It’s been a while since I’ve been on here and the following will explain why. Forgive the extensive content but I sat in a hospital chair, sleep deprived in my adrenaline drained state, coming down from an indescribable experience and felt I couldn’t leave anything out. Hours blur into days and it becomes so easy to forget the little things so, a baby in one arm, phone in the other, I attacked the notes in my phone.
It’s an overcast Saturday morning… She’s been showing signs the last few days that something is happening but it appeared it had just been ‘twinges’… I wake up having managed to bag myself a bit of a lie in, the usual bathroom routine for me and I find her lying in the bath. “You alright?”, “I didn’t want to wake you” she responds, (that’s a first) “but i think she’s coming today”. WHAT?! I’m just as confused as you, yeah, she let me sleep in! but boy am I glad she did with the days (Yes days!) we had to follow.
On finding out she was going in to labour, I started to do ALL the things I’d put off during the week through sheer joy and mild panic to take my mind off things; cleaning, tidying, washing, rubbish to the tip, I even managed to do a McDonald’s breakfast run. As with everything in this blog I speak from our experience and what I will say is things moved very slowly, then quickly, then loudly, then very slowly again, coming to a dramatic and beautiful ending.
We learnt during classes that just because signs of contractions are showing, that doesn’t mean you should burst into the hospital, bags and family in tow – instead sit at home and wait for things to escalate. “Faffy labour” as we’d been taught, is the labour where mum to be can get by, a little uncomfortable but a curl up on the sofa or a float in the bath can ease the pain. We saw a glimpse of faffy labour then jumped head first into “oh shit where’s the gas and air” VERY quickly. With a trip to the hospital, contractions in full flow, paracetemol popped and a recommendation to walk the hospital grounds, we started to push things along. The thing with labour is you can think she’s ready to go, then before we know it we’re on our way back home to sit in the bath and try and ride out the pain.
This is where the tough stuff started. For everyone. When i say everyone i mean the people at home sat by the phone, in-laws on whatsapp around the clock, best mates calling to check your still sane. Take nothing away from the women on this earth, labour is an insanely painful experience and I cannot understand how you do it. However, it was surprising the effect what it had on me, my mother in law who was on scene and those around us.
So let me introduce you to the world of feeling useless. A feeling you think you might be familiar with. You’re not. Through every scream, yell, profanity and worst of all little whimper signifying them being at their whits end, you can’t help. In the early stages, the back rubs, the comforting, the assistance with the tens machine are all welcomed, you are a source of comfort and you are a familiar face in a situation and environment unknown, everything is exciting, after all you’re going to have a baby!! Those feelings soon change.
As the pain and frequency of the contractions increased along with the whaling noises, my partners desire for me to be around fell to an all time low, and it’s hard to deal with. At first i genuinely felt annoyed, how can she not want me around? I’m trying to help. she couldn’t stand me being in the same room, house or country for that matter. That feeling didn’t change upon our return to hospital and it’s tough to deal with but I began to completely understand.
Reaching a point where walking through contractions wasn’t a possibility, we wheeled her through to the labour ward and became familiar with a room we’d be in for the next 12 hours… Glad we didn’t know that at the time! Everything becomes a blur, your concept of time goes out the window and you find yourself saying “keep going”, “well done” on repeat even though you know it’s falling on deaf ears and she wants you to shut up anyway!
In our birth plan we’d been quite relaxed, with a water birth as the only real preference. Well, that idea went out the window straight away and that was why we kept very flexible with what we wanted! The thing is, you NEVER know what could happen on the big day and working off the advice of the professionals around you is something I truly recommend. I realised how important it was to enter the labour educated on the pros and cons of pain relief and delivery methods so if something is coming your way that you may not have planned, at least it doesn’t feel like jumping into the abyss.
When we reached hour 8 of PROPER labour we’d been through gas and air, diamorphine and an epidural and she’d taken every single one like an absolute champ. The epidural provided enough relief to allow for some dozing (that went for all of us) and some energy building ready for ‘The big push’.
Delivery is where the uselessness, helplessness and pain was at it’s peak. Seeing your loved one in that much distress really is something I don’t want to go through any time soon. I feel like honesty is the best policy here. I was as supportive as I could be, but as things escalated, adrenaline and worry took over. Things were by no means out of control but she’d been pushing a long time with minimal success, which lead to a “team effort”, or in real terms, lots of professionals filling the room and bringing out tools and equipment. A worrying site for the untrained eye. The result was the use of a ventouse, a small cup that acts as a pump and attaches to the babies head to assist with pulling the baby out with each contraction, done so with more force than I expected, at this point we were all keen to see baby arrive safe and sound… and with a few painful pushes and some motivation our beautiful baby Ivy arrived at 5:25am on Sunday 11th June. You bet I bawled!
It’s hard to put into words the feelings you have when you see your baby for the first time, and I can’t really. In fact I don’t think I’ll ever be able to. But I sit here now concluding this, baby in one arm and typing with the other (multitasking God!) and I’m just so unbelievably thankful for everything that I have and all that has happened. Ivy, you are a beauty and you’ve brought everyone in this family so much joy. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.