I’ve been meaning to write my birth story since my little girl was born, but those first 8 weeks were so full on and then you’re in a situation where you’re enjoying the subtle shift to a place with a little more space, psychologically and before you know it the intention to write comes when she’s needing you. Why do I never remember when she’s napping. Too many other activities competing for that gap. So here I am in a coffee shop, little one asleep for who knows how long and I’m writing it. Where does a birth story start? What the medics call active labour. It can’t have been a female who thought that idea up. On my due date I had menstrual like cramps as I walked around town. Oh, I hear her now, a little murmur from the pram announcing that ‘I’m here, I’m awake’. So now here she is, sat on my left knee as I write, coffee going cold. This is how it is. I think this’ll come in instalments.
I remember it as a wonderful magical experience – it sits outside any other experience I’ve ever had, a unique bizarre experience. A place where time stops for 48 hours. Just for us, the world stopped for Mark and I, so we could bear our son. So I must have already forgotten the pain, it’s already blurred at the edges, my body has forgotten the sensation. I remember being scared of every single contraction though and 14 hours in, thinking it would never end. I just wanted to stop and sleep, there was no way I was ever going to push this baby out. I remember between contractions being total bliss, lying in the birth pool, the room being flooded in light, with huge windows. Gazing at the midwife and the student, being held from behind by Mark. I was rushing on pure endorphins, loved up like I had been dancing in nightclubs 10 years before. His arrival was just utter exhaustion, bewilderment, shock, disorientation. Here was this huge battered and bruised baby lying across my breast, peering out of swollen eyes at me. I got them to give me a copy of the notes of the birth. It’s quite amazing for looking back at, see what happened. I think it’s more moving than what I’ve written. This is what was written ‘Delivery of live male infant. Delivered onto mother’s abdomen. Dried, stimulated, cried at birth. Clean towel, cord clamped, cut by Mark. Baby skin to skin with mother, placed across breast.