It seems my recent posts have a theme! In fairness Wizard of Oz is one of my favourite films EVER!
On Wednesday 7th of March my waters broke at 36w and 5 days. On Friday 9th March my beautiful new baby girl Isabella was born at 22:27.
On what I think is Wednesday 14th March? *checks calendar* (I’m right!) I lie/sit (in the most awkward position) in a hospital bed with a blaring blue light lighting up my hospital bed Bay with a creepy glow, typing this blog post and watching my tiny baby girl catch some rays in a tiny little plastic box.
If you have followed me some time you know the score – I was diagnosed with Tokophobia in 2012 with the impending birth of my first born Sophia and I wanted to desperately to fight this demon this time round and invested in Various ways to do so.
Hyonobirthing was my main ‘thing’ and I attended a weekend course in London run by the positive birth company. I bought countless books, apps and even sought therapy. At one point I went searched the hashtag #Tocophobia and reached out to strangers on the internet! I did it ALL and spent a fair amount too trying to just keep it together but as the universe works – nothing ever goes to plan.
Cutting a very long birth story short (will share separately) I am still in hospital 7 days later and currently going through a serious battle with my anxiety.
My biggest motivation for wanting to ‘go natural’ with this birth was because I didn’t want the stay in hospital afterwards. It was one of the things that really effected me after Sophia was born and made my fear surrounding birth a lot worse. I mean to give you an idea of what the stay was like with Sophia..one of the couples who I shared a Bay with tried to sell Trevor a Puppy in a bid to have a bit of cash or the baby they just had was gonna be taken away like the others. *insert GIF of choice here* . Apart from that and the whole ‘shared bay’ experience, my recovery physically went ok – it was the mental recovery that I have struggled with since.
I appreciate not everything goes to plan and quite frankly as long as my child is born into the world safely that’s all that matters – there was no badge of honour I wanted for pushing a baby out my noon but I wanted to protect my mental health and how far I had come. Low and behold not the case this time and with an unplanned section due to complications I was back here in the ward but felt like maybe – maybe I would be ok? I knew what was coming, physical recovery was good! I can do this right?
I wasn’t ok. I’m not ok. And as I write this I feel this immense amount of guilt like I have left everyone down – I mean I’m Jess! I’m The Fat Funny One! I’m suppose to tell you YOU CAN DO IT! Encourage and uplift, change and motivate..But for the first time in a long time I’m not sure I can.
Being on a shared Bay in the ward gives me serious anxiety. I feel at my most vulnerable. It’s like being squashed all together in these tiny little blue fabric boxes and if you dare to even move or speak a little everyone then anyone will hear you, know the most intimate about you and well …hear you fart.
The lack of privacy, the routine checks, the queue for the toilet and bathroom, the constant popping heads through the curtain (if you can work out which fucking curtain because they all look the same and never make sense and you will almost always pull the wrong one), the TINY spaces either side of the bed and the dam jugs that always spill (what’s with those lids?) all in all you can tell I don’t love it right!?
Now before I get the comments – I whole heartedly believe the NHS is an absolute BLESSING. Having a clean safe space to even birth your child is a dam luxury that not everywhere or every woman has and for that I am grateful. I truly am and I have constantly expressed this to the incredible women working here that they truly are heroes! But I have to remember my mental health woes aren’t making me ungrateful and I have to let go of that guilt because it will add to the vicious list of ‘things’ that My anxiety has already prescribed for me.
I find small spaces hard to cope in. Let alone with 3-4 other strangers (and whoever is visiting them). I’m probably too judgmental but I mean the girl opposite me put her cathetar in an adidas bag to go down for a fag. I mean- I’m not saying a Waitrose bag would of made a difference but you see where I’m going with this?
It’s a small space and the last few days I’ve felt it get smaller and smaller and smaller..
I get everyone here, we are all in the same boat and probably all feeling the same (minus adidas cathetar lady who didn’t seem to give a flying F*ck) so I know it’s tough but I look at the faces of all these beautiful women who have just created and birthed real life humans. We all fuss and panic when our babies cry trying to sshh them as quickly as possibly worried we are the mum and baby everyone hates in the bay! We fear, we worry and we ALL want to go home!
