Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The birth. Not for the feint hearted ;)

(Based on diary extract from 25/01/2011... actually it was written a few days later as I was in no state to be writing after birth!). 

I started late sunday evening with weird crampy pains which I put down to the fact there were far too many onions in the previous night's pasta dish. I thought I must be having 'braxton hicks' or something as they weren't too painful but annoying enough to stop me sleeping, so at 1am I got up and went downstairs. Neil came down at 6am, fixed me up with a tens machine and I took my position: clinging to the mantle piece for dear life every time a contraction came. By 12pm, I was in agony. Contractions kept coming every 5 minutes, then 2, then back to 10 - they were all over the place. In the antenatal classes they say to go in when they're 4 minutes apart but I didn't have a clue what mine were. I was determined to leave it till the last minute as I didn't want one of those long hospitalised births. I was hoping for more of a drive thru experience: Baby-to-go.
Neil ran me a bath in the hope it would help, but when I got in it the contractions seemed to be one after the other "I think we better get to hospital quick". Neil dragged me out the bath, struggled to get me dressed, then insisted on making me eat before we left. A woman's about to give birth and what's a man thinking about? Food. The food of choice was boiled egg and dippy fingers, which he had to feed me like a baby in-between each contraction as I clung to the chair.
By this point it was about 1pm, we got in the car and what happens? Nothing. No contractions, no pain: nothing. In fact, we drove straight past the hospital and went for a very scenic drive round the peak district until they heated up again. How romantic.
At 3pm we arrived at the hospital. They seemed very relaxed about the whole thing and took ages to see me, and when they finally did the midwife said "Don't be upset if we have to send you home again Love, you might not be ready, now just lie down while I examine you...... Oh my goodness, you're 7cm dilated! This baby could be with us in a few hours!" The midwife commented on how relaxed I was and that most people need pain relief at this stage. Neil looked at me and gave me a high five with his eyes. The birth pool was even free... thank God I wrote that birth plan ;)
I made myself comfortable, got a gym ball and moved around on it casually whilst sucking fruit pastels and updating my Facebook status to "just sat in hospital, 7cm dilated". I may as well have written "Just giving birth. Piece of cake". Don't get me wrong, the contractions were still intense, but I was excited now and I felt in good hands. I decided to take a dip in the pool...
But 2 hours later and nothing was heating up. They decided to take me out and break my waters to get things going, which  just felt like i'd wet myself but in an even less dignified way. I got back in the pool and after about 30 minutes it was like i'd been hit with a ton of bricks. The contractions got so intense and lasted for what seemed like minutes at a time of excruciating agony, gradually getting closer and closer together until there was barely any break in-between. I remember feeling like I couldn't cope any more but tried to hold out before I asked for any pain relief (why?!). The midwife seemed surprised when I asked for some gas and air, I'm not sure why as I felt like I was dying. I lost all control, I couldn't even tell where the pain was anymore because the whole of my body felt in pain. I have vague blurry images from here on in. I kept feeling my head drop under the water, maybe in the hope that drowning would be a nicer experience. I writhed around groaning like some sort of deluded wildebeest. I felt like an animal. I gripped onto the gas and air for dear life, breathing as deeply as I could. It took the intensity off the pain but made me feel dizzy. I felt drunk but I wouldn't let it go. Neil told me to take a break from it and I used some expletives to tell him that I would carry on using it, thank you very much. He kept telling me 'it's ok, the baby will be here soon', while he looked over to the midwives for reassurance and they just stared back blankly and asked me if I was ready to push yet. 'NO!!!'. I had no urge to and I knew this baby was not coming out!!
Another hour or so of intense pain and they finally decided to examine me again and, big surprise, I was only 8cm and nothing was progressing because my big fat baby's head was stuck and he/she was in a back-to-back position. I could barely blurt out the words in between breathing the gas and air 'I WANT AN EPIDURAL', and the midwife proceeded to tell me that I would have to have one anyway because I would need to go on a hormone drip to get things going. Thank God I wrote that birth plan. Not.
I walked like a drunk tramp down the corridor, with my hair still straggled and dripping wet, with the gas and air on a trolley alongside me like my most prised companion. I've never clung so tightly to anything in my life.
The anaesthetist came to talk me through the terms and conditions of an epidural and I just nodded incessantly, not listening to a word he was saying but hoping to speed up the process short of me screaming "just stick the needle in!!!!!". He said he'd never known anyone so compliant.
I felt a tingle down my back and experienced what was a brief encounter of no pain. He gave me a button to top up the epidural, I had wires and gadgets attached to me and all was sorted... so I thought.
The epidural wore off somewhat in the next few hours, I kept topping up until it ran out but the pain was still there, if a little duller but now I had the added pain of not being able to move and my back was in agony. The midwife told me to try and get some sleep. 'Are you joking?!!' I looked over at Neil, who looked totally drained. The gas and air also started to catch up with me and I expressed the need to vomit, to which the midwives responded with a small cardboard kidney shaped bowl. "Sorry, I said I needed to vomit not spit out my gum!". Too late. The bowl acted as a sort of propellent for the sick, which went all over the midwives, the equipment and my birthing outfit. I couldn't move of course, so the midwives had to undress me and remove all the wires and I'm left laid starkers on the bed while they clean me up and I've never been so humiliated. No sooner had they cleaned me up when I did the same thing again. Nice.
At 1am the doctor came to examine me. No change. She gave me the option of a c-section, which I didn't want but by this point I was so exhausted I wasn't sure how I would push. Neil and I decided we'd give it a few more hours, God knows why, but 'women have done this for century's', right?! As soon as she walked out the door I felt like the clock stopped. I remember looking at the clock at 4am and thinking that I wanted to die. I didn't care about the baby or Neil, I was deluded but I just wanted to be out of pain. I said to myself 'If I ever think about having another child, I will think about this moment'. The trainee midwife asked if I was ok and I burst into tears. "Aw, is it all a bit too much for you?". "Yes, it's all a bit f****ing much.
The doctor finally came back in and agreed that a c-section was the way forward, but I would have to wait for the anaesthetist. So glad I wrote that birth plan ;) Another hour or so later he came and promised me that this time I would be fully out of pain. Had I not already been taken, I would've asked him to marry me right there and then. In fact, I still think of his face with a halo around it.
No sooner had I arrived in theatre, than I vomited again all over the equipment, the staff clearly hadn't learnt their lesson from the last kidney dish incident. But FINALLY, finally, I was out of pain. I've never been happier, and I didn't care about the feeling of them slicing me open and tugging around down there. I was out of pain, nothing else mattered... until I met my son that is...

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