i really did want to push

I read a blog post yesterday that got me to thinking about my 2 pregnancies and subsequent births. Both were planned c-sections, but that was never the original plan.

When I fell pregnant with M-L in February 2009, the plan was a natural birth. I wasn’t on a medical aid, and natural birth is far cheaper than a c-section, plus the recovery time is quicker as well. Then we found out that my OBGYN had moved 200km away which kinda freaked me out, as no one wants to go into labour, pile into the car and then have to drive for a good 1.5hrs to get to the hospital. But, hey, it was doable and being a first pregnancy labour should last a while, right? Anyway, fast forward 5 months, and something was wrong. DOWN THERE. Now I’m not one for doctor’s, but when I’m pregnant I get paranoid. So off I went to the GP, who upon examining me, kicked my mom out of the room (that’s never a good sign) and gently asked how many sexual partners I’d been with recently.

I’m sorry, what?!

I had contracted an STD, genital herpes to be exact. I have never felt dirtier or more disgusted with myself, ever. Through a mixture of snot and tears, I told the GP that I’d only been with my husband (for the past 6 years anyway) and how did this happen?! Apparently this does happen in pregnancies, and it’s more common than a lot of women will admit to. Being pregnant, I couldn’t go on the antibiotics that are normally prescribed, so I was sent home for a week’s bed rest (if you’ve ever had this condition, you’ll know why – ow :( ) and life continued on as normal. At my next check-up with the OBGYN I told him what had happened, and that’s when he told me that a natural birth was pretty much out of the window. Heartbroken doesn’t even begin to describe it.

If a woman gives birth naturally whilst experiencing an ‘outbreak’, it is very dangerous for her baby, as if any of the blood is ingested by the baby, this can result in blindness as well as the baby now having the herpes simplex, and if you still opt for a natural birth, then your baby has to have a nasty injection once born, to combat any of the herpes nasties that will be harmful to him/her. I couldn’t do that to M-L; why should she have to suffer unnecessarily as well as have the risk of blindness, when there was another alternative? So, the husband and I decided, along with the OBGYN that a planned c-section was the safest way to go.

Before we found out that I was pregnant with twins last year, we discussed a natural birth with my OBGYN. I told him of my ‘condition’, and he said that there shouldn’t be any issues, and that many women have natural births after c-sections and that we’ll just monitor my ‘condition’. I was excited; this way my opportunity to experience labour, and to ‘push’. I firmly believe that a lot of my postpartum depression that I experienced with M-L, was attributed to the fact that I didn’t experience labour. I believe that labour is the body’s way of both mentally and physically preparing a woman not only for birth, but for becoming a mother. I walked into hospital, heavily pregnant, and walked out the next day in pain, with a baby. The bond wasn’t there. The connect wasn’t there. I was excited; I imagined me waking up the husband in the middle of the night, excitedly exclaiming that my water had broken and that we had to go to the hospital, you know, all movie-drama like. But alas, that wasn’t to be, as a few minutes after that discussion, we discovered that there was an extra invader in my belly. As much as a woman can birth twins naturally, my OBGYN didn’t want to take any chances, and said that he wanted to deliver them via c-section. Pop went that bubble.

