That’s a good question, because I’m undoubtedly a different person than I was two weeks ago.In 26th January 2014, our gorgeous daughter was born. Both my partner and I were so excited. I couldn’t wait to meet her! She was 10 days overdue, the labour was about 36 hours and as I became stuck (or ‘failed to progress’ – nice) I first had my waters broken, then when that didn’t work, I had an oxytocin drip. Everything happened very fast after that, her head lodged itself in my birth canal & my pushing wasn’t shifting her so she was pulled out with a ventouse (suction).I had been practising hypnobirth techniques such allowed me to remain calm, and my partner had come too so he was supporting me. He was absolutely amazing, especially considering how difficult it was for him to see me in so much pain.
He’s a wonderful, thoughtful, generous man. He suggested I start this blog as a form of catharsis/therapy. I poo-poo’d it to begin with, but like most of his ideas, it’s a good idea. I was feeling really well prepared for the birth; I’d read so much – books and online, asked questions of midwives and friends with babies. And I felt like I managed the birth itself really well. Or maybe I just believed what everyone else told me. Perhaps what I’m feeling now is in part a delayed reaction to a birth that really wasn’t what I was hoping for. I knew logically that I couldn’t control how it would go, but I guess I hoped my determined positive thinking would do the trick.I know from past experiences that I’m not very in contact with my emotions – I can’t always tell what I’m feeling before I get a physical symptom (like nausea or retching to indicate anxiety) or I just act or say something insensitive or bitchy, and it takes some perspective to realise I wasn’t thinking straight. It wouldn’t surprise me if I’m still recovering but not consciously.
I was initially anxious about breastfeeding. There is a lot of pressure to do it, everyone
I know did it (although I was bottle-fed because I was adopted) and you get the impression it will be easy. The midwives say, ‘it shouldn’t hurt or you’re doing it wrong’. And I had inverted or flat nipples (not sure which as definitions seem to vary) – before I was pregnant, they’d very rarely come out on their own, but could be sucked out during sex, although they wouldn’t stay out for longer than 20 seconds or so. On a midwife’s suggestion, during pregnancy I encouraged them out every day, and they obliged. They were very sensitive but then I started to hope I could breastfeed sucessfully. They looked a bit weird – I’m prone to skin tabs & during pregnancy these went wild due to hormones – and when fully out my nipple tips seemed to be covered in them. But I didn’t worry
.On my first night in hospital a midwife tried to help me to get our baby to latch on. I can’t remember exactly what happened but I do remember a very sharp shooting pain in my nipple like someone trying to cut the end off with a pair of scissors. I yelped and started to freak out. It was so painful, and I really wasn’t expecting it. We persevered and I think we did get her latched on but to be honest I can’t remember. I must have done. I remember baby was sick twice & it had brown stuff in it – I was told this was blood & perfectly normal, but that freaked me out a bit – made me think of Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom, and how drinking the blood turns the people into voodoo zombies.I am a terrible kind of perfectionist – if I don’t get something perfect, pretty much first time, I throw a tantrum, write it off as something I can’t do, and don’t try again. And I don’t always like asking for help – I’m hard on myself, I expect the best immediately, and berate myself if I fall short. You may be able to see where this is going.I had difficulty in hospital getting a good latch, but I wanted to get it on my own so my partner had to convince me to ask for help. I got lots of help but was still suffering painful nipples that were coming out mangled. I was told my latch looked good and no one knew why it was painful. I felt very alone.