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First timer in 2007 and I didn't have a clue!

This story is now nearly 14 years old and even i don't know how that's happened, babies grow so fast!. I was expecting my first baby not long after I got married. I managed to get pregnant very quickly within 3 months. I was 21, I had a mortgage and a husband and felt ever so grown up.( looking back I really wasn't)

I would like to add this isn't really a positive birth story and if your expecting a baby this maybe isn't the one to read. It does highlight support is needed and valued.

I didn't have many friends with babies and didn't really do much reading or attend any classes. Everything I picked up was medical facts and figures type books and they scared me, I found them hard to read and only used them to look up a condition or word I had been told. Looking back now that's because google the internet wasn't as easily at your fingertips. In later years I found my notebook and found I had brainstormed a home birth and wrote that the midwife said it's not for a first baby!

Anyway, young, very scared of needles, hospitals and anything medical and very unaware of any choices I just kind of did as I was told. Sadly I did become unwell with preeclampsia and this meant induction of labour during that time I wasn't really being very healthy or looking after myself or my unborn baby well, looking back I regret that. A lot of invasive things seemed to follow this: bloods, VE'S & Sweeps, scans, BP monitoring, being strapped to a machine, long waits and stuff I didn't understand or agree to. Anyway my baby and body were just not ready so it wasn't a quick journey. I was scared and wanted to go home. I spent a lot of time crying and walking around a car park begging my husband to just take me home. I was also made aware I had GBS ( group b strep) again. I didn't even know what that was. My birth plan became a tick off list of things I wasn't going to get even trying to breastfeed was crossed off by a midwife who told me I'd be in no fit state for that.

After a long painful drugged up induction of labour and a struggle epidural due to my BMI and large swelling my little boy was delivered via ventouse. no skin to skin, a large cone head, these dark eyes and a mum couldn't really hold him. He was returned I don't know when dressed clean and with a bottle in his mouth.

I had to stay in for 2 days and I also hated that. I rushed home and became unwell again with BP issues. I suffered with PND and PTSD. I battled to be a good mum, but I didn't really have a clue. I wanted it to seem like I knew what I was doing but really struggled to bond and my oldest cried a lot. I found it was so hard. I struggle even now to pull the positives from this, my husband was also left quite shocked by this experience and was really sure how to fix any of it. I did write a complaint and I went back for debriefing, I didn't really know how to form this and again this didn't really get listened to. I would like to say that the maternity services are getting much better at providing information and education on choices and births like this don't happen but sometimes families still report feeling uneducated and uninformed and not given enough support. Mostly i think this is due to the demands put on the health care workers, but that's for another blog!

On a positive end to this journey my baby did teach me how to really love unconditionally and how to work through things to become a better person. He was the most beautiful baby id ever seen and he is still the most kind and loving young man. I learnt to stand up for myself and be strong. It shaped me to really follow my path of supporting others and helping them. I couldn't even bath a baby when I had Isaac. I had to get my sister in law to help me, it really does take a village to raise a child.

Birth trauma is something that shouldn't be ignored and must be spoken about with your health care professionals, friends or family.

Rewind can also be a huge help, don't forget Birth trauma is personal and doesn't mean you had a terrible birth, it's how you feel from that experience.

Local services are different in every area and I'd suggest a chat with a GP, Midwife, HV to find the right support for you.

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