Jan 7, 2013

A Sort Of Birth Story.

My memories are like shoe boxes of photos.  A seemingly random jumble of images that would probably be meaningless to anyone but myself.  The magic happens for me, though, when those images flash themselves in a slide show on my mind.  Suddenly, I'm reliving all manner of major life events as well as the associated emotions as if it all happened yesterday.  

I have no idea if any of that makes sense.  SSG Manor is currently humming along to the rhythm of the baby's sleep wake cycle.  Everything else pauses when he's awake and resumes when those beady little eyes shut into tiny horizontal slits... we're Chinese so I guess that's to be expected. 

Being new to the game, I'm hell bent on fitting in as much as I can in the sleep phases but I'm not sure if the blogging region of my brain is keeping up.

Today's post is all about my memories of life since New Year's Eve with visual prompts from photos I took on my iPhone.  You'll be relieved to know that I'm leaving the graphic details out.  For further reference in this area, please feel free to go off and watch an episode of One Born Every Minute or think back to your own time on the labour ward when the staff thought it would be good for you to have a full length mirror placed between your legs whilst prizing the nitrous oxide tubing out of your hands as they tell you that you won't be needing it for the pushing......

Labour kicked off for me on New Year's Eve, after a weekend of feeling pretty ordinary with back pain, the irrits and a suddden loss of interest in surfing the net on my iPad.  Given that the city was getting into lock down mode with road closures for the evening's fireworks, it was decided that I'd get admitted rather than drive home and risk not being able to return for the business end of things.

The plan for me was to walk around for a couple of hours after getting admitted to help speed things up a bit.  I did cheat and spend a lot of the time sitting down with a Filet O'Fish and come Chicken McBites but guilt and the contractions caught up with me and I just had to get moving.

This isn't a bad place to be if you're in established labour.  It's the Nurses' Garden just outside the entrance to the hospital.  There's something about a slow trickling fountain and manicured hedges.  They make you feel calmer and your mind feel clearer.

I know you're meant to plan going into labour with as much attention to detail as you would your wedding but no matter how hard I tried (which wasn't that hard....) the words for a birth plan just didn't come to me.  Which worked out well because I wasn't asked for one.

I also remember being told that giving birth is 'your day' and to make yourself as comfortable as you can in your room with whatever takes your fancy, be it LED candles (no naked flames allowed in hospital), aromatherapy oils or a special soundtrack sequenced to the timing of your contractions.  I hit the ward armed with a bag of snacks, some magazines, the usual electronic devices and a disposable shower cap.  For some reason, I had it fixed in my mind that labour was going to be this long (and laboured!?!?) process where I'd be able to eat a few Cheezels as I flicked through a magazine and checked in on Facebook.

Actually, I did make a few other preparations for labour.  Deciding that perhaps part of the pain could be conquered by a mind over matter approach, I wrote a list of positive affirmations written down on a set of index cards a few weeks back.  I read a few each day and took the cards with me to hospital.  I also had a preparation for labour relaxation podcast on my iPhone which I had listened to as often as I could in the weeks leading up to L Day.  The podcast focused on the fact that perhaps labour could even be a pleasurable process if only the mind could embrace the concept of pain and pleasure being on a shared continuum.

You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men going astray.  The only thing I used and was really happy that I brought with me was that plastic shower cap.  Why?  Because I probably accounted for half the entire hospital's water bill for the duration of time I was in the labour ward.  If I wasn't under the shower, I was in the bath.  If I wasn't chugging down water, I was crunching ice chips.  It was a kind of water birth I guess.

As for my podcast and affirmations?  Perhaps they were playing on a loop in the depths of my subconscious because I could recall neither of them during the duration of my labour.

I promised to spare you a blow by blow description of the birth and I'm following through.  This is the only photo we have from the labour.  A nice, inoffensive photo of the clock on the wall of our room taken a few minutes after Baby SSG was born and his dad and I came back down to earth after first seeing him.  I actually heard him before laying eyes on him, the baby was born with quite a healthy set of lungs and the screaming didn't stop until he was fully dressed, weighed and measured.  I think he likes to have things just so.

Now that it comes to writing down how I felt at the time, I'm finding myself at a loss for the right words.  I remember the various events and procedures that punctuated the progression of labour quite vividly but the emotions of the day seem blunted in comparison.  There was pain, there was frustration, there was fatigue and at times a feeling that there was no end in sight but right now, it's as if a different person was feeling all those things for me.

The only other thing I can say is that I'm grateful for the experience that I had and that I feel that I had the best possible outcome I could have hoped for.  A great deal of the credit goes to my obstetrician and the midwives who guided me through and I will be forever grateful for their patience, determination and skill.  And the benevolent taxi driver who ferried my obstetrician across the city on New Years Eve no less.

