• By Amanda Blackburn.

Shed some light on life!

With all the sad and depressing news over the last few months, it’s easy to feel a bit down in the dumps. If you suffer from anxiety then I’m sure you feel like you just want to hide away and not go out. Is anywhere safe anymore? I try to look to things that make me smile, it helps take my mind off things and lifts my mood. So I have written this post to do just that, make me smile and hopefully make my readers smile too.

It’s my youngest sons 7th birthday this Sunday. About a week before my children’s birthdays I always feel extremely emotional and think back to the day that they were born. Does anyone else feel like me? Do you start to think of the day your child was born? Not only do I think but I talk about it to my husband and remind my children of their first day in the world. My husband always listens but I can tell he’s thinking, “oh here we go again, I’ve heard this all a million times”, and my children look at me like I’m crazy. So I’m really going to try and not talk about it with them but annoy all you readers instead. As it’s my youngest son Zac’s birthday it’s a story about him.

It was Christmas Eve and my husband and I were out for our yearly get together with friends and family. It had become a bit of a tradition, my poor mum would babysit for me and my sister and we would all go out at lunchtime for food and far too much alcohol. We used to roll back at around 6 and pick the children up from my mums, walking back in the cold and trying to sober up. I don’t know how we managed on the amount of alcohol we had consumed, but we always made the evening magical, cooking cookies for Santa, reading Christmas stories, leaving a sparkling trail for the reindeer along with a carrot and of course most importantly, quietly crawling through the loft to dig out the presents and carefully placing them in stockings and downstairs by the tree without waking the children. This was before we had Zac!

During our Christmas Eve lunchtime madness, we bumped into some old friends that we hadn’t seen in some time. My friend who was with her husband told us that they were expecting another baby. They said it wasn’t planned and although they seemed happy enough I could tell they were both a bit worried. They already had 3 children that were older and they had thought their nappy changing days were over. My partner of course, as most men do, had a joke with my friends' husband and was winding him up about the sleepless nights that he would have to face again, saying he would have to get a people mover, you can imagine the jokes from him and rest of our drunken clan. They laughed along too, it was harmless banter of course.

However, never laugh at others and say that they should have been more careful. Lesson learned by us, as that night... won’t give the details, we weren't as careful as we thought we were being, no laughing at our friends and their sleepless nights anymore as we were going to be joining them. (Just a little note... I haven’t told my children this part of the story)

It was the first week in February and I woke up feeling really sick, I thought I must have the start of a stomach bug. I had to get myself up for work and get the children up for school so I forced myself out of bed. After a coffee, I felt more alive and the feeling passed, but the next morning I woke to the same feeling and it was then that I started to think when was my last period. After some careful thinking, I realised that my last period had been back in December, I had only remembered because I had been annoyed that I had my period on a Christmas night out with my friends. I worked out the weeks on my phone calendar, my Christmas night out was 6 weeks ago. I had to take myself to the toilet very quickly at that moment and was very sick. I wasn’t on any contraception pill and hadn’t been for 6 years due to health reasons. I was very worried and suddenly felt very pregnant.

I didn’t say anything to my partner and somehow managed to talk myself out of the idea, but after dropping the children at school I popped into the chemist and picked myself up a pregnancy test. I was worried but still convinced myself that I was making myself feel pregnant because my period was late. I can’t remember where my partner was that morning but he wasn’t there when I took the test. I took the test as soon as I was home and it was positive and indicated 5 weeks....OMG!

Soon as he walked through the door I shouted at him, I was cross and blamed him. We had a massive argument just blaming each other and he stormed out. The next few weeks were awful, I took another test at the doctors that also confirmed I was pregnant, felt sick every morning and my partner and I hated each other’s guts. We both didn’t want another baby and discussed termination. I had never wanted to go through having to terminate a child, I can understand why people do it and I have no problem with people doing it, but I knew I just couldn’t. My partner wanted me to, he was terrified at the thought of another child. This made us argue even more and I resented him for trying to encourage me to terminate after we had such a beautiful daughter and had loved bringing her up together.

Over the week we calmed down from all the shock and actually discussed the matter without arguing. We both agreed that although we both were not keen on the idea of another child, we would never be able to live with ourselves if we had a termination. We decided to get through it together and face up to our carelessness. We had been together for 8 years and had never felt the need to get married, but for some reason, we decided that we should. Our daughter who was 6 at the time, thought this news was amazing, she used to moan at us for not being married and started planning her bridesmaid dress.

