Thursday, 19 March 2015
42 Weeks' Pregnant - The Days I gave Birth - Perfect
Hello darling. How are you feeling today? Are you alright? Now don’t you worry - it is nearly the end now - just one more day to get through. I know it will be fast for you. Someone doesn’t have a monthly flow like yours and have a slow labour. You’ve always had very strong hormones. Just look at your mood swings! I know it will be fast. Keep me updated.
Hello darling. Are you feeling any better now? What time are you going into the hospital sweetie? When is your appointment? Oh, yes, sorry you did tell me that. What time will they call you then? Oh, yes, sorry you did tell me that didn’t you? Well - don’t worry darling. It’s the end of the line. You will have your baby by the end of the day! I'd be surprised if you're not caught short in the taxi! Text me when you know what’s happening.
Darling, Have you called the hospital yet? To make sure that they definitely know about you? They might have forgotten about you. You have to be careful darling. You can’t just rely on administrators. I know they said they would call you but if it was me I would call them before hand just to check. Keep me updated.
I have been speaking to some women at the office this morning darling and they think an Epidural is a good idea. So I think you should ask for one. As soon as you get there. There is only a minuscule chance you could be paralysed for life apparently. I don’t know if you have thought about it before now but if it were me I would ask for one. Oh you know about them? Good good. Well text me when... ok.
Did you call them Sweetheart? And they know about you? Oh good. Well, all you have to do now is wait for that phone call. I suppose that’s all you’ve been doing all morning. Just sitting and waiting by the phone? Don’t worry darling. Not long now. Try to relax. It will be very fast I am sure. Keep me updated.
You know the more I think about it darling the more I think it’ll be a very quick labour. I mean look at your hips. Yes I know you’re 14 days overdue, and yes, I know I said it would be early - but I am sure I’m not wrong about this now. . . . You sound a little bit hormonal darling. . . . Try to keep calm dear. . . It won’t be any good for the baby if you are this agitated.
Hi darling, I am on my lunch break now. Are you at the hospital now? Oh, they still haven’t called. That is odd. Oh well, it can’t be too long now anyway. Have you been able to have a nice morning anyway? Oh, oh, I see. Well - keep me updated.
Brrrring - and two words - PRIVATE NUMBER flashed up on my mobile. My partner and I stared at the screen knowing that this time - it wasn’t going to be my mother.
We had been sitting watching the phone since 5am like two soldiers in a trench waiting to be summoned to go over the top - and at 1.30pm the call finally came. The hospital was surprisingly lovely. I got my own bed with curtains all the way around it. There was a side table and my very own TV on a crane above my head. It felt a bit like a private long haul flight with a bed as opposed to a cramped seat.
My partner went straight to ‘man work’ by selecting a TV/Movie package and registering my card and contact details in the TV system. The nurse gave me something to start my labour as, at 14 days overdue there was still no progress whatsoever, and we were told that it was, as ever - a bloody waiting game. My partner completed his ‘man work’ disappearing to the mini supermarket on the corner to return a while later with, as Julie Andrews would chirp, a few of my favourite things; A multi bag of Hula Hoops, Haribo sweets, banana milkshakes, apple juice cartons, a chicken salad sandwich and a ridiculously over sized bumper pack of cocktail sausages - as well as three different girly gossip magazines and after a long while he left me for the night.
I sat there in my curtained cocoon in dimmed lighting with my inappropriate hospital picnic half watching muted TV programs, half listening to other potential mother’s telephone conversations and occasional groans of discomfort.
After a sleepless night and several examinations it was found that progress was being made - and to put it delicately, it was then a numbers game. Starting at 3cm - slowly trudging through the trenches towards the elusive 10cm line. My partner went back to work for the day nearby leaving me with a smile on my face, a surprise donut and an Ipod full of comedy.
By the time he was mobilised back in that afternoon he returned to quite a different image; me - stood crouched over the bed, over a bean bag, weeping and quietly howling to the left and vomiting to the right - like I was performing a deranged dry version of the front crawl. “What’s wrong?” he asked, terror in his eyes. He was to ask this question quite a few times over the next 20 hours or so.
Gentleman - I do not advocate this line of enquiry.