I don’t feel any less of a woman because I’ve birthed my 3 children via c-section, but I do feel judged by some of my friends (and even random strangers) who have had natural births, like I have taken the easy way out. But I can assure you, there is nothing easy about a c-section. It’s scary, it’s painful and it’s not something that I’ve jumped into. It’s major surgery, and the time that could have been spent cuddling my newborn/s, washing bottles, folding baby clothes etc, was spent trying to get out of bed faster than a tortoise walking a meter without crying out in pain. And the postpartum bleeding after a c-section is no less than if you had a natural birth; I was shocked after my first c-section that I was bleeding, and so much, and for so long! So many woman think that you don’t after a c-section; believe me, you DO! After a c-section you aren’t allowed to drive for 6 weeks; a natural birth allows a woman to drive pretty much the same day, depending on what went on DOWN THERE. With a natural birth, things tend to shrink down to their ‘normal’ size relatively quickly (there is no normal size after pregnancy, I know) whereas with a c-section it takes so. much. longer. Being wheeled into the theater, drip in your wrist, catheter up your who-ha, having to schooch your big, heavy pregnant body over onto the operating table, having to somehow bend your body in half (impossible with a big ass tummy in the way) and then having to try and breathe through the needle being inserted into your lower back for the epidural, are all wonderfully soothing things that a woman looks forward to, right before bringing her child/children into this world. Right before her stomach is sliced open, her insides mooshed around, air filling every nook and cranny (air that she’ll know about for weeks after the birth) and a pressure unlike she’s every experienced before, all before welcoming her child into the world. Also with a c-section, the time spent with your newborn right after birth is not like the time spent after a natural birth. Because you now have to lie in theater for another 30-45mins (sometimes even longer) whilst your doctor stitches you back together, your baby is whisked away to the nursery, where the first bath is given, the first feed and you’re lying in theater, missing it all.

I wanted to push. I wanted to do that, be a ‘real woman’, whatever that is. But I couldn’t, and I’m ok with that. I have 3 beautiful, healthy children who are no worse off because their mommy didn’t give birth to them ‘like a real woman should have’. My mom had all 3 of us naturally, and I applaud her for that. Just like I applaud every other woman who has had a natural birth. Just like I applaud every other woman who has had a c-section. I applaud every woman that gives birth, whichever way she does so. I wish women would stop ‘comparing’ births; what matters is that your child is here, healthy and perfect, whether born naturally or via c-section.

Yes I wanted to push.

But I didn’t, and that’s ok.

G

there is no day off from parenting

With both Mother’s and Father’s day done and dusted, I feel that I need to raise a pertinent point; there is no day off from parenting. Whilst we as parents long for an entire day just to ourselves, to sleep in, watch a movie or 3, go to the bathroom in peace or to not have to answer every Why question out there, it will never happen.

Why you ask? I have a wonderful wife/husband/partner who gives me the ‘day off’, especially on the above-mentioned days. Well I’ll tell you why.

You can’t have a day off from being a parent, because once you become a parent, your heart now lives outside your body. So whilst your partner may have taken the kids for some ice-cream or to the beach, park etc, you’re constantly thinking to yourself:

1. I hope he/she keeps an eye on them
2. I hope that they don’t mind me checking up on them (every 10mins in my case)
3. I wonder if they took jackets?
4. It looks like rain; I wonder if the umbrella is still in the car?
5. I must remember to sign the permission slip for Suzie’s excursion
6. I wonder if Jack picked up his toys like I asked him to
7. Did they brush their teeth before leaving the house?
8. I wonder what’s for dinner?
9. I wonder if my partner has thought about dinner?
10. The thought of fighting with the kids over eating their vegetables…

And so the list could go on and on and on.

But I’m tired of seeing posts up every Mother’s and Father’s day saying “I hope you get the day off!”

Because how can I, when my heart is outside of my body, in my 3 little blessings?

G

the realisation has hit me

I was lying in bed last night, all stuffy nosed and congested head (the winter flu has finally found me) and it dawned on me that I would never again be pregnant, at least not naturally. Apart from the fact that I am now down 1 entire Fallopian tube from my surgery at the end of April, I had my tubes tied in February when the twins were born, so the only Fallopian tube that I have left is in 2 pieces!

Don’t misunderstand me; I do not want anymore children. I’m done, kaput, fine-to. But, the thought that I will never again be able to conceive life, has done a number on my brain. I’m no longer a ‘complete’ woman, for want of describing it better? A part of me wonders if I made the right decision; I remember lying on the operating table, the twins and the husband had left and my OBGYN looked over the covers and asked me in a very serious voice if I was 100% sure that I wanted my tubes tied. It was something that we had already discussed (a few times – the first time being on the 14th of July 2014 when we found out that it was twins in my belly!) and in the haze of the epidural and some freaking fantastic pain medication I said YES! – absolutely! I also recall asking for a tummy tuck, but alas, that didn’t happen.

