Do you ever go for a late evening drive, just because you can and you think it will be a nice idea? Do you chat about your day with your partner and think about all the lovely things you can do on your weekend? Well! I hope you know how bloody lucky you are because I will never see an evening car ride in the same way again. Every single bump in the road and pot hole was jolting my nether regions into my thorax. Every time I would drive past the garden centre after that, I would remember that the last time I saw it flashing by, I felt as if someone was knitting with my uterus! Oh, and don’t forget you need to stop for petrol. ARE YOU BLOODY KIDDING ME! Do I want anything? Yes, I want you to go back in time when you believed you may be making a rush journey to a maternity unit and put some sodding petrol in!!! And breath…..I settled for a Snickers in case you were wondering.
Remember the gush I referred to previously? Well apparently I could not even do that properly and as it was only my hind waters that had dripped out and my labour didn’t seem to be moving all that fast, I would wait to be Induced as planned (behind the four other ladies that had got in before me). I will never forget their faces, it was like that scene in Friends; they wheeled me in, consultant came round and advised me it was a mistake I was here and as part of my waters had broken (24 hours earlier) it was probably not safe to wait. I felt their eyes bore into my very soul as I was wheeled out of that room past all four beds. At least, I would have done if I didn’t feel like the Titanic was making its final sail into port by way of my womb!
It is always comforting when the midwife who is about to break your waters with what looks like a crochet needle is blonde, about 23 and has a fresh application of lipstick. I felt like Bella Emberg in a Hollyoaks scene. At least, again I would have done if I wasn’t now sitting in a puddle of my own inner juices! In true reality, I could not give a monkies what I looked like; I was too scared to go to the toilet on my own and it was suggested that I should be sitting on some ginormous bouncy ball. Let me tell you, in this case, Weebles wobble and they also fall down! I was too scared to close the toilet door, too scared to sit on the toilet and just generally terrified. The pain was indescribable and to top it all off, I had really needed to go for a poo since watching Countdown earlier on.
Gas and Air! What a waste of time that was for me. I was adamant I did not want Pethadine because I was uncomfortable with feeling a bit ‘woo!’ I had not drunk for nine months and wanted to be eased into it slowly. At least I had my own room, my own midwife who incidentally was about 12 but, had no qualms in holding a kidney dish under me so that I could try and have that poo I wanted earlier (whilst standing up). Thankfully she had another kidney dish too as the culmination of that damned Snickers and Gas and Air had made me projectile vomit. So here was the 12 year old, juggling with the kidney dishes to assist me in eliminating my bodily waste and the fact I was so overdue and been in labour for so long meant I had a monitor attached to my pregnant belly and was totally restricted in how much I could move around.
4!! 4!! Can you bloody believe it! 48 hours of labour, One trickle of waters, One crappy tens machine which I may as well have just knocked myself out with, waters completely broken by Barbie with the crochet needle, Gas and Air and vomit and I had manage to dilate my cervix to 4 centimetres. And still no poo! I knew exactly what they were going to say and the only thing ringing in my head was the wise words of those ‘Induced’ Mums who were now laughing and waggling their baby established fingers at me. Well! I will do it! Should I have the Pethadine? What else was there? It was only a liquid drip, what possible effect could it have on……Sod this! I’m having the Epidural! The seven minute contraction due to over stimulation was the final straw.
I never made much noise. The 12 year old told me I was doing really well. Not like the woman that had been screaming for 5 hours in the next room but, I had to admit defeat and the moment I knew that epidural was on the way, my whole body breathed a sigh of relief. Again, until God saw fit to send me a 25 year old Anaesthetist named Tom who said I had nice legs. That was probably his Anaesthetist thing, ‘Make the vomit ridden, constipated, Bella Emberg wanabee feel better by commenting on her nice legs’. Worked though. I then forgot that no less than 5 people had examined me and turned me into a human puppet because here was Tom and his enormous needle!
The most difficult part of having a seven minute contraction, closely followed by another is that when someone (even Tom) tells you that it is imperative that you do not move, you want to punch them in the face. I managed to do it though and even though I had no idea what the result would be, all those ideas of the perfect birth and never needing an epidural simply ebbed away as I laid back in my bed in a ball of ecstatically calm relief once I felt that cold liquid drip in. I still knew I had legs, I just wasn’t sure where they were.
It is hard to describe the feeling. You have absolutely no pain any more. It is gone just as quickly as it arrives but, when the midwife tells you that you need to push when you feel it tightening, you know when is the right time. By now, I am onto my second Midwife as the other has gone home and probably after about an additional four hours slightly more comfortable than before, my cervix has decided that it shall finally dilate. All I really want to do is go home and climb into my comfy bed and forget this ever happened. Well, to save you being really bored we shall merely jump on two more hours because that is pretty much how long I then pushed for to try and get her out. This was before yet another Gynaecologist came in for the puppet show and proclaimed that, this was not happening! I could have told him that. My daughter had succeeded where I couldn’t and had a poo. In her case, it was a sign that she was struggling too. No forceps, no ventouse, just sign this form in case you die and they wheel you down to theatre like the beginning scenes of casualty. As I lay flat, the only thing I could focus on was the line of lights on the ceiling; Lit up like Blackpool, only far less fun.
It was all very much a haze. My surgeon was actually talking about a dingy that he had just won on Ebay whilst he made the cut. However, I knew this to mean that actually, he had opened me up and found a huge tumour and there was absolutely no point in stitching me back up again. I did say that I was in a haze! They also don’t tell you that you will shake uncontrollably and although you feel no pain, the sensation is of tugging and pulling at your insides and that someone is doing the washing up in your intestines. They also should tell you not to keep focusing on the lights as the large stainless steel ones they use in theatres also act as a mirror and I would rather have been asked if I actually wanted to see my insides. This, coupled with the fact that this whole experience had been so utterly horrendous meant that it was possible for me to actually forget why I had arrived here in the first place. Therefore, when your baby comes out, you have absolutely no idea what this alien could possibly be. There was no instant cuddle and lovely warm feeling: she had to be taken away from me straight away to check that she wasn’t in danger. The fact that I was pushing for so long with her chin going in the opposite direction had no doubt made her a little crabby.
I do remember though that I was told they were going to put something in my bum so that I didn’t need to go to the toilet. Chance would be a fine thing!Fast forward two days later with a line of stitches and a back passage like the M1 on a bank holiday weekend and I don’t think I need to go any further with how that felt. Oh, and having a drain in for two days because the mammoth expulsion task had taken longer than expected, it is a wonder I ever had sex again, let alone that I am now awaiting the imminent birth of my third child. But, you want to know the truth? Yes, you don’t sleep and you feel like the world has turned inside out and upside down and Yes I could actually hardly move for weeks because of what happened but, if I had to put my hand on the Bible right now, I would do it all again in one heartbeat. The eight years I have had with that incredible little girl is enough to make me go through that every month if I had to: and sometimes parenthood feels like that anyway.
Just please do something for me if the opportunity arises? If a woman tells you that they had their baby via C-Section, get that little niggle in your brain that says, ‘Oh, she couldn’t be bothered to have a ‘natural’ birth. Took the easy option’ and proceed to beat it incredibly hard with a mallet.