I wonder if you'd believe me if I told you that I couldn't love Haven when he first arrived? Or maybe you'd call Child Services if I mentioned that I kept forgetting about him, where I put him and if I had remembered to put him in the car seat or did I leave him at home in his cot? I wonder if any of this is even allowed to be said?
The second most scariest thing I have ever experienced was birthing Haven. What happened that night in the birthing suite is a mixture of blur and vivid, fast and slow and in the time space, to me that was 45 seconds but to everyone else, ten minutes, would change me and my life forever.
Midwives and doctors expect us woman to trust our instincts wholly and solely when these babies turn up. We should know when they need feeding or what a tired cue looks like or what a particular cry means yet when the baby is in side us we're meant to trust wholly and solely what the doctors and midwives are telling us - we need to follow the instructions in their medical books?
How fucked is that.
I'm not a complainer or whinger that's for sure. And so when I mentioned 'I think the baby is quite big - do you think you should check?' and all I got back was - he is the right size, you've done it before you'll be fine. I just shut up and sat tight.
UNTIL I was term. 37 weeks.
Then I started. First with a phone call - stating the truth, I think he is very big can I please be considered for an early induction? No, they said without even sighting me. Second phone call I lied. Lied about pain and lots of it. Maybe I could be considered for an early induction? No, that's all normal they said without even sighting me. First and second midwife appointments (once I was term) I asked about an induction. Both times the midwife left the room "discussed it with her team manager " and returned alone both times to say no, we won't be offering you an induction, you've done it before you'll be fine.
NOT once did a doctor or head midwife come in and sight me. Not one single time.
I've only given birth once before so I was no expert. All I knew was that it bloody hurts like hell and there is NO effective pain relief except getting it out. I had mentally prepared myself for the contractions and the pushing. I knew how to push now and I was going give it my all.
So, when my waters broke at 11pm the night before my due date, I was mentally ready to win my best race yet. We grabbed our things and headed to the hospital. Contractions started about one hour later and I was pushing not long after. It was pretty fast. The midwife kept telling me how well I was pushing and hell, they could see the top of his head already - he was coming! But I already knew how well I was pushing. I was running the strongest race of my life, right?
Except his head just kept coming and then going. Coming.. then going. For hours they kept me pushing like this, his poor little head being pushed against my pelvis for hours.
He wasn't coming. He was never actually coming out.
Then, there was a shift change at 7am and a fresh midwife walked into the room. She took one look at me, the time, the monitor and then yelled emergency. Within seconds the bed wasn't a bed anymore and it didn't belong to me, there were now twenty people in the room, I had four strong hands pushing down on my stomach, pushing him out and there was no scale for the pain.
From then on, I don't remember much at all - except the look on Andy's face. White as snow, full of fear, now in the corner of the room far away from me. His face told me he was just about to lose everything he loved.
In ten minutes (45 seconds to me) I was cut (not on the tummy) Haven's collar bone was snapped and he was pulled out only moments before we lost him. He was so stuck it took four adults to pull/push him out. The cord snapped and I was different.
The moments following I don't remember much but I do recall hearing a baby cry and thinking "I wonder whose baby that is? Not mine, because mine is dead." I was totally numb. No emotion. No bursting with love. No tears of joy. No tears of relief. Nothing. Zip.
Later that day, the same midwife who saved Haven's life that morning came into our room and said next time you have a baby - make sure we get you in for a early induction. Was she fucking shitting me? Was that a sick joke? I did feel emotion then. Anger like I've NEVER felt before.
When Haven was two weeks old I soon learnt what the scariest thing I had ever experienced was;
I couldn't love my baby.
Staring at my own child and feeling nothing is by far the scariest thing I have ever experienced. Admitting to Andy I was having trouble loving Haven, those words were so uncomfortable to say I thought I would vomit. It has been quite the journey.
Haven is three months old now and instead of being on the playing field of shock, I'm probably sitting in the first row of seats in the grandstand. Spectating.
Spectating on my emotions and lack of. Spectating on the crazy anger that comes out of no where. The shortness of breath. The tight chest, sweaty palms. The darkest sadness. The jealously. The rawness, my whole body stripped totally bare of all the feelings and emotions I knew before. Everything feels very unreal. AND deep down I know the only person that has a chance of making things real again is me.
I wonder if any of you reading this know what it is like to have to intentionally LOVE some one. Love then by force, love them by intention, love them by choice. How do you even do that? And what if all of that was then rubbing off onto your lover and then onto your other child? I honestly was looking at the three most important people in my life and feeling nothing. Zippo. Nothing. What the fuck was going on. Where the hell did I go? What had happened to my brain?
I entered some freaking dark days with shear hope I could ignite some emotion and feel love again and there I learnt the third most scariest thing - the thought I may never be the same again? I'm still here, feeling I may never be the same Sandra-Lea again but i'm sitting in the grandstand now, strong enough now to write this post but still incredibly frightened
Every Wednesday I see Suzanne to help cope with the Post Traumatic Stress, apparently that's what it's called. I thought that was just for war veterans. I'm three weeks in and.... I'm three weeks in. She asks me how my week was but I can never remember what happened last week. But apparently that's normal.
My memory is totally shot, my heart is still so broken and I'm angry as hell BUT ..
I love Haven.
Having to stop life and sit there, still, totally present with him and intentionally love him has made me love him, but more and better. Actually life seems better when you have to do it intentionally. Like a lady put it so plainly the other day, up until the trauma you are this passenger, cruising through life going with the flow but afterwards you become the driver and you have to be in charge of your life.
My heart does explode for Haven now. He is like no other for me. My saviour. Holy crap, my life changer. What. A. Guy.
I've been busting to write in my journal for a while now but I didn't expect to be writing about this, I thought I'd write about business or something! But now I'm here I'm thinking it's helping. Perhaps telling the story to you guys I might be able to file Haven's birth in my memory bank and finally get it out of the memory jam that's happening in my brain. Take it and store it where I can go and retrieve it sometime and not have it lying around every where I look.
I feel very alone even though I know I'm not. So, please share your stories.