Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Birth Post (be warned of TMI)


I think this is it Little one. I really think you could be beginning your journey into the world. It’s 4.03 am and contractions have been coming steadyish and strongish for awhile. I'm debating waking your Daddy and letting your Nan and Granpa know they need to be on the first train of the morning. I’ll wait another half hour and maybe try to sleep and then see. I’ve had a lot of false alarms over the past few nights – but these tightenings really are quite uncomfy, although the gap did increase when I got up to the loo and demolish a bowl of apple crumble. I'm wondering whether I should go through the bags one last time and work out clothes for the kids in case they need to come into the hospital with us.

I suppose there’s still time for that.

At least, I hope there is, it’s still another four hours before the earliest mum and dad could be here.
Of course, it might all just go. I’m breathing through the Braxtons (Contractions?) now. Wiggling around, rocking back and forth. Inhale one two three four, exhale one two three four.

Hmmm... unless another one comes soon …ah…There it is, the tightening around the abdomen.
But it doesn't last too long. In fact, under 30 seconds. I better try getting some sleep…I went to bed at 10.30pm and the tightenings started at 2.30am. If this is it, I'm not going into it with a lot of sleep under my belt. 

Do come soon, Love. Today would be a good day…


The birth music is playing, the candles are lit. Our littlest one is coming.
The contractions are strong enough that I lean into the door frame, one hand on either side, legs bent, to breath through them.
“When is Littlest coming?” my Sprocket asks, bleary eyed, pyjama clad, as he has every day for the last few months. I’m bearing down on the doorway, breathing deeply. (Inhale, one, two three, four) “Today,” I gasp. “Littlest is coming today. And Nana and Grandpa are on the train right now.”
“That means treats!” Sprocket says. (Exhale, one, two three, four)
Sprocket runs through to his bedroom. “Wake up, wake up, Poppet! I have something to tell you! Littlest’s coming today and guess what! Her will bring us a big bag of lollies and our toys!”
My Poppet pads through, all warm and shampoo smelling. “I want to snuggle in your bed.”
“I need to get the house all ready because Nana and Grandpa and Littlest are coming today, you can snuggle in my bed though.”

Breathing through the contractions, my birth bags in the car, we drop the kids at school and creche, debating going straight into the hospital or back home for a cup of tea. If she were our first we'd definitely go home - but as my third we worry she might come quickly. The intern my Beloved is shadowing recently delivered a baby in the hospital hallway, and I don't want a similar delivery. We decide on a cup of tea, but to keep an eye on the contractions. 

As the contractions increase and become closer together I start doing all the little things I’ve put off.
“I’ve heard of nesting, but I didn’t think it was done with real sticks and leaves," My Beloved comments as I persuade him to cut to size the branch I’ve decided on to hang Littlest's prettiest clothes. I've been searching for ‘the perfect stick’ for the past month, to finally find it in a park two minutes from our house last night. The interim stick I have been using was too small. I’m finishing sticking autumn leaves on the wall, as I’ve decided that as Littlest is an autumn baby the beautiful shades are too lovely to resist.

I re-light the candles, turn on the music, start mopping the floor, but my tea is still unfinished when I see the first of my show. I'm not expecting my waters to break anytime soon, as with the past two they had to break the membranes, and I phone the hospital to tell them we're on the way. 

"This is it, Love, our baby's coming today. Littlest will be here today. Hopefully," I say. Let's not have any 36 hour marathons like I had with our Sprocket. Our Poppet was a nice four hours. My hope is that Littlest will halve that. 

It is strange waddling through the labyrinthian corridors of the hospital, so familiar to my Beloved and so unfamiliar to me. We reach the maternity ward and are led to a room. I ask about the bath, which I'd been told was free in my earlier phone call, but since then it's been snitched. This will be my first birth I don't spend most of in the bath. I bite my lip. The shower isn't the same - especially as I tend to get dizzy standing. (Bleah to low blood pressure.)

The midwife puts the monitor around my tummy. She is steady, capable, comforting. The numbers that tell of my Little ones heart rate don't mean anything to me. But they do to my Beloved. The contractions instantly become further apart. But they're strong and lasting a minute now. I stand up for each one, hanging around my Beloved's neck, going into a half squat. Taking strength from the solid warmth and support.

"Is she alright?" I ask as the green numbers on the machine constantly change.
"She's perfect," the midwives reassure me. 

