Well, we’re now home for the second night with our beautiful little girl. She’s like a cross between ET and the baby octopus thing from Men in Black that spews all over Will Smith.
I know, not the most flattering description ever given by a mother about her newborn but this child is just that alien, she has these enormous dark blue/grey eyes that seem to be threatening to change to brown any day, when they are open and gazing about in that strangely alert way she has, she looks at me with such distrust at times that I feel compelled to tell her not to worry so much – how someone so young can also appear so old is disturbing.
Her features in the first 24 hours changed so dramatically I truly think had she not shared my bed in the hospital I’d have suspected a switch – as it is she now looks so delicate and fey-like that part of me keeps half expecting her to transform into a bundle of twigs.
Quite lucky really that her skin is so soft and as the midwife today said – she hasn’t a single blemish, if only we could get her to keep on the scratch mitts as she keeps catching herself with those wicked claws Stefs trying to attend to (I can’t bite nails, all my teeth are plastic – and I’m far too squeamish to take scissors to her delicate little paws)
The poor wee bairn had quite a traumatic entrance into the world though; quite a contrast to the nice soothing environment I had planned.
It started well, contractions kicked in at about 7:30pm on sunday 31st (so only 4 days later than the EDD) I had a ‘show’ but the contractions remained too irregular for established labour (I used the contraction master to keep a track much to my stepmums amusement – how would I cope without the net eh?!) then just as I was beginning to hold out hope of regularity they stopped altogether at about 1pm the following day – I was gutted!
On the 2nd they kicked in again at about 3pm, this time they continued to grow in intensity if not regularity, by 2am I was downing paracetamol and calling up the reserves (stepmother: midwife and 2nd birthing partner) to drive down from Manchester as they were averaging 8 minutes apart and 1 minute 20 seconds in duration – by 4am we were heading to the hospital as they jumped to every 2 minutes and I was dying!
Typically, upon reaching the hospital the pains became erratic again but it was suggested I stay in and take some tamazepam so as to get some sleep. I took the drug but sleep never happened, 6 hours later I had the entonox wheeled in – sadly on a mouthpiece as they couldn’t locate a face mask, not the best delivery system for someone who can’t breathe through her mouth (I know, I’m a freak) but there ya go.
By now I was shattered, still no signs of settling into actual labour – that’s right, they don’t count anything before 3cm dilated as actual labour, if they did you’d be counting DAYS as opposed to hours, trust me on this I now know from painful experience!
Stef came back to the hospital with all the gear and sat with me through all of this, encouraging me to drink and trying to get me to eat – sadly the latter proved impossible as I just brought straight back up anything I tried to choke down.
After several more hours of this another midwife told me they were running me a bath to try and slow things down so I could relax – 5 hours later I was crying with relief at finally reaching the seemingly impossible 3cm dilation and established labour! (all without pain relief having eschewed further use of the entonox due to the sickness it caused me)
I hobbled over to the delivery suite where they were busy filling the birthing pool for me, I was standing there chanting my breathing mantra “Red, Green, Grey, Black” whilst waiting for the soothing effect of immersion, these were the 4 colours reflected in the tap of the bath on the ward – I’d focused so hard on those to distract myself from the pain that they became my tie to controlled breathing.
..Methinks a new necklace is in order to commemorate the fact – once I can face beading again 😉
Anyhow, a further 6 hours on and I’m still only 3cm dilated despite really deep contractions, according to both Stef and Eileen I’d become a mini Hitler – at one point I’d ordered Stef out of the room because I could smell crisps on him and I do recall the coffee incident but.. meh, I was in pain okay?
So.. I’m now out of the pool and walking around and it’s suggested that I allow them to break my waters to help the process along. I was so tired and dejected by this point that I agreed.
It was the most painful and distressing part of the entire experience, the contractions double in intensity and I’m now subject to the nasty feeling of water cascading down my legs with every movement alongside the pain, at this point I was again offered entonox to help and a face mask was found which totally changed the experience – it was pure bliss sucking on that gas through those contractions then.
I love me that entonox!
2 hours later I’d progressed to only 4cm dilated and a syntocin drip was proposed to help me along as now my waters had gone the risk of infection was higher the longer I was in labour, so I agreed.
MY GOD! If I thought the previous contractions were bad.. Ouch. So out came the morphine.
Now there’s a drug combination you should be allowed at home *grin* wow. Me likee’d muchly! Seems everyone else liked me liking it to, there’s been much amusement over me explaining how the midwifery team could use twitter to good effect to help with a communication issue they were having.. Seems I was expected to start mentioning photons and blackholes in the same breath, pah! non net folks..
Anyhow by this point I have no idea how much time had passed but I wasn’t progressing and the babys heartrbeat had taken to dropping alarmingly with every syntocin dose, they had to take me off it, send me through for the dreaded epidural and ceasarian section.
I was gutted. all those hours of managing the pain with nothing but water were wasted, my every effort for a natural birth out of the window I resigned myself to the slice and dice – and now wish I’d just gone down that route to start with!
The anaesthetist was briliant – epidural was administered in what seemed like seconds and took effect in the expected way, just goes to show you should never listen to the horror stories!
The actual ceasarian was a weird experience, one second I could feel the baby moving around inside me, the next I have blue, mucous and blood spatterd genitals hanging over the sheet for my perusal with someone saying ‘heres your baby’ it took several seconds for me to register the fact that these genitals were female and that I could no longer feel her moving around inside me.
I heard the surgeon ask for time of birth and 2 people piped up “5:14” “5:15” but it was the first that became my babys official time of arrival on the 3rd of September 2008.
I also found out later that there’d been no hope of a natural birth for me, poor little Isabella had been living inside me with her cord wrapped twice around her face and body, this had stopped her engaging properly and when the contractions tried forcing her down it was basically strangling her causing the distressed heartbeat.
Despite all this, our little love is remarkably chilled and I cannot even begin to describe how amazing it feels every time we look at her. She’s just.. Indescribably perfect.