Baby 5 turns one on Wednesday. I’m so excited – my 5th miracle and Fijian holiday surprise is leaving babyhood behind. The lead up to it has had me thinking. We hear all these wonderful stories about women who have beautiful birthing experiences, and I read them all because I love a good birth story. I love babies, I love pregnant women, and I love hearing all about it. For me though, giving birth was the hardest, most painful thing in the world. After listening to hundreds of “positive” birthing experiences I find when I go to tell mine, I’m hushed up. “Don’t tell people that, you’ll scare them. No one wants to hear how much it hurts.”
Well I’m confessing it now – I HATED giving birth. It rates as my top most hated thing I have ever done.
Child one tried to kill me. After an induction and 7 hours of contractions, I was wishing he had. I then haemorrhaged and had to go to surgery. There were students in the room, and I often wonder if they continued on to become midwives after that birth. Four years after I saw the doctor who was at the birth and said “remember me?” Response: “I will never forget your birth.” That makes two of us doctor.
Child two I was induced again and in agony after 3 seconds. The trainee midwife offered me a Panadol and a hot water bottle. Considering I pop 4 Panadol for a bad headache this wasn’t a good idea, and told my husband so when she left to get it by grabbing his throat and telling him he would be dead if she came back with her lame suggestions. Luckily he valued his life and ordered the hard stuff very quickly. She was vacuumed out and took 7 hours too. I was told they got quicker. “They” lied. I waited 2 hours for my sister to get there, and she took one look at me and ran off down the hallway and didn’t return.
Child three came 14.5 months after child two, and by then I got smart. I told the doctor I didn’t want to feel a thing – I was still recovering from child 2. I was drugged up to the hilt on everything they had, and took the lady next doors quota judging by the screaming coming from her room. I was flat on my back watching foxtel on the roof. She was born and I didn’t feel a thing.
Child 4 was my fastest. Waters broke 9pm, labor started 530am and he was born 9am that morning. More drugs, an epidural that didn’t work properly, and a whole bucket of pain that culminated in me bracing myself at the end of the bed telling the doctor I wasn’t pushing till the drugs started working. He came anyway.
Child 5 I was supposed to be a pro, she was going to be so easy she would walk out apparently. Wrong. In hospital 24 hours, a whole heap of drugs and I still was in agony. She didn’t walk out, she was vacuumed out too, and she was tiny. 2.7kg – which felt like a 67 kilo sumo baby.
Giving birth was painful, and exhausting. That first breastfeed was excruciating – for every single one of them. Taking a baby home and getting up every 2 hours and feeding, changing and burping was tiring. All I wanted to do was sleep. I didn’t find it wonderful, soul building or anything else I’ve read about. I just didn’t. And that’s my experiences.
What I did get after lifted my soul – 5 healthy children who are my world. Was it worth it? Of course. I wouldn’t have had 5 children if it wasn’t.
And as I approach the 5th first birthday I will celebrate as a mother I can finally answer “will you do it again?” with a huge no way!