Cold Birth: Reclaiming my labour

Oh yes! This is another 2:00 AM missive from Lavendilly House, and this time I am being kept company by a tiny little girl who should be asleep  … as should I … so we are wrapped in a dressing gown and I am typing with one hand, very slowly.

We really have been blessed with a rather divine little person in baby Linden. Well, partly blessed because all newborns are a blessing, and partly she is so divine because we have allowed it to happen. That is something I am proud of. All our choices during pregnancy, birth and post partum have given her the best transition into this world that we could provide, under the circumstances, and she is happily basking (and growing!) in the glow of pure love and admiration from the whole family and community. Similarly, our whole family has been receiving love and support from everywhere: offers of meals, groceries, gifts of baby things and loaned family heirlooms, offers to help clean, do school pick-ups, keep me company … the meals we have enjoyed thoroughly, and I am hoping the other offers will still be around after David goes back to work in a week’s time … that is when I’ll need them most.

For now I am cocooned in my bedroom, cradled in the support of my husband, who is really taking care of me. However I am also sore, my wound is swollen, I’m bored and frustrated that I can’t participate actively in our family life. I am not used to lying still and doing nothing, and I am starting to succumb to my emotions.

An emotional abyss can be a deep one. I can certainly see how easy it is for people who are at their emotional end to just make the decision to let go and keep falling. AH! I know you must all be thinking this sounds rather unusual of me – having such sad thoughts. Well I am in a bit of a post-birth hormonal soup right now, that is one thing, and then the healing from my caesarean is another – plus the adjustment into life with a newborn and two other young children each at their own distinct stage of development,  AND now I am beginning to grieve for my lost labour too … and with nothing else to do except lay in bed and think about things that I’d rather be doing if I were not laying in bed, it is hardly surprising that I am indulging in a bit of sadness.

I have had three different births now: a long labour (transfer to hospital and caesarean), a short labour (natural home birth) and NO LABOUR (transfer to hospital and caesarean). A caesarean without labour is a cold birth. I never realised until it happened to me, that this is the case. Rosella’s birth totally opened my whole being to the immense power behind the experience of birth. Sure it hurt like hell and frightened me into insanity, but I did it. I did it by myself and it was a rush that still stays with me. After such a birth the feelings of hurt melt away in the rush, and sanity doesn’t seem important when you are high on happy hormones. I am so glad that I have had that experience.

Even after Kaelan’s birth, one that ended in a way I hadn’t planned for, I was not upset by the caesarean, in fact on the whole it was quite a good experience, and I healed remarkably quickly, both physically and emotionally. I actually felt no pain at all after the surgery. Really! Nothing. I went home the next day, rested for two weeks and resumed life the week after. I am sure that the experience of labour, during which those healing hormones were activated, had a lot to do with it.

This time, however, I am taking longer to heal.

I know, I know! It has only been two weeks. Yes! I also know things are different now that I also have an active family with two other little ones … but it is more than that. It has been super bizarre, very surreal to just be wheeled into theatre, take the needles, be unzipped, then have my baby handed to me and zipped back up again like this sort of thing happens to me every day.

It happened the way it needed to happened, and I wouldn’t change it because this is Linden’s journey too, but I can’t seem to move past it. It will sound strange to those who have not had a baby, or who did not experience a wonderful birth, but I was really looking forward to going into labour!! I was a self-professed birthing junkie (something I think I am cured of now!) and I really was ready to leap into the arms of the Great Mother and let her carry me through to my next transformation as a mother-of-three.

When I recorded Kaelan and Rosella’s birth stories I wrote:

Every birth changes you: Kaelan’s brought me down to earth and into reality. His birth and the subsequent years of infancy taught me faith and strength and endurance. These were qualities I needed for Rosella’s birth, which sent me forth as warrior maiden. Through both I have learned about how to trust, but that seems like a life-long lesson that I need to learn again and again, although I am improving! I wonder what quality my third birth will give me?

I am not sure yet what qualities Linden’s birth has given me, but I think that is the key to this: labour is the transition from one life to a new one. By participating in the transition you are rewarded with a gift that will help you unfold in your new life – however by not participating in labour I feel like I have received a present in the post: one that I did nothing to earn and one that customs had already unwrapped before they gave it to me. Definitely I am delighted! What a surprise! But I was looking forward to doing the unwrapping and discovering myself.

So this is where I am at with my thoughts about birth right now: when I mentioned in an earlier post that I would have more processing to do, this is the start of it, and while I am bored with having to rest to heal, and frustrated with not being able to participate in family life, I am very aware that this time has been given to me to help me make this transition. I am having my labour NOW, because this is HARD! I think it is much easier to get labour over and done with BEFORE the baby arrives!!

And now, having sifted through my thoughts, and arriving at something that pleases me, I have a little one who thinks she is hungry again (she couldn’t be!). I feel much better now that I’ve realised I’m still in transition … I’ll come back to these thoughts later.

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5 thoughts on “Cold Birth: Reclaiming my labour

  1. *Hugs* Jen, this post struck a cord with me. It was only after the birth of Grace that I realised the enormous grief that I held for the lost labour of Whyatt. If there is anything you need just ask. You are an amazing and beautiful women and I admire your honesty. Thank you for sharing this journey with us all. x

  2. Hi Jen. Firstly – Congratulations!!! We have not actually met as yet, but I feel like I know you as I have been following your blog. (I’m sure you get that a lot). What a gorgeous little Angel, it even looks like she is smiling already in one of your nappy folding photos 🙂 An old soul. I felt like I needed to reply to this last post as I have gained much from your writings and can really relate to how you are feeling re: being ‘robbed’ of your labour, and all the emotions you are experiencing now. All I can say is I – like many others I imagine – am sending all my positive energy and thoughts your way while you recover. Take heart, the lesson from this birth experience will come to you when the time is right. At least you know it will be something new, seeing as how it was so different from your other two! Nat XO

    • Hi Natalie, thank you very much 🙂 Yes, it is strange to come across people who read my blog – I forget that people actually read it at all! I am glad though that there are people who find my thoughts interesting … proves I’m not the only one!

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