My sister is about to have her first baby, and it struck me the other day that she looks a little frightened. She’s not frightened of having the baby, she’s frightened of the unknown like all first time mothers. Exactly like I was and probably my mother before us and our grandmother before her.
This got me thinking about how I felt before I had my first born.
Like my sister has done, I was booked in for an elective caesarean because I was fearful of a natural labour and it wasn’t something I really wanted to do. Thanks to a private obstetrician I knew the date my baby would be born from when I was only five weeks pregnant.
I also thought there was so much pressure to breastfeed and I was going to try it and if it didn’t work I wouldn’t bother. I was going to take twelve months off work, I was going to get the baby in a good routine as soon as I could, I was, I was, I was ………
……..and then I went into labour at 34.5 weeks. The day after I finished up at work. My Dr was on holidays, I was given a new Dr, I was given drugs, lots of drugs that made me sleep and I couldn’t feel the pain anymore. I was monitored. 1 cm, 2cms, more drugs, more sleep, more monitoring.
After a while I was moved from delivery into maternity where everything stopped and then my lunch came in. I was starving.
I got out of bed at exactly 35 weeks to get my lunch tray and the pain hit me like a truck, the contractions pounded one after another. I realised I was standing at the end of the bed rocking side to side like the 80’s style lady they show you in the birth class videos.
The nurse came in and got me into bed, 3cms, 4cms, more pain in waves. I was told to call my husband that it wouldn’t be too much longer now.
I didn’t want to do this naturally I was booked in for a Caesarean.
I called my husband “Honey, the baby’s coming, you need to come to the hospital” he replied with “But I’m at Bunnings and the baby has been coming for a week now”.
Half an hour later he arrived in the most hideous t-shirt he owned.
The pain kept coming but then in came the Dr to take me up to get the baby out.
I was scared, my baby was five weeks early, I wasn’t ready.
Then at 3.25pm on the 12th August, 2006 a very unhappy little man was raised out of my belly into the world. The Dr didn’t think he would weigh even 2kgs, but he showed them, 2.1kgs. He screamed his little lungs out, he was not happy. The frown on his face was so wrinkled. He was wrapped up and passed to me.
The world stopped.
I couldn’t hear anything but the love I felt for this amazing little boy was so overwhelming I started to cry. I told him I was his Mummy and I loved him very much and he stared into my face with the most intense gaze that I will never forget.
Our bond was instant.
I was head over heels in love.
He was wheeled into Special Care to be checked over and after an hour he needed breathing support. After 24 hours we were being briefed on the fact that he may not make it.
He had severe respiratory distress.
My world crumbled, I felt totally helpless, so I held his little hand and talked to him for hours on end. I read him the newspaper, I sang him songs and I pumped milk.
Four days after he was born he turned a corner and we had our first breastfeed. I couldn’t believe how magic it was that my body was feeding my beautiful little boy and he was loving it. More importantly I was loving it. It was amazing. I felt very blessed.
Ten days after he was born he came out of a humidicrib and off all breathing support.
At two weeks old we put our precious little man in our car and drove home.
He was ours and he was fine.
Even to this day I am still overwhelmed at how instinctively we become protective of our offspring, to nurture them, to love them and to protect them from everything, sickness, bullying, falling over, anything and everything.
All the things I was going to do changed the instant he was put in my arms. I wasn’t scared anymore because I knew that the love I had for this beautiful little person would guide me through whatever we were going to do together. He had never been here before and I’d never had a child before, so together we were clueless, together we would work it out and that we did.
He fed, he slept, he grew, and then one day he smiled and the love got even deeper.
Today I look at my dazzling six year old who covers me with the most beautiful kisses and cuddles, who plays with my hair when I’m not feeling well, who can read to me, sing with me, converse with me and I know I had nothing to be frightened of.
It doesn’t matter if he was born naturally or by caesarian.
It doesn’t matter if he was bottle fed or breastfed.
It doesn’t matter if he was in a routine or not.
None of it matters, because at the end of the day it’s the love for them that wins out everytime that keeps us Mum’s strong and determined and enables us to lay the foundations for their beautiful lives that we so amazingly get to watch and grow.
So, my dear sister, there is nothing to be frightened of, you are going to be an amazing mother and if you are frightened just remember you have an amazing sister who will help you through.
Lots of love and kisses to all the Mumma’s out there, the in-waiting Mumma’s, the bereaved Mumma’s, the tired Mumma’s …. you’re all amazing and if you’re ever frightened there is another amazing Mumma just around the corner waiting to help you xxxxxx