Dammit our bodies have been to hell and back but the atompshere; despite the smell of new baby (and cleaning product), the bright pink and blue balloons, baby pictures on the wall and tiny squirts of new born cried the atmosphere is dark and heavy. It’s an atmosphere I avoid because it’s one that sucks me in quickly.
I feel like I am having some out of body experience. I can see myself and I know things will be ok but it’s almost out of place to be positive here, to be hopeful or chirpy in the bays of blue doom. I feel like I’m in a vortex and everyday they tell me I stay longer or the situation with Bella or myself gets worse or changes it gets darker and darker (which is ironic because each Bay could light up Wembley stadium and you have to suck it up even if you don’t want the lights on)
I realise when typing this that some will think I’m selfish for voicing something so negative and it goes against the natural grain of what I stand by and talk about. BUT I have to be honest, I have to be real and I have to let people know that my boomerang pouty face is me but I am also very vulnerable, very anxious and very scared.
I don’t want to discourage anyone or make them feel like hospitals are negative places but I can only speak from how I am feeling in this moment and writing this alone feels like light at the end of the tunnel.
I’ve told myself I’m being unreasonable so you don’t have to. I have beat myself up about how grateful I should be so don’t remind me. I know people have it worse off, I know I’m in the best place and I understand completely that I am fortunate BUT it doesn’t take away my struggles.
I don’t claim to be ‘Healed’ of my mental health struggles or know it all. I don’t claim to have it all together all the time and I worry and fear that when I don’t people will say I’m a fraud. They won’t take everything else seriously because everything I say I absolutely believe but there also has to be a level of authenticity in everything I do so pretending I’m ok ALL the time wouldn’t be fair.
I’ve sat in these four curtains and spiralled every day into a darker place. I decided paying for a private room would help as I would be alone and kinda away from it all, knowing it was going to cost £140 PER NIGHT and I stayed in some dodgy travel lodges that were nicer – you can’t put a price on your mental health! So I went into a private room only to be kicked out after two days (hospital policy about readmissions – even longer story) so here I was back to square one and £280 down.
I’ve become someone I haven’t seen in a long time. I’m anxious, paranoid and irrational but I have come too far to take 26 steps back.
When I was having contractions I kept saying ‘these are only temporary’ to myself to push through them and they are. I just have to remember that as is this situation. It’s only temporary. I’m not moving here, I’m not staying forever. It’s only temporary.
I am struggling and with the revolving door of people being told they are being discharged I sob and sob filled with such jealousy. Yesterday I cried for 45 minutes envious that adidas cathetar got to go home and I had to stay! I feel like I’m being tortured and it’s not been an easy ride for me but ITS ONLY TEMPORARY. However even when realising that last night I was taught a lesson about judgement and patience.
A lady came in yesterday and was admitted and told she could go home! *insert brewing jealous rage* she then responded to the midwife asking if she could actually stay as her husband has work and she would rather get help So she could sleep and could she stay til 4pm tomorrow when he’s ready to collect her. The midwife explained they needed a medical reason to keep her but if she had concerns let them know. She got to stay in the end and I was angry. So angry.. text my best girls having a bitch about how ridiculous it is im crawling the walls and she wants a hotel stay! Fast forward 1am when I’m feeling isolated and lonely and said women peeps though the gap in the curtain with her baby and asks is I want a chat and can she ask me about breastfeeding? We sit for 20 minutes and she opens up about how scared she was and how she had seen me just whip my tits out and feed no problem. (Not in quite so many words) but that little 20/30 minute convo completely lifted my day and made a difference.
Patience and being more human have been my life lessons since I have been here and struggled. I have NEVER been patient even as a child (no doubt my mum has plenty of stories) but I have had to learn it recently and since sitting here and writing this I see how many tests I have been provided with recently and when you finally succumb to patience bigger things happen.
There truly is no place like home and for the next few days I will continue to snap my Dorothy shoes together and remind myself until we finally get there.
Thanks for stopping by x
The Fat Funny One x
P.S – Home most certainly is where the heart is and that is with us everywhere we go.