I have just read a status on a friend’s Facebook status. She has 9 weeks left to go, it is her 4th child. Her Status read “Needs a cigarette and an alcoholic beverage please”. I feel her pain!! Instead of all the gooey replies of “oooh how long do you have left” “OOOH how exciting”! My reply was. I love this status. Are you at the “get the fuck out I want my body back” stage, or the “if you look at me I may kill you” Stage. The truth is. Pregnancy is shit! Yes it is great that you have a human life growing inside of you, the excitement of the scans and the feeling of your baby kicking around makes your heart melt. However the bad definitely outways the good. I remember sailing through my pregnancy with my son thinking, ehhhh not to bad. Then the last 8 weeks hit!
In all the pregnancy magazines, where the models look flawless and glowing, their stretch mark FREE bumps are neat. Their boobs are perky. Shall I let you into a secret…..PHOTOSHOP!! Where are their stretch marks, their varicose veins, their chloasma, pimples, cellulite, piles…the list goes on.
So I thought I would tell you about my little cherubs…..(?!?) and my pregnancies. I will list the A to Z of lessons that NO BUGGER warned me about.
So we are in 2001. I have just turned 21 and was not one to have the date my period was due in a calendar. All I knew was I was tired, moody and kept needing a wee. I didn’t even realise I was late. I had been in a turbulent relationship with my then partner for 6 months. Armed with 20 Regal Kingsize, a £6 chemist brand pregnancy test and a nervous feeling here I was about to find out my fate. There it was. In the downstairs loo of my mates flat. Two blue lines. I burst into tears and cried for about 3 days. Oh that is awful, you may think. But the truth was I was scared stiff. I still lived at home and was very much still the baby of the family. I had no job and was in a rocky relationship. But I knew I wanted this baby. I knew I would be a good mum. Or as good as I could be.
I can only describe the feeling as I had eaten a dodgy burger and wanting to throw it up. I was sick morning, noon and night. Everything made me sick from the smell of blackcurrant cordial to the crust of bread on a plate the other side of the room. I could smell it and it made me heave!
I took pictures of my growing belly and decorated the nursery. I felt a strong bond with my baby, but the truth was, I felt like shit. I had backache, boobache, headache. I was constantly crying and my relationship continued to be pretty crap.
Although I loved my boyfriend and I knew he would be a good father, I have said it to every pregnant woman since. Women become mothers the moment they find out they are pregnant. Men become fathers the moment the baby is born. It is just the way it is from my experience.
I never took any antenatal, aquanatal or any other natal class. I put on 4 and a half stone. Going from a tiny 7st 4oz to 11st 12oz. I would of eaten the sofa if someone had smothered it in Tomato Sauce. I had a craving for chinese spare ribs and anything odd in a sandwich. Sardine paste and picallilli was one I remember. I had a rare form of Chloasma (where my doctor even took pictures of as he had not seen it before) where I had a line from my ankle to my bum, half was white and half was brown on both legs. It looked like I was wearing old fashioned tights. My nipples looked like someone had put a coffee cup on them and left the stained remainder on my boobs. Who would want to see that in a swimming cozzie!!
My Due date came….and went. I helped a friend decorate her flat to try and bring on the labour, but no. My partner’s father had passed away 2 weeks before my due date and his funeral was 4 days before. He was a lovely man who was praying I would have a girl. “Have a girl because boys are shits” was his advice. Much to the dismay of my partner. The day of the funeral I tried to squeeze these fat mounds that were once were my feet into a pair of my mother’s sandals. I tried to sit on the step and bend left and right to do up the bloody straps. It was useless. I was a blob.
I never had the money for special creams and was watching my stretch marks arriving at a rapid rate. I would pour bottle upon bottle of baby oil in the bath in a vain attempt to lube up my skin. On one occasion the bath was so slippy I was too scared to stand up. I was alone at my partner’s house. I was harpooned. Like a beached whale. I must’ve sat in that bath for a good half an hour. I was cold and crying. My partner came in to find this shivering snotty mess wailing that I could not get out of the bath. His reply. “Why didn’t you pull the plug”……Oh pregnancy brain! How had I not thought of that.
