My husband is struggling with the fact I have Post natal depression #PND

My best friend had some bad news recently so me and my other bestie went to visit her on Saturday, a surprise visit. It was just wonderful to see her face light up. We had a proper fun day – laser quest, go karting, meal out, drinks and bingo – yes bingo on a Saturday night (don’t ask).

It was an early start for me, getting up at 6.30am to get myself showered, the kids bathed and ready for the day, breakfast, Jenny all ready for ballet, spare clothes put out, changing bag packed, sorting everyone’s meals for the rest of the day, writing Emily’s routine down, then sorting myself, packing snacks, drinks for me and Alex.. My husband had the children from 9am until we got back at midnight. It was a long, heartbreaking day but I’m so glad we went. 

When I got back Emily woke up, I was so tired and the baby waking up was the last thing I needed, but I dealt with her and stayed up with her until she settled about 2am (even though the husband was up anyway watching prison break) – I suppose he had done his fair share of childcare for the day. 

The next morning I could just feel the tiredness and irritability creep in. The previous day had wiped me out. The 6 hours on the road, the stress and upset, keeping overly happy and upbeat, I felt like making sure everyone was enjoying themselves was my number one task and I didn’t realise what an emotional strain it was.. I was plain and simply exhausted. I cancelled plans with friends, and just planned on staying in and then go out for Sunday lunch somewhere as a late celebration of Emilys 1st birthday. Jenny had been invited to a friends so I got her ready to go and she left for the afternoon. 

My husband went to church in the morning, then went straight out afterwards to go to play squash then relax at the gym and in the hydrotherapy pool. He came back 10 minutes before we were due to leave for the meal but he still needed to shower. This immediately got me on edge as I hate being late for things, in retaliation of me being annoyed at his tardiness he pointed out that I hadn’t sorted a pile of washing from the drier which also got my back up.. And he also said that he looked after the kids all by himself yesterday and he actually managed to keep the house clean and tidy, which I took as a dig at me. All in all, 
I felt stressed, exhausted and upset. I felt useless, rushed for time and under appreciated. 

We fell out. I snapped at him, he snapped back and it turned in to a full blown argument about my post natal depression. He said, “I’m not pussy-footing around you any more, you need some tough love, I’m not walking on eggshells, it’s just not me. I don’t understand you – why can’t you just find something to be happy about? There are plenty of people worse off than you, do you not like your life? You have it easy compared to loads of other people! And you’re talking about wanting another baby?! You need to do some exercise, get happy! Stop moping – these therapists are just being too nice to you, I’m sick of it, it’s not working you need tough love.” 
That helped. I feel much better – having my husband shout at me in the car was one of the lowest points of this shitty PND journey.

What I need is my husband to be understanding, I need a little tact and sensitivity. I need for him to understand that I’m anxious and on edge sometimes and not to add extra stress on to my plate and make me feel worse for not completing every task and nit-picking over the tiny things. 

Although we ended up making friends, I couldn’t shake his words.

That night he showed the usual signs of wanting to ‘get some’ and I said I’d like some cuddles in bed (which could possibly lead to something else but I really just wanted to be held and feel loved before anything else could happen). He said he would rather stay down stairs and watch prison break. I went to bed alone.

The next morning he wouldn’t get up with the kids, he did his usual of staying in bed until 8.50am (the latest he can stay in bed until he has to leave to drop Jenny off at school). When he came downstairs I quizzed him about all of the snack cupboard being eaten (crisps, dime bars, Galaxy, haribo, cake and biscuits) and he said “well if there was something worth coming to bed for maybe I wouldn’t stay up late”. Then he mentioned that he felt like we were “friends who lived together” because we haven’t been intimate in a week.
I am struggling so badly right now. I can’t believe my own husband can talk to me like that. I am beyond hurt. I know it can’t be easy for him with me having my moments of panic and stress but it doesn’t excuse this. 

I feel like I am juggling 20 juggling balls high in the air, one ball may represent a chore I need to do, one ball may represent a nappy change or a bottle feed, hanging up washing, loading the dishwasher or doing the school run. It’s taking all of my concentration to keep them all high up there, in order and not falling. Then something knocks me, like being rushed, a time limit, the husband having a go at me or picking apart the jobs that I have done or haven’t had time to do yet and I drop one of the balls but instead of just one ball dropping, they all come crashing down and I stop in my tracks and cannot function. Although my brain is screaming at me to keep going and act like a normal human being my body can’t and I end up staring at the wall like a deranged person.

