This Blog written for The Sleep is for the Weak Writing Workshop,
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So to begin, some information about me that I didn't know for many years, I have Charcot-Marie-Tooth also known as CMT and Hereditary Sensory and Motor Neuropathy. I've added a link there so you can pop off and read up on it if you like. It's OK I'll wait, go on....go read, we have time.
OK all done? so now you know I have issues with balance, my muscles don't work right, I can't feel stuff (or sometimes, oddly can feel stuff more intensely) and cold makes me freeze up completely.
Ok onward, what did I do that was so great? I made a new person! a whole new person! perfect in every last detail, and I popped her out the way I wanted to! I had minimal pain relief, and there was water....
Now I don't know about you, but creating a whole new person? Seems pretty damn fantastic to me! a real miracle and the pope can make you a saint if you do a miracle, personally I think all mums qualify, and yes I know we need the dad to help a bit at the beginning but 9 months of growing a baby is what we mums do! And some of us continue to be the only source of food for that baby for months after that when we feed that bundle of sweet wriggliness with milk from our own bodies. See there is another super power right there! We make milk! (I know all mammals do all this but you know - this is all about ME!)
OK so here is the birth story (men and non-mums may now be bored and are allowed to skip down the page if they like, there are pictures later, not gory ones, nice ones)
I had no idea about the CMT when I became pregnant, or until about 2 years afterwards. I was 34 when I got pregnant and was just outside the 'older mum' label! But at the birthing class while there were other mums in their 30s it was obvious that over 30 and a first time mum was slightly unusual (not so now but this was 10 years ago). So there I was 34, odd one out and wildly excited! I was making a baby!!
I enjoyed every second of being pregnant, I wasn't excessively tired (not more than normal anyway! tiredness it seems is relative and I am permanently tired due to the CMT!), and I enjoyed throwing up (yes really because it meant I was PREGNANT!) I commuted to London and worked 10 hour days until a few weeks before the birth, I was super mum! (I did not like the sods that never gave up a seat on the train for a hugely pregnant lady by the way - so if that's you and you are by chance reading this, shame on you! when you are pregnant it's hard to balance on a swaying train, your legs ache and you are often tired, and feeling sick, give up your seat!)
So pregnancy went well, despite constant referrals to Drs (by the nurses) as I was SFD (small for dates) until finally a lovely Dr wrote VERY SLIM MUM on my chart and highlighted it!( I never did go up a bra size, despite being turned away from maternity bra shop 3 times as the nice lady fitter was certain my boobs would suddenly get bigger.) Baby was growing fine and as the weeks passed my excitement grew. On her due date, despite a 3 mile walk with the dogs, nothing......... so I was booked for induction in 10 days time.....luckily for me lovely daughter (known online as DD) had other plans
One evening, exactly a week late at 10pm just as I was getting into bed...my waters broke! so clutching overnight bag and birthplan (lovingly composed some 8 months before) hubby rushed me to the hospital (ignoring repeated requests for him to slow down)...seriously guys do you like this bit? is it that you get to drive like Lewis Hamilton through the town centre for the first time in your life? Do you secretly hope the Police will stop you and then give you an escort, lights and sirens on? It's not necessary in most cases you know! Oh well I guess hubby enjoyed it.
So here's the what I did well bit! (finally i hear you all sigh!) I stuck to the birth plan, all of it! Even in the face of adversity and pressure from the midwife...
I had a TENS machine, and I walked around. I used the birthing pool. I only had gas & air, no epidural (the idea terrified me!!) I wasn't 'cut' - I tore (too much info? sorry about that! i did warn it was birth stuff!). Hubby was with me all the time. DD was born under water in the pool. (and I only swore once, that wasn't in the plan but...hey I was having a baby!) And even though the midwife asked me 3 times if a student could come and watch I stayed firm and said no. We waited for a while before cutting the cord. DD breastfed straight away.
I breast fed. I did not give up despite horrendous problems on day 5, involving a rushed trip back to hospital when DD couldn't latch, I had engorged breasts and we were competing for who could cry most! I used cloth nappies (not at all fashionable or easy 10 years ago) and we washed them ourselves and dried them on the washing line. I took a year off work. We decided that hubby would stay home and be daddy, and he did and it worked great.
And I think I'm still doing well, despite the CMT I do all the things mums do, I take her riding, camping, on holidays. I teach her things, I try and ensure she thinks of others and what is right and wrong, that not all things are easy or black and white, that things need thought. I tell her that I love her, I hug her a lot, I play silly games with her, I also try and give her the freedom she needs to flourish, even when that's scary. (see previous blog post)
My daughter is 10 now and she is caring, bright, funny, pretty, all the things a parent could want from a daughter. She likes makeup and goth clothing, she loves babies and animals, she can swim, ride, roller skate, play the clarinet....
..but maybe I should be just a tiny bit British as it's not really me that is doing all this, I can't claim all the credit, she is just an amazing person, ......
.....and I MADE HER!