I woke up on Saturday feeling very odd and disconnected, and a bit wired. There was a lot to do, The Pie had a Beaver event to get to, The Boy was already at Scout camp and I wanted to get the rest of the slate put down in the front garden. I had a bath, did some pottering, we went to the shops, went to the camp site (lots of walking across uneven fields), packed The Pie off to a sleepover and killed time. It was a really odd day, and I just ‘knew’ something would happen soon.
I settled down to watch Doctor Who with the Rock God and a huge bowl of ice cream, and then laughed my way through X-Factor with the virtual company of the fabulously sharp and screamingly funny MN X-Factor thread members. Just as the program drew to a close, I felt a pop and a gush, and my waters broke.
Unfortunately for our best laid home birth plans, my waters were green, which meant meconium, which meant we had to go in to hospital.
So we grabbed our hospital bag and set off, thinking how serendipitous it was that both the Chums were sleeping elsewhere already, we actually couldn’t have planned it better.
We arrived at the hospital and met our first midwife, Helen, who happens to also be the nurse at my doctors surgery, so a familiar face. She made us feel very comfortable and confident, apologised that we weren’t going to be at home but assured us that we could still have most of the things we wanted from our birth plan. She did explain that we wouldn’t be able to have a delayed cord clamping as the baby would need to be seen by a paediatrician straight away, but that we could still have a natural third stage, and RG could still do the cord cutting. I had only had one measly contraction and we had to get things going so I was given a pessary, which worked almost straight away.
Even though we were attached to monitors, I was able to move about a bit, and they let us have a bit of time off the trace so I could walk about, stretch my legs and bounce on the ball. While the contractions were still building, the Rock God and I did a crossword together and chatted nonsense with Helen. I avoided any gas and air for ages as I wanted to cope on my own for as long as I could (I had the idea in my head that the longer I could go without it the more effective it would be), so I was just breathing through the contractions and trying to be all earth-mothery and calm (ha!).
According to my notes, labour started at 2am (although I’d been having contractions for a good long while before that), and next few hours are a bit of a blur. I was on my side for a while, curled up in the Rock God’s arms, sucking on the gas and air and sobbing, he says this was for about an hour and was the worst bit for me. During this bit, Helen’s shift ended and I remember her kissing me goodbye and wishing us all the best. She handed us over to Maddie and Becky’s very capable hands.
At this point or soon after, they suggested I get on my knees and lean over the upright back of the bed, and the rest of the labour was in that position. RG held on to the G&A for me and I dozed off between contractions, I wasn’t particularly aware of my surroundings by this point, but I do remember poor RG falling asleep standing up, clattering against the equipment. The MWs got him a cup of tea then, apparently, but I dont’ remember him leaving my side at all.
Things carried on for a while (it was six hours, apparently, for the first stage), and then I had one almighty contraction and push and it felt like the entire universe was breaking apart. I think I screamed (I remember vividly picturing a chimpanzee, I think that was me making a monkey noise) and the baby was born all at once. Head, shoulders and body, all at the same time.
The Rock God cut his cord, and they whisked him off to check him over before handing him to me, and he snuffled around for a while before latching on like a pro. While he fed, the MWs were busy trying to deliver my placenta, and I was vaguely aware that it wasnt’ going entirely to plan. There was a most disconcerting popping sensation and I passed some clots, and there was a sudden flurry of activity. I had an injection in my thigh, and they told me that not all of the placenta had come away and I had passed a bit too much blood. A doctor came in, and there was another injection and a bit of jiggery pokery and some tugging, and then The Biggest Placenta In The World™ came out and I think somebody cheered (maybe me?). So that was all very exciting. And a jolly good job we were in the hospital, I think, or it would have been a dramatic rush in an ambulance which would have rather spoilt the whole calm effect. As it was I wasn’t really aware of any drama at the time, we were so well looked after, all the MWs and Doctors were so gentle and affable and cheery that the mood in the room was very bouyant and upbeat (that may have been the gas and air, mind you).
They then put a catheter in (this appeals to my very basic lazy nature, I have to say. If I had a catheter in real life I could literally stay in bed all day, how cool would that be? Obviously carting around a huge bag of piss is less fun, but hey ho) and I had the nicest bath I’ve ever had while the Rock God dressed the baby, and then we were moved on to the ward. They kept us in for twenty four hours because both baby and me needed monitoring, and I had to have two lots of blood taken to see if I needed a transfusion (I didn’t), so that was a bit boring, but we did have lots of visitors and I managed to sleep for six hours on Sunday night, all snuggled up in bed with my very beautiful and amazing and much awaited new baby boy.