I want to feel normal again.. Although I can feel the post natal depression cloud lifting I still have moments of absolute panic and severe anxiety. In these moments I feel like I have drunk 20 cups of coffee and the caffeine is coursing through my veins and I am shaky and panicking. 

Postnatal depression is getting the better of me today. #pnd         

Today is a bad day. I tell myself this over and over again in a vain attempt to calm myself down and slow my heart so it isn’t going to pound right out of my chest. If I sit here trying to push those feelings to one side and pretend to be normal then my panicked state gets worse. My head is going a million miles an hour and is setting me off into a spin.

Currently I am sat in the back of the car travelling the 2 hours it takes to get to Leeds to visit my husbands brother, wife and new baby. We are two and a half hours late setting off. 
I panicked all morning. It started with Emily being up several times in the night. She is now 11 months old and is teething. She is constantly whimpering, and is clingy to the point that if I leave the room she cannot cope and absolutely melts down like her whole world has ended. I feel like I need to have a proper Emily-style melt down. 

When the morning came, my husband decided that he needed an extra 10 minutes in bed. Diddums that he is tired after staying up till 2am watching the end of season 1 of Prison Break. 
His extra 10 minutes turned into an hour, all the while I was stressing out, bathing both the children, sorting clothes to pack for our overnight visit to Leeds, trying to find time to give the baby a breastfeed, making up a bottle instead, tiding up after my whirlwind of a 5 year old daughter, giving the children breakfast, negotiating what the baby and 5 year old want to eat – and what the baby would rather throw at me or on the floor, answering about fifty questions the 5 year old has an various subjects including asking why buddy our elf in the shelf hasn’t been collected by Santa yet – damn you buddy!!! Packing the changing bag, Putting washing on and the drier on, all while Lord muck was enjoying his snoozing.

I felt with every minute my stress levels rise until I actually started growling. I was snapping at everyone, I had zero patience and it took all of my energy not to just sit there in the corner amongst the chaos and rock back and forth staring at the wall like the unhinged person I know is lurking under my skin. When the husband finally surfaced he made fun of my stressed state by saying “chillllll winstonnnn” in a Jamaican accent which made my mental state probably around about a million per cent worse. 

I don’t actually know how I got through the morning. I don’t know how the kids are dressed, how they are clean, I’m pretty sure we have missed out lunch completely. I did a wash load then just left in on the carpet next to the clothes maid then in the last 30 seconds before we left I remembered about it, scrabbled to put it all out, still growling as I’m being hurried out of the door. 

It’s like I have been up 5 hours and I haven’t stopped for a rest, yet I have got things done that would usually (on a good day) have taken me about an hour and a half. I have been rushed by the husband for the last hour with little useful help from him at all. I am complaining I know, but I have even said to him today that I feel like a single parent getting everything done on my own with no help. This would usually be ok and I am usually a competent and organised person but my head isn’t on straight today. Knowing we have a time that we have to leave by, being rushed, having very little help and packing for a night away while dealing with a curious 5 year old who asks endless questions, and a teething baby who has done two severe poop explosions this morning already isn’t a great combination. Today is a bad day. 
I’m sat in the car wondering what I actually packed in our overnight bag because as I am not thinking straight at all I have a sneaking suspicion that when we unpack the bag will be full of dirty washing from the laundry basket, wet towels or clothes from the charity shop pile. Or plates. Yes, just a pile of crockery I have probably packed instead of clothes. I didn’t hear the bag clang and rattle but I wouldn’t put any of this past me I am fucking useless and my brain will not perform simple tasks, I am overwhelmed. I am broken. I am still growling. My throat hurts.

Postnatal Depression. Today has been really bad day. (PND and me)

Today is a bad day. My post natal depression cloud has lingered and I can’t shake the awful feeling it leaves inside me. My head aches, my body is heavy and my eyes are burning. I am irritable and feel detached, lost, isolated and anxious. 

I don’t want to go to bloody baby group. 

I enjoyed it last Tuesday but today is a bad day. I don’t want to go. I haven’t slept at all because my 8 month old baby just must be allergic to keeping her eyes closed during the night time for longer than 2 hours at a time. At 3.38am she decided to have a screaming fit and at 5.24am I was so delirious I ended up breastfeeding her at the end of my other daughter’s bed because I was so dizzy I actually bounced off the doorframe from our bedroom when I went to go to see to her, the floors felt wonky like my house was being tipped on its side. My world still feels like this.

