My two birth experiences are at the polar opposites of the spectrum. So different but equally life changing.
The thing that I found difficult first time around was heading into the unknown. Not knowing when labour was going to start or what it was going to feel like was very unnerving. In comedy fashion we went to the cinema to watch Batman. I started to feel a few twinges which escalated as the film went on. We took a taxi home and consulted the pregnancy book. Was this it?
The early stage of labour were long and drawn out over several days (and best not remembered in detail!). After a bizarre day on a drip to combat dehydration I was sent home from the hospital.
When things got going I went to the midwife led birthing. I had a tens machine to manage the contractions plus gas and air for pain relief. There are a few gory details that don’t need to be published here! There is nothing like the moment I saw Sofia for the first time. I whispered Hello Sofia over and over again into her ear.
The thing that I now can’t believe is that we went home straight afterwards. Because it was about 11pm they told Rolando he had to leave. I was determined that we should stay together, plus I was very scared of being responsible for a newborn so I had a shower, called a taxi and we left. I was still very weak and shaking. We struggled to secure the car seat into the taxi. At home we stared at our beautiful sleeping baby thinking what the hell should we do now.
My second pregnancy was highly medical. I had fortnightly growth scans and all my appointments were with a consultant. The boys shared a placenta and I was told early on that a c-section was the only viable option for their delivery. I was actually relieved that the decision was taken out of my hands.
There was a surreal moment when decided the date for the boys to be born like we were booking a hairdressers appointment. We went for 12 October because it is a national day in Rolando’s home country.
This time around I was terrified of the surgery. I tried to block it out of my mind until the day. We headed to the hospital knowing we would have two more children by lunchtime. There was a hilarious moment of trying to wrestle on surgical stockings when I could barely bend over. The moment just before the aesthetic is probably one of the scariest moments of my life so far. The birth was completely surreal. The surgeon was playing cheesy local radio and chatting with her assistant during the operation. Sam was born first and Leo 3 minutes later – I’ll never forget how angry and purple they looked.
What happened next is a blur, possibly because I’d lost a lot of blood. I remember trying to tandem feed the boys for the first time in the recovery ward which was mind blowing.
We were in hospital for 7 days in total. The boys needed extra help with feeding and were both tube fed for a number of days. My recovery was not as bad as I had anticipated. I was walking within a day of the operation and feeling more steady on my feet within another 2 days.
The time in hospital was very special with lots of highs and some big lows too. After a week I was desperate to bring our boys home and to start the crazy adventure of being a family of five.