Archive | August, 2012

Dottie’s Birth Story

22 Aug

Disclaimer: I am happy for this story to be linked to on this blog however I do not give permission for it to be reproduced, printed or reposted on another website. The photos are my own and may not be copied. The Badlet blog is an exploration of my personal journey, opinions and interests – it is not a pregnancy, birth or parenting blog. This story is deeply personal and I make no apologies for not following the apparent “rules” for writing a birth story. I ask that comments remain respectful and understanding. Judgemental or preachy comments will be deleted. I have no judgement whatsoever of the choices of others and ask for the same freedom in return. More about that here. Sorry that I even need a disclaimer but it seems that everyone has an opinion on how birth “should” be to which I say, “take your self-righteous preaching and fuck off!”. Open-minded nice people can read on! Much love, Naomi xx

We were planning a homebirth. The birth room was set up, everything was in order. My due date came and went. You can read about the week following my due date here.

My contractions began on Sunday 22nd July after 2 stretch & sweeps in the days prior. That was the last night that I had proper sleep… My Mum arrived from Adelaide the next day and after a week at home awaiting the baby, I decided to get out of the house and go with Bob to the airport to pick her up despite my contractions. That night the contractions were strong and regular (about 5 mins apart) and painful enough that I didn’t sleep. The next day they eased and I was determined to do whatever I could to get things moving again. I used my breast pump and had an acupuncture appointment that evening. By the time I went to bed my contractions were nearing 3 mins apart and once again, painful enough to prevent sleeping. I was hopeful that things were progressing but unfortunately they never did…

My midwife, Rosie arrived the next morning and I was 3cm dilated. Dottie was posterior so we spent an hour or so getting her repositioned and then I laboured at home all day without much change. Over the following 10 hours I had reached 4cm and I was utterly exhausted! I was not able to sleep or even lay down to rest.

At 5pm my midwife suggested breaking my waters. As much as I was keen to get things moving along, I felt as though I couldn’t go on without sleep. After much deliberation, lots of crying and weighing it all up with Bob, I looked within and found my answer… I wanted to transfer to hospital for pain relief and sleep. As hard as it was, I knew this was the right decision.

I had honestly not expected to need to transfer but we had a bag packed and a plan just in case. We spent the next 20 mins getting packed up and then I jumped in the car with Rosie for the 40 minute trip down the mountain. On the way in, Rosie coached me through each contraction and I felt surprisingly at peace with my decision. Upon arrival we weighed up options for pain relief.

I was pretty keen for an epidural but Rosie encouraged me to consider pethidine in order to get a little rest (it lasts about 2 hours) and then hopefully continue to labour naturally. I chose this option but I don’t think I would do it next time. I was able to sleep however I could feel the pain again (preventing me from sleeping) within 1 hour and once it wore off I had not dilated any further and I felt totally drugged!

The recommendation was for a synto drip and to break my waters to which I agreed along with the epidural so I could sleep. Meconium was found when my membranes were ruptured which (had we done this at home) would have been a cause for a transfer anyway. I knew that I’d made the right choice by transferring when we did.

As much as I’d wanted a natural birth, I loved the epidural and felt fine on the drip. I was still able to move my feet a little meaning that I was able to reposition myself easily. I got a few hours of broken sleep and by sunrise I was fully dilated and ready to push – the only problem was… pushing with an epidural is virtually impossible. While I was pushing, the pain of the contractions in my lower back returned. Ontop of this my temperature started to rise (suggesting an infection) which meant that I required antibiotics. I really didn’t want to have them but my temp kept escalating and I was advised that it was the best option.

Then, back to pushing… I was restricted to lying on my back or side. Dottie was moving down very slowly but it was hard work and I was running low on energy. When I had been pushing for two hours, my strength started to fade and Bob spoke to the doctors about a vacuum extraction which we were really keen for. Once this was organised, the whole energy in the room changed, it was great. The resuscitation team were on hand and the Doc doing the extraction was positive and vibrant. I was relieved to know that it would soon be over because I was certain that I wouldn’t be able to push her out. Once the vacuum was attached, her head was born on the next contraction! On the following contraction her body emerged and was placed on my belly. The cord was too short to reach any further! She had her hand up near her head which was partly why I was having such a hard time pushing her out. She required oxygen and observation so was taken to the resus unit before coming back to me, My placenta came out within 2 minutes and I was informed that I had a second degree tear requiring stitches (I was so thankful not to have an episiotomy). I happened to look down at the exact moment that the doctor was preparing the hook needle – I’ll never get that image out of my head!!

Dottie was returned to my chest but was still very pale so she was taken within a few minutes to the special care nursery and Bob went with her. I wasn’t concerned, I knew in my heart that she would be perfectly fine and of course she was.

So it didn’t really go at all to plan but I have no regrets. I made every decision from an empowered, informed and peaceful place and as a result, I had a peaceful experience!

I’ll continue this story to include my recovery when I get a chance. Follow Badlet on facebook or twitter for updates on new posts.

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Self Absorbed

18 Aug

We have had so much amazing support from our neighbours and friends since being home with Dottie. We’ve had people bring us food and help with cleaning which has made a huge difference to our lives. Then, Bob’s family came to visit…
They are the most self absorbed and socially awkward people I’ve ever encountered, thankfully they were only here for two days!

Everytime they visit it’s the same. They sit on the couch knitting & playing solitaire while we cook, clean and tidy for them. Then they eat the food we’ve made without saying thank-you and often end up making themselves a cheese sandwich after having 2-3 helpings as if to say “we really don’t appreciate anything you do”. It’s like babysitting the most ungrateful, non-talkative teenagers.

They will help with things like dishes if we ask but they rarely think to offer. I thought that considering we were adjusting to life with a 3 week old baby, perhaps we might see a more thoughtful side to them, unfortunately not.