Life over the next few days was one adventure after another and no two days were alike.  There were highs and relative lows.  The lows mainly being because I basically had no idea what I was doing or why I was doing it.  Fortunately, practice was a great teacher and Baby SSG was a very tolerant and robust subject.  I bumbled along under the guidance of the midwives and with the belief that if the baby was well enough to cry and need frequent nappy changes, I was on the right track.

I don't know how new mothers survived in hospital before the invention of iPads, I honestly don't.  How else can you make the most of that first cup of tea in 10 months that actually tastes like tea?

In a similar vein, I rekindled my passion for a skinny cap first thing in the morning whilst in hospital.

I had sushi or sashimi for lunch most days of my hospital stay.

As the days progressed and my confidence in looking after a tiny baby (without a licence) on my own increased, I became less tense whilst he was awake and started to do normal things with him in tow.  There was even a handy wall chart next to my bed to help me decode basic baby behaviour.  I've got the photo on my phone for future reference.

The baby and I did some reading together.

And played with whatever we had on hand.

On our last evening in hospital, both sets of grandparents visited us and encouraged me to get out for a bit of fresh air whilst they sat with Baby SSG.  It was a bit of a shock being back in the real world with the sun on my face and seeing everyday things like pedestrians and cars speed past me.  I walked past the familiar buildings reflecting on how much had changed in  my life in the 5 days since I'd last waddled past them in a bid to progress those contractions.

There was a sense of the circle being completed when I stopped by the church down the road from the hospital.  I had visited it on New Year's Eve to have a few quiet moments to pray about and contemplate what was about to happen and I returned to say a few quiet words of thanks for everything that had been given to me after that moment of prayer.


  1. What a lovely post. Your little family is so blessed. We often get caught up then the speed of life, it's nice to be reminded that we all need to take a moment to thank the higher powers for everything we have. And appreciate it for what it is.

    Blogging as a new mummy is hard. There is so much to do. That's when I found Instagram really useful. it's immediate and quick and you can share the moment.

    Good luck with the next phase, let me know if there is anything we can do to help.

    K xx

  2. A beautiful story of your birth.
    I so remember that walk outside on the street and actually feeling scared!
    I too went to that Church and then to the pub to buy a bottle of wine!
    I remember those car wizzing past and thinking what would happen if something happened to us? If we got hit by a car?
    I whole life changed the moment the baby was born, but it all changed again when I was set free into the real world.

  3. Lisa @ Blithe MomentsJanuary 7, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Congratulations on the arrival of baby SSG! That was such a lovely post.

    I'm not a Mum but I'm going to give you the advice all my girlfriends tell me is the best and that they all ignored at first - sleep when your baby sleeps. Forget the washing, forget the blogging, just sleep. Sleep deprivation makes everything a thousand times harder, so look after yourself and sleep whenever you can.

  4. Baby SSG is perfect. Congratulations Mr and Mrs SSG xox

  5. beautiful post!! much better than my blow by blow ramble hahaahahaha I LOVE the photo of baby SSG with the sushi soy fish hahaaha oh he is so cute!! You know I brought my ipad but didn't open it up once, so weird! so happy for you and your little family. xox

  6. He is just perfect, congratulations to you all - enjoy every second! xx

  7. Congratulations. He is perfection.

  8. Congrats, what a lovely baby and great words :)

  9. I love that baby crying guide...I think my downstairs neighbours need a copy of that! Congrats again - he looks perfect. And welcome back to Sushi.

  10. Awww so adorable! Congratulations, wishing you all the best xx

    Please check out my blog and enter my competition.

    Amanda xo

  11. Wow! I'm glad that your obstetrician made it on NYE!! :)
    Lots of xx and glad the swaddles came in useful. ;)

  12. This is the most gorgeous piece of writing. Not only are you a wonderful new mother, you are a talented writer. It is 20 years since I had my last baby, but your words reminded me exactly how I felt at that time. The whole world had slipped and altered and become something different. Best wishes to you all and I thank you for this wonderful reflective post.

  13. Leanne Shea LangdownJanuary 9, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Hahaha! A "water birth". You're funny.
    How lovely SSG.
    What a beautiful account for your son to read one day.
    I am so pleased things are going well for you and the bub.
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

  14. Love this post - love your honesty and humour. And baby is beautiful x
    So glad all is well :)

  15. You're going to be a great mum (you already are!) Follow you're instincts with him. Mum knows best! And be sure to get some rest while he's resting. Enjoy xxx


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I'm having trouble importing comments from Blogger right now so using Disqus or sending a tweet would be your best bet. X


Related Posts with Thumbnails