One year on

A year ago today I was having a brilliant day with my yoga teacher and a photographer, on a beach in winter, taking photos of a pregnancy yoga sequence. Little Henrie hanging out inside my belly. IMG_4136That’s me, feeling like a real warrior with my bare feet in the sand and my big bump.

I chose this as the way I wanted to remember the end of my pregnancy. What followed in the next few days was not what I had imagined. Talking about it and being as honest as I can, I hope that other people can identify and maybe not feel so alone.

Tuesday last, I was at the nurse having a smear test (if yours is due – go book it NOW!). We couldn’t believe it had been nearly a year since I had spent all that time going back and fore to the health centre trying to get my c section wound to heal. She asked me if I was now fully recovered,  when I answered I really believed that “Yes! I am doing great”. In that moment I whole heartedly felt like I was “healed”. The negative thoughts that at times had threatened to swallow me at different points felt so far away. Physically I am feeling really well, enjoying exercising and my life is full of the things I enjoy.

Over the weekend some things happened which brought back the memories of those days, the black days, and I was sort of plunged back into the well. I had to go and lie down at one point because I could feel a panic attack starting to rise up.

So I guess the point here is that, no, I am not actually as “over it” as I thought. While I am excited about celebrating a whole year of Henrie, there is a shadow.  I feel like I am banging a drum and no one really cares a lot of the time. What happened to me is no where near what happens to some people. That kind of thoughts are not helpful either though, just because your experience isn’t “as bad” , doesn’t mean it can’t affect you. Doesn’t mean that you are not “allowed” to find it hard to deal with.

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My focus is that it is ok to not be ok about it. Even when I thought I was ok. Speaking to a friend the other week, we were saying how becoming a mother changes you, and that the experience you have in labour and delivery changes you. Talking about that, being open and honest is needed. Pretending it is always lovely and perfect doesn’t stop other people from having a difficult time, physically, mentally. Your health comprises of both of those things. Look after yourself, whoever you are. You are important.

Hazel Ann x

When we met Henrie

If you follow me over on Instagram, you will have watched my pregnancy with Henrie (and if you’ve been there for a while – my pregnancies with Maxie, Drewie and Agnes too!)

With Henrie, I really did feel like I was “smashing it”, eating well, working out, taking time for myself, reading positive birth stories and affirmations. All the things that I tell other pregnant women to do. I was managing the anxiety that accompanies pregnancy for me. Taking my supplements, talking about things. As my due date approached I felt so full of excitement about the birth, ready for labour, to finally meet this little human we had been growing so carefully for the last 9 months.

Then that aspect of it changed for me, a scan a few days before my due date to check on the growth of baby revealed a large stumbling block to the plans we had been making. Our beautiful little baby was in fact breech. After three straightforward deliveries, labours with my second and third which I *enjoyed*, a breech baby at 39 weeks was not something I had been planning for. And I am a planner!

So we were flown away to a big maternity hospital, where we had been before for the birth of our first baby.  A valiant attempt, by a wonderful doctor, to turn my “upside down” child was unsuccessful. I was left with no options, no one who would entertain the idea that I wanted to try and deliver a breech baby in any way other than by C section. C SECTION! (If you know me, you’ll know that this was the very very thing I was not on for.) I don’t like being interfered with, I don’t like not being able to do things. I kept saying “I won’t be able to drive for 6 weeks”, but inside what I really thought was, and I do mean that this is what I felt, I am going to die. From when we were told this was what was going to happen, I was sure that I would die. I asked the doctors about it, they said “well the chances are very very small”. What I couldn’t get over was how normal this was for them. It didn’t really seem like a big deal at all! Oh it’s ok, we are just going to cut into you… hah.. no big deal, right?

The day before my “elective” C section I thought was my last day on earth. I was trying to have peace, give it all over to God. We went to the movies, bought a packet of super high waisted M&S briefs (these are the most comfortable underwear ever!), had a MacDonalds because if you are going to die anyway – why not!? I tried to have a good cry but I felt suffocated.

A sleepless night, an early start, taking my medication and drinking my lucozade. Walking down to the ward, speaking on the phone to my children, still thinking this was the last time I would hear their voices. I know I sound like a right drama queen. There really wasn’t a sense of excitement that I was going to meet my baby. One last scan to confirm that baby was still breech, yep. Surgery was very much happening. Got my gowns on, sat in the waiting area, people tired to talk to me but I couldn’t hear them.

In the theatre itself, the atmosphere was like a birthday party. The team were kind, supportive, understanding. They could see I was terrified but they didn’t laugh at me or play it down. They helped me help myself, practised the hypnobirth breathing I had been doing at home. Once I was lying down and the spinal kicked in, my body was numb and I relaxed and finally gave in to what was about to happen.

Then we met you Henrie. We found out you were in fact a boy! Realised you looked exactly like your siblings. The love was there full force.

And I was so grateful that I didn’t die.

Yoga photos on beach by Sophie Sunshine Photography

Thanks for reading,

Hazel Ann x