Actually Mummy

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Today I am posting a guest contribution from the only thing that Mummy gained from her NCT courses – a best friend! She had never really discussed this with her friend, given that they were both lost to a fog of despair in the first weeks after our births. They would meet occasionally whilst dashing around random shops or parks desperately seeking respite from the sofa of feeding hell. They only ever had time to mutter a hasty ‘Lovely to see you, must do coffee, got to keep moving or the baby will wake up and then I’ll have to look after her!’  So it has been a pleasure for Mummy to read her friend’s birth story, and understand just a little bit more. I hope you will enjoy it too:

Part 1:

Ok, let’s start with number one.  Having endured 9 gruelling months of  pregnancy and a further six excruciating days over my due date, T and I decided  to go to the movies on a Saturday night in a vain attempt to pass the time  while waiting for C to finally arrive.  There was nothing we hadn’t seen except Princess Bride II – and so off  we went – and, you can probably gather that I was already in the early stages  of labour given I said yes to seeing that movie.

After about 20 minutes the movie was so bad that I burst  into tears and was inconsolable (another obvious sign that my hormones were getting started).   We hurriedly left the cinema and then I sat in the car and sobbed while my husband turned on the radio and sang a Paul Simon song to try and make me laugh.  It was cute, but I couldn’t.

We got home and found a video we hadn’t seen called “Bring  it on.”  The irony of the title was  totally lost on us.  Then, around 11, we  went to bed.  My husband was soon snoring  while I lay there uncomfortably and then felt my first contraction.  What a relief – it was all starting to  happen!

I got up and wandered about for the next 5 hours.  The pain was very manageable and I found that while I couldn’t sleep, I only had to get up and walk about whenever I was  having a contraction and t the pain was only mildly uncomfortable.  Then, at 4 on the dot, I had a big one that  finally really hurt.   I rushed in to our  bedroom and said, “T, it’s time.  We’ve  got to go.”  T got up, all flustered and  said, “Is it ok if I go to the toilet first?”  “Yes,” I replied, “but hurry!” I then went and paced in the living room while he stuffed about.  When he finally came out we decided to try  the Tens machine (or Tense Machine as he thought it was called).  He started to try and place the electro  thingamajiggies all over me and then turned it on.  The pulses annoyed the heck out of me, so  much so that I quickly tried to rip them all off, giving myself mild electric  shocks while doing so and cursing profusely under my breath.  I then tried to turn on the light in the living room and also somehow gave myself a shock.  I was livid.

Having run out of pain management options we decided to call the hospital.   I went into detail about everything and they assured me that I had ages to go and that I should take a long, hot bath and  wait some more.  T went and put the bath  on while I undressed and somehow managed to climb in although in the middle of  this I had a huge contraction.  It was so painful that I immediately got out and announced that I didn’t care what they said but that I’d had enough and was going to the hospital straight away and  that was that – I don’t think I said it as nicely as that though : )

T then went into the living room and ran about doing I don’t  know what.  He later claimed he was looking for CD’s to play during the birth and such (but to me he just looked a bit demented) while I got dressed, picked up my hospital bag and went and waited patiently at the front door.

The car ride was interesting.  I always felt smug that I’d (of course) be  able to drive myself when the time came but the truth was quite different…I screamed, banged the ceiling and generally wailed in agony during the fifteen minute drive to the hospital, all the while giving directions such as “turn left – aaagggghhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Now go straight, ooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

On arrival, I made it out of the car and then got down on all fours on the concrete in the dark parking lot while enduring another painful contraction.  T was flustering around, trying to find change for the parking meter before giving up when I yelled at him, and so he ran over and helped me up and we made a run for the entrance while I was in between agony.

We did make it although I had a contraction in the lift on the way up to the ward which was also excruciating.   On arrival at the maternity ward we were immediately whisked into a room and it was determined that I was 7 cm and that things were progressing well – thank God I had not stayed at home as instructed!!!! Then, I begged, screamed, pleaded and generally lost all pride trying to convince them to give me an epidural. The contractions just didn’t seem to end at this point and I couldn’t figure out when or how you were supposed to do your calm breathing and have some recovery time when there was no let up whatsoever.  They put me on gas and air to which I replied “It doesn’t f-ing work.”  But then, to my greatest relief, I was given the epidural and things became gooooooooood.

Part 2:

Firstly, I realised that there were two midwives assisting me as one was a trainee (I hadn’t noticed before this point).  Secondly, we had a great chat as I relaxed back to my normal self.  We discussed their training, lives, how long their shifts last, what it’s like being a midwife, how they cope without sleep, and even my beautiful – something nice to look at during the birth – hot pink toenails.  It was lovely, really and truly lovely.

"Contraction Monitor"They monitored the baby and me while T stood at my side, holding my hand and watching the machine.  It was calm and happy and in truth, quite pleasant.  I reached 10cm and was given the obligatory hour to rest before the pushing would start.  After the hour had passed it suddenly struck me that I would have to push this baby out of me and then I realised that I might completely rip in two.  I was overcome with fear and panic and slightly amazed that I had not thought this through before, especially as I’d had nine months and six days to do so.   It was frightening!  We watched the monitor and could see when a contraction was just about to start.  T would start a count down and have me breathe in time to it, just like in yoga. Then, he and both midwives would yell, “PUUUSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” and I’d go for it, although I wasn’t really sure I was succeeding because I couldn’t feel anything – and that was just fine by me.

After the obligatory allotted time for pushing (I’ve completely forgotten how long they allow) C just wouldn’t come out.  So, they started to wonder whether I’d need a dreaded caesarean.   It must have been the drugs but I wasn’t particularly concerned about how I had my baby, just as long as she came out and was healthy.  I happily signed a consent form while everyone fussed about and T was taken away to get into his “Dr Carter” ER scrubs.  I did manage to have one constructive thought though and that was to watch the monitor and keep trying to push C during contractions.  I worked hard at it.

They wheeled me into the operating theatre where I was told that they’d give me 20 more minutes of pushing before they’d do a caesarean if nothing happened.  This is where streamers should come down from the ceiling and trumpets should play a fanfare as my midwife, who had stayed with me throughout and who gave me a look that said, “I’m going to get this baby out of you naturally no matter what,” did all these
manipulating kinds of things on my tummy and kept willing me to focus and push.  I was also helped by one man in the room who noticed that the bed I had been wheeled in on was tilted the wrong way.  It was quickly swung the right way so that my feet were towards the ground and gravity could get to work.  Everyone looked a bit embarrassed that it hadn’t crossed their minds.

We were all so busy pushing, breathing, manipulating and swinging beds the right way that when the doctor, with the aid of a ventouse, pulled C out the entire room – me included – were rather shocked and surprised!  She held her up and then C pushed out both her arms and legs in a dramatic X shape and wailed as loudly as she could.  She started as she meant to carry on, but that’s a story for another day…

"crying newborn"

Please, please, please give Mummy’s friend some comments. She has taken a long time to get round to writing this birth story, and honestly? I would quite like to know what you think. It sounds so similar to my own – aside from the fact that the epidural came when it could most be appreciated, and not after the event!! The other thing that made the whole Actually Mummy household laugh is that K talks a lot – even in labour! Do you know the life story of your midwife? No….. thought not!

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Actually Mummy