Birth Stories by Katrina O'Brien

By Katrina O'Brien

From usual delivery at domestic to unforeseen delivery within the open air to deliberate Caesareans, those touchingly own and humorous stories illustrate how the tactic of arrival is less significant than the affection the kid reveals whilst it ultimately arrives.

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Whatever got me through. I had a real craving for iron a week past the baby’s due date in October 2000, so I ate a huge steak for dinner with Andy. Then, at three in the morning, I woke up to what felt like a little hand squeezing my tummy. I’d had Braxton Hicks contractions before, but this was very different. I’d read every book in the world and had everything prepared—the birthing-ball, the stopwatch from the BBC. So I climbed out of bed, switched on CNN like the good journo I was, and sat on the ball with the stopwatch in my hand.

He was this tiny five-pound thing, so thin and little. He reminded me of a beautiful little frog. And he was all bruised and scraped up. He also had a birthmark on his left eyelid and black curly hair. We named him Binni Dironbirong, which came from the meeting I had with my father. Binni is the strength and shaft of a spear and Dironbirong is the red colours of the setting sun. His birth symbolises to us the fact he was born when I met the Aboriginal side of my family. I didn’t really feel the pain of the botched epidural during the birth—there was too much else going on—but once I went back to my room I couldn’t sit up.

I still couldn’t get out of bed to go to the toilet without tears of pain several days later. I think the birth must have been quite brutal. It was very strange not having the twins in my room. I couldn’t just sit and watch them and cuddle them. We were able to put our hands in their little boxes and touch them and change their nappies, but the first time I nursed them was three days after they were born. The whole bonding thing took a long time and it was very different to our experience with Patrick.

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