Not enough words.....
Firstly let me start by introducing myself and how I came to work with god's earthly angels aka Birth Companions.
My name is Brooklynn. I have five beautiful children. You all may be thinking wow that's a lot, but unfortunately none of my babies live with me. I was blessed and cursed to fall in love with a guy who didn't know my worth. He was very violent and that lead social services to intervene and take my children one by one. I first met God's angels when I was pregnant with RiRi aka Charya. My midwife at the hospital felt that I would benefit from working with them. (You see I was aware that social services wanted to take RiRi at birth, and I didn't want anyone around when I gave birth to her, sad I know but I couldn't emotionally deal with people welcoming a baby they wouldn't see at home.) My midwife was very supportive of my situation, but as most of you will know pregnant women can be very emotional on a good day. And she gently persuaded me into at least meeting with them. The first meeting had me hooked. The birth companion who visited was lovely; she came to my house and spoke with me about my situation and what I wanted. (The first time that I felt like anyone cared about me and remembered I was still a person) she asked me how Birth Companions could support me, now and at the birth. By the end of the meeting, I had written a birth plan and had a support package in place. Every week she would call me to find out how I was and what the situation was. She would send one of her angels to come and see me. I won't lie; it was invaluable, having someone to vent at and to just talk to was great. Well as all good things come to an end, so did my pregnancy. The week before RiRi was due, I started to have very strong contractions, went to the hospital and phoned Birth Companions to tell them I was there, unfortunately RiRi wasn't ready to come. So off home I went. The contractions kept coming so I went back to the hospital this time with a birth companion, she was wonderful. She helped me and kept me occupied whilst we waited hours to be only told no progress has been made. Two days later, 16th January 2013. The contractions were unbearable and I phoned the ambulance as I had the urge to push. In the ambulance, I called the Birth Companions helpline and told them I was in an ambulance and on route to the hospital, the lovely lady on the phone (who I had the pleasure to meet and helped me write my story) told me someone would meet me at the hospital. As I got to the labour ward, an exceptional angel came to see me. She said I'm your birth companion for the next couple of hours. She massaged my back and made me feel as comfortable as possible. I wanted a drug free birth and she made sure I got that. I paced the corridors as I waited to be examined and get my antibiotics, as I tested positive for group b strep. As the contractions became more stronger, I got weaker and started to cry, my birth companion’s comforting words and encouragement saw me get from two centimetres to four..... Yeah!!!!! I could finally move to the delivery ward and get gas and air. Another birth companion came to take over - my best friend and sister from another mother came as well and helped me with the gas and air and changing my t shirt as I missed my mouth when trying to drink water. (Ladies gas and air is the greatest thing known to women whilst in labour, but makes you very clumsy). After we managed to change my top, I was informed by my midwife that a bed was available and I could walk over to the delivery suite. The five minute walk felt like forever as my contractions were really intense and close together.
Got into the labour room and was told that I was in the wrong room. As we dashed to the next room (was in desperate need for gas and air) I got in there and said I need to push. The midwife said let me check u and I told her no. As I climbed onto the bed Charya's head came out. One more push and my daughter Charya-Eve was born weighing in at 6lbs 13oz. There wasn't a dry eye in the room. My Birth Companion took some pictures of me and Charya and encouraged me to breastfeed her just like in my birth plan. She made sure that I had food and some quality time with Charya aka RiRi. She took me to the bathroom so I could freshen up and stayed with me until I went to the postnatal ward. (Thank you from the bottom of my heart to her!). My birth was everything I wanted it to be.
