A whole half year! (With birth story bonus)

Dear son,

You are six calendar months old tomorrow.  A whole half year. What a wild ride, huh?

The last couple of weeks have been action packed, even by your standards, and the way you embrace everything of life is a revelation to my jaded eyes.  A lot of firsts this last week or so – first train journey, first food (banana, captured on camera by your mummy jay – what a face!), new highchair. Soon, you’ll be having your first babysitting experience, but we’re not going to tell you about that until afterwards. You’ll be asleep anyway so you’ll never even notice we’re gone!

I feel like your first half-birthday might be a good time to finish off your birth story. It’s probably the only time left before tardiness makes it too embarrassing to complete. Having just refreshed my memory of Part 1, may I remind you where we left off? Barrelling down to the lifts in a wheelchair, I believe.

We were soon ensconced in another pleasant, quiet room, this one with more equipment. Sandra, our L&D midwife for the duration, introduced us to a vast array of staff as a shift-change came to pass, then introduced the consultant on duty, a calm and efficient woman named Cora. Cora explained that she believed the baby (that’s you!) was the wrong way round, back-to-back, hence my failure to progress. Turns out she was right – instead of pushing on the exit door, baby boy, you were banging your head on the brick wall of my sacral bone instead and had a big egg-lump on your head to prove it when you finally put in an appearance. No wonder it hurt! Cora’s suggestion, given my high heart rate and the length of time I’d been at this fruitlessly, was to set up a Pitocin drip in the hope that the contractions would become regular and stronger, eventually turning you round so you could come out. Having heard horror stories about how this drug can HURT, I opted at this point to have an epidural too.  I have reason to be VERY grateful that I did, but I won’t jump ahead.

“Lean forward as far as you can and keep very still.” Possibly the most ludicrous words ever spoken to a hugely pregnant woman in the middle of a massive contraction.  I don’t like to be any trouble though, so I did my best and the thing was in before I knew it and working within 10 minutes. Ahh, the relief! I also got a heart monitor, a foetal heart monitor, a blood pressure cuff and a saline drip for my trouble. In our birth classes, we’d done an exercise where we had to clip on a long piece of string for each intervention. In practise, and now in reality, I was the one with the most pieces of string. That exercise was the single most useful thing about labour preparation I think we learned from those classes. Neither jay nor I were fazed by the wires and tubes. She was confident enough to stay near me and calm me and we both continued to talk excitedly of our baby’s imminent arrival.  What could have been a frightening or disappointing time was, to us, simply the next thrilling step. I did not feel distanced from her, or from my birthing body or our baby.

Sandra too was wonderful. She kept interruptions in our room to a minimum, kept the lights low for us and made herself and her equipment as unobtrusive as possible in the space available, turning off any beeping and turning the LED displays away from us. The drip went in around 6pm on the Saturday night and was increased gradually throughout the night. We took time to rest as much as we could, to sleep, to eat and drink, to contact friends and family with news of no news.  My abiding memory of that time, now the details have faded, is one of warmth and darkness and quiet excitement.  My heart rate stabilised, the contractions started to become productive at last, and slowly but surely, things were happening.

At around 1.30am on Sunday morning, Sandra decided it was time for another internal exam. I’m so pleased, especially given what happened to poor K, that the physical poking and prodding of both myself and BB was kept to an absolute minimum.  At this check, unbelievably (or so it felt to me, after all this time) I was practically fully dilated!  She told me I’d be pushing this baby out soon.  Soon turned out to be sooner than she expected.  She catheterised me, draining off a veritable pee-lake (Hello? You’ve had a saline drip up there for 7 hours and I’m on my third bag of fluids!)  then rechecked, reappearing to say This Was It, then almost immediately, BB started showing signs of distress and Sandra felt it prudent to call Cora back in.  After more examination, studying of equipment readouts and hushed discussion, Cora came over and laid it on the line – the baby was becoming distressed and needed to come out very soon. I was fully dilated, but due to the sudden urgency of the situation, she would like to use forceps to help him along, though apparently I’d still need to do 85% of the work.  She also wanted also to give me an episiotomy, again for speed of delivery. She was calm and did not speak hurriedly as she explained all this, but her manner conveyed that the time for dallying had passed.

