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Posts Tagged ‘childbirth’

 So where was I? Oh yes, my contractions had stopped and started again. I had lost all hope of EVER having the baby and was sobbing for my mum, whilst simultaneously, in the future, I was sat eating Orios and watching something crappy on tv, while trying to ignore the incessant whining noise at my feet (i.e. the baby that, surprise surprise, DID come out in the end). So on we plod…

July 7th 6pm

Flashback: After pouring my heart out to my mum over the phone we decide to up camp and head off to chez Whitney-Cooper for some much needed TLC and a bath as ours is gnome sized and rather uncomfortable for those that are dimensionally challenged. We throw the labour bag in the boot just in case but I am seriously beginning to doubt that this baby will EVER be born. I’m serious. Maybe I just haven’t got it in me? Maybe my body just doesn’t know what to do and I’l be pregnant FOREVER? Ok, at least until they induce me/slice me open, neither of which I particularly fancy. Or worse – maybe I’ll just carry on having these (increasingly painful) contractions every five minutes for days and days and no-one will do ANYTHING?! (except tell me to have an early night and take some paracetamol).

We arrive at mum’s and I instantly feel a bit better. Mum runs me a bath, lights some candles, makes me a cup of tea and I have a long soak. I have to keep shifting position when a contraction comes though as lying on my back when one comes seems to amplify the pain by about a million. Ant sits on the loo and makes me laugh despite the pain and suddenly the world is all ok again. Did I ever mention I was a bit changeable in the mood department?

We make a deal. No more timing contractions. Well, me anyway. I had religiously recorded every one; doing nothing short of making a graph to plot their regularity (or lack of it). Time to relax a bit Josie. Time to recognise that maybe YOU’RE NOT IN CONTROL THIS TIME. I know. Shocker. And you never know maybe removing the giant stick up your butt might make room for the baby. Ant will surreptitiously keep track, but me, well I was just going to concentrate on riding this pain.

Because bloody hell. It’s hurting now. Hurting too much to stay in the bath. Hurting too much to do ANYTHING in fact although it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep still through out it all. I have an overwhelming urge to walk and change position and grind my hips in a kind of weird pregnant lady hula. Do you know what, I think I WILL have some paracetamol now…

So I walk, and lean, and contract, and do the hula. Shouting out “here comes another one” just as Ant mutters under his breath “any second now…”.

Is it just me or are they getting closer together?

Flashforward: I wipe up Kai after his tea. He has some pasta in his belly button (and, incidently on his hair/ears/neck/dad/cat – it was pasta bolognaise so our front room looked like something out of Saw 3) and it occurs to me… this is where he was attached to me. For nine whole months. And my belly button; that is where I was attached to MY mum. And so on, down the centuries in one glorious genetic chain of belly buttons. Every one before me a mother, everyone before me going through that same terrifying and wonderful experience of giving birth to another human being. Wow. I feel kind of special. I also can’t believe I’m having profound thoughts about belly buttons…

 

9.00pm

Flashback: Everything’s getting a bit blurry now. Pain seems to dance in front of my eyes and I realise I’m beginning to pant and groan more and more. My pacing and my hula hula dance is becoming more vigorous and rhythmic as I ride each new wave. Where on earth is that mooing noise coming from? Oh wait, it’s me.

I’m vaguely aware of mum and Ant whispering in the kitchen and periodically poking their head round the corner to ask if I’m doing ok. “I’m fine” I keep saying. “Stop talking to me” is what I’m thinking, just let me walk and moo in peace. At some point, they come to me and tell me that my contractions have been every four minutes for a while – maybe we should phone the hospital now? I nod and a quick phone call later and Ant is steering me into the car.

Time to go.

Flashforward: Kai is asleep for now and I sit surveying the twenty miscellaneous pieces of plastic and metal that should, with proper assembly (BY AN ADULT stresses the instructions – thanks for that) turn into Kai’s birthday Tricycle. I screw bits together, unscrew them again and turn them round, and screw them back together again.

At least making a baby didn’t require self assembly and an allen key. I have a feeling Kai wouldn’t have been half so well put together.

 

9.45pm

Flashback: We arrive at the hospital. Four minutes had turned into every three in the car (why why WHY did you have to live on a private estate with SPEEDBUMPS mother??! Did you not know that your heavily pregnant daughter would be contracting over every single one??). We park in a ‘do not park here’ zone and display my pre-prepared “Wife is in Labour” sign (no, I know what you’re thinking – it didn’t have an accompanying drawing or was laminated, I’m not THAT bad…).

The walk up to the ward seems to go on for miles but I’m determined to walk it. Stopping, SITTING, seems unthinkable. I just have to move move move. Finally we’re there. A bored looking midwife shows me into my room. MY room. The room on the midwife-led unit I had been so adamant to have, with it’s homely decorating and bean bags and Anne Geddes’ pictures on the wall. The room that I didn’t give two hoots about once I finally got there. It could have been a dingy back alley in the East End for all I cared as long as it had some gas and air.

