Rhian

Jorja Mai was not planned. We’ve been together 18 months, very happy and planned for a future. I had an infected tooth, had a course of antibiotics, didn’t feel well and ended up at the doctors who said ‘oh, how pregnant are you?’

“Excuse me????!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I had to get hold of my partner who was at work at the time and his response was, “Well how did that happen!” So I had to wait for him to come home to discuss it all.

In the meantime I ended up at my mum’s house in tears. I was happy because I’ve heard of so many people who have had problems getting pregnant. I was happy but it was a massive shock that we hadn’t planned for, we were happy being a couple at the time with holidays etc. It was a good shock and every body was happy. We only told our parents and then told others at the 12 week scan. We needed that much time to get our heads around it.

The first few weeks I thought it was really strange, I didn’t feel any different. How can my body be doing all these things and I have no idea what was going on. When I was 7 weeks I started getting a bit tired then morning sickness kicked in pretty good, to the point where I was 11 weeks I ended up at Worcester Royal, on a drip. They were giving me tablets to stop being sick but I couldn’t keep them down. In the end I had injections into my muscles to stop. I lost 16 pounds, so I got quite thin to start off with and I had sickness until I was 19 weeks.

It was a week before Christmas and I felt really bad, I had phoned in sick that day and was bad all that day and felt rubbish. I went to bed early and that was it. I was never sick again. So Christmas day I ate very gingerly and come the new year I ate anything in sight! If I wanted it I had it. So I was having lemon and sugar pancakes first in the morning, pancakes at night. I ate custard (the ready-made lunch box pots) and I was going through 2 or 4 a day! It was one of the few things I could eat whilst I was being sick as well. If I wanted food I had to have it then.

I expected all the changes to my body. I’m a neo-natal nurse so I expected all the changes, I knew that my body would change. I remember the week before Christmas I put on maternity trousers for the first time. My jeans were just tight across my tummy and I prefered to be comfortable. I remember texting my mum telling her I was wearing maternity jeans as it was quite a big deal.

It took quite a while for me to realise I had a bump. I wasn’t exactly thin before but everybody was saying they could see a bump but I couldn’t see it. I keep a pregnancy diary and it was when I started seeing a few photos of myself I realised I had changed. About January I became quite proud that I had a bump. I hated anybody touching it or coming near it. I loved Andy touching me and I didn’t mind my mum touching me but thought it was odd that random people in the street touched me.

I was a bit upset at 7 months when I looked at a picture of myself at a wedding in a maternity dress. I was all bump and it was on the top of the growth line and I was big. The last week everything got worse, I was hot, sweaty and my feet got swollen, my face went puffy and by this time I had stretch marks. My mum had some so I knew they were coming but I didn’t expect so much and now I can’t see myself ever wearing a bikini or anything.

Before the labour on the Friday I sat and cried my eyes out because I was really fed up. In the morning my water’s broke and so I called the hospital and they said to come in about 10. At the hospital, they said my waters hadn’t broken and sent me home, I was in tears, I was exhausted and I spent the whole night upset. I felt I was right and I hadn’t been listened to. I felt I’d been pushed aside.

Andy went to work the next day and I sat and sulked for most of the day. My mum convinced me to call the hospital back and they said to come in at 9. After checking me they did admit that my waters had gone. I felt relived but the only problem was that because my waters had gone 36 hours ago I couldn’t have a water birth which really upset me. I was so angry because I really wanted a water birth and would have had one if they’d listened to me! I had the option to have an induced labour or leave it until the Tuesday morning. I went home but was booked in for Monday night.

She was really hurting me and I felt my contractions starting. In the car on the way home, I had a feeling I was contracting, I hadn’t had it before so I wasn’t sure, she wasn’t going to come with a banner saying ‘I’m having contractions now!’ I got into bed and they got strong and I couldn’t settle. By 12 I knew they were definitely contractions. I came downstairs and fell asleep on my yoga ball and put my tens machine on to manage the pain. By 3am they were regular so I got Andy to time me and they were between 7 and 8 minutes. At half 4 I had a warm bath because my back was really hurting, fell asleep, then got dressed. I went to the loo and there was some blood and Andy said let’s go to the hospital.

