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Friday, March 09, 2007

Riley's Birth Story

The day begins at 6am. We're up, ready, to drive into the hospital in the city. I am calm and nervous. No, not in pain, because I am to be induced. After three long months of painful Braxton Hicks', my uterus refuses to give up my son, so eight days after my due date, they're "going in after him".

After a near car accident at a local roundabout (at which time Adam decides he'd better put on his night driving glasses, after I said "You want to kill us?!) we arrive at the hospital car park and line up behind a snake's trail of other cars: nurses waiting to park, for the 7am shift was about to begin. I thought to myself "one of these might be the midwife who helps deliver Riley". The thought made my stomach tumble with apprehension.

We went upstairs to the delivery suites. We checked in. It was all very civilised. The ward had been busy overnight, apparently, but was currently at a lull. The nurses all stood around, talking. I went to 'my' room, the one next door to where I had Keira. I ate my bagel and had my coffee, waiting for my Doctor (let's call him Dr. Ob). My stomach is churning and whirling and I suddenly need to go to the bathroom, where I proceeded to expunge diarrhoea.

"Oh!" I thought. "Maybe it's not too late. Isn't that a natural sign of impending labour! Maybe this is a sign I don't need inducing". I am in there a while, until I am absolutely sure its safe to leave.

Dr. Ob arrives and produces from a covered surgical tray the most fearful looking pair of scissors I have ever seen in my life. A bit like gigantic pinking shears. They are dreadful because I know exactly where he's about to shove them.

"OK, I'm going to break your waters now," he declares, and I lie on the bed, staring up at the thread trackers on the curtains surrounding the bed, trying not to cry. He's working - and it's work, there's tugging and scraping - and it's not going well. "I think they're broken," he said, pulling out from my legs. "I bumped baby, however. He's going to come out with a dint". Oh, great.

"If you don't feel any trickling soon, we're going to have to try again. Let's see if that gets any contractions happening."

By now, I am weeping quietly, and because he is a good doctor, a great one (handsome, to boot) he says as he's leaving, "Don't worry, this will be a good baby, a good labour. I've seen bad ones, trust me." This depresses me more, and frankly I'm relieved when he goes.

So, to wait. Diarrhoea hits me again, and I head for the bathroom. My waters do start trickling out, and they stink, the whole place stinks, I stink. The midwife stands outside my door impatiently, wanting to see how 'much water is coming'. I'm told to walk around. I buy a magazine I have no intention of reading. The newspaper headlines irritate me. I can't help but think THE WHOLE WORLD SHOULD BE STOPPING BECAUSE I"M ABOUT TO HAVE A BABY AND NO-ONE SEEMS TO GIVE A SHIT. Except my adoring husband, who already is looking ill at what's about to come.

Nothing happens. I'm told they have to put the drip in. They do - they pump it up, 60, 80, 100. Contractions start, but they're inconclusive and not nearly intense enough for the midwives to be happy about. I go on my TENS machine. I am hooked up to so many buttons and monitors it's insane and I'm so MAD, so very very mad I'm so large and immobile to labour in the way I wanted to.

At midday, the "Ellen" show comes on, and I'd never seen it before and in my early-labour temper tantrum I declare, "Why is she dancing? Why? It's not funny, it's crap. It's all crap. Turn it off. No, leave it on." (In subsequent months, I did watch the show more, and came to appreciate the whole 'dancing thing' that goes on). Adam's lunch arrives, pampered darling, and he rubs my back almost-convincingly in between bites of his hot meal. It's at this time, when the induction drugs are starting to make me sick, that 'showtime' pain begins. Dr. Ob. comes back to check on me.

"You're 5cm dilated," he says.

"ONLY FIVE???!!!" I shout.

He laughed. He actually laughed. "Don't worry, it's really going to happen quickly now."

And he was right.

1pm - Oprah comes on (you see, I compartmentalise my labour experience to what was happening on the television) but I have no recollection of what it was about.

2pm - 'Ready, Steady, Cook' comes on and by now I'm sucking down that sweet, sweet, sweet, gas and I'm mellowing and oh! look it's that little Irish chef on, doesn't he look like a leprechaun and words like 'sugar' just roll off the tongue and boy I'm feeling OK, l'm on top of this labour malarkey.

Not for long.

At 3pm, I positively shout to the midwife, "GO GET ME PETHIDINE NOW". And she runs out the door. To cope with the pain, I've taken to swinging on the metal triangle hanging above my bed, to give me some sort of 'leverage' over the pain, because I'm prostrate on my back and it's really uncomfortable.

