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My birth journeys. Part 6: Mine?

by lizzi (follow)
Helping plant the seeds of positive birth. www.sproutbirthing.com.au

I can sort of remember the trip to the operating room. We had to go through the hallways to a lift. Down to the operating room. We were in a little room just off the theatre. Dave was there. We were talking to the anaesthetist. A lovely woman with large earrings. I asked about the possibility of having a general anaesthetic. I was terrified of having a panic attack while they did the operation. I was told that I could have a GA if I really wanted but that Dave wouldn’t be allowed in. That freaked me out even more. She assured me that I could be given oxygen if I started to panic and that Dave would be right there beside me. She was actually quite reassuring.

They tried to top up the epidural, but that didn’t work. So they decided that I’d have the epidural removed and be given a spinal. Which had to be done the operating room. Without Dave present. We got in there and I was helped into a sitting position. I was still crying my eyes out. I don’t think I’d stopped since they told me they were giving me surgery.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

One thing that always features in my flashbacks is that as I was sitting and they were doing the spinal I could see someone (a nurse? An assistant? A doctor?) with a face mask on laying out instruments. I was immediately taken to those horror movies where you see the torturer, with face mask on laying out their instruments just before they commit some unspeakable torture. All I could see was this person’s eyes as I wondered what lay ahead. I didn’t really think that they could do worse to my body and soul than they already had. There was no space in me to be more scared than I already was.

So they work out that the spinal is actually working and Dave comes in. And the surgery is done. They had asked beforehand if we knew what we were having and the midwife asked the doctor not to say. Which was sweet.

So they did the surgery, popped the baby over the curtain and took her straight away. I was left in rather a bit of shock. Through my tears all I saw was a foot. I was hysterical…”put her back, I didn’t see. Bring me back my baby.” Dave tells me that it’s a girl and for a fleeting moment I experience happiness. Or maybe smugness is a better word. “See I told everyone it was a girl. Everyone said it was a boy, but I knew.” Then back to being hysterical because “Where the fuck is my baby?!”

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Dave gets to go to her and cut the cord and look at her. He gets to meet her before me. They wrap her and plonk her on me and I finally get to see her. I’m too numb and hysterical to feel much of anything. Dave notices that she opening her mouth looking for a nipple and all I can think is “Why the fuck doesn’t someone do something about that? Like help her out a bit?”

But instead they tell me that she has to be taken to the special care unit. I don’t question this (let’s just add that to the list of regrets). Dave asks me if I want him to go with bub or stay with me and I tell him to go with her because she’s so little. And then I am alone. Isolated again. Helpless. Terrified. They stitch me up and I’m sent out to recovery.

I’m wondering just how sick my baby is. I had previously been assured that well babies stay with their mums always. It was a “baby friendly hospital” after all. I’m guessing that my baby must be very sick to be kept from me. Then I hear a midwife talk about my blood loss. “That’s not minimal loss!” And I wonder if I’m the one who’s really sick. Maybe they are keeping my baby from me because I’m in trouble not her.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The anaesthetist assistant comes to talk to me. He talks about making sure I take my pain medication. And how it doesn’t matter how bub came out. To ignore the women who talk about their “natural” births and just remember that that doesn’t matter. My first introduction to the healthy baby lie.

I get up to my room on the ward. They’ve given me a private room. How nice. The midwife that I had at the start of my labour comes back on duty and comes to see me. I haven’t even got my baby with me and pretty much the first thing she says is to remember that “all that matters is a healthy baby”. Well how bloody healthy could my baby be if she’s still in special care?! I can’t remember anything else that horrid woman said. Just that I felt so very unsafe around her and wished very strongly that I would NEVER see her again (That wish came true!).

Finally my baby is brought to me. They undress her and put her on me and she has her first feed. Sorry – her first feed from me. I’m proudly advised that Dave got to give her her first feed in the nursery. Thanks for that stab to the heart. The nurse from special care heads off with this parting remark “Don’t forget that she belongs to us.”

After all I had gone through. All the bullying, all the trauma. I still had to prove that she was my baby. I had to prove that I could be a good and protective mother.

I had to earn the right to call her mine.

#Lizzi's birth journeys

Further reading about my journey:

My birth journeys. Part 5: No big deal

My birth Journeys. Part 4: What could possibly go wrong??

The vessel

Just one day

From birthing trauma to birthing revolution
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