We open the laptop, I listen to my favourite music, the same songs I listened to when my Sprocket and Poppet were born. I spray my hot face with rose water, towel my neck with face washers, sip iced water between contraction. 

The contractions are too far apart and I suggest going home until they come closer together. The midwives say they'll just check how dilated I am.  When they tell me I'm only three to four centimetres I'm depressed. I figure the four is an exaggeration to make me feel better. My Beloved reminds me that Littlest could still still come quickly, you know, as a third. 

My Beloved - the med-student - knows most of the people in the room - the guy putting in the cannula, the chief midwife - and there is light talk until the next contraction. My Beloved shows me that the strength of my contractions goes off the chart. I'm glad it's not just me being wussy. They feel strong. I'm still standing up with every one, to hang around his neck, my face pressed against his chest as I breath through the pain (Inhale, one two three four, exhale, one two three four) concentrating on keeping my breathing steady, smoothing out the ragged gasps. 

I'm resting and then standing for each contraction. Breathing. Stamping. Holding to my Beloved. He drops a kiss on my hair at the end of each one, and even in my somewhat introverted state, it is immeasurably comforting. 

And then back to resting.  I'm lying on my side. I meant to be more active between contractions, but I'm tired. Lack of sleep is catching up to me. "I'm too old for this. I should have gone to the gym more," I lament. The midwife reassures me.

The midwife is keen on me using the shower. I'm not sure of the standing and would so love to sink into a bath… but… 

I lumber into the bathroom, leaning into the wash basin, stamping out the pain. Littlest is coming. Littlest is coming today.  The blood starts dripping in greater quantities. 

I go into the shower. It's in a corner and there's a rail along the wall, a plastic seat. I hold to the rail and squat into the contractions, putting all my weight into bearing down on the rail. I concentrate on the heat of the water. I don't know how much time passes. (Littlest is coming.) 

I ask the midwife about breaking my waters, but she says normally they prefer to let them break naturally. Maybe so. But my waters (going on a grand total of two cases) don't seem to break naturally as quickly as I'd like. 

Hot, dizzy. I get out of the shower, wrap in one of the big white towels. I want cold water, a cool face washer, but there's a big flurry of people. They seem to think Littlest is coming right now. I'm perplexed. I thought I was just hot. The room seems busy, crowded, too bright after the dimmer bathroom.

Awkwardly I hoist myself onto the bed again, kneel on it holding to the bed railing at the front. I don't feel like Littlest is very close. Hot. Dizzy.  The excess of people reminds me of Sprocket's birth. This is not a good thing. I was in a similar position, with a similar amount of people, for the last hours before the end. 

My Beloved fetches me a wet face washer, my rose spray, iced water. The cool wet cloth on my neck makes me feel better. The room full of people still bothers me. Push? But I really don't think she's close. 
I try to push, beginning to bellow. A petite, dark-haired midwife with an irish accent suggests I save my energy or it might take longer. It takes a few catches of breath to get back to breathing, but I'm not going to risk making it take longer till I meet Littlest. I pull my breathing back on track.

The people go. I still think I've got awhile. I don't know why they pushed the emergency button and why all the people were suddenly there. It is too reminiscent of Sprocket's birth. It's only a few hours since I came to the hospital. I eye the clock. When o when will she come? 

There is a crossover of midwives. I miss the first one but I don't want to make the second feel bad. She is young and very reserved looking, she sits back on an armchair in the corner, patiently letting my Beloved and I get on with it. 

I lie on my side, holding tight to my Beloved's hands during contraction. He sits on a stool beside me. I'm afraid of breaking a bone, but not enough to stop. 

Getting up I go back to the shower. Suddenly, there's a lot of blood, all brilliant and messy and full of promise on the floor. It's beginning to feel a lot closer.  Littlest is so very nearly here. Just have to get through this. So very very close. O my Little one, hurry.

I return, slow, lumbering, and kneel against the side of the bed, leaning over it. My midwife brings a mat for me to kneel on.  A tall and slender registrar appears. She says maybe in half an hour, if things are not progressing, she'd like to break my waters. I ask if she can break them now. Both my previous babies needed the waters broken. I'm almost fully dilated except for a lip. 

She agrees. I feel the movement within as she does something with a hook and then a sudden gush and mess. I feel the warm sliding. Now, finally, I feel like little one will be here soon. There is a change in intensity. A feeling of closeness. O my Little one, soon, soon we will meet you.
Lumbering into the bathroom, I drip everywhere. I lean into the basin counter for the contraction, bearing down. I assume they make these benches strong. Noting my worn reflection I tell it that Littlest will be here soon. Soon I will have three children in the world. 

