I will write Freya’s birth story someday. But right now… I can’t. Parts of her birth were beautiful, and wonderful, and make me so proud. Other parts were emotional and difficult, and ultimately very traumatic.
The days after were incredibly hard. If I’m being honest, every day still is. Freya is a lovely baby, but my body has done a huge job bringing her into this world and I underestimated just how weak I would be after what happened.
For days, my shoulders were pulled high up to my ears. Teeth grinding together, legs tensed, back tight. Even with consciously breathing I couldn’t relax them at all, my body was remembering again and again. The sleep deprivation – no more than an hour’s sleep at a time for days – gave me night terrors, waking up sweating and screaming every so many minutes. The breast feeding felt like her attacking me, the feeling of her latching onto my bleeding nipples grindingly terrible. I was shaking with pain sitting down or moving at all with my stitches. And crying, crying endlessly, for no longer being pregnant, for having to go through it all, from sheer misery.
And then the horrible day where we both greeted the midwife by bursting into desperate tears because Freya wouldn’t settle no matter what we did and it turned out she was not well at all and we had to choose between a paediatrician or the emergency room. She was four days old then, and I’d failed her already – or that’s what it felt like to me.
Our midwife has been a godsend. She has been here for hours every single day, monitoring Freya, helping us. I am so incredibly grateful for her. I am grateful for the two donors whose blood I received in hospital. I am grateful for the person who gave us donor milk when Freya desperately needed it, and for the women who are selflessly offering to help us now. I am grateful for Jo, who has been a rock in keeping all of us going, and who has had to deal with all of it as well.
We are all getting better, little by little. Breastfeeding has stopped hurting so much. I now manage to get several hours of sleep a night, and I went outside for the first time yesterday without passing out. Freya is an alert and happy baby, who loves being cuddled. We are learning every day. We will get there, we will <3