"Careful," says Adam thoughtfully."You'll break it"

"Don't worry about it," says another midwife, "that thing could handle a woman three times your size".

My cervix is creaking open like a stubborn nut. It is yawning with the pressure of Riley's head and I'm about to split open. I need to push. Right then, Dr Ob. busts through the doors.

"You're a bit early?" I felt like thinking, but apparently he'd been paged a little while ago because, like he said, it was going quickly.

They take me off the drip. They prise the gas dispenser out of my mouth. "NO GIVE IT BACK YOU BASTARDS!" I thought (ah, just like Keira's birth)

They say it's pushing time. But I'm spent. I have nothing, and as soon as they turn off the drip, my contractions stop dead.

"I've got nothing to work with!" I said. "Contractions are gone!"

"Just DO IT!"

And so with the bearing down; I grunt and cry and Dr. Ob almost slaps me: "Keep quiet! You waste energy by making all that racket. Focus!"


The head crowns. The stinging is unmerciful. The head comes through! One hurdle down.....but there is no rush of wet after. The body is stuck. I look like an inverted turtle. One last contraction...a bit of further poking....and it is done. The body follows. It's 4.21pm.

"He's a big one!" says Dr. Ob.


Because I have my priorities all in order I shout to Adam, "Get the camera!".

Dr Ob takes Riley to get him looked over and calls over his shoulder there might be an issue with his lungs and after they give him some oxygen, they might have to take him to the nursery (luckily, they don't). They explain the haemotoma Riley has on his head (from being 'stuck', for that little while).

Right, all business done, Riley's out getting weighed, Adam's out there supervising, Dr. Ob comes back to look at me.

OH GREAT, I groan on the inside, STITCHES TIME.

He looks between my legs and says, "Nope, you'll be fine."

Yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!!!!! The only damn thing gone my way.

The placenta is delivered. It comes out, large, grey, and dissolves almost immediately into a pile of slush. Like an overworked donkey who finally falls into the dust, dead. I felt like that donkey.

I call my mother, temporarily euphoric. "Catch a cab, come in, bring Keira!"

They finally give me my little baby boy. He is perfect, just like his sister. My first thought: Oh, he's so blonde! Hurray!


That is technically the end. Sadly, it doesn't go so well for mum. I do not leave the delivery suite for another two hours. I get quite ill. My blood pressure remains high and I vomit. They put it down to all the induction drugs. They have to wheel me upstairs in a wheelchair and that makes me nauseous. They take the IV drip out and blood spurts everywhere, like a slasher movie. But my boy remains asleep throughout, at peace, and perfect. Six weeks later, at my check-up, Dr. Ob tells me he had to 'go in after' Riley.

Huh? I said.

"I had to stick my hand all the way up to dislodge his shoulders. He's lucky I didn't break it."

No, no broken shoulder. But just as the Dr. guessed, he had a cut on his head for two months from where he got jabbed, in-utero. Shaped like the end of a pair of pinking shears.

Happy First Birthday for tomorrow, my love.

Comments on "Riley's Birth Story"


Blogger Kimberly said ... (9:06 am) : 

Wow, you wrote that....just...amazingly.

It brought back memories, of course. My Becca (recently turned one), got stuck as well, and they had to break her clavicle to get her out. Very scary.

Made it all the sweeter when I finally held her.

Happy Birthday Riley!


Blogger Miscellaneous-Mum said ... (8:08 am) : 

Thank you! (And poor little Becca!) That sounds like an interesting birth story.


Blogger strauss said ... (11:27 am) : 

My first born was well baked too, and had to be induced, he was posteria and had a little jab wound in his head from the breaking of the waters impliment too.
Unlike your experience the breaking of the waters brought on immediate excruitiating contractions, so I never did have any of the induction medication. I was 6 cms dialated after 2 hours and fully dialated after 6 hours, tehn spent the next three hours waiting while nothing happened. I had an epidural since the other forms of pain medication did nothing.
Shocked, I was, that I ended up having to have a C-section. He was stuck too high up. I never even got to the pushing part. It was a problematic birth, but nothing dramatic really happened, we all bounced back well. Funny what you said about your husband enjoying a nice lunch. The commonwealth games were on during my first experience and my husband sat enjoying a lovely roast dinner, staring into the box, while I groaned on the sidelines HA!


Blogger Stephanie said ... (10:56 pm) : 

Good story! They are always so interesting. Happy birthday to your little guy!


Anonymous kailani said ... (7:36 pm) : 

Wow, what a scary experience. Isn't it amazing the things our bodies go through to give birth to a baby? It's truly a miracle!

Here from Carnival of Family Life


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