Back to kneeling by the bed. I can feel Littlest's head coming, the shape of it, descending. 

It is too much. 
I hold to my Beloved's hands across the bed. He's kneeling on the far side. 
"I can't do this. She's too big. She won't fit out."
"I'm betting she will, sweetheart. I'll put money on it."
"No, no. She's too big." I'm desperate.
"She will."
There is burning agony as her head comes through. O God, she's here, she's really here. My Little one. There is wild excitement amongst the pain. 
Push. Push. Too much pain, Can't. But it's Littlest, so nearly here.  One two three one two three. I have to steady my breathing. Work hard at it. It is so jagged.  I bear down on my Beloved's hands. I know he wants to see her come into the world. To catch her. I want that too. But I can't let go.

"Breathe," my Beloved tells me. Words flash through my head about what he can do with the breathing, But I steady my breath, and breathe. 

Pushing. Her head is in the world. 

Littlest is coming. Littlest is coming. My Littlest is nearly here. I don't know if I say it aloud or in my head. I think I chant it aloud. It is unbelievable and wonderful and impossible and the world is full of pain and she is nearly here. 

I don't think I can take more pain. Littlest is coming. I know I need to push and I don't think I can. I blow through my lips, like a horse, as I've heard this softens things, makes things easier. 

"Stop pushing, just breathe, don't push," the midwife and registrar tell me. Relieved, I stop pushing. But I so want to meet her, hold her. 

"She's got a bruiser's shoulders." My midwife takes over from the registrar. There is movement amongst the pain. They're telling me stuff, doing stuff, I don't know what. (Rotating her into the world). My Little One.

I feel Littlest emerging, slipping out. The wondrous bulk of her. So so close to here.
I hold tight to my Beloved's hands. Littlest is nearly here, she's nearly here with us.  

With gentle pushes I feel the rest of her sliding out. She is here. *

They bring her through my legs and into my arms, warm and slippery, still attached to me, impossibly soft against my chest. And after all this time I am holding her.

My Little one. My Lily. My Love. My Littlest. My last.

There are no words. My Beloved comes around to cut her cord. Awed, I hold her to me, murmuring love.

She looks so familiar. All little legs and arms and indignation. It is such a shock to be in the world. 
There is the clamping, blood  A warm towel descends on top of us as I hold her, enclosing us in a little world.

I am helped onto the bed. Finally I can hold her, kiss and smell her. She is so familiar and known and impossibly precious. There is still sharp pain but she's here, with us. She is everything I had dreamed and a hundred times more.

They talk to me about the third stage. Stuff. I don't take it in to remember. All that placenta stuff. There is a discussion about stitches. The registrar and midwife agree it needs doing. I'm wary. I have two lots of injections to numb the area. I don't want another case like Sprocket's where the injection didn't have time to work before they stitched. Most. Painful. Moments. Of. My. Life.

My Beloved goes over to watch. He didn't get to see stitching up when he was doing his paeds rotation.  The registrar talks him through it while I welcome our Little one to the world, "O Littlest, we're so happy to meet you. We love you so. We've been waiting for you."

My Beloved is very impressed with the stitching. It seems it is a very 'elegant' job. I pause from drinking in my Little one to giggle at his choice of words, but I am grateful. It seems my torn nether-region went from being mangled to recognisable. He thinks I am very lucky. The midwife concurs. The registrar is known for her brilliant work. I am grateful for everything.

My midwife and registrar leave us to savour our new and perfect one. My midwife will return in an hour for all the measuring and weighing and things. The day has gone from mid-morning to gently dim evening.

My little one we are so overjoyed to meet you. Welcome to the world. We've been waiting for you.

*She is born to Eddie Reader's rendition of Robert Burn's song - You're Welcome Willie Stewart (There's ne'er a flower that bloom in May that's half as welcome as thou art.) My Sprocket's middle names are William Stewart, William for my dad and my Beloved's middle name, and Stewart for a dearly loved and lost friend. It seems very fitting. 

1 comment:

  1. This is such a beautiful post Kirsty, such vivid writing it made me tear up a little. A wonderful record for you in years to come, and the photo speaks volumes - I remember looking down at my little one on his first feed and feeling the same wonder looking at your photo and reading your words. Thank you.