Why I Ended Up Alone in the First Place
I became a single mum-to-be when I was days away from turning 12 weeks pregnant. My ex left 3 days before my 12-week scan. He did very little, and I mean very little, for the rest of the pregnancy. The most he did was turn up with a black bin bag full of 2nd hand baby clothes that came from god knows where and turned up for a coffee 2 or 3 times pretending he cared about how I was doing while trying to convince me ‘he was going to be a good dad – once the baby’s here’.
I had 5 and a half months of heartbreak and let downs to live through along with a pregnancy and the worry about the baby’s health. It was too much at times. But the longer it went on, the less I cared about my ex and the more I cared about being strong and protecting my baby. The first step, was getting him out of me in the first place!
Why I Had A Planned C-Section
I was born with a genetic condition that has a 50/50 (1 in 2 chance) of being passed on to any child I have. It’s as simple as they either get my good gene or the ‘altered’ one. I’m not going to go into detail about the condition I have, I’m not ready to talk about that here yet, but it is a lifelong condition that brings about a lot of illness and challenges from birth that can never be cured. You can only be given ways to manage the symptoms and learn to live with it.
There is no way of knowing what the outcome will be for your child while you’re pregnant – the tests while pregnant cause too high a risk to the baby and the pregnancy. So, it’s a waiting game until they come out.
Because of this, it had been arranged with my geneticist that I’d have a planned c-section with specialists waiting to run some early tests and the baby would have blood samples taken from the umbilical cord. The blood tests would take 6-8 weeks to come back with a conclusive result.
I remember throughout my pregnancy feeling that it wasn’t the fear or anxiety of being a single mum, it was doing it if the baby wasn’t well. Getting myself through the ill times had always been hard enough, how would I manage with a baby to care for during his illness too?
The c section was booked for the 29th of December.
Why I Decided to Do It On My Own
My ex turned up 2 weeks before I was due to have the baby. He finally gave me the money he had been due me since before we split up – money I desperately needed and had been asking for since we broke up given the fact I had just moved to a new house and oh yeah, had our baby on the way to prepare for! He then had the nerve to say, ‘he’d really like to be at the birth’.
I considered it, he was the ‘father’ after all. But given that he hadn’t bothered his ass to turn up for any scans or appointments or even have the courtesy to call and ask how they went and that he’d pretty much spent the last 5 months being an alcoholic reclaiming his youth and vagina deep in a 20-year-old, the chances of him stepping up and being a reliable father weren’t looking great (we know how that turned out).
So, I had to figure out what I’d do. Who could I ask to be there with me or should I bite the bullet and do it alone? With it being slap-bang in the middle of Christmas and New Year, it wasn’t the best timing to have a baby!
I wanted my mum there. You always want your mum right? No matter how old you are, even when you’re the mum now. But she was still scarred from being my sisters birthing partner 16 years earlier during the traumatic birth of my nephew that she couldn’t do it.
The next best option was my best friend of 30 years. She knew me better than anyone, she’d know when I needed a hug or when I needed her to do or say something to make me laugh and take my mind off things. But she couldn’t do it either.
My sister offered but my sister and I have always had a love hate relationship, more hate than love, resentment really. I knew she wasn’t the right person to do it.
So, one night, Christmas Eve I think, I watched my bump crawling around (at one point I hallucinated that he was about to break his way out of there to share the Christmas buffet platter I was eating my way through) and I told myself ‘Since I was going to be doing it alone, I may as well do it alone from the very start’.
And that was my mind made up.
The Day I Gave Birth On My Own
The night before I had him I didn’t sleep. How could you. There’s so much going on in your head;
‘This time tomorrow he’ll be here, I’ll be a mum, I’ll be responsible for keeping another human alive, forever, just me, responsible, for a baby. I’ll have to change nappies….. I did not think this through’!
I had to be at the hospital for 8 am which meant leaving the house at 7 am. I remember feeling a mixture of excitement and nerves but mostly it feeling completely surreal and not really being able to fully grasp that there was in fact an actual human inside of me about to be cut out.
I arrived at the hospital, still dark outside and I sat anxiously in the waiting area. I was doing OK, rambling about utter nonsense as I always do when I’m nervous and peeing every 5 minutes. But I was fine, really fine until the nurse came in and said, “Donna, we’re ready.”
Without any hesitation, I burst into inconsolable tears. Suddenly reality hit and I was gone.
I was walked to my bed and handed my gown, my oh so sexy socks and hair cap to put on.
Once I was changed, I text my mum that I was fine. I wasn’t. But I knew she’d be a wreck with worry.
