Mum Guilt, it’s an actual thing right!? I’d heard the term used but I wasn’t sure I understood it – but now I do. Everything you do as a mother leaves you wracked with guilt!
I’ve heard so many times from people when talking to them about my feelings of being a mother that “Am I sure I’m not depressed?” No I’m not bloody depressed, I just have a few issues which I need to resolve.
These issues mainly revolve around the process of how my son came into this world and the weeks / months thereafter.
So – firstly, I’m a control freak by nature and I’d got a vision of this perfect midwife led birth with music and lights and water and the reality was quite the opposite. I think what makes it worse is that when I arrived at the hospital they let me go in there for 5 hours and gave me a taste of what could have been before swiftly whisking me up into delivery to have all manner of nasty procedures in the not so nice and calming zone.
Things happened to me during the hours after I got taken to the delivery suite that I’m really Not sure why they happened or how. People say “just ask your husband to fill in the blanks” but they don’t know my husband. He can’t remember his own hair appointments let alone what happened at precisely 12:32pm on the day our son was born!
I remember major events like them breaking my waters and emptying my bladder and prepping me for theatre, I remember begging for the epidural I always said I didn’t want and I remember the consultant telling me I had an hour they took me away for intervention – but what I don’t remember is – why? Not once was I informed that Max was in any danger, his heart rate and oxygen seemed to be fine and he didn’t have a clip on his head checking. I know he was facing sideways so the consultant said pushing him out would be harder but in essence he was back to back / sideways so he was stuck in my pelvis.
After what seemed like hours of pushing I just couldn’t budge his massive head and time was called for intervention.
When I look back I feel such emotion about the whole thing – why couldn’t I have been given 2 hours not 1? Why the hurry? Why was I lay down on my back and not asked to stand up and let gravity help? Why did they break my waters and hurry things along with the use of oxytocin (which I didn’t know about until I read my notes!).
There are so many black holes and gaps in my memory and unanswered questions.
I spend to this day eating myself up about not being able to finish the job and experience the feelings of him exiting my body! I went from extreme pain and labour feelings to the feeling of nothing. I was convinced that Max wasn’t actually my baby – because I hadn’t felt him exit me – I went from having a baby to seeing him and because I couldn’t feel him come out – it was like they had gotten him from another room and handed him over.
I never did see or even know when my placenta was delivered and again I’m convinced it’s still in there because I’ve studied all the photos to try and find one photo of it coming out of me and I can’t trace it. I read my notes over and over and it says it was checked as being complete but I have no idea when that happened! I didn’t even feel them inject me for the placenta release because I was still numb.
Then there was Max infection. I was stuck in hospital and in hindsight I may not have bonded with Max instantly: but then when they started wheeling him away for lumbar punctures and multiple heel pricks for blood right in front of me and other mums – was quite traumatic. I remember one time pacing up and down the room in absolute sweating state just saying “enough now, that’s enough!” His blood was dripping out his heels all over the chairs and he was screaming.
Once enough blood was taken it was established Max had “an infection” I wasn’t allowed a private room and my husband was told to leave every night. They woke me at 2am to tell me they suspected Max has menigitis and that he was “very poorly” they say the inflammation markers should be between 1 and 10 and his were 38.
I lay sobbing without my husband with a baby whom was days old – they took him away from me to do chest X-rays (having to pin your 2 day old baby down onto a lead plate is pretty traumatic) and then lumbar punctures which they don’t allow you to witness because it’s so distressing as they basically have to curve the baby around into an ball and insert a large needle into their spine. They did this twice to my baby and all I could do was sit and wait.
They inserted a cannula and began administering 2 types of antibiotic immediately. I had to hold him down twice a day so the nurse could flush the line with saline and he would scream in pain. It was the most upsetting and traumatic week of my life – not helped by the Heat of the ward, lack of sleep and lack of privacy. After 5 days I was desperate for my own room and my home, but Max wasn’t well still.
We called it “the claw” and tried to make light of the situation.
Luckily after 7 days we were let out and I cried just to feel air on my skin and drops of rain!
I still to this day don’t know what infection he had or why he was so poorly and that cuts me up inside. I’ve felt resentment towards those mums who had their babies and took them home right away and have no comprehension of what it feels like to go through the above.
Then I feel guilty because I know others will be reading this and saying that I had it easy in comparison to their experiences!
I think all in all – we all have issues in some way, we all have unanswered questions and we all have regrets.
Each experience is different and none of them are perfect.