When asked by midwives if I had a birth plan my response was always no, my experience of family and friends who already have kids is that no birth goes to plan, so rather than experience the disappointment of not having been able to experience the amazing birth I had planned, I decided I would embrace going with the flow. Quite wise I was told in response and looking back it most certainly was.
15 days overdue bringing my gorgeous son into this world meant I was induced and after a number of hours trying to give birth naturally, we resulted to forceps. Luckily in case I needed a c-section I was given an epidural. My gorgeous boy came into my world and it was explained to me that his cord was wrapped around his neck twice and so they couldn’t wait for a contraction and had to get him out quick. He came out well and healthy however, the downside for me were some pretty nasty 4th degree tears. I didn’t care he was fine and I had a boy, the first grandson in my family and with three girls and two granddaughters to date, my dad would be delighted.
I’m told I’m off for surgery to be stitched up and due to one of my tears going quite deeply into my bowel area a specialist surgeon (who is now my hero by the way), has been brought in. In a conversation which now looking back was all a bit of a blur, he recommended a further operation the next day to have a temporary colostomy bag. The area I’m told is problematic and having the bag will give it the best chance of healing and avoid complications.
It’s hard to explain how calm and strong I felt to embrace whatever was in front of me, I was a mum and in my eyes I saved my little boys life and I was so grateful he came out alive and well, I just knew I could handle anything. I guess I felt like a superhero.
The next day off I go down for my operation, I wake to see a bag on my belly like I had expected, Monday a stoma nurse will be in to see me. The nurse came and the process of learning how to cope with the bag begun. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I hadn’t realised a small part of my bowel would be on my belly for me to now clean and look after. Silly I know but I had just had a baby! Even at this point I had this strength and positivity that gave me courage to face it and just get on with learning what I needed to do. I saved my baby after all.
Learning to change the bag came with its challenges, leaks, cutting the hole to the right size, finding the right bag for the shape of my stomach after having just had a baby. With amazing support from my family and the stoma nurses and midwives we conquered them. I’m off home to face it on my own!
Determined to make sure it didn’t impact on my little boy I embraced it all, my first bag fill out in public and the need to change, going to mum and baby classes and meeting new mum’s for the first time and of course telling friends and family without bursting into tears.
As time goes on I am nailing bag changes, getting out and about (as long as I know there is access to a disabled toilet) gets easier; I just need to be planned and organised from the moment I wake up. In kicks resentment however, I hate looking at it, thinking about it and as my family and friends debate whether the extent of my tear is an error by the medical team, I feel less and less of a superhero.
Weeks away from going back into hospital where my consultant will check if I am healed and if so, repair a reversal there and then, I am living in fear of how my resentment will make me react if I’m not healed and can’t have the reversal.
I want to be as strong as I was in the beginning and be positive for my little man and family, embracing whatever I need to do next and the continuation of living with my bag. Right now however the resentment is taking over and I fear it will break me.
So this is why I am here, to get me back to that positive and strong place I am going to blog about my experience to date, explore my thoughts and feelings and embrace my life as a mum with a bag. Hopefully it will not only provide me with the mental stimulation I need to get back to my superhero status but also help others who may be facing the same or similar life challenges.