Writing a blog is not normally difficult for me, finding the time might be, but the words seem to come quite easily to me. Friends that read my blog always say how they can hear my voice while they read it.. it really is not something I find especially challenging and I actually really enjoy it.
But this one is different. I’ve written this one and rewritten in several times. I’m struggling to find the words to talk about my labour with Indie. I’m blank.The psychiatrist that I saw after my traumatic labour told me that I may never find the words, that because I couldn’t speak then, it may be hard to in the future. But let’s see how we go. Who knows if this will be the “winner” that gets published or another one that ends up deleted like the others.
To cut a long story short, I had several seizures during my labour due to complications with my epidural. Thank god I am fine and so is my little bundle but I wasn’t to know that during the labour. All I knew is that one minute I was chatting to the midwife and the next minute my jaw was in spasm and I was completely unresponsive and ‘locked-in’ as they called out my name. I remember looking at my husband who was trying to talk to me, while pounding on my chest but all I could do was stare back and feel the terrified tears rolling down my cheeks. As I came in and out of consciousness and had ongoing generalised seizures over the next 15 minutes, I saw the room quickly fill with more and more doctors and nurses. My epileptic and distant expression did not reflect the internal emotional trauma of those moments. Was I having a stroke? Why did my husband look so devastated? Most terrifying of all, was my baby in danger? It’s a struggle to really convey my feelings about what happened. I feel that my jaws are still locked shut in some way and I can feel my teeth clench together as I write this.
I have two things that I’m very grateful about from October 22nd 2016. Obviously the most important is that I gave birth to 3kgs of absolute beauty. She is healthy and has played such an important part of my healing. I have kept her in my arms since that day and together we are learning a lot about each other. I am probably more over-protective of her then I was with the others but slowly she is healing me and I’m learning to have confidence in myself again.
The other reason I am so blessed is because a friend took birth photos for me. Any time I have ever felt upset about Indie’s birth I have gone to my computer and plugged in the USB that I was given with almost 400 photos from the day. But let me rewind a little…
My daughter is at school with Vicki’s son, so we see each other at drop off and pick up. She is tall and striking so it’s easy to pick her out from the crowd and we started off having chats every now and again whilst waiting for the bell to go and the kids to come out. She is a true free spirit and even her presence is calming to me. So what started out as an acquaintance has definitely turned into a special friendship and what she has given me has been a priceless gift. We got chatting one afternoon about her being a photographer and how she takes birth photos. The idea always appealed to me because I felt like my other labours were such a blur. I’ve always tried to remember the look on my husbands face when he found out that it was a girl (or another girl), or what the midwife did throughout or even really what the babies looked like straight after birth. Vicki told me that some mothers had wanted to do it but then pulled out last minute and told me that if I changed my mind at any point that it was fine by her. My husband surprisingly agreed to it and we arranged that Vicki would come to the hospital when he called to say that I was going to be pushing. Little did we know when we made those arrangements in the weeks before, that Vicki would walk in straight after all the trauma from minutes before.
Vicki unobtrusively came in and clicked away capturing moments that I will treasure forever. Photos of pain, strength, relief but mostly of love. The photos are telling of the most beautiful love story. A story that starts with my husband and me and “ends” with the missing puzzle piece to our family. She stayed to capture pictures of my girls meeting their sister and for them to share first hugs and sweet secrets.
There was no posing, no moving anything around, she worked the room and everyone in it without us realising. Of the 400 photos she took, 370 are ones that are for my eyes only and they are the best medicine of all. They have shown me that I was a warrior that day, that someone was watching down on me and my little girl and keeping us safe and that my husband was present with me in every contraction and in every moment.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to watch your children have children themselves but thanks to Vicki I can see the look on my mothers face when she walked into the hospital room to see me holding my baby. My eyes were full of tears so everything was blurry but thankfully Vicki’s lenses were not.
Thank you Vicki for helping me to heal, you have done more for me than any doctor could ever do. One day I will proudly show these photos to my beautiful Indie Liat so she can see that she was loved by everyone around her as she took her first breaths.