At last some pain relief!!! Oh sweet Jesus thank you!  “You make yourself comfy dear” she tells me, “You’ve got a while to go yet”. Great.

Ant contemplates going back to the car for the bags but the midwife has disappeared and he doesn’t want to leave me, and pretty soon they’re forgotten. Relegated to the boot, my refreshing face spray and the rest about as useful in the end as that paracetamol I’d taken an hour ago.

The midwife finally arrives to examine me and to her surprise, and mine, I’m 8cm dilated. She tells me I’m nearly there but I don’t really hear her. I’m away on my gas trip. The room fades away and all that is left is my teeth on that cold, hard mouthpiece and the sound of mask as I breathe in and out, timing my gasps to take the edge off the peak of the contractions, coming fast and strong. I’m aware of Ant’s constant, calm reassurance, holding me through everyone but everything else just becomes a jumble of vague sound and light. I don’t think I’m even particularly conscious of the fact that my baby is coming. There is only this pain. This moment. All I can do is hold on.

Flashforward: I’m STILL building that frickin trike…

 

11.30pm

Flashback: At least I think it’s about that time, I’m having to rely on others’ memories now. I am pushing. The pressure has built to peak and now I’m pushing and pushing. My waters have finally popped with one huge gush. I moan and cry and shout and I don’t care. Even when that stupid cow of a midwife tells me I’m making too much noise I don’t care. Shut up b*tch I’m having a baby for Frick’s sake – just do your job and I’ll do mine.  After an eternity I begin to feel something slowly move down and push hard against me with each contraction, and finally, Kai’s head begins to crown. It is physically and mentally the most unbelievably hard thing I have ever done. What on earth was I thinking? Having a baby? Was I MAD? “I’m NEVER doing this again” I cry vehemently between contractions. Gas and Air is forgotten now, I need every bit of my concentration just to bear down and push. PUSH! With every contraction I push and push some more. Push so hard I think my back will break and my eyes pop out. Weirdly it’s not pain I’m conscious of. Just the sheer effort and physical endurance with the hot, burning feeling that only a 7 and a half pound babies head forcing it’s way through a MUCH smaller opening can produce. “Push!” Ant and the Midwife kept telling me “PUSH! You’re nearly there!”

Flashforward: I sit holding the small, hot form of my sleeping child. My head pounding and my body about ready to drop after nearly an hour of trying to get Kai back to sleep after his inevitable wake-up. Once again it is a mystery why he has woken up. Once again it is a mystery why he has so much trouble falling back to sleep again. It’s been a long day. It’s been a long year. A year of delight and joy and fun and laughter and more love and happiness than I ever thought possible. But also a year of incredible anxiety, and stress and frustration and sheer physical effort coupled with unbelievably little sleep.

The labour was the easy part, in hindsight.

But no matter what I said, I WOULD do it all again. A million times over for just one touch of my beautiful, precious boy. And not just the labour. Every broken night, every hour spent walking and rocking and feeding and coaxing Kai into some kind of sleep. Every minute of despair and hopelessness and doubt. I’d do it all. Naked. Covered in Bees (if only because it all seems to have gotten rather serious all of a sudden).

Because he is totally, irrefutably, worth it.

I gently lower him into his cot. He sighs and rolls over but thankfully is soon sleeping deeply again. Thank god for that.

 

July 8th 12.10am

Flashback: With one last almighty PUSH! I finally feel a release as Kai’s head comes out, pushing out the shoulders, and finally, with one long, glorious, blissful gush, the rest of him. He is lifted, red and crying and slippery and the most beautiful perfect sight I have ever seen, straight on to my chest where I hold him close and sob and laugh, looking up at Ant in relief and joy and surprise. My boy is here. My Kai.

I did it.

Flashforward: I roll over, away from the clock at which I have been staring, waiting, remembering. I listen to Kai’s breathing, slow and deep and peaceful. I close my eyes.

Happy Birthday Little Bear x

Two Hours Old

Two Hours Old

One Year Old Today!

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7.00am

Flashback: I have been lying awake for two hours. Rather considerably bigger and fatter yet rather considerably less the woman I am today (in more ways than one). 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant. The size of an average sized whale (which I don’t know the dimensions of for sure but I imagine is rather large). No longer able to put on my own socks without assistance, or roll over in bed without making unattractive grunting noises and taking ten minutes to rearrange my huge nest of various shaped pillows. I have probably just hauled myself back in bed from taking my 32nd trip to the toilet of the night. I am lying here wondering if this squeezing sensation in my pelvis is the real deal and not another cruel bout of false contractions. Well they’ve been every 15 minutes like clockwork and if I had to describe the pain I would probably be using the word ‘wave’. Ooomph there’s another one. No, this is definitely different. Ow. Maybe I should wake Ant…

Flashforward: I sit and watch Kai smearing his hair with banana and laughing hysterically at the ceiling. I love you my odd child. How incredibly blissfully restful boring and empty my life must have been before you.

