Birth day (Part II)
2018-12-21 | 12:00 p.m.

The last part (I hope).

So I'd been moved to theatre and as my baby's heart rate had stabilised and a doctor could feel his head, the many (many, many) people in the room who'd been assembling for a C-section seemed a lot more relaxed. I don't remember it happening but I had my feet strapped into some horrible black flippers/stirrups so it became clear this is how they wanted me to give birth. Got threatened with an episiotomy and forceps but said I wanted to try and get him out on my own.

There was a shift changeover which meant well over 20 people in the room down the business end - birth is so undignified. My midwife had to stop and another took over (though my first midwife stayed beyond her shift to the end - what an amazing lady - as did the student, whose job was to tell me when to push as the epidural meant I couldn't feel my contractions).

I thought the epidural was meant to make it all easy but the pushing stage was the most physically draining and exhausting thing I have ever done in my entire life, BAR NOTHING. Being on my back I don't think helped - at one point they talked of letting me go back to a normal room to give birth, to which I immediately piped up with "Yes please!" But they wanted to keep me in theatre in case his heart rate dropped again as theatre was best prepared for forceps/caesarian.

The pushing began and good God I gave it all I had but was already so so tired even at the beginning, as I'd barely slept the night before and it was about 7.30 pm by now. The midwife was extremely encouraging and said I was pushing brilliantly, even though I felt I was doing anything but.

After a while I asked for some water and was told no. Assumed there must be some ridiculous NHS guideline saying to make birthing women as uncomfortable as possible (whereas it would have been nice if they'd reassured me I was being kept hydrated via a saline drip), what with the flippers and being on my back and all, despite the antenatal class advice of "Don't give birth on your back!" because, y'know, our good friend gravity kindly being there to help the baby out and everything.

Well, that wasn't for me, which I accepted, and carried on pushing when I was told, getting irked with a blood pressure pump on my arm that beeped and inflated every few minutes, getting peeved when everyone in the room instructed me to hold my breath as I pushed (the complete opposite to what I learned in hypnobirthing classes) and some hateful woman telling me to tuck my chin on my chest as I pushed (which was fucking uncomfortable, I tried it once and next time she was told NO).

The midwife was still being very encouraging that the baby's head was on its way out but it all seemed to last forever - I was passing out/actually going to freaking sleep between pushes as I was fatigued beyond measure. Was eventually allowed a syringe of water that afterwards Ollie described as "a hamster pipette". To add insult to injury was told not to guzzle it.

Was still in the thick of the pushing stage, both arms clinging to Ollie and probably hurting him with the straining. I also inadvertently scratched myself a lot too, and pulled all the muscles in my upper arms I found out later.

After being told I was very close to the end for what felt like eons, the lurking episiotomy person opened their wretched mouth and said if I didn't give birth on the next push they would be cutting me and getting him out with forceps (I think for their own convenience rather than mine, which is pretty disgraceful, thinking about it) SO I DAMN WELL MADE SURE I PUSHED THAT BABY OUT ON THE NEXT GO. Total pushing time 1 hour 15, which isn't bad at all apparently.

And that was it, he was born! A screaming, squashy slimy thing, who was placed on my tired chest and who looked a bit annoyed at being out in the world. Had pressure put on me to have an injection to get my placenta out, and I had no more fight in me so complied. Managed to breastfeed for a tiny while, then he was whisked off to have IV antibiotics as it'd been a while since my waters broke and he still had a risk of infection.

Was delighted to be told I only had a small 2nd degree tear, but was not allowed gas and air whilst receiving stitches as my epidural was still working. Damnit!

Had no immediate rush of love and felt relieved when they took him off for his antibiotics. Then was horrified when they said he would be spending the night in my postnatal room!

We ended up in postnatal care for two days as he needed antibiotics for 48 hours and this was by far the best bit of the whole experience. I was very lucky to get my own room, and had a little bell to call a midwife for all sorts of things such as, er, neither Ollie nor I knowing how to pick him up. Or change a nappy. Or even how to hold him to feed.

Ollie stayed around as much as he could (and the staff didn't blink an eye that we flouted the partners can stay til midnight rule) but sleeping on an uncomfortable chair or the floor was taking its toll and he went home to sleep a couple of times during our stay.

The day after birth I was listening to hospital radio when something hit me and I realised all the love songs I heard were about son! I loved him! Amusingly, Golden Lady by Stevie Wonder is the tune that most reminds me of that time. And the first song I ever sang to him was Fairground by Simply Red. No one ever said hospital radio was trendy, hey.

And that's it.

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