I’ve never really thought about posting about the births of my kids, but I read such a lovely birth story by Tracey at Love Of Living today and it made me think about the births of my Little Messers. I never used to tell about the birth of my son to any of my friends who don’t have kids of their own. In many ways, it was as horrible an experience as it was wonderful (well, wonderful at the end of it). I don’t think there is any need to scare anyone who hasn’t given birth yet, because they are all so different! The birth of my baby girl was the complete opposite. Hence, here is my request to my readers:
if you haven’t given birth, or if you are squeamish in any way please skip this post!
The First Experience: The Birth of Mr Messer
I was due on the 10th of July 2010. The pregnancy had gone really well. I had no sickness, not too many pains and overall I was as happy as Larry. Surely, it was getting harder and harder to sleep at night and my ankles were the size of a watermelon but nothing you couldn’t handle in that hormonal bliss you are in when you’re expecting your first. To me, the only “stress factor” was our wedding… We had booked our wedding for the 21st of August in Helsinki! This was before we knew I was pregnant. By the time we found out, everything was booked and I think some of our Irish guests had already booked their flights and accommodation. I knew I could organise the wedding before Mr Messer was born and then all we would have to do is get a passport for him and get ourselves to Helsinki. But the thing was, I didn’t want to go too much over… I can still remember the faces of our friends and family when we said we’re going to go ahead with the wedding. They would say Ok, if you think you can do it… (who would disagree with a pregnant lady?!) but WHAT? ARE YOU COMPLETELY NUTS? was plastered all over their faces 🙂 I don’t tend to stress too much over things I can’t do anything about, but the 10th of July having come and gone, feeling absolutely nothing in terms of contractions, I do remember starting to get a little bit anxious. At my last visit to The Coombe on the 13th of July, they gave me the sweep in the hopes of moving things along. I remember driving home that afternoon, I already felt something happening. It wasn’t anything serious, but at least it was something. The next day, I started feeling a bit stronger contractions and they were becoming more regular towards the evening. So much so, that we decided (with a gentle push from my sister…) to go to the hospital to get it checked. We got there around 9pm, they took us in to see how mummy and baby are doing. They examined me, 1cm dilated. Wow….. So my next question was, can I go home now? Still not sure why, but they didn’t let me go home that night. So I spent the night in The Coombe, not getting any sleep because of the contractions and the different noises in the hospital. I was getting regular contractions but nothing more was happening. By noon, the contractions were getting really strong and even closer together. They checked me again, 3cm. Great… At that point they sent me upstairs to another room where they kept a closer eye on us. I got gas and air which was great for the first hour or so and then it didn’t really work anymore. Around 3pm they checked me again. 4cm. ARE YOU SERIOUS?!? I asked for an epidural… I was exhausted. I think I was more afraid of the epidural than giving birth but the anaesthetist was very good and I didn’t feel a thing. It was over in just a few minutes! Once the drug started working its magic, I… well… fell asleep! I slept for nearly two hours and felt so much better when I woke up. They checked me again, I was only 5cm so they decided to brake my waters. My goodness, it was slow going. I can’t really remember what happened between going from 5cm to 9cm, but then they moved me to the delivery suite. I started to feel like something is eventually going to happen. And it did indeed. Once in the delivery suite, the midwife checked me and the baby again. She was slightly worried as my temperature had gone up slightly. Also my baby’s heart rate was a bit on the high side. It was time to start pushing. Following the midwife’s lead, I was inhaling and exhaling, concentrating on pushing and pushing. Nothing was happening. I couldn’t feel “the urge to push”. My baby wasn’t moving anywhere. Then all hell broke loose. The baby’s heart rate went sky high, the doctor came running in. I remember them saying to me to listen to his advice, that he’s going to help me bring the baby out. So little did I know what that meant. Probably just as well… It meant forceps and episiotomy. The epidural was wearing off too… He told me to push, so I did. Then I felt the most penetrating pain I could ever have imagined (it must have been the episiotomy). Then all of a sudden they ordered me to stop pushing. My husband told me afterwards that he had the umbilical cord around his neck too! But finally, he was here, it was the 15th of July 2010 at 22.22 and our handsome little dude Cian Matias was born.It was incredible, I didn’t feel any of the pain anymore. All I could see was my son. The poor baby with the forceps scraped head, looking all battered but gorgeous with his cone head. Our beautiful baby boy. We ended up staying in the hospital for 7 days as Mr Messer was given antibiotics. I was like a zombie for the first two weeks after he was born. I felt incredibly happy, but the labour had me completely drained.
