Monday, April 30, 2007

No drugs; no stitches.

Right, let's face it, I'm never going to find the time to update this from home, so I've logged on at work. Ah, stuff 'em. (Don't fret - it is lunchtime.)

So - back in the birthing pool...

Mrs T was relaxed. Very relaxed. Eventually, we decided perhaps a little too relaxed, as her contractions had started to slow down and become less severe. And so, several hours after entering the pool at 5cm dilated, they had another probe - and see was only 7cm. The midwives (for our independent midwife friend V had now arrived) were clearly disappointed, and we all agreed that it would be better for Mrs T to get back onto dry land.

They suggested that she could carry on for another couple of hours to see what happened, but that they'd then want to put her on the drip to speed things up a bit. We quickly decided "why wait the two hours?", and agreed that they should put her on the drip. Can't remember what the stuff is in the drip, but it's the same stuff they use to induce. (Mrs T's labour isn't on record as having been induced, merely "augmented" - which sounds like a musical term to me.)

Very quickly the contractions changed. She was kneeling on the bed leaning forward against the raised bedhead and has since described the difference: it wasn't that they were harder or more severe - just that they came without any warning. Gas and Air, previously rejected as doing nothing, became Mrs T's friend. Contractions came thick and fast, and Mrs T became increasingly desperate for the whole thing to be over. Our friend V was, as we'd expected, absolutely brilliant. She was working with the midwife, but kept getting up tot the head end and looking Mrs T straight in the eye, explaining what was happening and how well she was doing. She'll probably never read this, but we've been very sure to tell her just how much she did for us that day.

Mrs T needed to be on even firmer ground, so we got her of the bed and onto all fours on the ground. I sat on a chair at her head, and she leaned - very heavily - on my lap. When contractions came, she pulled on my shirt with all her might, bit my belt hard (thankfully my belt), and went through the whole denial thing. She really didn't think she had the strength to go on any longer, and had started to cry "I don't want this baby". By this stage - when we weren't even sure if it was still Sunday, the Midwives were getting excited, and encouraging Mrs T to keep at it. "the doctors will be wanting to get involved and we don't want that, do we", they were saying. And, although Mrs T had suggested cutting it out of her, sucking it out, pulling it out, whatever, she remarkable found the determination to finish what she'd started.

And finally, at 11:12 pm, Flicker made his entrance.

We’d asked for skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after the birth. Mrs T was exhausted and needed to get back onto the bed and recover a bit from the shock of it all, so they wrapped Flicker and gave him to me initially. What an amazing feeling. A baby in my hands only minutes old. My Baby. Our baby. As soon as she was ready, we unwrapped him and laid him on Mrs T’s chest, where he stayed while she birthed the placenta and they checked her out. She’d torn a tiny amount, but only internally and no stitches were needed.

Although it seemed to us to have gone on all day and been bloody hard work, it was officially a normal, average labour. But even so, she did it without any pain relief aside from the pool and gas and air.

Mrs T. What an amazing woman.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Now, where was I?

Oh, yes: back at the hospital...

We knew we'd gone in too soon, really, but Mrs T was struggling to cope with the contractions and couldn't bear the thought of having them in the car once they'd got any more severe so we'd made our way. Needless to say, once we'd got checked in (we'd phoned and checked that one of the delivery rooms with a birthing pool was available) the contractions calmed down somewhat, but once we were there we knew we were in for the duration. In fact, they'd calmed so much that the midwives decided against an internal examination yet. And so we were left to cope, and they popped in and checked on us every now and then. I tried to keep note of the times, and contractions were eventually coming about every seven minutes, but only occasionally lasting a minute. After what seemed like an age, they agreed to do an examination, only to find that Mrs T was dilated only about three centimetres. (Excuse me if I'm a bit vague on the timings, but some of it was quite a blur.)

As they don't let you into the pool until you're four centimetres, Mrs T was left with no pain relief at this stage. Gas and air was available, and she tried it once or twice but didn't feel it made any difference, and she was feeling pretty nauseous anyway and didn't want to make it worse, so she just gritted her teeth and got on with it. Sitting on a birthing ball leaning over the end of the bed was one of many positions she tried, and the one which seemed most effective, so there we stayed until (I think) early afternoon when they examined her again to find five centimetres. Yay! There followed some debate whether we'd be allowed to use the pool, as the ward was very busy and by using the pool Mrs T would be monopolising one of the midwives, as they're not allowed to leave her in it without one. Thankfully we were given clearance, the pool was quickly filled and prepared, and with much relief she climbed in. And "relief" is exactly the right word: Mrs T felt so much more comfortable in the water - she was amazed and how much better it was, and how much more bearable the contractions became.

And there she stayed for several hours...

And now it's time I was in bed, so the next - and hopefully last - installment will have to follow later.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The story will continue

Sorry for the delay - I can't believe it's been over two weeks since I started telling Flicker's birth story. Every day I think "I'll post the rest of it soon", but still I've not found the time.

Soon, I promise!

"I do hereby promise to make my daddy finish the story very soon."