The week in hospital with RiRi was amazing. I had some great support from the angels at Birth Companions (you guys made my time in hospital so great.) I had suffered with post natal depression before and was scared it would happen to me again, but I can honestly say that having the constant love and support from these lovely ladies made my time with my daughter so effortless. Unfortunately all good things come to an end..... I had to go to court as social service wanted to take my daughter at birth. Someone from Birth Companions came and sat with me the day before court and she helped my friend look after RiRi as I finished up my statement, she gave me words of encouragement and a great big cuddle. The following day someone also came with me to court and she held my hand and made me feel so good in a stressful situation. (Just one of the endless things they did to support me) court didn't go as expected and I had to go back the following day. There was no one to look after RiRi as I couldn't take her with me. As I cried senselessly about leaving my daughter in hospital for the full day I got a phone call from Birth Companions. Needless to say they had pulled out all the stops and someone had agreed to stay with RiRi while someone else came to court with me. I managed to get a good rest because I knew my daughter would be with someone who loved her as much as me. Leaving her that day was hard but easy at the same time. At court the birth companion gave me nothing but encouragement and helped me when I started to freak out. Finally we got the verdict and it was decided that Charya would go to my mum. There are no words to describe how I felt. I just started to cry, my birth companion gave me a hug and arranged for a cab so I could go back to the hospital and spend some time with RiRi before she would no longer be with me. I was so numb when we got back but with the love and support from the birth companions, I breastfed RiRi and spent time cuddling her and crying. My best friend came to help me pack her stuff up and wait for my mum to come and get RiRi. You know when you have found a good person, well that's the women from Birth Companions. They didn't shy away from their emotions, it was like they were losing Charya too an believe me guys I love them so much for it. They both had cuddles with RiRi and pictures and left me to hand RiRi over to my mum.
Needless to say the next few days were hard. I had started to breastfed and had nowhere to get my milk out. Birth Companions told me to get in touch with my local NCT breastfeeding provider and get a pump. That way I could still give RiRi something no one else could. I did it for seven weeks before mastitis kicked in. When I hit a hurdle at three weeks someone came and gave me a book to produce more breast milk and it worked. The beautiful angels at Birth Companions helped me immensely when I was at my lowest by texting, emailing and phoning me to make sure I was ok. They listened to my rantings, tears and hurt, and were a shoulder to cry on when I needed it most. During those weeks I fel ill due to sleep deprivation and the constant appointments and contact with Charya. A birth companion came to my house and she cleaned up, made me tea, and looked after me like a mother would for her daughter. When I think about all these things I can't stop the tears from spilling over, they restored my faith in people. They were always telling me how I was doing a good job, and in a million words, it's those little ones like "you're so brave, you're doing good" meant so much to me. It's the little things. Words of kindness go a long way. With so much negativity and judgement surrounding me, these were the words I needed to hear.
Every week for six months someone would check in with me and I sent in regular pictures of RiRi as I considered them all part of our family. Last week I went to court and had the final hearing. I would love to give you all a happy ending to this story but I can't. RiRi will be staying with my mum until she's 18. As promised I delivered the bad news to our family aka birth companions and the love and support I got was nothing different to all of the six months I had to endure.
I wanted to tell my story because it’s a way of healing. And if I can help one person by them reading this, then I will be happy. Something so positive from the negative. Birth companions have given me and my daughter so much, and I think it will nice for them to see just how much they changed my life and helped me. And I want my kids to know my story. I don't want to leave them with this legacy.
"Every finish line is the beginning of a new race!" My race is not over, not by far, Birth Companions have given me the strength to go on. I am the guardian of my future. One day I will have all my children and I will send my family aka Birth Companions that picture.
I'm sad but I'm happy. I've learnt so much to help myself and others. It's been the best and worst times of my life. Why best? Because I didn't realise how resilient I was and because I gained a whole load of mums, cuddles and a family. They should get more funding, there needs to be more of gods angels, more outreach and you should definitely be recognised in hospitals. It's the most important time in a woman's life, your bringing a new life into the world and I'm glad Birth Companions were there to witness the first breathe and have the second and third cuddles with RiRi.
Like I said when I started....there isn't enough words to thank God's angels aka Birth Companions. I love you all from the bottom of my heart. Thank you. You will always have a place in my heart. You are no longer professional, you are my family.
Love you always Brooklynn and Charya xxxx