The Back Story – Part 2 (The Birth)

Hey guys, hope you’re all well x

I’m just gonna dive straight in. So in my last blog, I detailed up until the last little section of my pregnancy, and mentioned that everything was fine with the baby, so I’m just gonna start from there.

Like I said, the baby was fine. I had packed most of the stuff I thought I needed for the birth, and had it ready in my room. I had read lists from every pregnancy site possible, and still wasn’t sure I had enough to comfortably have my baby. I wasn’t even sure who my birth partner was going to be, I was semi ready to do it alone. I’ll admit, sometimes I over-do the whole “independent woman” vibe. I’ve seen my mum do it ALL, literally, a woman’s job, and man’s job and more. I was following in her footsteps and was good with it. I like having my own, no man could ever tell me anything about my achievements, my success, my possessions, or my daughter’s because I worked for each and every damn thing. My daughter was spoilt, and still is, without any guys contributions. I was on some “Gurrrllll, you don’t need no man” flex. I needed a birth partner though lol, let’s be real, everyone should have one, but since my ex was soooo useless during the pregnancy, I just didn’t want him around. After all his flaking, would this boy even show up? LOL. Not a gamble I was tryna take.

Anyways, on the 26th of January, I was exactly 39 weeks pregnant, with one week to go. I had an appointment that day, and everything was fine with the baby. Who knew in 24 hours, everything was going to go to shit. The 39 week appointment was routine. The midwife was happy with everything, it was standard as hell and I don’t remember anything significant from that day. I was in better spirits, and looking forward to the end of the pregnancy. All I know is, in that appointment, on the 26th January 2017, I went home with nothing wrong with Zariah.

Remember what I said in the last blog about living a separate life to the outside world compared to inside my house? Well that didn’t change. I had one close friend, who had just had a baby a few months before, who was my main support during my pregnancy. She checked up on me regularly, and was just an amazing spirit in general. God bless her man, I think she knew that I was going through a hard time, especially at the end, and she really did try, but I just tend to isolate when I start to feel crap so I didn’t really open up much. I used to brush everything off like it was all fine.

Anyways cool, I got home after the appointment on the 26th, and felt shitty all over again. I sat on my corner sofa with the lights off, crying alone. It’s probably bad to say on this blog, but I had a sort of back up stash of old plates that I kept in one cupboard, for when I felt the need to self harm. I smashed a bowl on the floor in the kitchen, looked for the sharpest piece, took myself to the living room, where I sat back down and began to cut and cry. (This is NOT a good way to cope with things, I can’t emphasise it enough. I don’t care who you are, when you’re reading this, or whatever you’re feeling crappy over, please message me if you ever want to talk, or rant about nothing, or cry, or anything in between. The cutting thing does not do a damn thing. Please, please reach out).

Anyways, that night was a rough one. Just low moods, where you literally don’t know what to do with yourself. I switched my phone on flight mode (not that my phone was popping off like that anyways), and cried myself to sleep. Pregnancy was lonely, and towards the end I doubted myself. I didn’t feel attached to the baby growing inside of me anymore. During the depression in the end, I’m not even sure I felt her move that much, but they don’t tell you how often you should feel your baby move anymore, and at every appointment, including the one on the 26th, everything was fine. The sadness clouded everything, days were just long and miserable, and I would put on a smiley face for the nurses and everyone outside of my house.

I woke up on the 27th and felt the same. Just a suffocating sadness.Unrecognisable sadness. And you know what the maddest thing is, I didn’t know why I was sad. I don’t know if it was everything or nothing, all I knew is that I couldn’t even hear myself think. To try and make out one clear thought in my head was impossible. I was just frozen in my seat, all day, crying. I lost my appetite and had done for a while now, but I remember earlier in the day having a conversation with that same good friend that kept checking on me, pretending I was amazing. It’s kind of creepy the way I could switch it on and off for other people, but when other people weren’t around, I just couldn’t keep up the act. I swear someone’s spirit had just cursed me, and I was choking in a black cloud of depression, whilst my normal, happy and bubbly personality was running for the door.

On that day, I can’t even remember if time travelled slowly or not, but I remember sinking. The sadness just kept getting worse and worse, I started thinking all sorts of madness thoughts, about how to end my life but save the baby. I couldn’t hear my own thoughts, it’s like your soul is being dragged underwater and you’re fighting with your last breaths to stay afloat. In a split second of desperation, around 4pm on the 27th January 2017, I called the perinatal midwife. I had grown to like her before the breakdown in December, and begged her to let me get induced because I couldn’t continue any longer. God actually knows how much of a mess I must have sounded on that phone line, but it was enough for her to panic and send a social worker to my house, and call the police, to escort me to the hospital. I can’t even lie to you, despite the dramas that got me to that point, i.e. the police and social services coming, knowing this is gonna f*ck up my case later down the line, I was so relieved that the hospital agreed to induce me.

