Surely this was only yesterday?
My son is now 3 years old. My babe in arms has turned into a little boy, with a big attitude. I just don’t know where the time has gone! I wrote up my birth story a while ago, a few of you may already have read it, but it just seems appropriate to post it here today, to me anyway. I’ve not spared the details, so I’m warning you in advance. It was a home birth, and a painful yet exhilarating experience I shall not be repeating – not unless hell freezes over that is.
(This is a little bit rough as I’ve just copy and pasted it from my diary, apologies for grammar errors etc – it’s not the most polished blog I’ve ever submitted on here.)
My waters broke at 6am. I went up to the loo to find a towel (totally useless as I was leaking so much), then cuddled back up to Horace telling him that it was going to be a long day and that the baby was on its way. About ten minutes later I had my first contraction, which was like a tummy cramp you get with a sick bug – unpleasant, but not unbearable by any means.
Horace said he was going to catch up on some sleep while he could and I went and had a bath. I rang the delivery suite and told them I was booked for a home birth and that I’d had a couple of contractions, and they said that a midwife would come round at about 8 or 9am, as I said that I was coping fine, and that there wasn’t much to worry about.
Well! After that I went back downstairs and started with short, sharp contractions that started off nasty, and got downright evil. They f*cking hurt, ‘scuse my French! It felt like a very long time until the midwife arrived finally at about 9.15am. I was using a programme on the internet to monitor my contractions, every time I started a contraction I’d press the space bar and it would start timing it. On average the contractions lasted between one and two minutes, and there was a gap of about one or two minutes between each one. No breaks…..
Horace wired me up to the tens machine which helped for all of ten minutes I think, at least I suppose it made things minutely more bearable whilst waiting for the midwife.
By this time I was pacing around the living room, cursing and leaning on the wall, it helped a little to put one arm on the wall, wedge my other hand behind the small of my back, and push my hips towards the wall. Something like that.
I was very worried about Darlek waking up and coming downstairs, as I was in so much pain and felt like I just wouldn’t be able to cope with any ‘What’s the matter mummy?’ or ‘Can I have some Weetabix?’ questions – I was genuinely worried I’d snap really badly at her and I didn’t want her to see me in such a state. Horace said she’d cope with it fine, but I didn’t think I would. Anyway Horace called Sis to say he was bringing her over, got her dressed in her room, and ushered her out of the door very quickly after a brief hug and a kiss from me. She was very excited when we said that her baby brother was on the way, and went over to Sis’s all excited and looking forward to a day with her cousin.
Personally, I was resigning myself to a day of hell by that point. The midwife arrived at the door, and it was so nice to see a familiar face that I trusted. She has an air of authority, and niceness, which is just the combination you need in a midwife. Usually I’d be offering cups of tea, and apologising for the state of the house, but not this time. I only just managed to open the door for her, and then muttered something about relentless contractions, and just went back to pacing and swearing. The midwife checked me and I was three centimetres dilated. She told me I had to get to 10 centimetres dilated before I could give birth, and that an average dilation speed is one centimetre per hour. I calculated that I should have given birth by 5pm, and just kept repeating to myself that ‘It’s all just a matter of time’, and gritted my teeth. It occurred to me that it would be one of the hardest days work I’d ever done.
The midwife rang someone to arrange for gas and air, and in the meantime I found I felt somehow more comfortable with my head buried in our stripey fleece blanket on our sofa, nuzzling it and rubbing my face in it when the waves of contractions kicked in as it felt somehow comforting. I knelt on the floor, burying my head in the sofa for a while, until the gas and air arrived, which made me feel light headed and very stoned to be honest. (not that I’d know about such things).
By this time Horace had run me a bath, and I pegged it upstairs between contractions to dive in there. I was terrified of having a contraction half way up the stairs because I didn’t know if I’d just fall back down or something. I told the midwife I felt like I was drunk in the afternoon with the affects of the gas and air. I don’t know if the gas and air really helped with the pain, but I think it made me feel calmer in between contractions maybe. By this time the pain seemed to have moved down from my middle to the base of my spine, and when the midwife asked me where the pains were, I suddenly remembered being asked questions like that in the later stages of my labour with Darlek, so inbetween the agony, I felt slightly encouraged – although I didn’t want to ask if that meant the baby would be arriving soon, as I dreaded hearing the opposite.
All decency disappeared and I pulled my skirt (why on earth was I wearing a skirt?!!) off, and just sat straight in the bath with Horace’s huge beige fluffy jumper still on. The midwife and Horace just about managed to get the jumper off, and the contractions did seem to be a little less intense for a couple of minutes, the lovely warm water lapping over my swollen, painful bump which stuck out above the water like a little bloated island. And then I was off again! The relaxing hot water did help for a tiny bit at least.
So I writhed about stark naked in the bath, the midwife left Horace and I alone for a couple of minutes for a bit of privacy I think, but came back up shortly after. I was in such absolute agony, I think the midwife was possibly worried about how Horace was coping with seeing me like that. Anyway, with gas and air clamped in my mouth, I held onto the bath tap for dear life, and just contorted with the pain. I remember hearing the sound of me making whimpering, screamy noises into the gas and air, which sounded all hollow and strange.
