After exhausting every conceivable option of trying to get myself comfortable and be rid of the continual pain, I opted for the “easy” way out and agreed to an epidural when it was suggested to me.
You body feels as though you are possessed, you have been taken over by demonic forces and nothing your darling (if you still can think of him that way through all of it) can help you. You are alone in this battle. You are the one who is grimacing, panting, squirming and bearing the discomfort and the pain. The anesthetist came in and I eagerly rolled onto my left side for him to insert the needle into my back; by this stage my aversion to needles had left me and having an epidural in my spine was more inviting than a body rub from Brad Pritt!
How amazing it was when the epidural took effect so quickly and comforting to know that the small amount of ‘drug’ that was I was absorbing was not enough to affect my baby. With each contraction, although I felt some sensation, I felt no pain only the overwhelming desire to push. This was usually at inappropriate intervals when I should have been panting. My doctor arrived just before 4.55 p.m., and with the help of forceps and my legs high in the stirrups, baring my body to all and sundry within the brightly lit room, my daughter entered this world, weighing in at 7lb (3.175kgs).
Here was this tiny human being we had created, a miracle, perfection in every way, with ten fingers, ten toes, her head covered with dark hair, her body coated in vernix. I was overcome with such euphoria, one of life’s natural highs that you could never dream to be possible. She was placed on my stomach before being taken away for the ‘cleaning up’ process and I lay there crying tears of excitement, joy and gratitude for how beautiful and perfect she was.
Garry and I were left alone to exchange private words, to somehow articulate the event that had just taken place, in the space of these few moments, we tried to come to grips with the fact that we now had a daughter, that we were now not a couple but a family, and to contemplate how our lives would now be changed forever.
She was then brought back to us and put to my breast to suckle the colostrum. All I wanted to do from this moment on was to hold her close, look at her, touch her and smell her. I felt an instant and unshakable determination to love this little person unconditionally from the very first time she was handed to me, wrapped snuggly in the baby blankets that I had bought months earlier. My instinct told me that all I wanted on this earth was to be able to protect her from this day onwards from any harm or misfortune, for as long as humanely possible.
**My Memoir The Empty Nest A Mother’s Hidden Grief is now available on Lulu and Amazon (J M Kadane)**