I had some random woman in my house helping me with my bags and what not, and I just felt good. Even though I wasn’t in labour at all, I was about to have my baby. I was jolly lol, you would never imagine that I was just self harming last night. The mind can play some dirty tricks on you, and honestly, I can reflect back now and see that I wasn’t well. I all had a spring in my step like I’d won the lottery. It’s sickening how quickly I could just stop crying and start to grin teeth like everything in life was roses and strawberries for other people. Anyways, bags were packed, I was excited as hell, and I got into a cab with this complete stranger social worker to go and have my baby.

Let me remind you that I wasn’t in labour. The hospital agreed to induce me based on social concerns, because of the history of mental illness and what not, and 24 hours ago, everything was absolutely fine. Anyways, I got to the hospital around 5.30pm. They stuck the CTG monitor on me almost immediately (the machine that monitors the baby’s heartbeat and general wellbeing). The nurses put it on me routinely, as I was due to be induced that evening. It started kicking in, like “oh shit this is happening”, and nerves started to creep in as well, cos I had never pushed a baby out of my fanny before. They had me on the bed, spread my legs and put this ridiculous tube in my vagina to see if I was dilated. When I’m nervous or uncomfortable, I just giggle a lot. It’s like an awkward giggle, which probably isn’t the best response in serious situations. I had my vagina out in front of nurses and this random social worker that I JUST MET. Talk about intimate, at least take me out to eat first, something.

Tbh, the whole stranger thing didn’t bother me too much. I spend 5+ years in care, I was used to strangers lol. The nurses kept coming in and out of the room, checking the machine and going. I mean, that’s normal, right? I have never had a baby before, I didn’t know what to expect, and the nurses were acting completely normal with me. One of the midwives asked if I had eaten that day, and I said no. She said “oh baby’s just looking a little bit more tired than usual”, but the way she said it was so reassuring, like it’s normal and happens loads, I’m all here bussing jokes with the stranger social worker lady whilst they’re doing their thing. The nurse said that she was gonna put me on a drip, which was basically sugar water, to give the baby energy and get her moving more. I wasn’t even the slightest bit worried. I thought they were doing ward rounds when the doctor came to visit me, which is completely normal considering I was about to be induced into labour. The presence of nurses and midwives frequently seemed normal to me. All the staff were acting normal, smiling at me and joking around like everything was alright, when in actual fact, they saw something was wrong with the baby from the minute I got in there.

I had been on the bed now for about an hour, and the doctor came into the room to talk to me. He seemed rushed, again which I thought was normal. I assumed there’s so many other women pushing out babies in this place, there must be more urgent people for this man to attend to. The doctor said “oh baby doesn’t seem to be moving enough, we’re going to change your position and increase the drip to see if that helps”. When I look back at it now, he just seemed patronising as hell, but at the time, even that didn’t make me flinch. I thought he was just talking to me like that because it’s minor and normal. He didn’t even in the slightest, indicate that something was seriously wrong. He then said “if it doesn’t improve in half an hour, we may have to consider a c-section”. I remember feeling panicked at that statement, but he made it seem like he was giving the worst case scenario, but that was almost impossible. He didn’t make it seem like a likely possibility. Everyone majorly played down the seriousness of my baby’s poor health. I hadn’t called anyone yet. No one even knew I was in the hospital. I had another friend who got induced a few months before, and I was in contact with her during her labour. It took days! I just assumed we were gonna be here for a long while before anything actually starts happening, so I didn’t call a damn soul. This was about 6.30pm.

Even though C-section was mentioned, when I started to worry he calmed me down and like I said, made it seem like ahh yeah its ridiculously unlikely. They didn’t portray the seriousness of what was going on. Even the social worker still sat up in the room with me giggling about nothing.

Half an hour passed, and the doctors and nurse storm in like “we’re gonna have to have a c-section”. I said waahhhhh? I just started bursting into tears. I didn’t even understand what was happening. I asked why, and even after they put me on an operating table, they played down the seriousness, like nothing was wrong and they were just being cautious. Later down the line, they said they played it down “as they didn’t want me to panic and it negatively affect the baby”. Anyways, I’m crying and scared because it’s just gone wayy left from what I assumed was going to happen. The same nurses that were lounging around doing up casual were suddenly rushing, the doctor is changing clothes and someone hands me some nonsense surgery rag, telling me to put it on. I didn’t even have time to catch my breath. I’m crying hysterically and this social worker is trying to comfort me. Suddenly, she became useless. I wanted my family. I wanted familiarity. As I was crying to the doctor, I asked if I could call someone and wait for them to come before we go into surgery. He said I can make my phone call, but we can’t wait for anyone. Only then is when I clocked, shit, something is majorly wrong. I was a mess, I was lost.