The midwife kept trying to check the baby’s heartbeat, but she had to wait inbetween contractions to do this – and found it difficult to find a gap sometimes. They were almost continious by this point. She got me a glass of water whilst I was in the bath and I managed one sip I think, just not enough gaps to drink it.
Kitty was very puzzled by this point, and was pacing up and down the side of the bath. The midwife commented that he was a very friendly cat, in a moment of painlessness I replied that he was a member of our family too, except he was a furry one.
I was very surprised when the midwife asked me where I wanted to deliver the baby, and that I could deliver it in the bath if I wanted to. I was still thinking about the 5pm delivery time, so this was very puzzling to me. Anyway, I said no, and realised with abject terror, that meant getting out of the bath again and getting downstairs. The midwife took the gas and air away right at the end of a contraction and left me to make my way downstairs. I climbed out of the bath and had another horrific pain. Poor Horace had to deal with me on my hands and knees on a towel, dripping everywhere and screaming that I needed some gas and air now, pleeeeeease, please, please. I was close to blind panic, and I just remember Horace telling me to calm down, and breath deeply and I’d get through it. It was like his calm, gentle voice just cut through harsh horrible pain for a second, just long enough for me to snatch back the remains of my composure, and I took deep breaths and managed to get off my hands and knees and stagger downstairs. I can’t even remember if I was still naked or not when I got back down to the sofa.
The midwife managed to check me and said that I’d dilated 7 centimetres in about 2 hours. Being **** at maths and being mostly insane with pain by this point, I didn’t realise that 7 + 3 =10, so I didn’t twig that this meant I’d probably give birth fairly soon. I think that this was about 10.45ish. So I lay on the sofa, holding Horace’s hand as hard as I could, and ragging the blanket about with my other hand, still contorted and writhing I noticed the midwife was ringing someone, and then that she was putting on a huge blue plastic apron and was moving stuff about, and I desperately hoped that it meant that the baby was on the way soon – although once again I daren’t ask, as I just couldn’t bear to be told otherwise. I can’t remember this, but Horace said that Kitty was patrolling up and down the sofa miaowing and nuzzling the hand that was ragging the blanket about. The midwife eventually shooed him away when he went down to what Horace called the ‘business end’ to see what was going on.
Horace tried to put my nightie on me, and I think that I thought he was doing this simply because I was naked, and at that point I couldn’t do anything other than suffer contractions and just could not spare the energy to lift my head to put clothes on. I said in a very squeaky voice that didn’t sound like me, that ‘If that is for the sake of dignity, I don’t give a **** anymore’ and Horace said that he was just trying to keep me warm and I felt really bad for a second before I just went back into my world of horrid pain.
The pain had moved lower, and I could feel the pressure in my perennium, and a kind of desperate need to push started. It felt like I was just going to split in two down there, and I could hardly bear it. I screamed into the gas and air, and it felt like my nether regions were on fire. The midwife told me to try not to scream and to just focus all my energy on pushing whenever I got the urge. she asked me if I wanted the baby delivered onto my chest and was I breastfeeding, and asked Horace to warm some towels.
I felt a kind of fullness down there, and they said that one more push and it would be over with. I took deep breaths and just waited for the next awful, world encompassing pain and then it happened and I could do nothing except strain and moan like I was trying to pass the biggest, most painful poo ever. I held Horace’s hand and said very quietly ‘help me, help me, help me’ over and over again until the next pain came, which was it!
Suddenly I felt relief from the burning, stretching sensation, and then briefly something slithering out of me. (gross I know, but that’s how it is!). I looked down and the midwife looked to be grabbing something, hand over hand – like when someone is pulling a rope. She was hauling our baby out of me and then in the same instant, almost threw him into my arms. My first sight of him was of a wide eyed, shocked and amazed slimy baby; arms out like he was trying to glide into my arms with baby bird wings – he looked like he just could not believe what was happening to him. I have to say I felt the same.
The midwife asked me if I knew what he was, and I said no, and she told me we had a boy. I held him to my breast, while still feeling the cord joining me to him – Horace cut the cord and I remember saying that he was only a couple of minutes old and I was already so proud of him. I felt so pleased that Horace got to cut the cord this time, as he cut the cord I can remember thinking that I was so proud of my husband too. Horace knelt next me and to be honest I think I have a bit of a blank spot in my memory. I think I was in shock because of everything I’d been through, and I just have a very clear image of our baby mouthing my breast and his warm, damp, delicate body pressed against me.
The baby boy we have now decided to call Sausage, was 8lb 3oz, 3720g – length 58cm – time of delivery 11.19am on mid April, 2008 – labour was 5 hours and 14 minutes.
Horace and I now have a beautiful baby boy, and a fantastic full of life, three year old. Darlek and Sausage. (I fight back a proud tear or two, and smile contentedly to myself as I type). Life is good to us.