Horror stories from well meaning friends and family, alongside words in books telling you how wonderful it could be with various breathing exercises and positive thoughts leave you not really sure what is about to happen, and the truth is often totally unique and something you are undoubtedly unprepared for.
But no matter if the birth was a wonderful experience or one you'd rather forget, when you hold your brand new baby in your arms for the first time and you suddenly realise this tiny baby is your responsibility and your hit with a strange mix of love, pride and fear all in one.
The pain of labour somehow becomes forgotten as the weeks and months pass in a total baby daze, and I guess thats why stories vary so much from other mums retelling their tales, the truth is most people have forgotten the details, or simply can't put the experiences into an understandable sentence.
When I look back at my first labour I think of it as a fairly quick and easy, and have been one of those annoying positive experience people, claiming all was rosy and wonderful.
My waters broke at 10pm the evening before my due date, the pregnancy had run like clockwork with no complications at all, no aches or pains or niggles, I barely knew I was pregnant except for the fact my stomach wiggled and jumped around with each baby kick.
By 1am the following day (thats just 3 hours of back ache and pain - which was REALLY painful) several gasps of gas and air and even some pethidine sending me into a somewhat drug induced state, I held Jake in my arms, due to his quick entry into the world and him becoming slightly distressed, with his heart rate dipping with each contraction vontous had been used to assist the delivery, along with the vontous I had an episiotomy, a cut to make the opening of the vagina bigger, and so therefore I had stitches.
The stitches were painful, but overall the birth was uncomplicated and I was overwhelemed with becoming a mother, I genuinely can hardly remember much about it, and the true pain of those hours in labour, and the unpleasentness of the stiches for weeks after became a distant memory, leaving me smiling sweetly and claiming birth was relatively easy.
Like throughout the pregnancy, the preparation doesn't really prepare you at all, and being a mum is very similar.
I quickly had to learn the ropes, with no instruction manules or even a helpful guide on how to be a mum I was back at home the next day stumbling through in my own way. The only real advice I wish I had been given is to have confidence in yourself.
I breastfed successfully and enjoyed every minute of watching my baby grow.
18 months later I was back in the labour ward, this time my pregnancy had been a little more bumpy, I had high blood pressure and had been closely monitored by my midwife who came out weekly to check my BP. With a toddler to contend with and running my own business I laughed off the risks of the high Blood Pressure stating it was simply a by product of my busy life, and groaned everytime I had to be monitored at hospital.
Luckily though I was in hospital being monitored a week before my due date, as Chloe made her entrance into the world at record speed, so quick her dad couldn't get to the hospital in time for the birth, I had no pain relief, no assistance and no cuts, tears or stiches at all this time and was home the next day.
Two under two, with cries of how difficult that must be ringing in my ears I again smiled my way through it, in a almost hypnotised state, totally encampulated by my children,
Somehow looking past the tiredness, the mess and only remembering the fun and smiles, amongst the house full of toys and chaos.
As my eldest was starting school I was once again expecting, I remember my due date coming and not feeling at all scared about the upcoming labour, I was in fact excited, my midwife performed a sweep at home 2 days after my due date, within an hour I knew things were starting, and from my previous quick births we knew we wouldn't have that long before two become three and the new addition would arrive, and sure enough 3 hours after arriving at the hospital after an hour of tremendous pain and pushing Mikey was born. Gas and Air had been my saviour but no other pain relief and again no assistance cuts or stiches and beforew I knew it I was home back in that baby daze.
The years passed, parenting older children became normal, the baby stage disappaeared and my youngest quickly caught up his brother and sister not needing me for as long and I started to think my baby days were over completely.
Then with my eldest two both in senior school and my baby no longer a a baby at all I find myself starting all over again.....
I don't have a lot of photos from when the eldest two were babies, alot more of Mikey, but the memories are blurred and hazy now, I wish I had blogged back then to have a firm place to return too where I could look back and smile at the times that were amazing, laugh at the crazy moments and nod in sympathy with the frustration when things didn't go so well.
13 years on from where my mothering journey began I am back at the beginning and blogging it this time.....
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