My little boy arrived safe and sound on 1 April and is already filling my heart.
His birth story happened over a couple of days. Induction was started in the Antenatal ward on the Wednesday morning at 11.30, when they vaginally inserted Propess gel in a tiny tampon. The idea was that this would get things going gently, in a ‘slow burn’, ready for waters to be broken the next day. I sent my sister home at around 2.30pm to get some sleep before the gruelling events of the next couple of days kicked off and noticed around 3pm that cramps were starting.
Well, slow burn it was not to be, as things got very intense, very quickly. Over the next few hours, I was in desperate pain – a vice-like grip enveloping my whole back, with another layer of pain ebbing and flowing every few minutes. I couldn’t find any position that offered relief – lying, on all fours, sitting on the ball (which we had deflated to fit in the car and which, in a comedy moment, I had to inflate using a foot pump in between the waves of pain). All I could manage was to sit with my back upright and my only thought was that I would not be able to manage another 15 hours of this followed by another 12 hours of active labour.
The midwives noticed my discomfort and kept an eye on me. When I started vomiting with the pain, it was clear that things were not going as planned. As I was throwing up, around 6.30pm I think, there was a whoosh from my nether regions and, unable to differentiate between any sensations down there, I thought I’d lost control of my bowels. Thankfully, it was just my waters breaking, right into my maternity tracksuit bottoms, classy.
At around 7pm, they called it a day and removed the Propess, as the consensus was that it wasn’t working as gently as it should (no sh1t people). I was lucky, apparently, that it was in tampon form and not a gel, where removal wouldn’t have been an option. The pain gradually subsided and I was able to get some sleep that night after letting my sister know what she’d missed out on. We agreed that she’d come back in the next morning, when they would move to Induction Plan B, Oxytocin.
After all that drama, I was still only a finger’s width effaced the next day, though at least my waters had gone, which meant I had 24 hours from when they had broken to get to the delivery room, giving us a deadline of around 7pm Thursday evening. I was given antibiotics sporadically to keep things safe. To cut a long story short, we were moved to delivery room number six on Thursday afternoon when a slot came up (the poor midwives were trying to allocate rooms to various women, including juggling those coming in from the street already in labour) and I was put on the Oxytocin drip at around 5.30pm I think. My sister selected an easy listening station and we waited for things to happen. And waited. And waited. And in complete contrast to the day before, not much happened at all. Someone walked into the room at one stage and assumed I had had an epidural, things were so calm. A couple of times, I felt a few small cramps and thought things were starting, only for the pain to ebb away. After eight hours on the drip and a couple of internal exams, I was still only a finger’s width effaced. In other words, the same level of effacement as the previous Friday in the day ward. Around midnight, one shift change later, it was clear that we were headed for a c-section and I was fine with that.
So it was off to the theatre, where the surgical team was hilarious and full of gallows humour, as only people working a stressful job on the coalface under very constrained resources can be. It was odd being fully conscious and bantering with the team while they cut me open and rummaged and tugged inside my body, with my sister beside me keeping me calm. My little boy came into the world screeching like a banshee at 3.21am on the Friday morning, a gorgeous being weighing 7 pounds 14 ounces. Once they had done all the checks, he was placed on my chest and immediately calmed down when he felt my heartbeat and skin, which was a beautiful moment.
We have had some drama, which I will fill you in on later, but all is fine. I wouldn’t change an atom of his tiny being.