Friday, 12 October 2012

Down to earth with a bump (20) - A labour of love (5)

Quite quickly the midwife Penny told us that the baby was presenting the wrong way, and back to back and induced, meant I wasn’t in for an easy labour. There and then she advised me to have an epidural. I didn’t need telling twice and the anaesthetist was called.

As the drugs to induce me kicked in, so did the contractions. They were fast and furious without any let up. I remember thinking I was supposed to get a break between them to have a breather. But no break came. My baby was being forced out. I’m not sure how happy it was about it, as the monitor relayed obvious fetal distress.

I thought I was going to vomit just as the anaesthetist arrived. He gave me the epidural and its relief was instant. For the next couple of hours Fleetwood Mac and other various favourites kept us company. Midwives came in and out to look at the monitor. A watchful eye was kept on baby.

I lost count of the amount of hands that went up inside me to check the babe’s progress. The first I endured with total dignity. Pre-epidural I was altogether stoic as she announced, “It has a lot of hair, I can feel its head,” I wanted to yell, “Really? I’m surprised you can’t feel my tonsils.”

After that, my dignity left as one after another they had a rummage (yes rummage) to see if I was dilating well. And then to get a colleague to check that yes, I was indeed dilating well. In fact a bit too well really. I went from 1cm to 8cms at break neck speed. They were baffled and couldn’t quite believe it, hence another arm (yes arm) travelled up to measure me.

‘You’re doing really well’ was something I heard a lot. Why don’t you have a rest now, try and get some sleep? It had been four hours since I'd been induced. As if. What I actually needed was to poo. Thank goodness I was hooked up to a drip that moved with me. Clever stuff these mobile epidurals. Shut out the pain and deaden your upper torso, but at the same time allow you to shuffle around on working legs. Amazing.

“You don’t need to pooh but to push,” came the knowing tone of the lead midwife who announced I was already fully dilated. And so, just like that, instead of sleeping, it was time to get busy. 

I don’t remember all of it. I do remember snippets. I remember Simon making me laugh – totally unintentionally. He had a nice cool flannel and was intent on using it. But surely everyone knows that you mop the woman’s brow when the contraction ends, not begins? Brilliant. That’s it actually, just brilliant: That in the middle of something so serious, you can find such humour. I love the fact that it was at times, funny. Except then, it wasn’t.

Baby was stuck and needed help. Its little heartbeat was being monitored and was ‘distressed.’ Such a bitter description, ‘distressed.’ Like a ship about to sail in to rocks. An S.O.S. before it all goes horribly wrong.

So the doc was called. She gave me a stern talking to and told me I was heading for a c section unless I got my baby out in the next few moments. The music was turned off. I tried so bloody hard. I pushed and pushed for my baby but got nowhere. Baby was still in the wrong position and now most definitely stuck.