We agreed to her suggestions with very little discussion and almost before the words were out of my mouth, the lights were switched, the room flooded with light and what seemed like an army of people came in. I can’t recall who any of these people were and I doubt jay could now either, but they all had supporting roles to Cora’s leading lady.  In moments, I was being directed to push, with jay bravely holding one leg back for me and Sandra on the other.  Jay told me later she had never seen anyone go so purple in her life.  A brief break for the cutting and the positioning of forceps (last set in the department apparently) and we were pushing again, with a clamour of excitement and encouragement.  I could feel more than I expected to, despite the epidural, could feel him crown, then remember with one mighty heave, the release of his head.  I remember Sandra saying, “Baby’s head is out, and he’s blinking and looking round. Do you want to look? (directed to jay).” She didn’t, turning pale inside at the thought, and I felt a little disappointed that between her squeamishness and the lack of a mirror, neither of our baby’s parents would see his entry into the world.  Babe, if you birth our next child, I’m totally watching. I’m not nerdy science girl for nothing!

One more push, a slither and this tiny, life changing being was out. His boy bits were dangled in answer to our cries of “What is it, what is it?”, then he was placed gently on my chest, still covered in gore, where he promptly took his first crap whilst blinking in confusion at jay. What an incredible moment.

Dazed and Confused

He was passed very briefly to the waiting paediatrician, who pronounced him to be an APGAR 9, then returned to us. We gazed, grinning goofily for a lifetime (his lifetime) until Sandra suggested I try to feed him. The fact that he knew EXACTLY what to do still blows my mind. This tiny, suckling child. Our baby. Ours!

The rest of the story – the manual removal of my placenta (yes – just like something out of a veterinary programme – I told you I was glad I’d had that epidural!), getting my lala stitched back together, being hustled out of the room and down onto the wards, jay being sent home so abruptly and rudely by some miserable matron, the noise of the curtained bays, the feeling of being abandoned, still half paralysed and struggling to reach my baby in the cot next to me, by lazy night shift nurses who would rather have gossiped, none of it really mattered. I managed somehow to hoick him out and onto me and we dozed until jay returned.  We were out of there and home at the first possible opportunity – born at 2.09am and home together by 6pm the same day, this little family of three.

This birth; YOUR birth, was not perhaps what we had expected, anticipated or hoped for, but I believe that what we did or did not do, or might have done differently, was and would only ever have been a mere tinkering at the edges of things.  Without the help that we got, I wonder whether either you or I would have made it through alive.  We made our own magic amidst the tubes and wires. Unforgettable and perfect.

So, there you have it, my boy, it more detail that you’ll ever feel comfortable reading, I’m sure (no-one wants that much detail about their mum’s vajay-jay).  The day your mothers’ lives changed forever. We thought we’d burst from the happiness, right there and then, but it just keeps on getting better. I wonder what the next half-year will bring?

Love you.

mummy vee xxxx

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13 responses to this post.

  1. Precious!

    Reply

  2. awwwwwww…….thanks for finishing your birth story!!!

    PS ~ “and then mummy jay texted your aunt gyspy so she could tell the rest of your iAunties around the world of your precious arrival”

    🙂 cannot believe its been 6 months. just wild… smooch the handsome boy for me, please…

    xo,
    aunt gypsy

    Reply

  3. Posted by tbean on September 15, 2009 at 12:58 am

    Worth the wait! And pre-xmas and everything! 🙂

    Reply

  4. Brought tears to my eyes. A lovely story. Congratulations again on an amazingly cute lil guy!

    Reply

  5. Posted by reproducinggenius on September 15, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Oh, I loved reading the rest of this. There were a lot of similarities to our birth–right down to the first-poop-on-mom bit. That is one special sort of baptism, isn’t it? It’s a beautiful story. Happy six months, BB!

    Reply

  6. Made me weep!

    Reply

  7. Happy 6 moths, BB! A birth that produces a healthy child and a mom that can quickly get back to health is a success in my eyes.

    Reply

  8. Posted by nutella on September 15, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Happy half a year! Love the strory, thank you for sharing!

    Reply

  9. I cannot believe it has been six months already! Congratulations!

    Reply

  10. Beautiful story! I still am amazed its been 6 months! And I can tell you, the next year and a half will bring endless joy. And the year and a half after that, and the one after that. Getting to see the world through the eyes of your child is to me, one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given. Honestly? Its like magic…

    Reply

  11. Posted by docgrumbles on September 26, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Beautiful!

    Happy Belated Half-Birthday, BB!

    Reply

  12. Posted by Joy on October 1, 2009 at 5:53 am

    A half-birthday and a birth story bonus! How lovely!

    Reply

  13. Posted by Att on October 2, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Yay for finishing the birth story!

    Also…

    Your son? He already looks like a little man. Specifically in that pic of him at the hotel. WOW!

    Reply

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