When I fell pregnant with Leo, he was planned, I was in a wonderful relationship, and felt elated. After what felt like years of trying (3 months! lol) We finally had that little blue line. My pregnancy was pretty pants really, sick every single day, laid up in bed for most of it, but I was determined to eat right, take my vitamins and keep my special little baby healthy.
We wanted a natural birth, water birth at Newton, we had our hearts set on it, and was told that it was more than possible, and such a lovely thing to do. We were so happy. we went to see the place, and my heart jumped. I had visions of fairy lights, lovely warm water, a beautiful happy family moment, and of course... falling in love with my baby at first sight..
Well.. all the scans were perfect, our little baby was growing so well, adn nothing was wrong. it was bliss. Then at 36 weeks he turned, and was diagnosed Frank Breech.
Suddenly, our world of natural birth, no drugs, beautiful moment was absolutely slashed in half. It was a horrendous feeling to be told - You need a cesarian. We were gutted. I spent a whole week just in tears, and inconsolable. I felt so up and down, and unsure what was going to happen. I tried scrubbing floors, bouncing, walking, even moxa sticks to try and help turn the baby, but nothing worked.
I know some people don't mind c-sec, and even choose it. Thats up to them, but to me it was devastating to deal with. before we knew it we were in the pre-op appt, talking spinal blocks and operations. it was so hard to accept.
In the end we had to accept it, as it was the best solution for our breech baby and me, so came delivery day. We went in at 9am, having fasted food and drink from the previous evening #thirsty!
All the staff came and introduced themselves, they were all lovely and obviously done it a thousand times before, and made me feel at ease. Then I had to don the sexy bum revealing gown and make my way to the theatre. This is when I fully shit my pants. I realised what was happening, and felt above all that I wanted my baby to stay inside me! until HE was ready. I stopped just inside the theatre door, and my mouth went dry. I felt a supportive hand on the small of my back gently nudging me, and telling me it was alright. (Rob my OH). I walked forward into the massively bright fridge of an operating theatre, and looked at the man who was going to slice me in half.
'Don't be scared!' he said. 'we've done this lots of times before!' - I wanted to punch him.. I hadn't!!!
Anyway. I was asked to sit on the edge of the bench, hunch over, and await the needle... the aneasthetist put a local anasthestetic in first, which is supposed to numb the area ready for the spinal.. .... It didn't.... so when the spinal needle went in, I jumped as it felt like an electric shock!!!
'please don't move' said a voice.. ('fuck off') i thought.. 'I can feel it' is what I actually said!
So... more local, then the spinal. when I waqs laid down, they made sure I was numb, and then it all began. I was sweating, my blood pressure was dropping, and all I could think was how horrible it all was, and how my plans of a natural birth were over. I was gutted. 'you will have a baby in a few minutes!' --- right.... ok. I couldn't think about that right now.
The operation itself was ok. I could feel tugging and pulling, nothing too horrible. I felt awful and kept feeling sick, but it was ok.
Then came a sound. -- A cry --- a baby boy! our little Leo... the baby we had planned, wanted, bought things for, made a pregnancy book about.....,. he was here..... so.... why didn't I feel anything???
He was wrapped in a towel, and Rob showed him to me. I couldn't move, I couldn't pick him up, I couldn't kiss him, I couldn't feed him.... did he even come out of my body??? Sure he was beautiful.... really beautiful, but....why didn't I FEEL anything????
The operation was all wrapped up, I was transferred to a bed, and given Leo. uh..ok I thought... what do I do now?? - I looked at him, it felt amazing to hold such a tiny baby, but I felt very disconnected. I didn't even give birth to him. I was pregnant and excited this morning.... now I'm a mummy... so why don't I feel excited still??
I was back in the room, and asked if I wanted skin to skin - Yes please!!! at least I could still do something natural... breastfeed!!! - So on went Leo, and he seemed to enjoy it. I did to a point, but I was in a daze..
Then quite quickly we were transferred to a ward, and all too quickly Rob had to leave.. 'you have to go??? - why!!??' -- visiting hours. FUCK now i'm on my own. What the hell do i do!!
So the time went by.... I didnt sleep, I couldnt eat, I cried. I couldnt move. I missed Rob, I was staring at this beautiful boy, thinking he cannot be mine. I don't love him. family came and went. cooing over him, telling me he's beautiful.... i know he's beautiful but I DON'T LOVE HIM! - I wanted to screeeeeam. WHAT was wrong with me!!!???
We went home... cared for Leo. tried and tried breastfeeding, but something was wrong. he was falling asleep, dry mouth, we were up every night, all night. even squeezed my boob into his mouth at times... i was desperate to feed him.....it was the best right???!! didn't sleep. a week later back in hospital. he wasn't feeding properly. couldn't latch on.. Jesus.... I couldn't even do this bit right.. They took him from me in scbu, and fed him... the HOSPITAL had to feed my baby because I couldn't. I felt so low. I couldn't feed, I still couldn't walk very well, and above all.....I STILL couldn't bond with him....... I dared not tell anyone.
Now we were home again. on formula. ..... SO... I didn't give birth to my baby, I couldn't feed my baby... I didn't love my baby..... THIS was NOT how it was supposed to happen... that when the depression set in. We moved house when Leo was 2 weeks old, which was incredibly stressful, and then Rob returned to work a week later.............
...i'm on my own..... FUCK
I did all the things a mother should do... cleaned the baby, kissed the baby, fed the baby, but..... I still wasn't bonding with Leo, and now I was scared to leave the house. I couldn't shower, I stank. I missed my old life, I missed sleep. I was so selfish..... but I had wanted this Right??
This continued for the first 3 months of Leo's life..... it was 3 months of hell.. we had to change formula as Leo had terrible reflux, wasn't sleeping, was a very demanding baby, I literally used to cry every day. This was not healthy - so I opened up to Rob... he was a wonderful support, and continues to be to this day.
Then....... it happened. one day whilst I was feeding Leo at night, he stroked my arm, up and down with his perfect little hand..oh my god! he's beautiful.. then I saw how much I loved him, how he was the most perfect thing i'd ever set eyes on, and there and then, I had my 'birth moment'! He really was beautiful!
Now I have not looked back, and realise that I did bloody well in those early days, and struggled through without opening up to anyone. In hindsight I wish I had talked more and been honest about my feelings. I was scared people would think I was a monster.
On here I notice others struggling, and I wish someone had written this when I was going through it. it would've helped knowing I wasn't alone or weird.
I can now say - 'yeah...I didn't love my baby at first, but fuck me, we are making up for it now' Leo is a beautiful healthy very happy little boy, and I know that is down to me and his daddy, and for that I am exceedingly proud and honoured.
To ANYONE who is struggling.... I hope this has helped. more people should be brave and honest about struggles - especially where PND is concerned. Nobody should feel like they are alone...