Not only did they not contribute any food or assist with food prep (leaving us to cater for 5 adults in our precious free time), they also didn’t help with Dottie at all! In fact they didn’t even want to hold her!

They confessed that they had not held a baby in more than 30 years since they had their own children and they only picked up Dottie for the purpose of taking a photo. I can understand feeling nervous about holding someone else’s baby but I thought that most people couldn’t wait to have a snuggle with their first grandchild. Not these people.

Thankfully Bob turned out ok despite their detachment – I’m sure that Dottie will be fine too… more snuggles for us!

Deprived

17 Aug

Most cases of sleep deprivation are temporary and you can top yourself up with food while awake and then get back to your normal sleeping routine when convenient. But food can only fill the gap for so long…
I’m verging on 6 weeks with very little sleep. The week of Dottie’s birth I averaged about 2 hours per night. Now I’m averaging 4.5. I know that you can never really “catch up” on sleep but if it was possible, I’d need to sleep for a week straight to feel normal again. Everyday I am surprised at my ability to function but not only can I fulfil the needs of my child, I can also think and communicate coherently. It is amazing. I’m certain that new parents (particularly mothers) are somehow equipped to manage essential tasks on little sleep. I’m eternally grateful to my body for coping so well considering everything. In fact, my thoughts about the sleep deprivation are far worse than the reality of it. But every day an afternoon nap calls to me…

Goodlet

6 Aug

I am a Goodlet. I love my surname, so much that I couldn’t give it up when I married Bob. So I’m already challenging tradition right there, a married couple with two different surnames! Preposterous! And now they’ve brought a baby into the mix – Blasphemy!

As you can probably tell, I don’t give much of a fuck about tradition. I got married in a bunker wearing an orange dress, it’s true. So… why shouldn’t I be able to entertain the thought that my child is just as much entitled to have my surname as she is to have Bob’s? Because tradition-laden society says otherwise! I’ve only ever met a handful of people who would agree that it’s ok for a child to have their Mother’s surname from birth. Outside of these rare few it’s unanimously agreed upon that children must have their Father’s surname, but… no-one can tell me why they feel this way.

I reckon that if you believe something without knowing why (or being willing to think about why) then perhaps you are just a victim of societal brainwashing.

Bob (of course) insisted that the child should have his surname, Wiltshire. Apart from being on my anti-tradition high horse I was also opposed to this for other reasons including:

  • Wiltshire is commonly misspelled, mispronounced and misunderstood.
  • Wiltshire begins with “W”, which is not only a ridiculous and syllabel-heavy letter to say out loud but it’s also at the end of the alphabet and therefore if our child participates in anything involving alphabetical order (like school for instance), she will always be close to the bottom of the list, if not at the very bottom.
  • It is a harsh sounding and formal name which with an old fashioned first name (like Dottie or Robert) makes you sound like you’re about 200 years old.
  • It does not carry significant sentimental meaning to Bob and his family.

I could go on.

Here are some reasons why I think that Goodlet would have been a better choice:

  • It is easy to spell, pronounce and hear.
  • It begins with G, a one-syllabel letter moderately positioned amongst others in the alphabet.
  • It contains the word “Good”. Seriously, it’s a happy name.
  • I have a sentimental attachment to the Goodlet name and heritage.
  • It sounds better with the first name “Dottie” (in my opinion).

Despite all of this, our daughter’s surname is now Wiltshire. Regardless of my firey opinions, I peacefully backed down because in the end there was no argument to be had. Bob is one of those traditionalists who thinks it should be this way without sufficient reasoning. After months of having my reasons swept under the “things should be this way for no apparent reason” rug, I realised the futility of my mission and instead, suggested baby names that would go with either surname.

That way when she’s old enough to realise how inconvenient the surname Wiltshire is, she can become a Goodlet if she wants 🙂

Retreat

2 Aug

During the first week that I was at home waiting for Dottie to arrive, I filled  my schedule with normal activities. I was nervous about getting bored or impatient if I wasn’t busy. But when I my due date came and went the following week everything changed.

I lost my desire to connect with friends and family and despite feeling the urge to get out for a walk I just couldn’t bring myself to leave the house. The idea of going to the shops and facing the questions and judgements of everyone I encounter was my worst nightmare. I’d had enough of other people’s opinions and I just wanted to retreat from the world.

I had well meaning friends and family calling, texting emailing and facebooking me constantly asking what was going on and I couldn’t stand having the same conversation with everyone over and over. I disconnected the home phone, turned off my mobile and avoided the internet. I felt as if the world was getting impatient with me and I became frustrated. I know that these people were acting out of excitement and love however the bombardment was just too much for me. Why couldn’t they just trust me to let them know once the baby arrived?

I bunkered down in the house and waited, everyday hoping that this would be the day but also somehow knowing that it wasn’t going to be. I knew that on the day she would come I would be certain and “hope” wouldn’t even come into it.

I was in the midst of my transition into motherhood. Within myself I felt ready, all that was missing was the child! I had let go of my old life. The part of me that had lived without children was fading away and a mother was emerging. It was as if I had entered a tunnel of transformation, I was in neither place any more… and until I emerged out the other side, I wasn’t able to “be myself” with others because the true essence of who I am was changing. I needed that girl in my arms before I could reconnect with people, confident and refreshed within my new self.

When a baby is born there is a strange mixture of excitement and blessings as well as magical moments of stillness and gratitude. Dottie arrived later than expected and looking back, I needed that time out to escape from the world before getting caught in the whirlwind of celebration. On the 5th day that she was “overdue” I stopped struggling and willing it to happen and I simply found the joy in anticipation and the peace in the waiting. What a gift.