In the light of day when ‘morning’ arrives and everyone gets up for school I just know it is going to be a bad day. I feel my stomach churning and getting all tight and knotted. I feel the anger and emptiness all at once rush at me, bubbling up to my throat then ebb away, disappearing for a few moments of which I have clarity and pour my 5 year old a bowl of cereal. Again the numbness creeps in and Jenny looks at me and asks if I’m ok. I am not. I wonder what I did to make her ask, I feel all panicked and paranoid that I may be giving the PND game away to my little princess. “Mummy’s fine” I smile, and respond automatically, I don’t actually recall my brain requesting my mouth move and those words come out. The anger bubbles. 

Jenny skips off to school with her daddy, it’s 9am and I am not dressed, neither is Emily. The house is a mess and the sheer magnitude of what I have to do before I leave for baby group (in 15 minutes) is overwhelming. In my mind I’m imagining each chore stacking one of top of each other until there is so many that they all come crashing down on me and in that moment I crumble. Rabbit in the headlights. My brain is screaming at me to pull myself together, make a list. 1. Make husband lunch to take to work. Ok I can do this. Muddle through. TWENTY minutes later I have prepared him a lunch. 2. Change Emily. 3. Get dressed. 4. Hang washing up. 5. Brush hair, teeth, put make up on, deodorant, perfume, pack changing bag, put Emily in the pram. 

By 10am I am almost ready to leave, I tell my husband I don’t want to go. He says it is good for me to go and I should go if only for an hour. Really he means that it gets me out of the house and Emily gets to play with new toys, it pushes me out of my comfort zone and doesn’t let my anxiety get the better of me. 

I know all of this yet I still drag my heels even walking there. I get to the community centre and contemplate just sitting outside for an hour on the bench. I have a full blown argument in my head saying: ‘technically’ you made it to baby group, you were at the building so if anyone asks I was actually there, then my paranoia hits ‘what if one of the mums asks where you were? What if they are watching you out of the window now? What do you look like standing there like a lemon?!’ I go inside. 

It’s not too bad, I drink coffee, talk to other sleep deprived mums about how bloody awful this whole being-a-mum thing is but laugh it off so people just think I’m funny rather than bat shit crazy.

I can’t move for the rest of the day, I am exhausted, tired from the lack of sleep but also from the constant headache, the ringing in my ears, the numbness, the being surrounded by people but feeling so lonely – isolation, and also from the pretending for an hour to other mums that I am a funny, breezy type of mum who has her shit together. I honestly don’t even know how I got to the school to pick Jenny up, or how Emily stayed happy and fed/changed in those few hours.

Dinner somehow magically got made, the children were magically bathed and in their pj’s and the the hubby walks in. He spends a while putting them to bed for me. I finally allow myself to really crumble.

I’m sat on the sofa, jaw clenched, eyes darting across the same square patch of wall, stuck in the same uncomfortable hunched-over seated position as it somehow strangely feels safe, if I move slightly I quickly recoil back to my original position.

My eyes relax a little and start to stare at one patch of wall and glaze over. I am tired, my eyes are burning, I don’t actually know how I am functioning. He comes back downstairs to sit with me, he tells me he doesn’t want me taking the ‘easy way out’ by starting on the medication my doctor prescribed me a few months ago, he knows I, today more than most, want to take them. I want to feel normal. I don’t see it as being a ‘quick fix’ I am insulted. I don’t feel like he understands me at all. 

I also feel failed by the NHS, my counsellor openly admitted she has absolutely no idea what to do with me, she and none of her colleagues at ridge lea hospital have any idea about PND and now our 8 sessions are up I have been signed off her little list and now referred to a group workshop for stress and anxiety starting in NOVEMBER. I have been forgotten about. I have no help. No support. Nothing. Just the medication everyone – apart from my husband – thinks I should take. My husband goes out to a triathlon swim training session at the gym. I stay on the sofa for a while, in the same hunched position.

I decide to get up, actually, only the fact my feet are cold makes me get up. I head towards the shower, strip and stand under the hot flow of water. I’m most content when I’m facing the shower with my head and face fully under the cascading water. I stand there not washing myself, not examining my wobbly bits, not thinking of a list of jobs to do, not wondering if things are ok downstairs, making mental notes of where school uniforms are and what to do for dinner tomorrow night, all of these things rush through my mind in a usual shower. No, today is a bad day, this shower is full of nothingness yet the silence and water noise is deafening. I stand under the shower, now moved to my shoulder, singing/muttering/humming the chorus of ‘I caught mommy kissin’ Santa Claus’ on repeat for probably 15 minutes or so. It is September. 

