Tuesday, October 21, 2014
I wanted to share some of my thoughts and feelings regarding the labouring and birthing of my third child.
Before birthing Nellie, in the water, drug free, I felt like I was on the outer of some elite club. I felt inferior and I felt pressured to birth a certain way. I'll admit I put this pressure upon myself and it was my own issues that brought my feelings to the fore front.
I am of the opinion that all births are beautiful, special and unique; and that above all else, a healthy baby at the end of the journey is all that matters. I strongly believe these things.
Birth is so amazing. It is different for everyone and every single mother's experience of birth is just as incredible and memorable as the next.
I birthed my first two children on a hospital bed, after practically begging for an epidural (which didn't take away the pain from the left side of my body, as it turned out, but which completely took away my mobility). I can see pros and cons for the way in which I birthed my sons. The epidural relaxed my body and provided me with some relief. I obviously had reached a point during labour in which I felt I could not go on, so I asked for pain relief, and I got it. It's amazing that this sort of medicine is available for women who need it. However, because I was still feeling pain down my left side, I was given so much of the drug that it paralysed me for hours after the birth. This part I hated. I hated that I was bound to a bed. I hated that I had to wait hours before standing and showering. Possibly the worst part was the reaction I had to all the adhesive tape that was covering my back holding the epidural in place and which was later ripped off my back like a nasty waxing experience. I had red, itchy welts for weeks.
In hindsight I now know that I didn't mentally prepare myself accurately for either of my first two births. I went into hospital in denial the first time 'round, thinking ignorance was bliss and that I'd just take it as it came...and the second time I went in, full of fear, almost as though my mind was already made up.
Third time around I weighed up the pros and cons and all of my choices. I knew I didn't want an epidural, that was out of the question for me as the cons far outweighed the pros. I read about other pain relief options and immediately ruled them out when I read about the effects they can have on the baby. I was left with gas & air...and water. So I chose water.
I've been asked many questions, but the most common seems to be, 'would I recommend a water birth?' - the answer is a resounding YES.
Between the shower and the bath I managed my pain better than I ever thought possible. I went into hospital with a mindset of 'absolutely no drugs unless it's a medical emergeny and necessary for the baby's sake.'
Going in armed with a positive, strong mind was my number one advantage. the second advantage was having water available to use. The water calmed me and relaxed my body. As I waited until the end before hopping into the bath, it gave a nice 'change of scene' and provided a bit of a distraction during transition. The water also acted as a counter-pressure as Nellie was crowning. The midwife informed us that water births can be very hands off for this reason. The water supports the mother in a way that is gentle but necessary. Possibly my greatest fear all along regarding birth, has been feeling my baby's head crowning. I had read and heard about the 'ring of fire' and it terrified me. I can say in all honesty, that I never felt this sensation. I felt immense amounts of pressure, so much pressure that words cannot describe...but it wasn't painful as such and it certainly was never worthy of fear.
Last week I upload Nellie's birth video onto You Tube. I wanted to share it with those interested, and kept it marked as 'unlisted' as I wasn't sure I was ready to share it with the whole world.
I have now decided that it is something I want to share - I watched so many positive birth videos before having Nellie. It helped me see that so many women do do it and can do it. It showed me that I too can achieve the birth that I chose and want.
Birth is not a competition. I do not feel more special for having a water birth, or drug free birth. I certainly do not hold any club membership. What I have is information and experience. I weighed up my options and made an informed decision, free of fear. I am proud of myself, yes I am, but more proud of the way in which I prepared my mind and body, than I am of the way in which I brought my daughter into this world.
If you'd like to see Nellie's Birth Video just click on this link - and please feel free to share your birth story with me by leaving a link in the comment section below.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Don't misunderstand me, I love them all equally, in equal amounts, but the same? No. How could I possibly love three, completely unique, individual personalities, hearts and souls the same. I can't.
I love Ronan for his deep thoughtfulness, his kind, enormous heart and his sweet ways. I love his mind and his brain, the way he thinks, ponders and goes about his day. I love the way he is a big brother to Finn and Nell. I love the way he holds my hand and tells me that I'm beautiful. I love his beautiful smile. I love how smart he is, how well he does puzzles. I love his memory - it is incredible. I love the funny faces that he pulls and the way he sings. I love that he loves music, of all types.
I love Finnian for his bigger than life personality; for his determination. I love his cuddles and his big blue eyes. I love the way he admires his big brother, Ronan, and how he adores his little sister Nellie. I love the way Finn loves, with a big heart and open arms. I love the way he wears his heart on his sleeve. I love how agile he is and how amazing his motor skills are. I love that he still needs us and wants us close by. I love that he loves the outdoors.
I love Nellie for all of her sweetness and vulnerability. I love the way she smells and the way she stares into my eyes and smiles. I love her squeaks and squeals, her grunts and cries. I love the way she holds my hand as she feeds. I love that she loves to be held and sleeps soundly in our arms. I love her long eyelashes and chubby, super soft cheeks. I love that her ears are just like mine (like little dried apricots).
My children are all different and so I love them all differently, for different reasons.
Do I have a favourite? That's not possible. My three are equally as wonderful and equally as loveable.
'A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in2014.'
Ronan: Working out your new birthday present.
Finnian: Mixing the waffle batter in preparation for breakfast.
Nellie: There is something about newborn feet that I just love.