I have a confession. I hated being pregnant.Every minute of it. It started with feeling a bit pissed off that my food tasted weird and ended with me wanting to kill myself.
I hated the feeling of the baby moving. I couldn’t see her as a little human growing in there – a human, as it turns out, I would love in such a way, I wouldn’t know how I lived without her. She was an alien, a parasite that drained me physically and emotionally, and I couldn’t believe that I was stupid enough to have let myself get pregnant.
Who were these women that glowed and magically bonded with their unborn children? I decided all pregnant women that were not as miserable as me, were lying to themselves and everyone else. If they were honest, they would admit it was the worst thing they had ever done and would be using all the contraception they could get their hands on in the future.
I was so depressed, at my 37 week antenatal appointment I begged the poor midwife to induce me there and then. She laughed nervously and seemed to be looking for a sign that I might be joking. I was dead serious. Needless to say, I was sent away with some encouraging words and instructed to put my feet up while I still could. I hadn’t bothered to make a birth plan because I was too busy trying to deal with my messed-up head. Birth was birth and it meant no more pregnancy and that was all that mattered.
I was overdue by almost a week and when my waters broke, I sort of didn’t believe I was on my way to not being pregnant anymore. I was so relieved the end was in sight that I was actually strangely blasé about it. I went back to bed for a few hours’ kip (editor’s note for the non-Irish – kip is sleep) before I phoned the maternity ward. I went in to be examined by, possibly, the nicest midwife who ever existed. She definitely didn’t deserve to be on the receiving end of my mood. She wasn’t convinced that my ‘leakage’ was amniotic fluid, as it was dribbling out so slowly. There wasn’t enough to examine properly, so I was sent home to play the waiting game. I was horrified. What do you mean you can’t tell if it’s my waters? Aren’t you trained for this sort of thing? I’m nearly a week overdue anyway so just get in there with one of your funny little baby hoovers and get the bloody thing out!
Contractions started soon after I arrived home, but it was about 12 hours before I was ready to go back to the hospital. Eight hours after arriving back to the maternity ward, I hadn’t dilated any further, despite feeling like I must be ready to push out at least sextuplets. I was so exhausted and the pain was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I had no idea how to manage it successfully, even with all the techniques I had learned in the antenatal clinic. All of this, to pop out a horrible little monster that was clearly intent on destroying my life and felt nothing but contempt for.
I asked to have an epidural but was convinced they would tell me no. Every other time I had requested help during my pregnancy, there was an argument. No, you can’t have any anti-depressants, they’re not safe. Yeah, we’ll send you for some counselling, but it’ll take about six weeks. When the anaesthetist (who I was convinced was about 15 years-old) turned up five minutes later, I couldn’t believe I had actually been listened to and was willingly being helped in my time of need! I was able to sleep, eat and relax a bit for the first time in months.
Some hours later, baby was still hanging out in there, in no rush to make an appearance. The midwife advised me to have a hormone drip to help get things going. They also broke my waters from below baby’s head. This caused me to gush amniotic fluid during every contraction, which, I assure you, was less than glamorous. I somehow managed to laugh at this indignity and apologised to the midwife, who acted like it was the least gross thing she had ever seen. Honestly, those gals deserve a bloody medal for dealing with me, my various bodily fluids (I also threw up a lot) and my chronically bad mood.
Eventually (what felt like about two weeks later), the time came to start pushing. It was unremarkable – exactly how I had hoped it would be. There was a student doctor present, whose job was to administer Lucozade and flip the cold flannel on my forehead. Mine was the first child he had seen born and he was a bag of nerves. He was also terribly posh and his words of encouragement were a bit like polite cheering at a cricket match. I really liked him.
The moment that Beti was born, I cried. Not because I was happy, but an outpouring of emotion. I was so relieved it was over. When she was handed to me, I remember feeling guilty that she was crying. I felt like I had to apologise to her for taking so long to get her out. Surprisingly, I didn’t hate her. I didn’t love her either, but I did feel an overwhelming need to protect her. She had a squashed nose because she had been stuck in the birth canal for a little while longer than ideal. I started to wonder how long it would take me to save for her rhinoplasty.
It’s now two years later. The nose has unsquashed itself, much to the delight of my bank balance, and baby number two is well on her way.
Katherine has no idea what she’s doing or how to adult. She gets by on builders tea and hefty portions of fried foods. Her two year old daughter is so obsessed with her boobs that she has taken to wearing 3 layers of clothing at all times to prevent a public exposure.
This is the third in our new Punky Moms birth story series and we are grateful to be sharing these stories with readers like you. Care to share your birth story? We would be honored if you would consider sharing yours with us. Send us an email and say hello.