How on earth did I manage to produce something that beautiful?

It’s certainly been a big week – I don’t suppose that’s a surprise to anyone, really, is it?

Daisy is beautiful – she actually gets more beautiful with every passing day. For the first few days, I was dimly aware that I wasn’t experiencing a great rush of emotion, more a sense of utter bemusement. I wasn’t too worried – I’ve read all the stuff, some people bond straight away, some take a little bit longer, it’s bound to happen eventually. But then, on Friday, I suddenly realised how terrible it would be if anything happened to her. It totally took my breath away – my sister had come, and mentioned in passing this tragic story from her local paper, about this set of twins who had been killed (I’m not doing details, it’s still very upsetting to think about), and suddenly, I was completely overwhelmed. All I could do was demand my baby back from whoever was holding her at the time – if she was in my arms, nothing could happen to her.

The hormone rush has actually stayed fairly manageable, up to now. I mean, it’s definitely there – it’s just identifiable, which means I can make informed choices about whether to give in to the irrational urges, and whether to apologise to Mum and Kevin for whatever I just said.

Physically, I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. I never really anticipated how much giving birth could take out of you, particularly as I had an episiotomy, in the end, so I’ve additional elements of Sore and Uncomfortable. But it’s things like, my entire torso aches – who knew that pushing would use so many different muscles?

I think as labour goes, it wasn’t too bad. Most of what made it difficult can be traced back to her being so late: we made pretty good progress at home, during the day (we had a routine hospital appointment, during which a midwife told me I wasn’t in labour – yet. I blatantly was, but I wasn’t far enough advanced for it to count. Seven hours later, we arrived at delivery suite, and were pronounced to nearly five centimetres dilated, which is pretty good going, considering early labour is supposed to be the slow bit); sadly, once we got to the Women’s Hospital, they wanted me on constant monitoring, and monitoring me standing up didn’t seem to work, so before very long I was strapped to the bed. That was what slowed it all down – four hours later, and I’d only progressed another centimetre, and I hit their Failure to Progress procedures. That meant getting my waters broken, which made contractions significantly more painful, and a syntocinol drip, which would have made them even worse. At that point, I asked for an epidural. The obstetrician was fairly blas? about the extent to which the pain would increase with the drip, but the midwife was on my side, and insisted that we sort out the pain relief before we did anything else – when the doctor had gone, she said “SHE’S clearly never done it!”. In any case, it was totally the right choice. I’d gone as far as I could go without one. Maybe if I’d not been lying down, and having it take so long, and maybe if they’d not broken my waters, I’d have been able to carry on without, but I’d reached the point where my body was starting to retch at the height of the pain, and I knew I couldn’t go any further. And for all that I’d been scared of the idea of the epidural, the relief was indescribable.

It all went quiet, from my point of view, and Kev and I actually got an hour or two’s kip after that. When the midwife came back, at about three thirty, she pronounced me to be fully dilated, but explained that given that I couldn’t feel any urge to push, there was little point in trying – might as well let the contractions carry on doing their thing for a few hours, and have a much closer baby when I start with the hard work.

The pushing bit was probably the hardest bit, for a variety of reasons. A lot of time had passed, by then, and I was pretty tired. I’d lost a certain amount of momentum in terms of adrenylin, because of not being in pain for the previous five or six hours. I could feel the pushing, but I couldn’t feel the contractions that were supposed to be helping me do it, which I found very frustrating. Plus, she was 9 lb 13, which takes a hell of a lot of pushing, however you do it. We went at it for an hour, before the midwife was obliged (procedurally) to bring the doctors in, and suddenly the room was full of people – everyone convinced I could do it, except me, but not necessarily convinced I could do it fast enough to stop Daisy from becoming stressed. In the end I got an episiotomy, and she was born two pushes later.

It was most odd. Somehow, nothing in the previous 36 hours (or nine months, come to that) had prepared me for the shock of having this big, warm, purple baby plonked onto my stomach. I was kind of stunned, like I wasn’t expecting her – maybe I’d convinced myself she was NEVER coming out. It took me a minute to get my head together – in fact, it probably took me thirty minutes of whimpering before I could start getting over how much it hurt, and think about the result properly. Kevin, in this time, was cutting the cord, having his first cuddle, and weeping just a little. I was beyond any of that.

She’s so beautiful, though. I love her so much, and I never thought that would happen so quickly.

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