Look how small she issssss!!
Looking through pictures of Alice as a newborn is so surreal and wonderful at the same time. Surreal because, I feel as though I am seeing it all for the first time. After Alice was born, as I suppose most new mothers do, I felt in a bit of a daze. Mainly due to exhaustion but also due to the fact my hormones were going insane. But I feel as though I kept a huge secret from everyone. Post birth trauma.
My doctor officially diagnosed my with this at my 6 week check up. The truth is, my birth was pretty traumatic for both me and Alice, and it took some time to recover. Not only physically, but mentally too. Alice was delivered quickly and I didn't have any time for pain relief. It was fast, overwhelming, but on the whole the actual birthing of Alice was not too bad. It was the events that followed which have caused the most emotional distress.
Alice was not breathing straight away, which is every mothers nightmare. She was resuscitated on a table a few feet from me, before I had even held her. And then my placenta decided to get stuck on the way out. I was rushed into surgery and to what turned out to be the most traumatic experience of my life. There were doctors and surgeons and midwives everywhere. Everything sort of went into slow motion and I felt totally shocked and upset. I was given a spinal, which if you have ever had one is a pretty weird sensation. I was numb from my chest down, and I felt like I couldn't breath. I was given oxygen, but it didn't help me to feel better. I vividly remember two male nurses lifting my legs up onto stirrups and a surgeon kneeling down with her hand... well. Down there.
What made it all so much weirder was the fact that they were talking about normal every day things. I remember a conversation going on about Eastenders. And all the time I was staring at the clock, something I also remember vividly, and reading the time over and over again. 11.32. 11.32. I was scared, I hadn't seen my baby. I thought I was going to die.
Staying in hospital was awful. I hated every second of it, and however lovely and kind the midwives were to me, all I wanted was to go home with my baby and just cuddle her till we went to sleep. I didn't sleep a wink that night. Not one second.
This experience stayed with me for a long time. It made the first couple of months very hard, especially as the physical pain seemed to embed the experience into my mind even further. Every time I went to the toilet, I was taken back to the moment I pushed Alice out. I took laxitives every day for nearly 2 weeks (I do not suggest doing that!). Every time I sat down and felt sore, I was taken back to the operating theatre. If I slept on my back, I was taken back to the operating theatre. It was like I was there again. I saw the clock on the wall, heard the voices, smelt the smell. Horrible. I couldn't escape it.
I didn't want counselling I didn't want to talk to anyone. Except one very small, very cute little girl. I would tell Alice everything. I told her all about that day, about how scared I was. How I thought we would both die. And somehow, seeing her little eyes blinking up at me, it really helped me to overcome it. With time, the physical pain went away and recovery became easier. I can now, safely say that I am no longer plagued by the memory of the birth. I remember it now as if it were a dream. I only remember the good bits and the bad bits, they don't feel half as bad anyway now!
If you are feeling like this after the birth, it's just awful and I really feel for you. I'm sure you feel like it will never go away. But it will. The physical pain WILL disappear completely. You will pee again without going "owwwwwwwww", and if you allow yourself the chance, you will feel better emotionally. Maybe counselling will work for you, maybe you can pull yourself out of it. But don't let it ruin those first few months. Giving birth can be a traumatic experience, but it also gave you your beautiful baby too!
Read more about Birth Trauma here: http://www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk/