I love a birth story
Throughout pregnancy, you tend to become a magnet for them. I had heard it all by my third trimester. The drama, the emotions, the intensity, and yet I still hadn’t put much thought towards how my own might go. I had a very loose idea in my head, but the birth was the last thing on my mind. I was nesting so much thatI had forgotten that I had once had a 9-5 job, and an actual routine. Nonetheless, somewhere between my second trimester and watching every episode of ‘Friends’ from season 1, I happily agreed to be part of a documentary with Kathy Burke talking about being a woman and motherhood.
Admittedly, I was in a weird headspace when I agreed to do the documentary. I had been made redundant from my job in TV whilst 12 weeks pregnant, and really struggled to find work after. I was wearing clothes to interviews that would hide my growing bump and that in itself would wear me down with guilt. I had meetings here and there, not to mention sending a tonne of e-mails that went unanswered, but the general consensus seemed to be: “that’s great, let’s talk after your maternity leave.”
Ultimately, when it came down to talking about what being a woman and motherhood meant to me, I felt like I didn’t have a clue.I had no steady income with a baby on the way and I was really doubting my capability as a mother at the time. The idea of talking through this was pretty daunting, but here enters Kathy Burke, who after meeting for the first time at my hospital bed in active labour, it felt as though I had known her forever.
My daughter was 4 weeks early. My waters had broken whilst in the Uber on the way to the hospital for a general examination, so there was no turning back. My partner had just ran from his night shift, back to home to get the hospital bag and met me and my mum at the hospital. Our first day of filming for the documentary was scheduled for the next day, therefore the director, the producer and Kathy had to make their way to the hospital pretty speedily so as to capture some moments and conversation on camera before the birth.
When telling my birth story to friends and family, I always forget to mention that Kathy Burke sat right by my side. She hung out inn the same hospital room as my family, all whilst I was having contractions, but also managing to have a good old chin wag too. Strangely, the whole thing felt really normal, and Kathy and the cameras blended right in with the mayhem.
My labour was progressing, but not quite as quickly as the doctors would’ve liked. I was induced, given gas and air and an epidural and nothing seemed to work. My baby girl was in a star-gazing position and was happy to wait a while longer to see things earth side.
Eventually, the doctors decided that forceps was the best option for us. I was wheeled into surgery with my partner by my side and a small tribe of doctors and nurses at my waistline. No cameras were allowed in. I vaguely remember hearing Bruno Mars – Marry You playing in the background.
After 25 hours and two pushes that I couldn’t feel, she was here. My everything entered the world on Friday 24th August at 05:44am. It was the most surreal and incredible moment of my life. I could barely hold her in my arms as my whole body was numb and exhausted, but I’ll never forget the feeling of having her little head on my chest and watching her slowly wriggle her way to my breast for the first time.
Fast forward nearly a year to the day, the documentary is going to air tonight. I’m feeling nervous as that period of my life was such a whirlwind, as it tends to be when you become a mother for the first time. I can’t remember much of what was talked about or how I was feeling at the time so it will be interesting to see. I hope my little segment sparks something positive in someone, somewhere, somehow.
I’ve learned so much about womanhood in these last 2 years – it’s bloody amazing but my God, it’s hard. To be strong but allowing yourself to be soft, to accept but also knowing when to fight, to be patient but to also be proactive. I
I’m most looking forward to watching the part when my tiny person wriggles on my chest for the first as that is a moment that I will cherish forever. I think I will definitely need a box of tissues at the ready!
Kathy Burke’s All Woman, Episode 2 -Motherhood
Channel 4, 10:00pm GMT