So 11 days late. A sweep (I can understand why they call it this as it feels like you have just had a rodgering from a broom!!) I started to get twinges. I two quite severe bleeds in this pregnancy, one at 3 months, one at 7 months, but no pain. It was the middle of the afternoon and I kept getting cramps but didnt think much of it. By 9.30pm I was up and down to the loo. I had “the runs” so thought this was the reason for the cramping. By 3am, with my partner snoring beside me I went and woke my mum.
“I think i’m starting mum I keep feeling like I need a poo”
“You will know when you are Emma, you will feel stronger pains than just needing a poo” mum replied.
“But its every 5 minutes” I said
“Best ring the maternity ward” mum said getting out of bed.
We arrived at the maternity ward at around 5am. 12 hours later! I was still contracting every 5 minutes. I asked for some pain relief, more for my bum than anything else as I still had the runs and had wiped myself raw. I expected a paracetomol or suchlike so was slightly shocked when the nurse instructed me to roll on my side and pull down my pants. Hello Pethadine! 5.30pm waters were popped. Nice little bit of gas and air thankyou very much. Contractions were coming thick and fast. The housekeeper brought my tea in which my sister and brother in law tucked into as I was in a world of my own. Pain. Pain. Dizzy as hell. More Pain. My partner,mum, sister, brother- in-law and best friend all were in the room. I remember mum saying “not long now they are every two mintues”.
I asked mum to rub my back, might as well get a cheeky massage whilst she was there! I felt a burning in my “bits”
Mum. “You are not pushing are you Emma?”
Mum “Well don’t”
Me “I can’t help it”
Best friend goes and tells the midwife. 20 minutes later midwife casually strolls into the room and asks me to remove my trousers. There was my baby crowning away and I still had my knickers on!
Straight to delivery where the midwife asks “can you move to the other bed”
Are you fucking Joking!! Boyfriend and midwife grab my arms and legs and swing me to the other bed. Push Push Push. Oh my god the pain! I thought it was never going to end. “I can’t do it” was all I kept saying. The nurse asked mum if she wanted to see the baby’s head. Oh what a lovely idea, “SPLAT”. Out came my 8lb 5oz screaming baby girl superman styley with a clenched fist above her head, smothering my mother’s shirt in embryotic fluid. Lovely.
20 minutes was all I pushed for. 7.43pm Here she was . She was gorgeous. Everyone was crying and hugging. I just shook from head to foot. Especially when the doctor walked towards me with a huge needle with bright orange thread. One look at my mums face said it all
“This is going to hurt isnt it” I said
She just nodded.
Luckily it was a slight tear. No need for stitches. Bullet dodged.
This gorgeous little bundle was mine, my girl. She was taken to nursery overnight and it was like my best friend had been taken. I spent the whole night awake, trowling through books and magazines to try and find a name for our princess. Two whole days the poor bugger went without a name. She was just babygirl. My partner and I talked, then argued, everyone made suggestions, but nothing fitted. After picking three names, putting them in a cup, him pulling out the crappest one (the name he chose), me whingeing that is didn’t suit her, him storming out the hospital and me padding halfway across the hospital to find a payphone (this was before mobiles were really popular) to ring him we finally agreed on Mia. Double barrelled last name as we were never going to agree on that!
A slight case of Mastitis and when she was 6 months old a bad smear result lead me to having pre cancerous cells removed, the only thing I could not get over was the change in my body. I felt like I had been run over by a train!. I had saggy, baggy skin all over my stomach. Stretchmarks EVERYWHERE!! My belly, boobs, legs, they were covered.
This is my girl at 6 months. I was 21.
But looking back, 13 years ago, I would not change a thing. We have had our moments when I could quite happily have throttled her. She has made me laugh to the point of nearly peeing myself, cry with frustration and my heart has broke a thousand times over when I have seen her hurt. But she is MY beautiful, talented, caring daughter.