Third in the series of birth stories, this is the story of Louise’s daughter Kate’s entry into the world. You can contact Louise on Twitter @lebumble
Baby One: Child-bearing Hips, Yeah Right!
At 5’ 8” with a reasonable pair of hips I’d always figured that popping out a mini-me wouldn’t be too much of a problem (apart from all the pain, subsequent inability to sit down and general post-delivery ickiness that is).
As my pregnancy progressed people starting pointing out that I was ‘huge’ to put it impolitely. As many of these motivating folk were childless, or of an older generation with failing eyesight, I didn’t pay too much attention. When the scans started to suggest that the young’un was a wee bit big it was proposed that I may even be looking at 8 ½ lbs of baby.
When I hit 40wks with the baby showing no desire to abandon its diet of strawberry milk and chocolate match-makers in favour of life in the outside world, my consultant decided to book me in for an induction. He neglected to mention that this may not be the fast-track, drip in the back of the hand, baby within four hours type if induction that my Mum had managed with my little brother.
I happily packed a bag full of those necessities recommended by my NCT teacher: the back massager, iPod with fast and slow playlists (to dance through the pain apparently) and a nice bottle of mineral water. I didn’t bother with the joss sticks and whale tunes CD that I reckoned she’d also brought in.
I noticed that the induction ward was a wee bit busy when I arrived but settled in for my drip and fast-track birth. Discovering that the midwife actually had plans to squirt gel up my nether regions was not welcome news, oh there was also the ‘it may take up to 4 attempts to get things moving’……
Meanwhile the queue for space on the labour ward was building and the number of chundering, screaming and birth-ball bouncing women around me was increasing. By the end of the day they’d slowly filtered out and were happily screaming in the birthing ward while I was lying around, failing to dilate and getting a bit bored.
24 hours and two more shots of gel later things finally started to move – I suspect this was more to do with a lack of strawberry milk in the umbilical cord than any real desire for the baby to be born.
I moved to the delivery ward, indulged in a bit of gas and air and waited for the anaesthetist to join us. What a special man he was. Bringing with him all the essentials for an epidural he proceeded to lecture me on my decision not to have pethidine. When I pointed out to him that pethidine wasn’t recommended for women with epilepsy as it had been known to trigger seizures I was told that people shouldn’t believe everything they read on the internet or no one would ever go into hospital!! Having been treated like a wuss with no pain threshold he finally gave me the epidural and stropped off back to his lair.
Having worn myself out with 2 days of doing absolutely nothing and running out of snacks I settled down for a nice snooze whilst the midwives ran around, over-stretched and delivering babies left, right and centre.
Occasionally someone would pop in, mess around with my lower half, break my waters or generally confirm that this birthing thing was a bit slow. When I was finally told that a midwife would pop back in an hour and then I could start pushing I had lost interest in the whole thing.
The hour passed, I gave the pushing a bit of a go, a bit more of a go and then a final bit of a go before the baby went into distress and a c-section was proposed. I then had a mini-spa session with a tidying up of my bikini line, removal of the nail polish on my toes and a facial (hubbie mopping my face with a flannel after I threw up everywhere).
The good folk of the delivery ward then hustled me down to theatre with the promise of surgery. My friendly local anaesthetist was paged and apparently was in a right grump as he’d been woken up when on-call.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch/operating theatre the ventouse was given a try with a bit of a rubbish result. The baby had given the pushing and pulling a chance though and, after a quick episiotomy, decided to pop her head out, with the cord wrapped around her neck. Not a big problem for the delivery team as that’s fairly regular, but there was also the small matter of the shoulder dystocia and she was well and truly jammed in.
Before I had time to do a headcount of the number of people suddenly gathering around my nethers my knees were jammed around my ears and it was suggested that I may want to do some of that pushing again and make an effort this time.
My daughter was eventually extracted and was hurried away. It seemed a long time before we heard a cry, and even longer before someone could confirm she was actually the girl we’d been expecting (they had to go back and check…..). When she finally made it to the scales she weighed in at 10lb 7oz which would explain pretty much everything written above and also why I couldn’t sit down for the next 3 weeks without a stack of cushions and some cooling gel packs.
Oh and did I mention the PPH? The hospital didn’t. Hubby spent 45 minutes panicking in the corridor while everyone was trying to patch me up. I eventually found out from my birth notes when I was expecting Baby 2 (that would be the birth with the major PPH and the multiple Code Red alarms….).
Guess those hips weren’t made for birthing after all : )
Addendum: Louise’s husband felt that he was conspicuous by his absence in her story, so just for him here is an update!
When the anaesthetist was being a complete pain to me he suddenly caught sight of Simon’s hand, sporting a burn that was healing very nicely. A couple of weeks before the birth he’d stolen the last sticky toffee pudding from under my nose and microwaved it to death. Plastic then melted on him. (He shared this story with NCT group in the hope of sympathy – we were talking about pain relief for birth at the time – and got very little).
The anaesthetist was much more interested in Simon’s burn than in me and instead of drugging me up he gathered the midwives round Simon so they could examine his (minor) injury and express extreme concern. Had to wait for my pain relief until they were all satisfied that Simon would make it through….