As I sit back and enjoy the joys of pregnancy for the third time round I can't help but reflect back on my past two pregnancies. My last pregnancy, three years ago, is a beautiful memory, having gained confidence, knowing exactly what I want and how I want things to go, right down to the very last detail. Also having the confidence to enforce exactly what I want on everyone involved and making my birthing experience exactly that, mine!
My first isn't quite the same fond memory. . My midwife was retiring half way through my pregnancy so generations apart and wasn't shy in holding back her opinions on what she saw as a young mum to be. I had a raised AFP level in my triple test and rang me, while I was at work She told me I needed an emergency scan, and "you'll have to decide if you want to keep it after". Of course I went home in floods of tears, cried all night and went for a scan only to be told everything was fine,. It was only 0.1 over the normal level and no one had any concerns.
Luckily the midwife that replaced her, when I was 6 months pregnant, was much more helpful and made me realise that it was my birth and I could decide how I wanted it to go. I started feeling confident in putting my ideas forward, about having a water birth, not having people in the hospital room with us (not even aware of the option of homebirths at this stage!) and just generally being left to do things on our own.
Things went pretty much how we wanted: we got the pool (yay!), we got a CD player and we had the lights out and our music on. Giving birth 3 days after Christmas the ward was understaffed so we were left completely alone till OH pushed the button 2 minutes before our daughter made her entrance! One midwife came in and helped him bring our baby out of the water and onto my chest and the whole experience was amazing. Unfortunately it was 6:45 pm and they wanted me to stay in overnight, or rather told me I had to.
I started to feel like people weren't listening to me again. I was taken to a bed, OH was told he had to leave in 15 minutes and I was suddenly scared to death. I couldn't even stand up as I hadn't eaten in 16 hours and no one was listening to me. I asked for food, and a bed pan as I couldn't walk. I was told I had to go to the toilet and the midwife manhandled me down the hall to get food, where I was given 2 biscuits and told I had missed dinner. I have never felt so helpless and scared in my life. I struggled with breastfeeding and almost an hour after pressing my buzzer, a midwife came and I asked for help and she quite obviously didn't know what she was doing either and gave up also. I didn't sleep a wink, I just held my baby and waited for OH to turn up at 8am when my bag was packed and I left instantly.
I still feel emotional thinking of how bad I was made to feel at what should have been the most amazing moment of my life. I am sure not everyone involved looked down on me because I was younger, but that was how I felt at the time. It is the reason now I try to only ever say positive things to people going through pregnancy and birth, no matter what their choices and decisions are because the only thing that can ruin it all is negativity.