Today has been a bad day.


My labour! – An EPIC tale..

On the Morning of my induction 12th April 2010 I woke up with my alarm at 6.15am. I went downstairs and ate 3 Weetabix while mum and I sat at the table in nervous silence. I checked I’d packed everything and took lots of pictures of my bump in the mirror. On the way down in the car I was texting all my friends and finally got to the hospital 8.30am to be induced. I handed the midwife my green pregnancy notes which is the last time I saw them – it’s weird the things you miss! I got told the induction bays were full and I was one of 4 women waiting to go in which I wasn’t very happy about but at least it gave me chance to calm down as I was totally panicking. Luke had a little walk around outside the hospital and found a Subway for our second “breakfast”. After an hour or two wait on the ward Luke went into Manchester to look for accommodation for mum and his stay. He booked an apartment hotel with 2 bedrooms so mum and Luke could sit and watch TV in the evenings and not be so bored and lonely with me and baby having to stay in hospital for 5 days after. He also bought me some Crocs for showering in. I got myself some lunch and had a nap on the bed while mum waited with me. We read magazines and had random talks about anything other than labour! Tea time then came and I had a lovely hot dinner. The anxiety had finally passed, I was just getting bored and had itchy feet to just get it over with. The midwife came in and said there were only 2 left on the induction waiting list and I would take priority because of my heart condition. I could hear another lady on the ward we were on, she was being checked over as her waters had broken and she was only 27 weeks pregnant, I really felt for her. At 8pm we got called to the induction bay, and finally things start moving forward! I was scared and nervous but glad not to be looking at the same blue curtain anymore!

At 9.30pm I got put on the monitoring machine for half an hour, this has two elastic straps one with a baby heart rate monitor on – this one was played out loud the whole time and the other was to measure my contractions which I could see the level of intensity on the screen. Mum and Luke got sent away to the hotel because with a first time mum it could be days until I gave birth, and with being induced too it could take several attempts. After the half hour monitoring a midwife totally violated my lady parts (which was the first of many), and inserted the propess which was a bit like a piece of paper smeared in hormone with a string attached (a little like a tampon) and I was monitored again for a further 40 minutes. Afterwards I got told I could get up and go to the toilet and make a cup of tea or whatever so I had a potter about then went to sleep around 11.15pm.

At 1.15am I was rudely awoken by annoying tummy pains which by 2.15am were so unbearable I needed pain relief. The midwife gave me co-codamol but looked at me as if I was pathetic as she said I wasn’t in labour yet (it had only been 3 hours since induction) and that the crampy aches I was describing was only my cervix ripening. The co-codamol started working quite quickly but by 4.45am the pain was back and I was writhing around the bed and had to get up. I went to try and find somewhere in the blinking hospital which has some signal for my phone – it happened to be outside the induction ward in a corridor. Luckily it was deserted and I sat down on the floor and dialled Luke’s number. No answer. Dialled mum. YES a friendly voice! I sat there crying on the phone to my mum and she asked if I wanted her to come back in but I said no, I just wanted to hear a friendly voice. I kept having to put the phone on the floor every 2 minutes and breathe through these strange ‘waves of pain’. My mum cottoned on to this and told me to grab the midwife and scream at her to give me more pain relief as these ‘waves of pain’ were actually contractions and me needing to fart is actually me needing to push!!! So I wiped my tears and walked back to the midwifes station, but my midwife wasn’t there, it was a different one. As I was talking I told her to hold on a second, I inched my way from standing to crouching using the midwifes station’s door frame for support and moaned a little. I then stood up slowly and said “my mum says these are contractions and you need to give me some form of pain relief as my heart can’t be under any stress”. She walked me to the bathroom where she promised a warm bath. The walk down the corridor took forever as I had to stop every minute for a contraction which was worrying me. I finally made it there at 5.15am in a proper pregnant lady ‘waddle’ and as I took my PJ bottoms off I felt my waters break! I told the midwife who asked for my sanitary pad to inspect it and even though this sounds absolutely disgusting it gets to a point where you just don’t care anymore! She looked at the pad and said that it didn’t smell like ‘waters’ and it was probably just some mucus or part of my ‘show’ on the pad. I realised that as I was so mortified at this conversation and scared, I’d totally clamed up and was actually using my pelvic floor muscles to keep it in so I thought “I’ll ‘show’ her” and let go completely, there was a big gush on the floor of a strange peachy coloured liquid. She tried to rush me back to my bed for an examination but I was adamant that I wanted to wash this stuff off my legs, or at least wipe them down with some paper towels! The next few hours feel like a blur..

Back on the bed she examined me and I was only 2cm dilated. She said she’d call my mum and let her know what was happening and then put me back on the 2 strap machine again and monitored me while she went to find my midwife. I was laid there in agony, the contractions were coming on thick, fast and strong and it was becoming unbearable. I kept thinking to myself that I am pathetic, I’m only 2 cm dilated and I’m making such a big deal of it and I didn’t want to be like these women on ‘one born every minute’ who are embarrassing and scream at only 2cm dilated. I thought ‘I’m stronger than this, I can cope with this pain. Women go through this every day and survive, they walk out with beautiful babies and come back again and again to have more babies so I need to just work through this pain and each contraction is just one step closer to meeting my little Jennifer Grace.’ Keeping these thoughts in my head really helped me deal with it.

The induction bay I was in was one big room with 4 beds divided up by blue curtains. The induction bay is full so I am one of 4 women in this room and the other 3 are trying to sleep. I am writhing round in agony and cannot bear it any longer; I started swearing, I kept saying under my breath “I’m so sorry to anyone trying to sleep… Oh my god here comes an F-ing other one.. moan, moan, moan, swear, moan” then repeat from the beginning. It was awful, I’ve never experienced pain like it and I’m used to awful period pains. It felt like a ‘rubber ring’ of pain, severe period pains in your tummy and back, squeezing like a vice whilst someone is kicking you all around your tummy and back. After each one I felt winded. I needed my mum and there was not even a midwife in sight. It felt like an eternity I’d been left alone for, and then finally they wheeled me on my bed through corridor after corridor, banging me through doors all the while I’m moaning and groaning very loudly and swearing profusely. I finally reached my destination, a large rectangle room. They plugged my bed in and put a drip in my arm and called the anaesthetist for my epidural. I got introduced to about 6 new faces but I think I even said “I don’t care all I want is my mum”. I got told she was waiting for a bus, and you should have seen my rage! “A bus?” I questioned, “A F-ING BUS?? What the fuck is she doing waiting for a F-ING bus?!” I was so foul mouthed but after every contraction I apologised and tried to explain, but the contractions were so close together I struggled to. I was given some gas and air but after only 3 or 4 puffs it made me feel woozy like after a heavy night out when the room is spinning and you’re sick. I was sick but thankfully in a bedpan so decided gas and air definitely was not for me! Finally the anaesthetist came and told me to warn him when a contraction was coming so he could stop. They gave me an injection of local anaesthetic in my back first, then once that had worked he put the tube in and secured it with tape up my back up and over my shoulder to the entry valve where the anaesthetic could be administered. It was freezing cold all along the tube going down my back into the bottom of my spine, it felt glorious! After 5 minutes or so it was working ok, I was just left with a ‘window of pain’ in my tummy which was still painful but much better than all over pain. Finally my Mum and Luke walked in at 7.30am, comedy timing guys! The midwife had just examined me and I was 9cm dilated! I had gone from 2cm at 5.30am to 9cm at 7.30am on no pain relief as my co-codamol which I was given at 2.15am had well and truly worn off! The midwives were astounded; they honestly didn’t think that a first time mum whose cervix was closed on first examination could be in labour this quickly, only 8 hours after the Propess was inserted. I hope the midwife who said – ‘it’s just your cervix ripening’ now understands that each lady is different and a pregnant woman knows her body best!

I was in agony now as the ‘window of pain’ became more intense. It felt like I was being stabbed repeatedly in one place. I kept shouting for Luke to ‘Shut the F-ING door’ to which he replied “but honey the door isn’t open!” The anaesthetist knew what I meant and sorted out the newly named ‘door of pain’ by rolling me onto my side and fiddling with the tube until finally I was calm and pain free. At some point I was fitted with a catheter which I didn’t feel. I’ve been holding in pee using muscles in my lady area for 24 years now why just because I can’t feel my bottom half be any different? But sure enough after an hour or two, when I thought I’d been using my trusty muscles to hold in my pee, the midwife held up the catheter bag and it was full and needed to be emptied. The word confused doesn’t even come close! It’s so strange after being in so much pain with contractions to not feeling them at all and the only way to tell your having one is to look on the machine next to you at the rising numbers. Also so strange not being able to move your legs or twitch your toes even when you focus desperately hard and ‘command’ them to by your ever powerful brain.