I was 5 cm and they put me on the monitor. She was fine and I was fine, not sure what the blood was. I had a second bath, had my gas and air with one hand, relaxing music and Andy on the loo, where he fell asleep! We were in there for a bit and it helped with pain. After the consultant came in and said Jorja Mai was starting to get stressed. I had to go back on the monitors which meant I couldn’t walk around. That and with the sickness from the gas and air I said, ‘Stuff this’ but with stronger words and I decided to get an epidural. The first epidural at 1 didn’t work; one of my legs went numb and I could feel everything in the other. I had to have another one and finally I went numb. This took best part of 6 hours. I was told I would have to have a section if she didn’t come. At 3.30 I was 9.5 cm. What they didn’t tell me was that we were back to back and she couldn’t turn around and get her head down. They told me after that I did have to have a section. I was gutted, I really did not want one. I’ve seen so many and I found it so traumatic for mum and baby. I was so upset that Andy had to go and get some scrubs on. I was upset but exhausted and signed the form in a blur.

One thing I had on my birthing plan was that Andy was to tell me what sex the baby is, and they said yes that’s fine, they would hold the baby up for Andy to tell me. There was a very unfortunate light above me which was reflective and I could see everything going on. I remember seeing them cutting me, the head and then hearing this gargle cry. We both burst into tears. I remember lying there thinking, ‘Where is she?  The anesthetist just said they were drying her. It was only when the pediatric came over, alarm bells went off and he said that she needed a lot of oxygen. She was fine now. I couldn’t hold her because I had the shakes. I had quite a nasty bleed so I had to get stitched up well and truly.

Andy had skin on skin with her and I remember coming into Andy and he was so happy that he’d had a nappy lesson! I was very pleased that she was here, so exhausted but I just wanted to hold her. She was breastfeeding within a couple on minutes and has been ever since. I’ve had no problem feeding her. It was a very traumatic birth and later on that day when the surgeon consultant came around I couldn’t belive he was talking about the next birth! I was still numb from the first one, I could not even think of the next one. I had some lovely midwives there and I had to stay for a few days. I hated Andy leaving me, I wanted him to be with me. This was something we’d done together, were so happy with and I was being left alone to look after her.

I’ve found babyhood very stressful at times. With my job I can practically do everything and I’ve done night shifts. I’ve not had an hour away from her since she’s been born. Suddenly the slightest things start to annoy me. Even just having a shower made me feel better. Andy was around the fist two weeks, the first week was fine but the second week he was just getting on my nerves doing his best to help but hindering.

It’s lovely seeing all her firsts. When I’ve had a rough night and in the morning I get a biggest smile, she’s so happy to see me. That is something no one can take away from you. All the sleepless nights and worrying disappears. She’s now got a cheeky personality and is becoming more of a person and more rewarding with her smiling and giggling. Everyday she seems to do something new, laughing at things like throwing up on daddy.

I expected my boobs to get big, I expected my stomach to get big, that was fine but it really upset me a few days after that I realised I’ve not only got stretch marks on my tummy but on the top of my thighs as well. It is my stretch marks that I have an issue with now. My tummy has gone down and I’ve lost the weight but now I’m left with the stretch marks.  Everyone says they will fade.

I always said I would have a tatoo of my children’s name but now I have the stretch marks I don’t need to do that. It does upset me and I feel quite self-conscious but there’s nothing I can do about it. Ultimately they’re not going to go and I need to be comfortable with them and accept and come to terms that it is my body now. I only thought I’d have a few but I have loads. Andy says, ‘You’ve just carried a baby for 9 months so I’d be surprised if there were no effects’. He says to wear them as pride marks.

For all the trouble she’s so worth it. If someone had told me you could have a baby but this would happen, I would still go for it. She is worth it!