It’s hard to believe, looking at this face, that I never felt anything less than complete and utter adoration for her. But sadly, it’s true.
Now don’t get me wrong; I have always loved this little girl, but her arrival into the world was so hard and traumatic, that upon meeting her my initial emotion was just one of relief. It was over and I will never do that again.
I’ve spoken a little about the fact that I am suffering from PND, but I don’t think I have actually said how it came about.
When I was pregnant with my first daughter Taylah, I went into premature labour at 33 weeks. Thankfully, I got to the hospital quickly ( I had only dilated 1cm), and they were able to stop the labour. I was then told to rest for the rest of the pregnancy, and was diagnosed with an irritable uterus, which basically means that just about anything could bring on contractions.
The rest of that pregnancy was fine, and Taylah was born 6 days early.
With the B’s it wasn’t as big an issue. From about 35 weeks with Bridie, the contractions started, but they didn’t do anything, and with Bailey it was a lot easier. Bridie was a born right on time, and Bailey was a day late.
But Ava was determined to make things difficult from the start. The morning sickness was worse, and at twenty weeks when I felt those uncomfortable twinges in my uterus, I panicked. 33 weeks is doable, though not ideal. 20 weeks is a death sentence.
They continued on and off for the next few weeks. Every time they started I would sit down and they would stop. Until 27 weeks. When they continued for more or less three days, every time I got vertical. I was hospitalised for two days, Ava was given steroids for her lungs, and I was told to go on bed rest, as I was at high risk for a premature labour.
The next nine weeks were very hard on our family. Tim had to shoulder all my responsibilities, and I couldn’t do anything with the kids. Not to mention we had just about every illness known to man in that time, and Bridie actually ended up in hospital suffering dehydration due to gastro.
Finally we made it to 36 weeks, and I could do stuff. The freedom was incredible, and it was right on time for school holidays.
Week 36, turned into 37, and 37 into 38. The contractions came with power and force, but as they told me at the hospital, sometimes, although they were real, and not Braxton Hicks, they didn’t do anything. Great. You couldn’t have told me that 11 weeks ago?
38 became 39, and then 39 became 40. The due date arrived and disappeared, and I was huge emotional mess, who began to believe that I would be pregnant forever.
Six days after she was due, I went into labour, at ten clock at night.
She was born at 9 minutes to eleven, the next night. No fast labour for me. I was sent home from the hospital, told that I would probably be back in a couple of hours, and then arrived at 1pm for a doctors visit that was scheduled the next day. Only to be told it had been cancelled, because they thought I should have had my baby by now. I had been having contractions every ten minutes, but that wasn’t enough to go back to delivery for, but the doctor was kind enough to see me. (Probably because I burst into tears to the midwife. I found out later that not only was my file waiting for me on delivery, they had made up her little hospital bands and given her a number already.)
After a quick examination, the doctor was surprised to find that I was actually 6cm along. Suddenly they were rushing me around, clearing room in delivery, and asking if I needed to push. It was all very surreal, because I still believed I wouldn’t have her. This was another false alarm, and I would be pregnant forever.
After a few more hours with no progression, and baffled, doctors and midwives, we discovered she was OP (facing the wrong way.) This meant nothing was progressing the way it should, but also that the back pain was unbearable. I was refused an epidural, the pethidine wasn’t doing much, and Tim told me later they turned the gas off because they couldn’t get any sense out of me. I didn’t tell them I needed to push, because I didn’t think it would happen, and my midwife finished her shift and I got some crabby old thing whom kept yanking me around.
Finally, by the grace of God, some light broke through my fog, and I realised not only did I need to push, but that I could push. Ava was finally born, weighing 3.83 kg’s, and facing the wrong way. She needed oxygen shortly after birth, but apart from that she was perfect.
And all I felt was relief.
Almost a year later, and the with the help of some awesome drugs, I can finally see her for the absolute miracle that she is. As each day passes, I fall more and more in love with her, and delight in all her crazy antics and the way she blabbers an opinion on absolutely everything.
As her birthday approaches (next Friday), I can’t wait to celebrate the day that set me free, but also started such a horrible time. PND, and the AND (ante-natal depression) that helped cause it, have stretched me more than pregnancy did, but they have also strengthened me, and made me a better person. I have more compassion now; I judge less, I embrace grace. What could have destroyed me, God used for good.
As her birthday comes I am thankful for so many things. But mostly, I am thankful for my blessing. She gets away with far more than the others ever did, because even after all she put me through, I still want to give her everything she wants.
All the pain, all the suffering, all the time feeling like I couldn’t feel, was all worth it, for this gorgeous girl who lights up our lives. And I honestly believe that with her in it, the world is a better place.