I was really hungry and kept getting a whiff of food smell, I’d not eaten since 5pm the day earlier andthrown up after my gas and air. Now I’d missed breakfast in case I needed a C-section so I was well and truly starving! Mum and Luke went down to the canteen to get some food and I was left feeling very hard done by! I was left in the room with only the midwife when suddenly (bearing in mind there was only me and the midwife in the room) I heard an almighty loud fart and looked at the midwife in horror. I was actually disgusted that she could do that in my presence – fair enough she’s been closer to me in my intimate area than a lot of my past boyfriends but still, does that excuse a ‘lady’ who is working for the NHS to pass wind with such gusto in my presence? And then not even acknowledge it? So I said “oh my god!” to which she replied, “It’s ok, it happens to most people after an epidural!” I literally could have died – as if that was me!

The hours then seemed to roll by. As I wasn’t allowed to eat, I drank about 3 bottles of still raspberry Lucozade glucose drink for some energy and to try and perk me up but this was having a strange effect on the colour of my urine in my catheter bag; it was going pink! I also kept slipping down the hospital bed so my mum and Luke had to keep pulling me back up the bed under my armpits. One of these times Luke grabbed my hand which was being used as a pin cushion for various drips and monitoring devices, (the worst of which was an arterial line which was huge and had to be stitched onto my skin at all four corners,) and I screamed and cried. I would rather be slumped halfway down the hospital bed for the rest of the duration than have to feel that pain again! In fact I’d say that being not able to move and having all the drips, lines, needles and monitoring systems is one of the worst parts of my labour. The list of ways I was tied down to the hospital bed goes like this: 1 strap round my tummy to monitor baby’s heartbeat, 1 strap round my belly to measure my contractions, one clip on my finger to measure the oxygen levels in my blood, a drip in my hand for the epidural, the epidural going into my spine, an arterial line going into my wrist, three sticky pads on my chest to measure my heart rate, a cuff round my bicep for blood pressure, a catheter going into my lady area and that’s all I can remember in my drug induced state!

I had another internal at about 10am and I was almost 10 cm’s dilated but there was a tiny ring of skin which would stop baby from being able to be born just yet so we had to wait a little longer, so I just thought to myself I’m not quite 10 cm’s yet probably more like 9 ½ cm’s which kept me sane! I had a top up of my epidural. It’s strange, every time the midwife tops up the epidural she got an aerosol canister out and sprayed me several times starting up by my shoulder with freezing blasts until the lower it went I couldn’t feel a thing. Finally at 12 Midday I was fully dilated so mum, Luke and I bet each other on when I’d give birth. We all said before 3pm as all I need to do now is push her out.. Or so I thought.

My midwife who had been with me since 7.30am was changing shift and I felt like my world had ended, I really liked her, bonded with her, I even farted in front of her, and now she was going to disappear and leave me? I had to be left for ages anyway for baby to work her way down naturally as much as possible as my heart couldn’t be strained at all. My new midwife was lovely but I really just wanted the midwife who first told me I was 9cms dilated on no pain relief and who had listened to me fart and not giggled, but this lady was all I had and was going to bring my baby into the world so I had to pull myself together.

At 2pm I was eventually allowed to push, finally the 2nd stage of labour had arrived! My legs were in stirrups, the midwife was down the lady area end and Matt was one side and mum on the other side – both ‘head’ end. As I was only allowed to push for 30 minutes max I was told I had to make each contraction count and as soon as one appeared on the little screen next to me I was to push into my bottom like I was pushing out a big troublesome poo. Well honestly, if you can’t feel your bottom or your lower half for that matter, how are you supposed to know which bits to tense and push? It was so hard and all the time I was worrying about pooing myself like you hear about on these birth programmes. The 30 minutes absolutely flew by, contraction after contraction came and I felt like collapsing. My eyes were all bloodshot and strained and I was knackered and felt a total failure. No joy, baby was not coming of its own accord. Theatre was called for forceps delivery but both theatres were in use so there was another wait where I tried to get some sleep and my epidural was topped up again.

