Baby Tom was born at 12:25 Friday afternoon by emergency cesarean after what felt like very long 26 hours plus. The contractions I had on the third fizzled out into irregularity, so we went up to the hospital Thursday morning for the induction process to begin.
After being booked in at the delivery suite and issued tags they explained what would happen. An hormone pessary would be inserted in the hope that it would kick start regular useful contractions. I would be examined after about 6 hours if I was dilating nicely then they would leave it at that and I would be treated like any other woman in labour. If I hadn’t dilated to their satisfaction then I would have to be put on a drip of syncotocin and be constantly monitored which would mean no pool or “active birth”
6 hours later I was only about two centimetres dilated so it was in with the drip and syncotocin. At first the contractions weren’t too bad but soon I was reaching for the gas and air which worked well for a while but eventually were not taking the edge off the contractions and we still had a long way to go. I decided that pain relief was the better part of labour.
It was epidural time.
The epidural was a blessed relief no pain my it did make the skin on my belly feel itchy, no need for the gas and air it was just a waiting game until I was dilated enough for the pushing. It should have been a restful time except the fetal heart rate had to be monitored constantly so I had two straps around my belly which made me feel even itchier. But unfortunately the fetal monitor didn’t want to work all the time, so we would get the soothing “swoosh swoosh swoosh” of Tom’s heart for minutes on end then suddenly it would loose the heart rate and the midwife would have to leap up to readjust the pad on my tummy so none of us got any real sleep.
By Friday morning I was at last at the magical 10 cm point and now was the time I should push. So I pushed and I pushed and I pushed: for two and a half hours. The last half hour of pushing was agony they had dropped the level of pain relief from the epidural so that I could feel the urge to push in the hope that it would speed up the baby’s decent down the birth passage. I couldn’t feel any urge to push at all just the desire for it all to stop now. Parallel to my trying to push the baby out the midwives had been consulting with the surgeon just in case. At the one hour point because we were all doing well even if the baby hadn’t moved far we decided to continue as we were but over the next hour I began to tire my pushing became even less effective and the pain was increasing as the epidural wore off. Towards the end of the second hour I could see that the midwife was getting concerned. The surgeon was consulted with will he was in theatre conducting another cesarean and shortly after the anaesthetist strolled in with a merry “I hear baby is coming out of the sunroof” which caused the midwife to give him an evil look. I could have kissed him, he had become my second most favourite person in the room after my husband. He explained that he would have to give me a local anaesthetic that would be a lot stronger than the epidural had been.
Then the surgeon came in checked the position of the baby and started to apologise about the need for a c section. I poo pooed that I told the room that it was having a healthy baby that was important not how we got to having the healthy baby. He told me what would happen and asked me to sign a consent form for the surgery.
The anaesthetist hustled people along, Simon disappeared to be dressed up like an extra from ER and I was wheeled down to the theatre. There they explained again what would happen and what might happen and that there was a chance that the local anesthetic may not have hit all the necessary nerves and in that case I would need a general anesthetic
A blue curtain was put up between my head and the business end, Simon came in and sat down by my head. A lot of people were introduced who were going to assist with the operation but I don’t remember any of their names. I could feel pressure being put on my legs I guess they were put into anti DVT blow up splints and some tugging around at my belly. However before they got too far into the operation I started to feel a very sharp pain down the middle of my pubic bone as if someone was slamming a thin blunt hammer into it. Everything stopped in order to let the anaesthetist check me. It meant that we had got to the point I hadn’t really considered, having a cesarean whilst under a full general anaesthetic. They were full of apologies as they prepped me up to for the GA, Simon was hustled out of the theatre his usefulness now gone. I remember the assistant anaesthetist stroking my forehead as I had a little cry, before they put the oxygen mask on me and the cold running into my right hand.
When I woke up I was in the recovery room with the student midwife who had been with us for the last third of the labour. I asked where Tom and Simon were, she said that they were just fetching them. The senior midwife walked in first saying he’s here, he’s got fair hair and such big feet. Simon and Tom followed in, Tom was brought over to me. A cushion was put under my left elbow and all was arranged so that I could give him his first feed. I remember stroking his hair thinking “it’s dark not fair” stroking the hair on his ear thinking “this baby is part werewolf” Now I was a mother.