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In all honesty, I found pregnancy a big roller coaster ride, with so many ups and downs. I never understood how something so amazing in life could make you feel so awful. Yes, I absolutely loved the feeling of growing a tiny little human inside me, it felt magical. I adored my baby bump and those daily little hiccups or soccer matches happening in my belly, but I most definitely do not miss the exhaustion, vomiting, horrendous reflux or the insomnia that came along with growing our little bubba. 

Gestational hypertension was one of those roller coaster moments, which came at around thirty weeks. I was never symptomatic and was conservatively managed with regular check-ups with my obstetrician, blood and urine specs to rule out preeclampsia and was able to avoid anti hypertensives.

Then the big day came.

Four days before my due date, I woke at 5am with an intense headache. I knew straight away it would be my blood pressure, so I checked it at home and surely enough it was sky high. This is when I laugh at both myself and husband as I thought how naive we were. We went into the hospital without my hospital bag and both having the impression I would just go in to get checked out and be able to go home again. We were both overwhelmed when my obstetrician who was usually very laid back, was instead very serious and told us that I would be induced and have my baby today. Things were very unfavourable. Unfortunately, after two lots of prostin gel, my cervix was still at 0cm nor softened. We were advised that baby wouldn’t be here today after all and that they’d start an oxytocin drip in the morning.

An hour later, I unexpectedly had a melt down with severe pain and my waters broke. Finally, my body was playing its part! A few hours in, I felt like everything was moving so hard and fast. After trying the gas which made me absolutely kooky, I opted for an epidural. Which previously I wanted to avoid, but once it was inserted it was pure bliss. I felt very calm and like I could finally enjoy the time. Things did get moving quickly but then began to slow down, so the oxytocin drip was popped up. 

Not long after, with every contraction bubba’s heart rate began to drop. This continued until the drip was completely stopped and even without it, bubba’s heart rate kept dropping. At that very moment I remember panicking and thought I would have to prepare for an emergency c-section. Things however were in our favour. My obstetrician checked me and hallelujah I was fully dilated! Legs up in stirrups and a few pushes later, with the assistance of forceps and an episiotomy, at 2:01am on the 16th of May 2019, I lifted our beautiful baby boy up onto my chest and embraced those first skin to skin cuddles as a new mama. I really cannot explain those feelings of absolute content and love that rushes through your body post birth. Just the thought of it makes me get goosebumps. 

Post birth was slightly messy, being totally mesmerised in little Kai, I didn’t take much notice however later discovered, due to being one of those lucky 0.7% of women with a vaginal septum, had a decent bleed which needed repairing. I ended up being very grateful for choosing the epidural as I ended up having to be sutured both internal and externally. 

I feel like the stars must have been aligned that night, due to the post-natal ward being full and having to stay in delivery suite, we were able to have our first latch and then just lay for what seemed like eternity before any formal processes like measurements happened. I am so grateful for those precious moments. It gave me that bonding time I feel everyone craves for with their newborn.

My birth with Kai was not the birth I had envisioned in my mind. It was not the natural birth I had strived to achieve, nor did it feel instinctive or primal. I did feel disappointed and slightly weak with the assisted birth I needed. Induction, epidural, forceps, episiotomy, but it was calm! It was peaceful and beautiful. I felt safe and cared for by my amazing obstetrician and the most incredible midwife. I felt empowered and like I was the only woman on earth that had ever given birth. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

I feel when it comes to labour and delivery, we have so many expectations of ourselves and our bodies. We have plans, we have judgements, and we have opinions cast upon us. It was not what I had expected, but sometimes we just need to let go and ride the waves as they come. When those waves look different to what we expected we need to embrace them, our bodies have not failed us. We are not weak for wanting that morphine shot or epidural. We have not failed because we needed medical assistance for bub to enter this world. We are strong, we are resilient, and we are powerful. No matter how our little ones come earthside we just need to remember it may not have gone to plan, but if mum and bub are safe, that’s all that matters. We need to embrace and feel proud of all births, no matter how messy or unplanned they are. I know I certainly am!

@caitridgey