My journey into motherhood Is nothing extraordinary but not entirely ordinary. A serial long term dater (of dickheads), a failed marriage and fertility issues such as endometriosis and polycystic ovaries found me fast nearing middle age with no bundle of joy.
There were the friends that said “freeze your eggs, life isn’t complete without a child” and then the family BBQ’s, the first birthdays, the becoming an Aunty, all of which made the itch for my own family that much stronger. There was also the decision to terminate a pregnancy in my early twenties that haunted me … could that have been my only opportunity to have a child? But at that stage, I knew my relationship wasn’t a healthy one, nor was I ready then to raise a child. It didn’t make the reflection any easier.
At 36-years-old I was resigned to the fact I was not going to have a child. I had left my husband, travelled on my own, had plans to get a puppy, be happy and not listen to the ticking of my biological clock or anyone else’s opinionated chatter. I was alive, well, and lucky in so many other ways. The world works in mysterious ways though, because that was precisely the point I met Joe, the love of my life. The puppy took a back seat. We had been with each other approximately 6 months when I had a phantom pregnancy (a positive test) which I thought was a miracle and it was that moment we realised we wanted a baby together.
“When we announced our news I found it alarming that the women in my life who had said what a joy motherhood was, as if to make me envious, suddenly began to express how fucking hard it is. It still baffles me why so many women have opinions on how you should carry, birth, feed and raise your child and my advice to any future mum is to ignore everyone and say nothing.”
After eight months of trying we decided IVF was our best option to conceive. We prepared ourselves the best we could with mediation, an organic diet and removing every chemical in the house including the unthinkable … wine. Both of us were as positive as we could be considering the challenges ahead; an emotional, hormonal woman, the anxiety of the unknown and the stress of the financial commitment all take it’s toll regardless of the outcome. Fainting episodes, lost blood samples, being treated like a number in a science project and an egg retrieval of just 4 (two of which fertilised) and our optimism took a huge hit. Finally, good news … she was there. Our baby girl had a heart beat. We were over the moon and I wanted to vomit as my all-day-all-night “morning” sickness had already set in
When we announced our news after our 12 week check I found it alarming that the women in my life who had said what a joy motherhood was, as if to make me envious, suddenly began to express how fucking hard it is. It still baffles me why so many women have opinions on how you should carry, birth, feed and raise your child and my advice to any future mum is to ignore everyone and say nothing. It’s your journey.
It was at just over half way when I began to feel ill with a sickness I hadn’t associated with my pregnancy before. I had an unquenchable thirst, my skin had begun to flake on the inside of my arms, burst blood vessels appeared all over my face, chest and neck, I recorded very low blood pressure and was consistently short of breath. I wasn’t sure how I would get up and go to work every day. The same women who were pro-motherhood and now did nothing but bag it said insensitive things like “oh yeah, it’s just pregnancy, suck it up”. I went to see my obstetrician and made mention of my symptoms, he ordered tests which ruled out pre-eclampsia however showed my liver wasn’t functioning normally. From there we monitored it but my condition (unknown) worsened.
“At 36 years old I was resigned to the fact I was not going to have a child. I had left my husband, travelled on my own, had plans to get a puppy, be happy and not listen to the ticking of my biological clock or anyone else’s opinionated chatter.”
I finished work at 34 weeks on Friday 28th of Oct and went in to be monitored again on Saturday 29th. I was told she was struggling and they were going to need to perform an emergency c-section immediately. I was completely unprepared and petrified. Petrified for what was about to happen but more petrified for my baby who’s heartbeat was flailing. Would she make it? Would she be ok? How underdeveloped would she be? And my god, I’m so not ready for this. Sitting on the bed in theatre waiting for my epidural to be administered is all I can really remember clearly.
Thankfully Joe made it in time to see our daughter being pulled out and to cut the umbilical cord. Thinking about it now that was probably the only “natural” thing about my birth.
I met Loulou in special care and it was love at first sight, although there was the Endone haze, I knew I loved this tiny little thing more than I had ever loved anything in the world. After a week I was discharged from hospital, but Lou had to stay as she was unable to hold her temperature. It was hands down the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Leaving her side to buy some food was hard but leaving her alone in hospital, while I stayed up most of the night to express milk for a baby I couldn’t hold, killed me. This went on for two weeks but it got easier as she began to thrive. I showed no symptoms of my mystery illness and my kidney/liver had gone back to functioning normally, my skin was clear and for the most part and I began to look like myself pre pregnancy.
Lou is now 11 months old and off the growth charts. She’s a tall, BIG baby that is doing all the right things. The fact I didn’t get a chance to read a load of books hasn’t stopped this premature baby ruling. She just needs love, and so do we. Be kind to women.
Hey mama, our greatest goal is to use The Delivery as a platform for women from all walks of life to share their stories. Let’s open up our hearts and laugh, cry, snort, yell, scream and wee our pants together (damn pelvic floor) … but most of all let’s support and empower each other. If you want to tell your story in the safety of this community, we would love to hear from you.