Although I was in a substantial amount of pain it was made clear that we needed to wait it out for as long as possible - and I was making progress in the cm journey. I was offered Diamorphine - which was, quite frankly, lovely. The room went fuzzy and my worry at vomiting audibly in a place occupied by other people soon went away. All fumes of self consciousness gathered together in a cartoon stream of smoke and weaved its way past the birthing balls and nurses out of the window.
I am not sure how out of it I was on this drug - all I know is that my partner seemed to be communicating with me by using various forms of eye rolls and felt the need to tell me that I was “quite loud” when I complained to him about the woman in the next cubicle and her late night phone calls. The drug gave a new lease of life to my gagging reflex and my partner and I engaged in a pass the water, pass the sick bucket, pass the water, pass the sick bucket rebound match.
More time, more regurgitation and more examinations and what seemed like an infinity of timelessness led to our own room, no more curtain, and another Midwife shift change. My partner marched in ready for a fight and demanded I have an Epidural. We might have come across as quite adversary - but we were granted one snappish. The Anaesthesiologist asked if I had tried Hypnobirthing and my reply started with an ‘F’ and ended with an ‘Off’. We all had a giggle - my giggle slightly more ‘Exorcist’ like than the rest, intermittent with projectile vomit. I got my epidural and we played the numbers game once more.
Hours passed. I lay on the bed drifting in and out of consciousness listening to a mixture of 80s and 90s power ballads. The lights were dimmed. The TV in our room was out of order - typical! Why do these things always happen to me?
I felt relief - well I felt nothing - except severe nausea. More hours passed, the sun went down and rose up, and I had arrived at a perfect size 10 for the first and probably last time in my life. Meatloaf barked that he would do anything for love - except that. A disgruntled midwife appeared with a slightly rotten looking bumper packet of cocktail sausages asking if I still needed the food I had left in my locker.
Then it was Push o'clock people! And time for another midwife shift change. This time I had two! So even more people were invited in to look at what we could not rightfully call ‘privates’ anymore. I asked my partner to be elsewhere to help me to let myself "go with it". And he obliged.
An hour later my epidural was wearing off. I was advised - and I knew, it was better not to get a top up as it would help with the pushing - and we thought we were really getting somewhere. I pushed for two long hours in total (breathing in between) - before the pain reached a point where I was no longer myself and my poor dishevelled exhausted partner and new midwives looked on with worry as a woman, who up to this point had stayed quite jokey - transformed into an earsplitting earthshaking blasting beast from the Nether Realm pleading to be put out of her misery. If you were in the waiting room that morning I sincerely apologise.
The baby had turned back to back and there were suddenly several doctors in the room. It was then a long wait for a room in surgery to be available. Well, I say it was a long wait - I have no idea - it may have been seconds - just distorted seconds. Everything was fuzzy and scary and unreal and all I could see was my partner’s face. Then I was being wheeled into a theatre (not in the thespian sense) and all I could think of was all the episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and ER I had seen.
My partner stood to the right of me and he appeared to have changed into sexy blue surgeon scrubs complete with hat and I was torn between a profound agonising terror and an overwhelming request that we somehow take this outfit home. A large yellow light shone above me and after fumbling and snippets of information pin balling past my brain about what was going to happen - my legs disappeared from my reality.
A polite man pricked a small pin (oh grow up!) into various parts of my body to test the feeling. I exclaimed to the room that a ‘bleepy machine’ was next to me ‘like the ones that go duuuuuhhhhhhhh when you die!” (My medical knowledge knows no bounds). The kind looking man explained that they never go duuhhh - and that was a myth. I cried in a childlike state and after the forceps were used I heard the word “no” and I knew it was finally time for the last resort.
One of the women peering over me was wearing small skull silver earrings and I felt the inclination to compliment her before knowing, even then, that there was a time and a place to flatter a woman on her jewelry and this was perhaps not it. The surgeon told me not to worry as they were all highly trained to help me, to which I pointed at my partner’s face and sobbed “He’s not trained”. This got a little laugh. I wasn’t joking.
A barricade was made below me and I stared at my partner's face to the right of me.
I felt nothing.
I desperately wanted water.
Rapid moments passed.
I felt like an old sofa someone was trying to root around in for any spare change for the bus.
I frantically searched the man I love's face for any sign of what was happening - what was going on. What was going on?
And then I knew - he was there.
And finally - my partner spoke ...
"He's perfect" he said.