I just wonder if I should have just continued on the pill, as it had thus far served me well. I fell pregnant with both M-L and the twins after being off the pill for 1-2 months because (and this is the really funny part) I couldn’t afford it every month! Look there’s nothing I can do about it now, and I don’t regret it, but I just feel a little incomplete inside. Like the one really important thing that only a woman can do, I can’t do anymore. I’ve been fine about it since I had it done back in Feb; last night the realisation just slapped me upside the head and I can’t seem to think about anything else but that.

But, I have my 3 blessings, and i couldn’t ask for anything more :)

G

counting my blessings

I am a very blessed woman. I may not be wealthy, or have some of the creature comforts that others do, but I’m blessed. I have 3 beautiful, healthy children, all 3 of which were able to leave the hospital when I left.

I’ve made friends with a couple via Instagram, and then Facebook. We came to know each other through our Instagram accounts, as we were both expecting twins! Whilst I have never struggled with fertility (my husband and I just look at each other, and BOOM) this couple struggled for 14 years, before their dream was finally realised, and on Wednesday the 3rd of June, their beautiful twins were born. They were born at 35 weeks, and whilst had no major medical issues (that I’m aware of), they were moved straight into the NICU and fitted with feeding tubes.

When Mama H was discharged, she had to leave her beautiful miracles behind, and that is where I count my blessings. Whilst she knew that she would be taking her babies home soon, she didn’t know when, and had to go home with an emptiness inside of her. I don’t know how she did it; I’m not sure that I would have coped mentally with a situation like that. All 3 of my babies left hospital with me; I didn’t have to leave my heart at the door when I went home.

But the best news flitted across social media yesterday; baby H was discharged! My heart melted when I saw her all snug in her car seat, and then later with Daddy F snuggling with her at home. His one response to someone’s comment: “I’m in love”. Baby J should be following his sister this weekend, and I’m waiting with baited excitement for that announcement!

This story has a happy ending, and whilst I don’t know H & F, i couldn’t be happier for them.

I am a blessed woman.

G

about that tipping point

Today has been one of those leave-me-the-eff-alone days. It started out flipping horribly, and just drained what little positivity I had left during the course of the day. But what this post is about, is the tipping point. The point in time today, that I thought I had well and truly lost my mind. But I didn’t.

I got home, and quite honestly the thought of what lay ahead for me still to do did not excite me. But it had to be done! M for some reason was moaning when I got home, and continued to moan. Her moans continued as I took her and A upstairs for their bath, and intensified something chronic when I lay her in her cot. I’m talking about full on meltdown, with little tears in her eyes, and those horrible gasping sound that children make when they’re so upset and crying. But I couldn’t fill their bath and undress them and wash them and dress them, all whilst holding her. So she had to lie there. When I was bathing her she calmed down, but once I’d dressed her and laid her back down so that I could bath A, she started up again. And this time it was worse. I stood at their bath holding Alex, thinking to myself that I was about to lose it. I’m talking about putting A down, walking out the house and screaming until I no longer had a voice. It took every ounce of my inner strength to not get angry, as she’s just a 4 month old baby; she’s not doing it on purpose and she just wanted to be picked up. But it was just the intensity of her cries (A at this point decided to join in) and the fact that I felt so empty inside from the day’s events that almost pushed me over the edge.

But I didn’t lose my balance. I stayed focussed. I bit my tongue, got the twins calmed down, fed and put to bed. I then plonked myself on the bed, where I pretty much haven’t moved from in the last hour. But it kinda scared me, feeling like that. Feeling like I was losing control, like the world was about to swallow me whole. Even the fact that I don’t think I have enough formula for the twins to last them past breakfast tomorrow morning doesn’t have me in a spin. I’m just numb, empty. Drained.

But. I didn’t fall. Whilst I peaked my head over the edge of the cliff, I didn’t fall over.

Tipping point 0, Gena 1.

G