At age 19, I had a baby, a little boy, back in 2015. I have always absolutely loved reading birth stories but never in 100 years thought I would get the chance to have a real baby early or ever be a young mother – it didn’t ever occur to me it could happen. I have always loved the idea of having children early to bridge the age gap in my family, my grandparents to still be around and my child to get to know them and carry memory of them, but never in 100 years thought it was possible.
It is such a lucky thing to carry a child to term, it isn’t the way for every pregnancy. The body is miraculous to achieve what it does in order to reproduce, no matter what happens, no matter how old or young the mother, or whether the pregnancy succeeds or has obstacles.
The whole experience feels bizarre to me now, like something I dreamt up! Here is our birth and pregnancy story. After planning and saving all we could, we managed to secure a little rose garden flat for February. In early-mid October, a pregnancy test showed us a BFP!! I had still been struggling with the severity of my anxieties, being away from my attachment figures and it felt a relief to have such a lovely and exciting prospect on the horizon. When the morning sickness began to creep in, I developed huge aversions to Yankee Candles, spaghetti bolognese, autumn leaves (????????) and mayonnaise. I was only sick a few times, but aversions kept me gagging post 20 weeks.
The 1st scan (we had it at almost 15 weeks) was so surreal, I couldn’t believe there was an actual little alien being on the screen!! It was so difficult to believe there was a little alive bean nestled and living inside me, especially as I didn’t start to show remotely until 18 weeks. At 19 weeks, my skirt began to fit a little tighter. After that my belly grew quite quickly and I felt the first slight kicks – first there was a buzzing sensation – at Christmas time down with Mitch’s family in West Midlands.
Our 2nd scan at 21 weeks in January 2015 confirmed our suspicions that we were expecting a boy! I loved seeing his limbs kicking and we could even see his brain ventricles and valves in the heart: it was so interesting! We had many more growth scans after that, as, after an episode of reduced movement, he was found to be in the very smallest percentile. We were worried as his legs were tiny in comparison with his body! Luckily we found that was pretty normal at that stage and with each scan we noticed him filling out the screen more and more, until the sonographer had to move the wand completely around to find his measurements. After that he grew so fast, his measurements rocketed and his head was soon bigger than average! I remember a scare though, about 22 weeks, we had an episode of extremely painful cramping but were lucky to not experience any complications.
The Birth – At 38 weeks I unknowingly experienced a premature rupture of membranes (PROM) and came in for my normal appointment to be checked. I casually mentioned it, was sure it wasn’t anything significant and that I would end up overdue with him, when the midwife examined me, rushed off to make a call and announced that I would have to go in the next morning to be induced!
It felt completely insane and unreal! Going in on the train the next day, I was sure they would send us home again. Upon arrival, we were quickly shown to a room and I was given a tablet to start things moving. This stage lasted about eight hours, I had a sleep and was woken up when the doctor came in. 4pm/5pm was when I began to feel uncomfortable and in pain and was brought downstairs to the labour suites. They were waiting to show us a room but things started progressing then and I didn’t need any further inducing, bad ‘period’ cramps quickly turned in to unbearable pain. I didn’t experience any break between contractions at all from start to finish, the doctor said I was experiencing constant ‘tightenings’ between actual contractions, that were just as intense as the contractions so the pain didn’t let up for hours and I didn’t get any relief from it – the pain was only bearable if I sat in an upright position, with gas and air. They were particularly concerned for Oscar during this time, so kept me monitored until about 2am the next morning. The most painful part for me was when they check you to see how dliated you are; it was excruciating and I screamed and screamed. They tried to lie me down and I just couldn’t for the pain, I kicked and writhed until I was upright again. I couldn’t fathom how on earth this was going to work and thinking, surely they will have to take me to have a cesarean soon. I was very sick from the gas and air, I took too much trying to deal with the pain. I wasn’t scared about the pain, right then I was just trying to deal with whatever was thrown at me but my body being out of my control and the feeling of being twisted inside out, the whole gravity of the situation, that felt pretty terrifying – the feeling that no one could do anything or help you.
As he showed no signs of distress throughout – he seemed at his most active for once! – I gratefully received an epidural at approximately 2.30am. It was only a few hours later, after throwing back up all of the tablets they had given me, that I was told to start pushing, which I remember thinking was a completely bizarre thing to do because there was no way this is going to happen, it wasn’t possible. After a intensely uncomfortable, terrifying – and unbelievable! I thought the midwives were joking they could see his head – stage, somehow a naked, wrinkly Oscar was planted in to my arms at 7.23am on Sunday morning, weighing 7.4lbs, about 24 hours after I had been induced and 48 hours after experiencing PROM. I had internal stitches (he was born in a superman position!) and there were a few panicked moments as at first he was so quiet, but we soon got to hear his lungs in full force!
(Top: fifteen weeks pregnant, below: scan at 21 weeks, below: few hours old)
Read all my posts featuring Oscar here!