As with most momentous events, this one started in the middle of the night two weeks before it was expected….
It’s no secret that Sylv sparked to life through less than ‘traditional’ means and she continued her renegade route to life as she entered the big wide world.
Multiple midwives laughed at me when I expressed my hope that she would come early (I know what it’s like to have birthdays close to Christmas), first borns are usually late however, IVF babies strangely – often early. They still told me it was unlikely when I … close your ears if you get grossed out by body stuff… lost my mucas plug about a month before she was due to arrive.
I however, was convinced and even had a trip to the hospital when I convinced myself my waters had broken the following week, turns out I just weed a bit, bladder control was not a strong point back then…
But low and behold, at 1am on the 2nd Dec, after we had spent the evening decorating the Christmas tree, two weeks before she was meant to arrive (and the day after I had had my nails done – great timing) I woke up, went to the toilet and my waters broke. There was no mistaking it at all so anyone worrying about ‘knowing’ – you will know, I even felt a small pop.
Having read multiple blogs and books on the subject of first time births I expected the following hours to consist curling up on the sofa, a hot water bottles, Netflix and maybe a walk in the park. I was ready for a day of slow growing contractions, and while they got going maybe I’d just get back into bed for a snooze. So that’s what I did and 15 minutes later sweet Mary, Mother of Joseph, I was not about to be snoozing any time soon. Suffice to say, these WERE NOT the gentle waves I had read about in my hypnobirthing book and breathing didn’t make damn bit of difference.
Standing up did though, so I thought maybe I was just over thinking things and chose not to wake Mr Potnoodle just yet. I was sure I still had an age before anything ACTUALLY happened, instead to pass the time I opened my contraction timing app. About 10 minutes in The app flashed up with a notice saying it was time to go to the hospital. I decided that couldn’t be right so deleted all my timings and started again, all the while wondering how the hell people made toast and watched the TV going through this.
Again I started timing, and again a red notice popped up saying get to the hospital. I decided at this point, about 2am it was probably wise to wake up Mr Potnoodle.
Fifteen minutes later and with contractions that were 3 minutes apart we were driving to the hospital. It being silly hours in the morning however, we found the general entrance locked up and my contracting self had to walk the outdoor length of the hospital, through A&E and then the indoor length of the hospital to get to the labour wing, stopping every 2 minutes now to hold onto the walls whilst the lower half of my body squeezed themselves into oblivion. Through gritted teeth I muttered that this feeling was not what my hypnobirthing books had led me to believe it would be and then somewhat louder to Mr Potnoodle, where the F**K is the F**KING lift to the birthing suite.
I’d like to take a quick minute that his point to say seriously, hats off to anyone who had no pain relief and relied on the power of their mind and breathing techniques.. I thought I was pretty good at that sort of stuff and had a pretty high pain threshold but contractions are just the strangest, most horrible feeling, like the world is ending in your own body – to me anyway – and I swiftly backtracked on my original plan to go au natural.
I finally got some gas and air which gave me something else to focus on and actually did help a fair bit. And after trying to argue my way out of a speculum examination – I mean what the ?*$!….why would you do that to someone in labour?! I found out I was only 2cm dilated. Seriously… I have no idea how there can be that much discomfort for 2 cm but I wasn’t going to endure it for the remaining 8 and I asked how quickly I could get an epidural.
At this point it was about 5am, I’d been having pretty decent contractions every 2-3 minutes for 4 hours and was knackered. I couldn’t sit down or lie down because the contractions felt 10 times worse that way. The anaesthetist took an hour to arrive, during which time I had to deal with my gas and air running out – which was a seriously low point and my blood pressure shooting up to the point where they suggested I may not be able to even have an epidural which was an even lower point. To some serious relief, after a urine and blood test to check things were fine the decided we could go ahead.
Something no one mentioned to me was that epidurals often feel like lightening bolts going down your legs as they kick in – the anaesthetist assured me this was normal but obviously I had thoughts going through my head that I was about to lose the use of a leg.
And then everything went calm, my leg stopped twitching, I could ly down as the contractions eased and I could only just notice them and I put down the gas and air. This was at 6am and as my body finally relaxed I heard the Dr say the babies pulse had dropped…
I was asked to lie on one side, then the other, then stand up, but no change. Emergency c-section it was!
To be honest at that point, although scared for my baby, I was also totally relieved. The last thing I felt I could cope with was a full on birth.
So off I was wheeled down the corridor into the operating room where everyone was scurrying around getting things ready and the anaesthetist began to spray me with an aerosol around my belly and up my ribs asking if I could feel the cold. I went into a bit of a panic when I told her that no I couldn’t feel cold but I could feel it and she answered that that was how it should be… at that point I asked her if she could please just put me to sleep but apparently that’s only for last measures.
One thing I certainly didn’t know about cesareans is that you can still ‘feel’. You don’t feel pain but you feel what’s going on. Personally, I felt as though my insides were being rummaged through like when you’ve lost something at the bottom of your deepest, darkest handbag and need it in a hurry. It seemed that any second I was going to be in the most horrific amount of pain. My way of dealing with all this was to go into full on survival/denial mode squeezing my eyes tight shut and squeezing the life out of Mr Potnoodle’s hand whilst I tried my hardest to think of anything other than my babies low heart rate and my open belly.
Luckily, although it didn’t feel much like it at the time, it really didn’t last long and a little screamer broke the through the bustle of the theater. Soon as it was confirmed we had 10 fingers and 10 toes I felt I could relax for the first time, it was now 8am.
I didn’t hold her properly for a while, mostly because I was so shaky from the drugs wearing off and I was worried I would drop her, somehow joggle her up and out of my arms. But as the shakes slowly died down, she was placed on my chest. This little wrinkled, blinking, brand new thing. Our little Sylvie girl.