SARAH & POPPY
June 28th 2017 – during a major power cut at our house, with no light or power – at 4.50am - I was awoken by what I thought were the nightly requirements of needing to empty my bladder - by this point it was more than par for the course - and thinking I needed a massive poo.
But after straining on the loo for a good few minutes - nothing.
No poo was forth coming. So it was back to bed. Off I dozed and then, half an hour later I still really felt like I needed to move those bowels so I was up and back on the loo. Nothing.
Then it hit me - these were contractions! Hooray. The day had finally arrived. Day 40 plus 4 - we would be meeting out daughter by the end of the day. Or so I thought.
From that point the contractions came thick and fast, every 7 minutes. I cancelled my 10.15am sweep - why would I need that? The show was well and truly on the road.
Oh - and did I mention the vomiting? Yep - every half hour or so I would be violently sick - accompanied by some serious diarrhoea . This labour thing really was glamorous.
But then - nothing. 11am, they stopped as suddenly as they had started. Noooooo! On the phone to mum - were they real contractions darling? Errrr having never experienced contractions before I have no idea! They were like hardcore period pains… sound about right?! Hmm, it was a mystery.
On the phone to the GP to try and rebook that sweep. Gah! They couldn’t see me for another week. I most definitely hoped this would be over by that point!
I spent many an hour on the birth ball - bouncing. Maybe I could jiggle her back in to action? Nothing.
Time for a walk round the park - that might get her moving. Nothing.
Curry? Yep let’s go for that. Spicier the better please.
Then back home for some TV watching and then…. 10.30pm. It was back on! Contractions every 20 minutes. Then to bed - but I don’t know who I was kidding. No sleeping was going to be happening. They were down to every 10 minutes pretty rapidly.
Midnight - and the D&V was back. My poor husband James - awoken from a fitful sleep by screams from me on the loo that I needed the big laundry basket to be sick in. NOW. Like the awesome, helpful husband he is he stood holding the huge bucket while I was violently sick - many times. That curry definitely was not as good second time round.
The smell was so bad that he was gagging too. I had to tell him to put the bucket down and leave me to it. Both of us vomiting would not be helpful.
Contractions ramped up to every 3 minutes pretty quickly from here and at 2pm we were on the phone to labour suite to alert them.
- Make your way in if the situation is the same in half an hour.
Once off the phone
- grab everything, call an Uber, we’re not waiting. I need to get down there.
The thought of being in an uber in labour was too much - I wanted it over with, and I wanted to be in that birthing pool. NOW
By 2.30am we were in the birth suite reception. Quick pit stop at the hospital recycling bins to be violently sick. Again.
And then Tilly arrived - lovely Tilly who would be with us through the night.
- You're 4cm dilated. Yep let’s go
Birthing pool was filling - clothes were ripped off - and I was in the pool. Sweet relief. And then I was introduced to the gas and air.
- Suck it so hard through your contractions you sound like Darth Vader. Contractions are like a mountain - they rise and fall. You can do it
- OK… but I can’t breath it in hard enough. It’s too much. I need to push
- No - it’s too early. Hold on you can do it.
More contractions, more gas, mucus plug (ugh!) and a whole load of other undesirables you would not normally choose to share your hot bath with
- We’re going to need a sieve.
- Now I need to push
- Get out of the water - I’ll take a look. 8cms. Not long now.
Back in the water -
- NOW I NEED TO PUSH.
- OK go with your body.
Push, push, push. No
Push, push, push. No
Let’s get you out on dry land. On to the bed. Position 1 - Drape over the bean bag on the bed and cling on to the bed head. (I mentioned it was glamorous right?)
- Take the effort from your throat down to your bum. Imagine it’s a massive poo.
Push, push, push.
I need sugar. Give me sugar.
- Let’s try another position - get on your side. Use me for leverage.
Push push PUSH.
- OK we are getting there. Let’s try a standing squat
(Imagine the most unsexy karma sutra position you possibly can).
Coops under one arm, midwife 1 under the other, Tilly between the legs.
Push push PUSH
- I can see the membrane. OK - imagine you’re pushing her out of a giant u-bend (oh God)
Push push PUSH
- OK this is good. Next time we may see the head, she might chill out there for a bit and we can push on
Push push PUSH.
So much intense pain and then...
Nope - no half way house for this one. One minute she was out of sight, next minute she had bounced out, still in her sack, hit the mattress and was grabbed by Tilly who, quick as a flash, whipped her up and on to my chest and tore the membrane off her face as she gasped her first breaths.
And just like that - she was here. Wow.
The months of waiting, wishing, planning, pregnancy, the labour - over. And now we were parents. We had a daughter. So alien, and yet all at once - the most natural thing in the world.
So much blood. Blood everywhere - on my hands, my legs, my chest.
I hadn’t realised birth was so gory.
So mind boggling that every single person on this planet has been through it.
Blood from between my legs - but let’s worry about that in a minute.
For now - cuddles. Such sweet cuddles. James crying - the emotion finally all too much. An amazing moment for all of us.
- We can give you an injection to deliver the placenta or you can just lie back and relax and let it come?
- I can’t make any more decisions right now. Let’s just let it come
Cuddles. More cuddles.
- Let’s get you on the loo and check the blood.
As I hobbled to the bathroom, splash. The placenta delivered all over the floor. Like a huge purple jellyfish. Nothing can prepare you for that.
So much blood, in a bowl, in the loo.
- You’ve lost 800ml. There’s a tear. Quite a deep one - we need to get you upstairs, it’s too much for us to stitch.
On to the trolly.
Upstairs to meet the doctor. Legs spread on the stirrups.
- It’s deep. And long. From the clitoris all the way down the right side (oh God).
- How many stitches will there be?
- A lot
Give me the gas and air. Needles, so many needles in me. In my most delicate parts. Wow - such intense pain
- Tiny scratch (ha! yeh right)
More gas and air
- I need to stitch the clitoris now (oh God).
I thought the pain was over?
And then - it was.
Upstairs to the post natal ward. And it’s all a little blurry. Lots of checks, lots of rest - communicating with the rest of the world to let them know Poppy Isabella Melba had arrived and life as we knew it was forever changed.
Mum and Dad straight up from Devon, presents, cards, love.
James - home to shower and back again with smuggled in contraband - miniature gin bottles and tonic in beakers. Perfect.
Back to spend an uncomfortable night by my side, in an arm chair in a shared ward with 2 other screaming babies.
Our first night as a family of 3. Life as we had known it, changed. Forever.
What a day.