an episiotomy immediately and I could see he was (although very professional) a little panicked.
More doctors started arriving in the room very quickly. I heard somebody calling for oxygen. What was going on? This was only my fourth push how could there be so much panic already, I thought we have only just started, what was going on?
I have no idea how many people were in the room at this stage but it was pretty full. All the time my husband was holding my hand trying to distract me from what was going on in the room and telling me everything was just fine. I knew it wasn’t, there was something seriously wrong. My last push came and went and there he was, our little baby. I didn’t know if he was a boy or a girl, I didn’t see him, I didn’t hold him, I knew nothing. I got a glimpse of him as he came out and was immediately (and with great urgency) handed over to another man who placed him in an incubator, I think.
I looked over to my left but all I could see was a little glimpse of his body, there were people all around him. Why wasn’t he crying? Why wasn’t he in my arms? This isn’t normal, surely.
All I can remember saying is “Is it a boy or a girl?
I heard people say 4 minutes and still no cry or sound or reaction, I am not sure which one or what they were waiting for or counting? “8 minutes, still nothing,” 12 minutes and so on.
Just after I heard them say 16 minutes, my consultant told me that I was bleeding heavily, he needed to bring me away right now for emergency surgery.
What, I couldn’t leave my baby, where was he taking me? Who would hold my baby, that was my job, I had waited all this time? Was he alive, was he dead? What was going on?
So, I asked my husband to wait with Bobby. This was our baby boy's name and this was the first time we used it. He assured me everything was going to be just fine that he would stay with Bobby and I needed to go to surgery. As I was being wheeled off, I was told to hold up the blankets in between my legs as I was losing a lot of blood. I didn’t care about myself at this stage, I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest as I was pushed further and further away from Bobby down the corridor.
Surgery commenced and they put a big sheet up around my shoulder area so that I could not see what was going on. Although I could see reflections in the ceiling, but that, I quickly realised, was not a good idea. I was dazed, it felt like a dream, a bad one.
Doctors were walking past my head, so I called out to one of them and asked her to come over to me. I said to her that I was just after having a baby boy and I didn’t know if he was alive or dead? Please, can she find out for me? I just lay there then for I don’t know how long, in shock. The next thing like an angel, the lady doctor came towards me and I spotted that she had my husband’s phone in her hand. She told me to play the video. It was a video of baby Bobby, kicking his legs, although looking quite shook and a bit bruised and a mixture between Purple and Red, he was alive, he was with my husband and he was kicking his legs!
I immediately started to cry and I watched the video again and again and again. My surgery ended and as they wheeled me out, my husband was at the door waiting for me. He told me Bobby was fine, he was just undergoing some tests and that I would see him soon.
We went into the recovery room for “Tea and Toast”, this was ironic because I was dreaming about my tea and toast for my whole pregnancy, as I heard it was the nicest tea and toast you would ever eat and the best feeling in the world. Never in a million years did I think it would be like this. Obviously, I couldn’t even eat it, I wanted to see my baby, where was he? He is in this hospital somewhere without me. What must he be thinking?
They told me that Bobby was in Neonatal getting tests and that I was too weak to go and see him just yet. They said the best thing I could do now is go back up to my room, go to sleep for a few hours, it would be morning before I knew it and I would be with my baby. I reluctantly went up to bed but as soon as I lay down I said I cannot stay here, I don’t care how weak I am. I had a baby and I need to see him. I haven’t even seen him bar that one glimpse through the people’s legs in the delivery room. So, they got me a wheelchair but almost immediately I felt extremely weak, so that was it, I had blown my chance. I was confined to bed.
My husband promised me he would stay until I went to sleep and he would go home too for a couple hours sleep and he would be back into me first thing in the morning and all would be great.
I conked. I woke to my husband and a doctor coming into the room. Was it morning already, it only felt like I just fell asleep. I noticed, my husband was still in the same jumper so no it wasn’t morning. Why were they waking me when all they wanted a minute ago was for me to have lots of well-needed sleep? I could tell there was something going on. My husband came over to my left-hand side holding my hand and the doctor to my right. The doctor started speaking lots of medical jargon and I didn’t quite understand. I asked him to just speak in layman's terms, was Bobby ok?
He told me that yes, he was ok but because of his birth, they were worried about some things and they needed my permission to undergo some tests etc. These tests needed to be done within a couple of hours of birth so hence why they woke me. It turns out my husband didn’t go home at all he was down in I.C.U where Bobby was the whole time.
I don’t want to get into the details of all poor Bobby had to go through for those 8 nights in ICU. The first 8 nights of his little life but I can tell you that the following week when all tests were done and it was confirmed that Bobby was a perfectly healthy happy baby, we never felt so lucky. Those 8 nights were the worst of my life. I had third-degree tears so I was also in the hospital but I didn’t mind, I didn’t want to leave without my baby anyway.
In the ward, the other girls had their babies with them and I think that was one of the hardest things. I spent most of my time that week down in ICU with my husband, just sitting by Bobby’s side. I would wake at night about 2 or 3 am and head back down and just sing to him. I wanted him to know I was there, although I couldn’t hold him or cuddle him, I was there. One time they had to take him away from the maternity hospital and over to the main hospital in a portable incubator and I remember crying and begging the poor porter to be so careful and watch the corners and the lifts and mind him like he was his own. He reassured me he would.
After 4 days, we could hold Bobby for the 1st time and my God did I not want to let him go. The next few days were just making sure he was feeding well and waiting for all the results to come back. They did, and it was confirmed that our little Bobby was 100% healthy, happy and strong, thank God. Everything that was carried out was all precautionary and our Bobby passed all tests with flying colours. Eight days later we were getting out of there and we were going home.
Bobby has just turned one and he is our whole world. He is the life and soul of every room he enters. He is such a happy, smiley, fun little boy who started walking at nine months and three weeks old! He loves his little hurley, balls, hairbrushes, sweeping brushes and anything else he is not supposed to have!
Physically, I recovered only after about 5/6 months. Mentally, I am still recovering but that’s not just from Bobby’s birth. For me that’s just getting my head around my new life as a Mum, even writing this post has been therapeutic so thank you for reading.
I would like to take this opportunity from the bottom of my heart to thank all the wonderful staff at Cork University Maternity Hospital, especially everyone in ICU and Neonatal they were so warm, gentle, understanding, supportive and loving. Thank you all from all the Mums, Dads, big brothers and big sisters, you are amazing xoxo