I called my mum, but she was coming from Essex, and I knew she wouldn’t make it in time. I told her to come it’s happening now, she dropped what she was doing and began to make her way. I called my ex and didn’t even explain, I just said come now it’s happening and he made his way. The doctors though, were suddenly in a hurry after an hour and a bit of me laying there doing nothing, despite them knowing and seeing something was wrong from the minute I walked in. They weren’t waiting for no one. I think only then had they realised how enormously they had f*cked up. The social worker lady, offered to come in with me, her service user that she had never met before, and be my birth partner. She sat in the room with me and held my hand as the doctors bent my spine, told me not to move an inch, and put some 100 metre needle in my back (exaggeration, clearly, but that thing was massive). I was shitting myself. Within seconds, they laid me down and started asking me to wiggle my toes and try and lift my leg. I was completely paralysed from the waist down, looking up at the ceiling of some well lit room, and they began the surgery, social worker by my side.

My ex turned up mid way through the surgery and the social worker wished me well and said she would be in touch. He came before they pulled the baby out of my stomach, and I couldn’t feel a thing, but his presence was calming. That’s the one thing he didn’t fuck up. He showed up. Suddenly when he arrived, I was smiling again, and was joking about with him, he was too scared to look at my cut open body and I didn’t want him to be staring at my un-shaved vagina. We were kids. I was 20 years old in the biggest surgery of my life, oblivious to how big the problem was. Until she came out…

Silent and lifeless and blue… My fucking heart.

Even typing this is heartbreaking. My eyes are watering and it just brings me back to the actual day my life started. It’s such a crippling experience. Whether you have kids or not, everyone knows the baby is supposed to cry when they come out. Shit was silent. All I remember is continuously asking “what’s wrong, what’s wrong” and everyone was silent. An alarm like sound went off in the ward, and I can’t even really remember that bit, but it’s called a crash call. All of a sudden there were a bunch of doctors and nurses bursting into the room. It’s like that alarm was summoning the army. Basically, during a crash call, every medical staff available on that ward is supposed to come and assist. They only use it in the worst situations. I didn’t know that at the time but seeing so many people poor into the room, I immediately knew something was going horribly wrong. At this point I was crying and screaming on this table, begging for someone to answer me, and everyone was just ignoring. I mean I shouldn’t say they were ignoring me, as they were busy saving my child’s life, but I’ve never felt so helpless. I was crippled from the waist down, couldn’t even prop my upper body up to see what was happening, all the staff were crowded round my daughter in a huddle. Still no cry… I’m crying hysterically and screaming like a mad woman at this point. I thought I gave birth to a dead baby, and thank God for this country and for technology, because in a less developed country, they could have said my daughter was gone and there was nothing they could do.

Finally, someone responded to my screams. At this point there were a whole football team and subs worth of staff in the surgery room. I can’t remember whose mouth even said it, but someone said “she just needs some extra help to breathe at the moment”. I asked to see her, and they rolled her over on some metal table with wheels, with nurses manually doing her breathing for her with her finger on the mouth and what looked like a mini air mattress pump. They only let me see her for like 5 seconds before they put her in the intensive care ward. I was a mess. My ex was crying, I was crying. I was just living a nightmare. How can the day go so wrong? They patched me back up and wheeled me to some recovery area, and I saw my child properly for the first time in the early hours of the next morning.

Zariah was born at 7.57pm, on the 27th January 2017. We had a 6 week journey ahead of us before Zariah eventually came home. I shared the first picture I took of Zariah yesterday, and she was hooked to every single machine you could think of. It felt like someone was just trodding all over my heart.

I knew this story would be long, but I honestly thought it was something I would finish in 2 parts, but evidently there’s got to be a third. I will try my best to cover the journey home and her diagnosis in the next blog post. Hopefully after that, I’ll be up to date and we can get back to the present day.

I know I keep saying it but honestly, thank you to everyone for the support and warm messages. The response has been overwhelming, and I genuinely hope that at least one person finds support or comfort knowing they’re not alone in some of the topics covered in these blogs. Most people advertise their pregnancies to be amazing, which it should be, but the experience is not the same for everyone, but regardless of your circumstance you should be supported and never alone. Anyone who is struggling, or had struggled with anything mentioned in this or previous posts, feel free to message, to talk or just for a friend. Hope you’ve enjoyed the read x

God Bless You All x

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