The Second Experience: The Birth of Missy Messer
The pregnancy of my daughter wasn’t quite as lovely and easy… Well, the end was but the first four months were awful. I felt sick all hours of the day, days turning into weeks, weeks turning into months. Coming to the magical 12 week spot, I though finally, this must be the end of this horrible 247 hangover. No, it wasn’t. It was another month still until it stopped. Thankfully it did!! I do know mothers who had that throughout the whole pregnancy, poor girls… Another factor, of course, was that this time around I also had a little toddler to run after. I was a lot more tired, but after I got over the sickness, the rest of the pregnancy was more of the familiar territory. Enjoying the growing bump and the little kicks that got stronger and stronger by the day. Yes, I am one those who loved being pregnant (minus the first four months!). My daughter was due the 7th of June 2012 and getting closer and closer to the due date, the midwives and consultants started pointing out that she is breech. At first, I didn’t quite gather what that meant, but after some discussions and some careful google research (never a good idea, but I chose carefully not to enter any discussion boards, only looked up medical websites recommended by the consultant!). At my second last visit, the consultant then talked me over the options, elective cesarean section or vaginal breech birth. She gave me the pros and cons of both options and said they would support either option I choose to go for. She didn’t try push me into either direction. I was also booked into what they call an External Cephalic Version, or to put it plainly, manhandle the baby around… That’s what it felt like anyway! Highly uncomfortable and unfortunately our little missy was not taking any of it. I had already made up my mind about what I want to do. To be quite honest, after the first experience I was secretly relieved to have an excuse to be “too posh to push” and go for a c-section… It might sound selfish, or snobbish, or whatever you might call it, but I certainly did not want a repeat of the birth of my son! Having an additional, potential complication to the natural vaginal birth prior to even being in labour, it was pretty much a no-brainer for me. I did understand that it’s a major surgery and there might be huge complications with that as well, but I was willing to take the risk. I thought that since it’s elective, not emergency, the chances are better. And so I was booked in for a cesarean on the 8th of June 2012.
Preparing for it was very handy, as we knew exactly when she was going to be born so dragging granny and grandad from Carlow to Dublin to mind Mr Messer was much easier! It was a strange morning going to The Coombe. So calm, no contractions, no panic. As if we were just going somewhere for the weekend (it was Friday morning after all), except after this weekend away we’d be coming back multiplied! They took us in, checked all the details, took us upstairs to give me a final examination (in case she had decided to turn around on her own, no chance!). The midwife laughed at my bright orange toe nails. It was all very relaxed and civilised. Then they got me to put on the gown and took me to the theatre. That was the first time I started feeling a little bit nervous. There I was lying on the bed, getting ready to be cut open! After another successful local anaesthesia, my husband was brought in and the consultant arrived. Hi Mirva, I’m doctor XYZ, how are you feeling? Almost like a start of a meeting in work! And then she made the cut. It was the strangest feeling ever. You don’t feel any pain, but you can feel the touch. You can feel someone rummaging around in your guts… And then you can feel the consultant lift the baby out and your belly feels empty. It was surreal. And then the consultant let out a yelp, Missy Messer had weed on her, my baby girl… There she was, 8th of June 2012 at 10.22am, our beautiful little princess Siún Aliisa, without any shenanigans or madness, having arrived calm and collected.
We got home 3 days later and I was in much better form compared to the last time. I took it easy, wasn’t lifting my son too much and was careful with the tummy. I had no problems recovering, apart from a runny tummy for a couple of days. I didn’t feel like a zombie! I was able to go out and meet my friends, go for slow walks, do things… Establishing breastfeeding wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t easy the first time either (come think of it, it was much harder the first time) so I don’t think that had anything to do with the cesarean. Overall, it was a pleasant experience!