I am so lucky

Ignorance is a funny old thing. Sometimes we prefer to remain ignorant about things in order to protect ourselves. Sometimes we refuse to understand or to listen to another point of view because we think we’re right. I’ve come across both.
I was ignorant about the dangers that faced my son and I during his birth. I was blissfully unaware that my tiny son’s throat was invaded by a sterile plastic tube; his very first breaths in this world came via an intubation that nobody felt I needed to know about. Until I read through his notes with my midwife counsellor, I was ignorant of the first fight he faced in life.
At first, I was distraught. How could I have slept, whilst my baby was fighting to breathe? How could I have not known of his desperation to survive?

After that, I was angry. How could they have neglected to tell me they had put a tube down his throat to resuscitate him? Why did they feel that it was okay to write it in my notes, using medical jargon that I would never understand? Why didn’t anybody tell me? Why did it get to that point, where my precious baby needed assistance, when he should’ve been born healthy and screaming?

At the same time, I was confused. How was his apgar score 9 at first testing, then 10? How does a baby who needs a tube to help him to breathe his first breaths manage to score so highly on the apgar test? How does that happen? How do medical professionals manage to persuade me that everything is okay, before hurriedly sending me under and plucking my baby from my body in panic?

Ignorance is not bliss. Not knowing the answers to these questions will haunt me everyday.

Recently, someone asked me if I had ever considered what would’ve happened if I had not had an emergency c-section. My answer to that question, through tears, was that not a day has gone past without the realisation of what could have been. The ignorance of that question shocked me. Another has asked me why I felt my c-section was so traumatic, when all the surgeons were doing was saving the lives of my son and I. My c-section was not traumatic. My son’s birth was.

Ignorance towards birth trauma is sadly so rife that comments such as these are not unique. Yes, my son lived and YES I am so, so happy that he did. He does. He is alive. I know how lucky I am. Perhaps I know more than most how lucky I am. That does not mean that I am not allowed to feel.

Its okay for me to feel upset about what happened with my son. It doesn’t mean I love him any less. It doesn’t mean that I am feeling sorry for myself. It doesn’t mean that I am not aware of all the awful things that happen every day in every country around the world.

I am so lucky. I have taken a step towards a life that is full of pain and sadness and I have turned away to live my life with my family.

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7 responses to “I am so lucky

  • wouldliketobeyummy (@wouldliketobe)

    For most of the Mums I know, giving birth is traumatic, natural or c section and personally I think there is nothing natural about it. I think its awful in busy hospital, staff don’t take the time to talk to us and explain what is happening at a time when we feel vulnerable and emotional. Try not to dwell on it too much though (even though you are entitled to) and enjoy every moment, they grow up far too quickly xxx

    • ghostwritermummy

      You’re right. I think that being pregnant again is bringing it all back somewhat. No birth is straightforward and I think that some people should have a better understanding of other’s feelings. I do enjoy my kids and I am so blessed to have them XxX

  • kylie @kykaree

    Agpar is odd but it is completely normal for babies to score well when ventilated. Josephs first score was bad but his subsequent ones were high, and of course he was 27 weeks gestation and teeny. I think a lot more work needs to be done to help mothers like us. Of course we know how lucky we are but we were and our babies were robbed of the birth that we all deserved

    • ghostwritermummy

      Kylie, thank you so much. I asked my counsellor how his apgar score could’ve been so high and she said that it must’ve been a mistake. I’ve always believed that and always felt so angry that they recorded incorrect facts on my notes. Nobody told me it could be noramal. And yes, I agree. More needs to be done to help women who have had a traumatic birth. The first step is education as ignorance is such a barrier. XxX

  • The Boy and Me (@TheBoyandMe)

    I didn’t know about the intubation; I’m sorry. You had it terribly rough, as did L. Now you’re starting to move forward, the next one will not be like this.

  • Lorraine Berry

    I know exactly where you are coming from with the “your alive, so’s your baby, so what’s your problem” thing. I have had nowhere near as high risk births as you, and certainly in comparison should have nothing to complain about (see statement in quotes!) but how we are treated, spoken to , information is given is vital to how we deal with the emotions of that experience as well as the physical trauma too. Yes for you your c section physically was straightforward, but the emotional fall out from what happened to your poor baby, why and how it happened, how it was dealt with etc has left lasting scars and that is hardly surprising! Thank goodness you are both healthy and well, you are indeed very lucky, but that certainly doesn’t take away from the seriousness and the trauma the experience brought you.
    It will be different this time round – knowledge is power! Lots of hugs, stay positive xx

  • TheBoyAndMe · My Inbox Delights

    […] mothers, co-founding Maternity Matters. Throughout all of this, she has also come to terms with her own birth trauma successfully and is currently expecting her third child. Warning, this post may make you cry; it […]

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