When theatre was ready for me there were two new doctors who examined me internally – by this point I didn’t care, I wasn’t pretending to have any of my dignity left and I was being used as a human lucky dip. I had to be cut out of my nightie as the arterial line in my wrist couldn’t be disturbed – it would have been impossible to take the nightie off over my head while still being attached with all of the wires. I had to put on a sexy backless hospital gown and Luke had to get dressed into his ‘scrubs’. He also stole the stethoscope from the anaesthetist so actually looked like a real doctor! After signing my life away with all the hospital operating theatre contracts, and having some last bump photos taken I said a teary goodbye to mum. She couldn’t come in with me as only one person is allowed as support in theatre and that had to be Luke. He was bundled off into a little room and I was on my own being transferred onto the chopping slab – theatre bed. I was being spoken to by a lovely guy who was totally drugging me up, there was another anaesthetist who has been checking in on me through my labour, two porters, two female surgeons, my midwife and about 3 other random people – no wonder there was no room for my mum, this place was like a circus with me as the main attraction!

I suddenly felt sheer panic and realised Luke still wasn’t there by my side. I think they had forgotten about him because as soon as I’d said something he suddenly appeared! With me clutching Luke’s hand I felt safer but I felt myself struggling to keep my eyes open, they felt really dry and I felt so drunk. Then the surgeons were speaking to me so I had to pull myself together, they were lovely girls one looked very young but I felt totally at ease. They explained to me that they were going to make a cut called an episiotomy then insert the forceps and pull baby out. Easy! Well again, unfortunately it wasn’t easy, baby was facing the wrong way she was back-to-back although no one had told me this so I didn’t feel so much a failure for not pushing her out the old fashioned way. She was manually turned by hand then the forceps were inserted, but Jennifer had quickly turned back round -obviously she was comfy! She did this three times and on the last attempt the surgeon said if she turned again one more time it’ll be Caesarean section time! I was devastated that after slicing me down in my below parts I’d also have to be sliced in my tummy too. Luckily baby stayed put like a good girl and I was told to push into my bottom again. I pushed with all my might whilst the surgeons pulled with the forceps. They were yanking me so much I slid right down the table, and the porters had to pull me back to the top by my armpits!

With me pushing and the surgeons pulling, at 4.51pm Jennifer Grace was finally born! I was tired beyond belief having not slept in 2 days, was so hungry as I’d not eaten for a whole 24 hours and I’d been sick from the gas and air but I suddenly got a massive rush of energy. I looked at her purple, wrinkled, wet, bloody body and touched her tiny purple foot with my finger. I saw her little face and thought “wow, that’s what she looks like”. The midwife said to me she couldn’t believe how long her eyelashes were; but my response was “I can’t believe it, it’s a baby”. When you’re in that situation you realise that you’ve never met this tiny little person before and she has a face of her own – she looked completely different to what I imagined. As quickly as I saw her she was rushed away to be cleaned up and weighed, Luke went with her. I was given an injection to start the placenta delivery and as I was losing quite a lot of blood they started stitching up my episiotomy straight away. I could hear Jenny screaming from the other room and smiled to myself. The 3rd stage of labour was here but they had to manually remove my placenta as it wasn’t coming of its own accord – the injection had been given time to work but as I was losing so much blood the surgeons acted fast. They manually removed the placenta by pulling on the severed umbilical cord and I had to push some more. Jenny was then handed to me wrapped in a towel. She weighed 6lbs 13ozs and we had our first photos taken. The surgeon was pushing on my tummy lots to try and make sure none of the placenta was left inside me and my tummy now looked like a water bed – all jelly on a plate and rippling even when she had finished touching it! They then started stitching me up again as manually removing the placenta had torn all the stitches – all I can say is thank god I was drugged up!

Jenny is beautiful, dark hair, long eyelashes, blue eyes, a little turned up nose and has a really big set of lungs on her. She has forceps marks and bruises on her face and little blood shot eyes from birth trauma but she is perfect; I look at her all full of awe and emotion and cry silent tears of pure happiness.

Nesting. 35 weeks +1 day pregnant.

I am now part of a new club. Not the exciting new-mum-to-be club, it’s the club where every time I laugh, cough or sneeze, I wee a little bit. It’s gross; usually its members are in their 60s or 70s and I’m only 24. This is the really ugly stuff that you wished someone had warned you about! This week I feel like a whale with severe bubbling heart burn, unbearably sore hips, achey ribs and incontinence. Not good.

