In terms of romanticising about moments in our life, there is not a lot that could top meeting your baby for the first time. This little life that you’re responsible for creating. What anticipation and excitement! What will they look like? Will they cry? Will they enjoy a cuddle? Will they be covered in blood and wrinkly? What will they smell like? Will they wrap their little fingers around mine? Surely I will be so overcome with emotion that I cry. I ball my eyes out. I am in sheer heaven and I feel SO much love right away just like they show in all those movies.
When I met our first baby I actually got the fright of my life. It was Sunday at 10.32pm. My induction process started on the Thursday morning at 9am. Here I was, lying on the theatre table absolutely exhausted. After pushing for my life little Bonnie was delivered by forceps. I was in too much shock to cry. I was lying there being stitched up with the following thoughts running through my head:
1 – Wow she is HUGE (she was 14 days late, super long and 9 pounds 6.5)
2 – NOOO they told me it was a girl (the cut chord looked tremendously like something else and I was a bit away with the fairies).
3 – Phew he is crying all is ok
4- Ah no I am wrong it is a girl (we had decorated the nursery and been calling the bump Bonnie for months so phew for that)
5 -I am so gutted my husband is getting to hold her first
6- Hurry up with the stitches I want cuddles NOW
7 – I really hope I can stay awake
8 – My husband looks so hot in scrubs
Finally this little girl I have been growing inside me all those months, the baby responsible for all that morning sickness, backache and sheer exhaustion, all those kicks and all that incredible excitement and joy is getting handed to me for cuddles. She is gently placed on top of me and I hold her close and take my first proper look at her and think HOLY CRAP MY MOTHER IN LAW IS STARING BACK AT ME. I literally got the fright of my life. How is it possible for a tiny baby to look so much like someone else? I was initially a bit gutted, could she not have looked exactly like me? That would have been well cool. I never really thought much about what she would look like – until I realised she was nothing like me and everything like someone else. As much as I love my Mother in Law, I felt a wee bit jealous.
My first night with Bonnie was totally surreal. I could hardly keep my eyes open and the midwifes promised me that they would look after her. They were expressing milk from me as I slept and syringe feeding her. The next thing I know is that I am suddenly awake, it is still the middle of the night and there is a baby lying beside me that is not moving. I am terrified. Oh no it doesn’t look like she is breathing – how can a baby be so still? I reach my hand out to touch her in the little plastic cot and give her the fright of her life. I then realise I am in far too much pain to get out of my bed and lift her up. I have no idea what I am doing – the whole thing is a blur. I am now a Mum – I have serious work to do. This little person needs me. It was then that my love started to grow.
The 2nd time around I was just as excited to meet my baby and just as desperate – induction booked at 10 days over. My placenta must dish out champagne and fillet steak. As the babe’s were enjoying life inside for longer than required I was left to get HUGE. Research suggests that babies put on the most weight at the very end of pregnancy and it felt like our son was putting on a pound for every day he was overdue. As a result what I was told would be ‘such a quicker, easier labour 2nd time around’ was quite the opposite. A two day induction, (ok at least that part was quicker) two hours of pushing, attempted forceps and then an emergency section later our son arrived.
This time the following went though my head –
1 – I am off my face, how much morphine did she give me?
2 – Great what a waste of time – could have had an elective section two weeks ago!
3 – My poor husband looks terrified oh my I love him. He needs some of this morphine
4 – Try and stay awake!!
5 -Stop grinding your teeth
6 – Wow he is huge
7 – Phew he is crying
8 – So unfair Daddy getting the first cuddles again
9 – Husband keeps telling me he looks like me – oh that is nice
10 – Awe he’s amazing, but no nothing like me. It’s a wee Bonnie.
Charlie looked so much like his big Sister did when she was first born that I couldn’t stop calling him “she”. I was beyond exhausted but far more relaxed this time despite having had emergency surgery. I wanted to enjoy my baby.
Nothing like the movies for us then.
We romanticised about the perfect birth the 1st time and didn’t get it. The midwifes had told me that our 2nd baby would be out in no time. They predicted 30 minutes of pushing. My husband and I were delighted. We would get that moment of lifting the baby up onto my chest. He would cut the chord and I would get the first cuddle and look at our baby in awe. Yeah right!
All birth experiences are totally unique and I can hand on heart say that even though our birth stories were both far from what they show in the movies, they were our stories and they mean the absolute world. My advice is to ditch the birth plan, go in hoping for the best, enjoy the gas and air and know that from the moment you see that wee face your life will change forever. Love at first sight or a massive fright.
I am a regular monthly blogger for Meet other Mums. It is a super website which encourages us Mum’s to keep talking- check it out x