December 31st 2019.
Anchored off in the BVI's , midst of a busy charter. The night is still but the lights from shore shine brightly. The only thing on my mind is how this would be my first new years away from home. Cuddled up to my best friends, cheering to a small glass of champagne, in my blacks. (uniform) Standing on the aft deck waiting for our captain to arrive back to the boat with our guests , coming home from their new years eve party. My phone low by my side as the nav lights shine in the distance. 5 , 4 , 3 , 2 ....
It's a new year, I think quietly to myself, as we assist the guests back on to the boat.
2 days left of charter to go. 1.00am lighting up my phone screen. Climbing into my bunk, radio on charge. Alarm set. All I can think about is how I've spent the last couple of months in such a beautiful, new setting. The constant go never really gives me time to, well, think.
Wait a second, this doesn't sound like a confession...
Fast forward to March 2020. I've just left my last boat, my boyfriend around this time had gone back to the states to continue chasing his dreams and his career. With a strong feeling we'd not see each other like this, again, I let go. With my line of work, relationships are hard. If not impossible, unless both are open minded. Covid is barely a thing at this point. By the end of march though, that all changes.
Not working and unsure of the world's new norm, I started to fall...uncomfortable. My body started changing, but not in the ways you guys would think. My heartbeat became irregular, and things I've never had trouble with became more than a simple task. As our prime minister got in front of the camera for his national address. "The country is on full 24hr lockdown." My heart started to sink. The doctors had no answers for my condition. I was told it'd be a long time before I could dive again, and that I should look into changing career paths.
3 pregnancy tests, 2 heart scans, and 1 hospital stay later, there was still no answers. The world was slowly starting to shut down, and so was I.
The first few days out of the emergency orders, I went straight to my nan's to drop her some groceries. She sat silently knitting away to a pink faded piece that she claimed, "will be my granddaughters own, as I don't think I'll live long enough to ever meet her." At this point my last thought was that I'd be able to fulfill my grandmothers shoes as great, in only a few months time.
I went off a few days later to show a place for my mum, that she was renting out. The kind lady that led me back out the doorway said "I am an ob-gyn if you ever need anything." My mother immediately exclaims, this is a sign that you're pregnant. Please just take another test.
Late at night, I sat impatiently. I know now is not the best time to take it, but I couldn't wait...
After months of hurting, long nights what felt, alone. My endless tears turned into joy. But what most couldn't believe is that I was close to 6 months along. "Ms. Albury your beautiful baby is a girl. 19w1d today. She's due on November 12th. Are you ready to start booking your other appointments?" ......
Flash forward to about say 8 months into my pregnancy. October 2020. I've been in and out of the hospital every other week. Struggling to even get out of bed. The world is hectic. Rants, riots, revelry. I never knew the grocery store would be a place I'd have to plan out a week in advance to go to. All that echoed was "cherish your pregnancy while she's still in there, you'll miss it." Endless tears of endless feverish nights. Because what most didn't understand was that it felt like I was going into back labor every. single. day. I couldn't stand in a shower, and sometimes my appetite was none at all.
and Pinterest became a place where dreams died. As I pinned away the ideas for my flower shower. Emergency orders resurfaced and I was unable to celebrate the way I wanted.
37 weeks. "Your baby is a healthy beautiful girl , still due November 12th." except, something this time felt a little different. My mother spoke religiously on one of our friends who had complications with losing her amniotic fluid. But strange things happen to all pregnant women, why would that be the one thing to happen to me ? My doctor reassured me in my panic and swore all was fine. 2 days before my 38 week checkup, my mucus plug fell out. Tears filled my eyes because it was finally time. The messages flooded, "you labor could take days" "this is only the start" "mine didn't come til weeks after my plug came out" but I was ready for this baby to come. I was up the whole night, with heavy kicks, and small contractions. Timing and timing and waiting for those 1minutes every 5minutes. 4am in no pain at all, my mother says it's time I go before I am unable to drive.
Hours and hours of wondering where could my doctor be, baby losing oxygen. Not being able to make decisions. 1.30pm my doctor walked in. Looked at the nurses and said lets take her in for an emergency c-section. No questions, no time for explanation. By the time I was settled into the cold operating room, I heard her cries.1.39pm , 6oz. I wanted to cry so much but the tears could not form. Completely numb, the anesthesiologist whispers, "we'll give you more morphine in a moment dear." My lifeless body, tired. Resting in recovery. Where is my baby ? a nurse approaches. "How are you feeling?" I don't respond. "It's about 7pm Ms. Albury. We'll take you into your room when you are able to wiggle your fingers and toes..."
When you have a child. All your feelings and emotions amplify. You cry harder. You laugh louder. But nothing hurts worse than that pain you feel when you wake up out of recovery. With the phantom kicks and unable to see your baby. The pain that came in a c-section delivery felt unbearable. My life then on only became harder. Barely able to sit up in bed to pick up my newborn for feedings. But you know the thing that amazed me the most about becoming a mom? Once you see your little angel , once you need to help them, feed them, love them. All that pain ceases to exist.
So this is only the start to my story. The start of a confession. And to be completely honest, I've read over this a million times trying to figure out how to make it something perfect. And I've realized there's a lot of unenjoyable parts to it. But theres a lot of unenjoyable parts of trying to figure it all out. A lot of parts that nobody wants to share.
I'm not writing a sad story, to receive some sympathetic feedback. I'm writing for all the moms, single or not. C-section or not. Struggling, or not. Who couldn't have the perfect pregnant experience. Who's having a hard time raising their little one in the midst of a pandemic. and who doesn't have the other half to help.
You are not alone.