My C-Section Story
Thankfully I was the first person to be taken thankfully. Mainly because it was 9 am and I was starving and needed coffee. The nurse called for me and I tearily walked into the theatre shaking. They sat me on the bed and went over my notes. I remember one of them saying to me, “So you’re here to have a baby huh!? Fun!”
Hahahahaha, I fake laughed while thinking, ‘No shit smart ass’ (I also get irritable and sarcastic when I’m nervous) I could have punched him but he was in charge of the pain relief so I let it go.
Then the worst part happened, the gigantic needle going into my spine. It hurt like a m***r f****r and (now in my defence, I did warn them in my polite, soft, teary voice, “I might swear”) I let out a roaring, “FUUUUUCK”!
It was at that point that they gave me something to ‘help take the edge off my nerves’…. I can honestly say I felt nothing, not a damn thing after that. No, that’s not true. Fear. I felt fear mostly, as I lay strapped to a bed completely numb from the neck down with a stranger in mask saying the word scalpel!
I lay there feeling completely out of it. I remember at one point a machine giving out a loud steady ‘beeeeeeeep’ and a nurse shouting, “Chriiiiis!”, then I was pumped full of more of whatever they gave me the first time around and I lay there feeling like I was ready to fall asleep.
The doctors were chit chatting away about how their Christmases were as I lay in a drugged-up daze. I heard one of them ask, “Can we get some music on!?” ‘Sure! I thought. ‘Carry on the Christmas party, don’t mind me’!
Without going into too much graphic detail, in my head I’d imagined a human re-enactment of the Lion King –lying there peaceful and still as they gently pluck a tiny ball of human out of me surrounded by a glare of light shining down, like Rafiki standing on the edge of the cliff holding Simba up to the world……that was not this case.
I was numb so felt no pain what so ever but they were pulling me around like a rag doll because my stubborn little man refused to let go of my insides. They were tugging so hard and I remember the nurses holding on to me so I wouldn’t end up off the table and (this might have been the meds) I swear at one point one of the doctors was on the table straddling me literally trying to tear the stubborn shite out of me!
Then, after what felt like a week, I the doctor said, “Ah! That’s him now”…. And at that precise moment, without a word of a lie, the song All Right Now by Free started playing – you know…
‘There she stood in the street
Smiling from her head to her feet’
To which the doctor said, “Well, that couldn’t have been timed better even if we tried!” By the time Paul Rodgers sang the second chorus of;
“All right now
Baby it’s all right now
All right now
Baby it’s all right now”
Aiden was lifted out….
A While To Come Around
They took him over to a table behind me and within a few seconds he was giving out a tiny cry. At this point, Sweet Home Alabama was blaring and they brought him over to me.
I looked at his scrawny little body. The pale, bald little thing I had imagined was in fact tanned looking with a full head of dark curly hair. He looked like my granny. His cry was getting louder and I remember thinking, ‘Shit! It’s crying, what do I do!?’ The nurse went to hand him to me but I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t hold him.
As they finished doing whatever they were doing to my body – don’t tell me, I have never seen what is involved in a c-section and I don’t intend to – the nurse wrapped him in a blanket and gave him a bottle – he instantly guzzled it and all was well.
The nurse asked if I’d like to hold him but I still couldn’t do it. I’m not sure if I was convinced he’d be ill and I was scared. If i was finally feeling the overwhelming fear of being a single mum or just overwhelmed by the whole experience. Maybe I was just so out of it. I didn’t know what was wrong. But I couldn’t hold him. The nurse dressed him and lay him in the little cot next to me.
Six hours went by and I don’t remember any of it. But I woke up while we were getting moved to another ward. I opened my eyes and whatever drugs they’d given me earlier were easing off. We got settled into our bay and we were left alone. I looked over at Aiden (he didn’t have this name yet, he was simply knows as baby at this point) in his cot. There were four of us in our bay who had just given birth that day. Each of their babies took a turn at screaming. Mine lay there in a happy little daze not making a sound. I lay there and stared at him lying so peaceful and content. I looked at every detail of his little face properly for the first time and I finally felt the urge to hold him.
I picked him up and nuzzled him into me and said, “Hi bump.” (the nickname I’d given him when I was pregnant that he still has) I kissed him and that was that. I remember whispering to him, “thank you for coming out, it’s just you and me but we’re going to be fine”. I lay there for a while and held him. It finally felt real.
Then the visitors – mum, step dad, sister came piling in and that was that.
6 weeks later, all tests came back fine. He’s the picture of health and 2 and half years on has barely even had a cold.
He’s my miracle. It’s just the two of us, and we’re doing just fine.
Thanks for reading x
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