Sandy Jade Ridpath

Remember the video you watched in biology?! that was enough to give anyone nightmares....yes I did just say video!

I had two books, Holly Willoboobie “Truly happy baby” - which I loved, I love her and we took it in turns to read it each night. I also had “What to expect when you’re expecting” which has a crazy amount of info, like a baby dictionary - but I used it more as a refer to book, and loved reading each week, how our baby was developing.

I went to hypnobirthing classes, NCT classes and breastfeeding workshops. I did pregnancy workout DVDs and exercise to prep my body for this crazy thing called birth. I figured I wouldn’t just turn up one day and run a marathon so I needed to prep for this too....right?

I had my birthing plan written out, in a folder, laminated (yes told you didn’t I) along with my notes, emergency contact numbers (which I also had on the fridge just in case). I had my hypnobirthing kit ready to go, filled with candles, oils, a Robozo (Primark) scarf, birthing ball, pillows, bath oils, hypno scripts and positive affirmations.

Shame I didn’t have my hospital bag packed as I did actually need that early!

I was so relaxed about labour and birth, I was excited to have my low risk, waterbirth with all my hypnobirthing incorporated. I had even considered having a home birth. I had positive birthing affirmations covering my bathroom wall and kept thinking women have done this all through can’t be that bad.

Then my waters broke, we rushed to hospital but no sign of labour, we waited. I ended up being induced. This wasn’t my plan, this wasn’t how I had planned my baby’s birth to be.....

There it was “how I had planned my baby’s birth” that’s where I went wrong, as much as you don’t want to hear it, your body and your baby don’t actually ask for your opinion on the matter of labour/birth. You don’t really have a choice or really get to make decisions.... your baby comes when it wants to, the way it needs to! Well mine sure did!

I expected to be at home and the twinges start, watch tv, use a tenns machine, have a bath as the contractions got stronger, My waters would break, my contractions would come faster and we would head to the hospital, I would birth my baby, have that perfect golden hour, get cleaned up, stay overnight if it was late if not sign my paperwork and travel home with my bundle of joy.

Instead I had 2 days of trying to induce my own labour, what seemed like endless waiting, then the midwives had to inter-vine which I really didn’t want, I had to be in a high risk ward, hooked up to monitors, drips, charts printing left right and centre, I had to lie on my back, we kept loosing Spencer’s heartbeat every time I moved so I had to stay as still as possible....yes a piece of cake while you’re in full blown labour! It was not what I hoped for, it was so much more invasive and medical than I imagined, I had so many people checking on me and when the midwife hit the emergency button, medical staff came flying felt like a nightmare.

Even after my baby was born I had stitches, he was monitored and had a cannula placed, I was shaking and covered in blood, id lost a lot and I did not feel like an angel in a field of Daisy’s holding my new born. The time spent in a stupidly hot hospital with non-stop crying babies and my hormones running riot, I was loosing my mind, I felt like I was in a prison that my baby and I needed to escape!

Weeks even months after my birthing experience I had nightmares...when I could sleep! Every time I closed my eyes I was back in that bed, in that room, with those drips....I could even smell that clinical smell. It was driving me crazy.

I honestly thought I would never be able to go through that again, how do women do that everyday.

I had to have my smear test, my letter for my routine one came through while I was pregnant so they advised I make the appointment a few months after my baby was born.

There I was lying on a bed, knowing it was just a smear test...nothing like labour, should be a walk in the park right? I was crying and shaking, it was slightly uncomfortable but nothing major but the thought of it, the thought of someone being down “there” frightened the life out of me.

The nurse I saw sat me down and explained that it is extremely normal to be feeling the way I was, my body and mind would recover and forget, it was just early days, she then suggested something; “The hospital offer a service, were you sit down with a doctor with your medical notes and they talk you through everything, why everything went the way it did, why they made the decisions they made. It’s a free service and many people find it extremely helpful in understanding and recovering mentally from their baby’s birth.”

Thankfully after time and from actually just opening up to the nurse that day and being told it was OK I gradually felt much better, we now talk about having another baby at some point and although the thought still scares me I won’t let it get in the way of our growing family. I did it once with no clue, I sure as hell can do it again!

It’s incredible how your body and mind work, it goes through so much when you are pregnant, when you give birth and when you are a new mum, they say even a year or over it’s still getting back to “normal”.

You will feel better, your mind and body will recover but there is so much help out there for you, do not be afraid to ask! You are not weak because you found birthing a baby a difficult experience, you are not weak or any less of a woman or mother because it’s effecting you, I don’t know one woman who once I said it traumatised me, said oh mine was a breeze, we feel because we have these beautiful babies we can’t say we found it a bloody hard thing to go through! We feel we can’t talk about not being ok.......but you can!!!​