First moment memories…


I’ve become a bit of a go to for questions in the ‘April 2016’ internet group I’m in. Reason being is that with Holly’s birth, I was in labour for a day and a half (some of which I didn’t realise!) and I had an emergency csection. 
So I have the (slightly dubious!) honour of experiencing the pain of contractions, and the recovery process from the csection. Cue a lot of questions about both. Now I had a rather substantial seizure in the middle of proceedings so there’s a lot of gaps in my memory due to that anyway; but I can honestly say that even less than a week on, it’s tricky to recall certain details. 
Csection recovery questions are not really ones I can answer just yet. So far? The fact that my husband makes me laugh is now a curse rather than one of my favourite things, and it’s amazing how many things you discover you use stomach muscles for when you suddenly can’t use stomach muscles without an incredibly large amount of pain! But it’s improving daily and knowing that the pain is a result of our baby’s safe delivery into the world makes it much easier to bear. I know that sounds like a horrendous cliche but it’s true. 
The contraction pains? I read up myself on what they felt like before the event (before it had been confirmed that a natural birth would be too high risk for us) and it seems other people were able to describe it better.
As for me I really struggled to come up with an adequate description beyond ‘indescribable pain’!
Then yesterday I was looking through the photos on my phone (there are a lot of the labour and birth process, something I requested of my husband because I knew that in the case of seizures, I was unlikely to remember a lot of it and wanted to at least be able to have a clear picture of how it all went in years to come.) and one of the photos I saw, I felt probably summed up the pain and emotion better than I could ever explain. 
Apparently it was taken when I was waiting for them to complete various tests before being able to head to the operating theatre when the contractions were very close and very strong. As they reached a peak I would grab onto my husband and he would grab my hand and try and help talk me through it until it subsided. 
I couldn’t have done it on my own. It was frightening, it was painful, and unfortunately in my case I had quite a lot of missing brain power! For me, the best person to be by my side was my husband, for others it can be a parent, a sibling, a friend etc. But having a person there, whoever your person may be, is a huge part of the whole experience in my opinion. You are vulnerable, you are being put through one of the most demanding physical experiences of your life. It’s so demanding and so intense, your body and your brain blocks a lot of it out post the event! You need someone there to give you strength, to pull you through the moments you think you can’t do it. 
And it’s tough for them too, as the mum you forget a lot of what goes on. Your person watches a person they love go through something without being able to do anything to help or take some it from you. They most likely don’t realise how valuable their moral support is.
With the various health complications, I will not be able to safely carry another baby without serious kidney implications, not to mention the increased epilepsy risk after this pregnancy. So from about half way through this one, we were aware it would be our last biological baby. So throughout all the relatively dramatic process of Holly’s birth, we tried to focus on how special it was being the last time.
And although I have rather clumsily typed all the feelings of the above out, when I came across this picture, it made me tear up. And not JUST because the new Mum hormones have kept me more emotional than normal! It means a great deal. I’m gripping onto my person in pain. He’s gripping onto me in support. And we’re doing it together for the last time. 
After a hugely difficult few months, this one moment feels like the most appropriate representation of how we both felt.
So as far as answering technical questions, in all honesty, I’m pretty rubbish! I think it’s such an incredibly personal experience. Chatting to friends only goes to prove to me that no labour story is the same. When you’re pregnant, all you have is questions, thoughts on how it’s going to go. After labour? I’m not sure you really have any answers! But you have moments. We had several across the entire pregnancy, but this is the one representation, the picture I will always go to. It’s not very helpful in answer to any questions I’m asked. But it’s the closest thing to an answer I have.