7.30am

Flashback:I wake up Ant and tell him that, although I don’t want him to panic, I think this may be it. He jumps up gleefully to phone work and tell them he’s not coming in today. Dosser – any excuse for a day off is a cause for celebration in Ant’s eyes. Haha enjoy it my dear, it’s the last ‘day off’ you’re going to get for a while. Say about 18 years.

Flashforward:I emerge from the shower to find Ant holding Kai like an unexploded bomb. “He smells”, declares Ant when asked what is wrong. Yes I imagine he probably does smell since he has just evacuated about a week’s worth of poo from his behind. Thank you for bringing this to my attention honey. Here, you pin him down/distract him by putting things on your head and  and I’ll try and clean him up quick before he  crawls off and covers himself/the bed/me in excrement. I suddenly fear I may have got the short end of the straw, or the messy end anyway. Do you remember when we used to have romantic long lie-ins and DIDN”T know what it felt like to be up to your arms in crap? No, neither do I.

11am

Flashback:Contractions coming good and regular now, 5-6 minutes apart and strong enough to take my full attention. It hurts but weirdly I find myself quite enjoying it all! When not breathing and rolling about on my birthing ball (which, I’ve decided is just a space hopper without the handles and the weird face – could have saved some money there, we have one in the loft), I dutifully consult the LABOUR section of my Pregnancy File, a self-compiled recepticle of knoweldge, complete with different coloured index tabs headed in my best writing. I had been pregnant for nine long months and I had been determined to be prepared. Notes had been made, checklists written. In different coloured pens and with drawings and everything.

Breathing. Check. Moving About and Staying Upright. Check.

In between contractions I also unpack and repack my hospital bag that has been sat ready for at least a month so is slightly dusty, checking on the essential items carefully planned and packed in advance.

Cooling face spray. Check. MP3 player with pre-prepared playlist of labour songs. Check. Snacks for Ant. Massage Oil. Check Check.

I phone the labour ward and they tell me I’m doing great, that that if I feel ok to keep going at home to do so, and phone again when I get to 4-5 minutes contractions. No problem Midwife lady! I’m fine! Ok it hurts a bit but I’ve been waiting for this moment for nine long months and god dammit I’m going to do it well – all is under control. I have my file!! Over-achiever? Me? Nooo…. but if I was then I would DEFINITELY get an A+.

Flashforward: Me and my best friend Helen buy the biggest chocolate cake we can find to take to our Breastfeeding Support Group to celebrate the birthday of our boys (who were born on the same day) and a whole year of successful breastfeeding despite many difficulties along the way. We feel this is extra symbolic in that chocolate is probably the only thing to have kept us both alive this last year and able to keep up with the demands of our respective milk monsters.

3.00pm

Flashback:Ok, this is REALLY hurting now. Ow. I lie bent over my footstool with a hot water balanced on my back and watch Bill Bailey DVDs to take my mind of things but it’s getting kind of hard to stay serene and calm. My breathing is getting kind of huffy. I may be starting to moan a little. I dutifully make a note of every contraction and am getting a bit discouraged to see that they’re STILL 5-6 minutes apart, shouldn’t they be getting closer together by now?

We take a walk, pausing every 5-6 minutes for my to clutch Ant and sway and do my moany sound. Poor neighbours, I must be quite a sight. It rains and we get completely drenched and decide to go home.

I’m a bit fed up now. And I think Ant is getting bored. Look he’s given up rubbing my back to go play Football Manager…

Flashforward: Me and Kai snuggle up for nap. His head is pushed as far into my armpit as he can make it go. I look at the size of that head. Bloody hell that’s a big head. I try not to think about where that head forcibly appeared a bit later, exactly one year ago. It certainly wasn’t my armpit.

4.30pm

Flashback: I don’t believe this. My contractions have stopped. I haven’t had anything for half and hour now. No. No No NO NO NOOOOO THIS IS NOT HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO GO!!! Surely this couldn’y have all been false labour? I had endured 12 hours of pretty intense contractions. Was it all for nothing? Was I going to have to do it all again in another few days? DAMMIT I HAD MOVED ABOUT AND BREATHED AND BEEN SERENE (mostly) AND EVERYTHING!!!  Sobbing, I phone the Labour ward again, exhausted and defeated, and demand to know what the hell is going on and why why why have they stopped. A kind but slightly patronising midwife tells me I’m probably just experiencing mild (mild?? MILD???!) practise contractions and that this wasn’t established labour yet. Go take some paracetamol and have an early night she tells me.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

I sob and sob. My whole world has fallen apart. I am officially going to be pregnant forever. But, oh, OWW! that was another contraction, sob sob, god dammit stop playing with me baby!!!! Are you coming out or not?? Pretty soon the contractions are back to every 5 minutes but after the midwife’s assessment I have lost all confidence in them now and figure we might well be here for days yet.

That’s it. I want my mum.

Flashforward: Nothing particularly interesting happened…. sorry. Kai whinged. I think I ate some Orios?

To be continued…

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