As well as all of that, my mind has now been taken over by some demon. This demon in particular is a very clean and tidy demon and would like my house to be ultra clean and spotless, so I am cleaning like a woman possessed. I am ordering my brother around while trying to make my apartment more homely and this morning I was cleaning to the extent that if I hadn’t of been wearing rubber gloves I would literally have no skin left on my fingers. I am down on my hands and knees with the hoover nozzle getting into the nooks and crannies and bleaching all of the skirting boards. I can’t think about anything else apart from cleaning and making sure that the apartment is germ free for when bambino arrives. I am in pain in my lower back and my brother tries to take over the bending down stuff but I want to do it properly, this demon inside me has the highest standards and anyway he can’t help me as I have got him scrubbing the front door.. Don’t ask! I believe this is called ‘nesting’ and it is common for a woman to want to get the house ready for the new arrival and it is normal (ish) but it is still weird to have such a strong impulse when yesterday I couldn’t even be bothered to walk to the kitchen to make a brew!

Force feeding information and opinions. 20 weeks + 2 days pregnant.

It’s strange how complete strangers or people you hardly know feel the need to push all sorts of horrendous information on you when you didn’t ask for it. It’s happening quite a lot now. Even when you actually butt in and tell them to stop and shut up, they completely ignore you, and carry on with the battle scene tale of scalpels and forceps. And if they’re not giving me a gruesome Stephen King horror story of labour, I’ve got people coming up to me in the street and telling me I’m having a boy or I’m having a girl – point blank convinced they are correct. If I say ‘well I just don’t know yet’, they’ll scrutinise every aspect of my cravings, morning sickness (or lack of it), the way I’m ‘carrying’ my bump, assess my back fat, bum and love handles then tell me they’ve either made the right decision or change their mind and say the other gender. I’m getting a little pissed off at being looked at like I’m a piece of meat by old women who feel the need to take up 10 minutes of my time even though they know they’ll never see me again in my whole life; and even if I did recognise them in the street a year later with my bundle of joy and told them they were right (or wrong) I’d probably get told to ‘move along’ by the police for being a crazy person intimidating and aggravating the elderly.

This has got me thinking, women have an opinion on everything, especially women who are mothers; there are certain topics of conversation which trigger mass debates – especially online on the Babycentre website.  Finding out the sex of a baby at the 20 week scan, pain relief to use in labour and breast or bottle feeding are amongst the most popular ones I’ve encountered so far. Some women are really vehement on their opinion, it’s a little scary.

Halloween. 16 weeks pregnant.

Yesterday I went to my friend Marie’s house for a Halloween fancy dress party. My predicament was that I didn’t have an outfit to wear, and nothing would look flattering with a small pregnant pot belly. I’ve also developed a new issue with closed spaces and lots of people. I’m not sure where this irrational fear has come from but I think it’s a ‘protect the bump’ thing. Also, a new annoyance of mine is that everyone, whether it’s friends or just some lady in the pasta isle of Tesco, is coming up to my new mini-bump and rubbing me up! Well hello, I am not a magic lamp, a genie will not come out and grant you three wishes and I am NOT OK with complete strangers fondling me inappropriately in public (or in private for that matter!). It is getting to be a massive issue and now because of this I’m developing a strange ‘keep your distance’ policy. I cannot describe what hormones do to a pregnant woman!

For the party, Marie and I concocted a brilliant plan to combat all of my silly, yet important issues to make sure I don’t fly off the handle at the Halloween party. I bought LOADS of bright orange satin material, some pillows, elastic, thread, green tights, green eye shadow, and a headband and lovely Marie (whose party it was god love her) spent the next couple of hours sat at the sewing machine making my outfit. I went home for a nap before the party and came back later as a MASSIVE pumpkin! It was like a warped version on Cinderella! I felt protected by the cushions, people couldn’t get too close and it was totally hilarious. It was a great night in the end, me drinking cranberry juice and fruity mixes and everyone else on the good stuff. However, I got chatting to a girl there who I’d never met before. She’s a mum herself, and started chatting to me about how horrendous her labour was. WHY? I literally couldn’t get away from her, she wanted to tell me EVERY GORY DETAIL about how she was in labour and agonising pain for days on end and when her daughter was born she had 16 stitches holding her lady bits and bum hole together. I felt physically sick and wondered what I was even doing being pregnant. I kept rubbing my cushions in a circular motion thinking ‘that’ll be me in 5 months’. Shit.