Welcome to NESSA’S #SCARDIARIES
Every week we talk to women about their story, their scar, and their recovery.
Here at NESSA we see it as our responsibility to help open up the conversation about all scars - we know everyone feels differently about them, personally we love them, and we believe we should share honest stories and journeys with each other.
Over the next few weeks and months we will be sharing real scar stories from our amazing community of women and mothers, who are incredibly brave to share their stories.
Want to tell yours? Send yours via DM or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next up, warrior mum Hannah!
As someone who has battled with mental health issues since my early teens my scar is certainly not something I look at with pride, as I know some mums do. I can see their side of things but for me right now, my scar just symbolises failure. Failure of my body and failure to keep calm enough for a normal birth. I've always battled with my body image, suffering from anorexia as a teenager, then an underactive thyroid that resulted in putting on 3 stone in the space of a few months. This gave me stretch marks in multiple places so I was always resentful of my body for that.
My pregnancy with my daughter was not an easy one. I have chronic health problems but ended up with HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) and GD (Gestational diabetes), which meant I spent 90% of my pregnancy in bed, too ill to do anything.
I was brought into hospital early for an induction due to my GD. After waiting around for a few hours, we were told my induction would be the next day as the delivery suite was very busy. My anxiety then went into overdrive. The next day came around, they decided to start the induction off and fortunately my husband was with me as I had a panic attack whilst the midwife fitted the pessary. I was then rigged up to monitors to check on baby. My contractions at this point were up and down. After about 8 hours, the contractions stopped completely. The next day came with more monitoring, the pessary was removed and a tablet one inserted. I had another panic attack despite trying gas and air for pain relief this time round. The midwife couldn't seem to get the tablet where it needed to be and somehow lost it, saying it was possible it had gone into my urethra. By this point, I was in a state of complete panic and could barely believe this was happening to me.
The next morning came and still no sign of baby. I was given a choice, of either waiting 12 hours and to start the process again or a C- Section. We ended up deciding on the C-Section. The next day came and all I could have were sips of water. At 11.30, we were taken to the delivery suite and given a room where I was rigged up to a sliding scale to try to control the diabetes. We were eventually taken into the theatre just after lunchtime where the epidural was done. Things did seem very blurry and fuzzy. I just remember smelling blood and chemicals and keeping my eyes as tightly shut as I could. My husband gently sang in my ear and I clung to his arm breathing in the familiar smell, trying not to be sick.
Finally at 1.56pm our daughter was born. I had lost a lot of blood but fortunately had been rigged up to the cell salvage meaning I avoided a blood transfusion. I threw up from the anesthetic while they were still operating and was still numb and shaking by the time my daughter was ready, so my husband managed skin to skin with her for me. (If I'm being totally honest I was relieved he took her as I honestly felt a lot of resentment for how rubbish I had been feeling for the last 9 months and I didn't feel worthy of holding her or even able to). He stayed with her while we were moved to recovery. I was sick again and given some orange juice to bump my sugars. After being sick again I finally managed to eat something and attempted to feed my daughter. I needed lots of support with cushions and hubby as I was still very wobbly and shaky. But we managed it.
My scar to me symbolises all of those days in hospital. My failure to labour, my panic attacks, the pain and trauma that I had through induction, the operation that I had viewed as a last resort, was now my birth story. My daughter hadn't been 'born'; she had been pulled out of me. I didn't feel like a mum. I felt robbed of that. I feel like this scar represents everything I didn't want. I hope one-day my opinion of it will change but for now it's just a horrible, sore and ugly reminder of what quite frankly were some of the hardest and scariest days of my life. I’m under the local perinatal mental health team who are helping keep me going. But now 8 months on it still feels pretty raw.