Birth trauma


Hattie is now 14 weeks old. Each day, I look at her and am eternally grateful that she arrived safely and that she and I are both well and healthy. 

In the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I became extremely anxious. We were in the final throes of managing a huge house renovation and had moved in with my parents. My worry was heightened due to the fact that I had (on my consultant's advice), booked in for a planned c-section. 

My births with the boys had been challenging, to say the least. In short, after Hugo, I was pretty poorly due to an extended labour and some other complications. I ended up having 2 units of transfused blood. Not the start you expect as a brand new mum, certainly not the picture of new mum radiance and happiness portrayed by most parenting / birth manuals. 

After Louie, my second son, I looked and felt like I'd been in a boxing ring. About half an hour after giving birth to him, having already suffered some nasty tearing, I was hideously sick and had a huge haemorrhage. I am not exaggerating when I say I felt myself ebbing away and as I was frantically wheeled out of the delivery suite into theatre, I told my sobbing husband to tell Hugo I loved him. I have never been so utterly terrified - the thought of leaving my boys without a mum was horrifying. That moment still and always will haunt me.  

The entire time I was in theatre, whilst the obstetricians worked to stem the bleeding and 'fix' me, I faintly and continually asked the anaesthetist if I was going to die. It may sound dramatic but, in truth, it was awful. I had been whisked away from my tiny, newborn son and my husband wasn't allowed into theatre with me, as I was really quite poorly. I was in utter shock and was being pumped with countless drugs to stop the bleeding and save my uterus!

Immediately after the medics had finished with me, I had to be hooked up for numerous blood transfusions and yet more drugs. I was exhausted, weak, frightened and above all, I felt a huge sense of sadness descend over me. Yes, I was going to be ok (thankfully) but yet again, my birth story was one I would find hard to process and even harder to share. I felt like a total failure that my body had let me down in such a massive way. 

It took me a long while to get over Louie's birth. We had always hoped to have three children but the fear of the same scenario happening again was all-encompassing. After Louie, we also went through a distressing miscarriage (something I may write about in the future...a different kind of sadness) but finally, Hattie was conceived.

When I found out I was pregnant again, the joy and excitement was always tinged with anxiety. What if the birth went wrong? What if I suffered excessive blood loss again? It went round and round in my head continually. I struggled to verbalise these worries to anyone but they kept me up at night, with regular frequency, throughout the 9 months.  

Thankfully, having found an experienced and understanding consultant, I planned my first cesarean. It was by no means an easy option but under the circumstances, with my past history, it was the most controlled and safest way. Finally, Hattie was born - safely and calmly. It was, in a strange way, healing. I will never fully come to terms with my other birth stories but I am forever thankful for my 3 precious babies and that I am here to love and support them every day. 

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