The induction process wasn’t too bad, I suppose two children had stretched the appropriate places so there wasn’t much need for rummaging. The midwife stuck the pessary in the appropriate place, we sat for half an hour or so waiting for something to happen. Nothing did, except the husband got chucked out. Very soon I got bored reading magazines and staring at the ceiling, I went to the toilet about 5 times. Mainly to go for a walk. The toilet was filthy, I couldn’t really understand how, considering there weren’t that many people on the ward and they all looked fairly respectable.
Soon enough, the girl in the bed opposite decided she was in labour. She did her best to make full use of all the vocalisations they tell you about in NCT classes, panting was her favourite one. The midwife came over and examined her, her cervix hadn’t softened yet, apparently. Why she was making the noise was a mystery to all except her. There may as well have been a sign over her head saying ‘fast track to caesarian’. I started off thinking how mildly irritating it was, three hours later I wanted to murder her, especially as the best place for making these vocalisations seemed to be by the empty space at the side of my bed. I couldn’t sleep.
At about 11:57 I decided enough was enough and I went to the midwife station to ask for some tremazipan so I could sleep. She duly obliged and I went back to bed. Shortly after the pains in my back got worse and I asked for help putting on my Tens machine. Very shortly after that I started to get front contractions, they were very mild and the midwife didn’t really take me seriously. She told me that she would check me after I had been to the toilet. So I trundled the well worn path again, feeling rather odd.
When I returned to my bed I felt the need to push. I don’t think they took me very seriously. But I really needed to push. Soon they realised I wasn’t joking, it must have been at this point when I called the hubby on my phone, (he had been sent home) and told him to come in. I was told to get on the bed and before I knew it two midwives were pushing me towards the lift. I would have felt scared if I didn’t have the most extreme urge to push, more so than I recall from previous births.
I remember waiting for the lift and telling the midwives I needed to push, I was trying not to make a fuss because I didn’t want to frighten any of the other patients. The lift seemed to take ages to come and I remember a heated discussion about where to take me. They didn’t have any midwives to look after me in the Midwife Led Unit, I was to go down to the Consultant Led Unit. In the lift I shouted that I needed to push, NOW. I was told to cross my legs. The lift seemed small and grey. I remember the trolley rattling down the corridor and being asked to move from one bed to the one in the room. I found this strangely difficult and it was a small personal victory that I did it unassisted. That’s the thing about the NHS, you have to do most things unassisted.
The Tens machine was really annoying me, I ripped it off somehow and demanded some gas and air. I pushed and could feel the baby move down. In my previous pregnancies I don’t really remember the urge to push being so strong. I could feel my body literally locking down. My legs went rigid. I remember the midwife telling me to open my legs and I literally couldn’t, they were locked solid. I tried to will them apart and push. The midwife told me the baby’s shoulders were getting stuck and I needed to open my legs. I asked them to pull them apart to help me, I really couldn’t move them. She shouted at me to open them. One more push and the baby appeared. Or so I presume, I felt him come out anyway.
|Ned’s feet, image Copyright Cocoon Photography|
Shortly afterwards I remember the husband coming into the room and a feeling that everything would be alright. Luckily he was just in time to cut the cord. This is a strange feeling as you can feel the cord and you know there is the placenta still to come. I opted for the injection to speed up its delivery and before I knew it the placenta was delivered. I think I must have been in shock for a little while, I cant remember a lot after that. The midwife told me that there was only a small first degree tear, the baby was placed on my chest. We were left alone. I looked at him and my life felt complete. I thought how much he reminded me of his dad, how big his eyes were, how soft his skin was and how tiny his hands were.
I have to admit that I always feel really tired when they give you the baby and after a short while I wanted to hand him over to his dad. Sometimes you need to recover. I had a shower and a cup of tea. All was well and thus began the long wait until we could be discharged. This is always the worst bit, you want to go home and start your new life with your baby. The NHS has other ideas.
Ned is a miracle baby, his actual birth was the least traumatic I’ve had. However the fact that my husband was not there to assist and support me will always colour the moment and I will never forgive the midwives at the hospital for robbing us of that special experience. It should have been a shared moment and instead it was a panic for all involved. Thank goodness we had a healthy baby.