We married on 6 March, how we managed to arrange it all in 5 weeks I’ll never know but we did and our wedding weekend was amazing. We married in our local registry office and after the ceremony, we treated our 40 guests, friends and family, to an all you can eat Chinese buffet meal. The food was great and everyone loved it, the restaurant was very busy as it was a Saturday lunchtime and the atmosphere was great. Because I was wearing a wedding dress it was obvious that we had just got married, we had so many strangers coming to congratulate us, it made the day extra special. Our evening was just as lovely, my parents were having our daughter and my son overnight and we were able to have an evening to ourselves. We spent the rest of the Saturday and all day Sunday in a stunning hotel and had spa treatments and far too much food. We booked our honeymoon to Zante but didn’t want to go without our children. We couldn’t afford to go until May as we needed to save up. We booked to go the last week in May for 2 weeks. My sister and my parents decided to come along so we could all celebrate together. I worked out I would only be 5 months pregnant so it would be safe to travel.

When all the wedding excitement had calmed down the thought of being a mum again dawned on me. I got extremely anxious and my pregnancy became very tough, I felt sick all the time and I didn’t enjoy being pregnant one bit. I became very depressed and felt guilty for not feeling very maternal. I didn’t connect with my bump and my pregnancy felt wrong and I was so negative, expecting something to go wrong. It was a long pregnancy and I had a few complications throughout. I was in and out of hospital the last month and this made me feel even more depressed, thinking that something would go horribly wrong. When the day finally came I was not at all ready mentally.

My husband had been there for the birth of my daughter but it had been a tough birth and he was scared to see me in pain again. My best friend had always wanted to experience a birth, I had promised her she could be there alongside my husband, but when he told me how worried he was, I decided that having my friend with me would be enough. I had to be induced because I was a week past my due date and I had a kidney infection that wasn’t shifting with antibiotics so I was able to organise the day with my friend. My husband came with me to the hospital when I was induced and stayed with me until 9 pm. I was induced at 4 and when he left me at 9 things were starting to happen. The nurses were going to ring my friend when I felt things were close, my last labor had lasted 13 hours so I didn’t think it would happen quickly.

The labor ward was extremely busy, the nurses and midwives were all running around. They had told me earlier that September and October were their busiest months, lots of people getting pregnant over Christmas and New Year. I kept myself active by walking around the ward and chatted to my friends on Facebook until the pains started to hinder my concentration and felt too uncomfortable to move. At around midnight my pains started to get very intense and I pressed the button by my bed to notify the midwives that I could now do with my friend. Nobody came, I rang again, still, no one came, I tried to get up to walk to find someone but I couldn’t move. I started to panic and vomited just then a nurse came rushing into my room apologising for taking so long. When she saw how sick I’d been she panicked and somehow managed to see how dilated I was. I was 6cm dilated and it was now time to call my friend.

It felt like an eternity until my friend arrived at around 1 am, I was exhausted and in lots of pain. Because I was so exhausted I starting to think negative again, everything felt like it was going wrong. It was an awful labor, they tried to give me gas an air but it just made me sick, I just kept biting the mouthpiece (I’m surprised I didn’t crack my teeth). I was experiencing back labor which was giving me intense lower back pain during in between and during my contractions. This was because of the pressure of my baby's head against my lower back, it literally felt like I was being stabbed in the back. I had the same with my daughter but this was a lot more intense, I wanted to die.

My friend was amazing, she knew exactly what to do, having had 3 children of her own and experiencing back labor herself she guided me through. Because the ward was so busy the midwife kept coming in to check on me, but it was mostly just my friend and I until it was time to push. As usual, my waters had to be broken, they have never gone themselves and then with one big push my little boy was here. My friend was like a professional midwife and cut the cord and everything. She dressed him, weighed him and passed him to me. I was knackered and still in quite a lot of pain, it was exactly 8am on the 8th of October 2010 and he weighed 7lb 7oz.

I held him for the first time and studied him, he was little and round and his complexion was glowing. I said, hello little Zac, I’m your mummy” and he opened his eyes and looked at me. I thought he would close his eyes again but he didn’t, he just kept on staring at me. My other two hadn’t been this alert when they were first born, this was something I hadn’t experienced before. It was strange but wonderful at the same time, he looked at me with his dark eyes wide open and it made me feel like I already knew him like I had met him before. I was not high on gas and air and I wasn’t imagining it, I will never forget this special moment. Throughout my pregnancy I had felt so negative about him, all that feeling of doubt was lifted, we would be friends for life.

I tell him that story, how magical it was when we first met, he loves to hear it. He has been such a wonderful little boy, always happy, kind, well mannered, funny, we just don’t know what we would do without him. Everything had to change for us as a family, but how much fun and joy he has brought to our lives.

And the moral of this story is....There is always light despite all the darkness!

What are your happy moments, would love to hear, please feel free to comment below.


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