And yet, it wasn’t to be. Reduced fetal movement, a ‘large baby’ and being three days past my due date led me down a rabbit hole of induction, 12 hours of contractions, 12 hours of epidural-bolstered contractions, and steady dilation.
Then, things started to slow. I had a raised heart rate, a high temperature and the final crux – my cervix had started to swell and close. The doctors told me I had become infected with maternal sepsis, and the safest option would be to go to theatre for a c-section delivery immediately.
Our baby – a daughter – was ushered into the world 20 minutes later, only to be taken a nearby table to be checked over while I cried so hard I could barely see. But, in its own way, it was perfect. Because out of that room came Noah Leonor Ellner, and she is perfect. And the experience, though I’m still making sense of it all, taught me the first rule of motherhood: there are no rules. It is an ever-unfurling ribbon; unpredictable, messy, joyous, traumatic and gut-wrenching. No spreadsheet or overly-stuffed baby bag could have prepared us for birth or the four-day hospital stay that followed.
Six weeks felt like an age when we were kids, a whole summer of adventures stretched out before us. We’d go back to school entirely different people. Now, the past six weeks have flown by. A blur of immobility, sleeplessness, vulnerability, intense love, a flurry of amazon deliveries and underwear orders (to find a pair of granny pants that didn’t feel like a medieval torture device). Six weeks was the landmark the doctors gave me, a time when I’d return to some semblance of my former self. And here I am, bigger, better and stronger. Thank you for bearing with me, Noah ☀️
Birth – for many of us – is beyond our control, and that’s a humbling thing. It’s taught me to be more elastic, and I was naïve to think I held all the jigsaw pieces. As a mother, I’m starting to see that all I can do is try to put them together, one by one.