11th January 2017
We went to my 38 week appointment, when we were finally seen (Irish public healthcare system is pretty slow) the doctor could see that I was struggling, my stomach muscles had separated, I wasn’t sleeping, the baby was measuring 2 weeks ahead and I was fed up. So when I asked how long past my due date they would let me go he said he’d make a call. When he hung up the phone he asked “Does tomorrow night suit?”
Obviously I said yes, a thousand times yes, thinking that I’d have my baby in my arms by Friday. I was shitting myself but excited, Adam rang work and planned to start his paternity leave after work the next day and we went home. We unpacked and repacked our hospital bag, I made a list of things to be done before we brought the baby home (clean the bedroom, wash more clothes, sterilise everything etc) and went to bed for what I thought could have been my last baby free night – naive as fuck.
12th January 2017
Adam went to work as normal, I did my best to distract myself but the day dragged, I was so nervous and excited at the same time I just couldn’t stay still! At 7pm that night I was given a dose of prostaglandin and told it could be 24 hours before I had any contractions, that was fine. Less than 2 hours later, just after Adam was sent home, I started having contractions, 7 in 10 minutes. Agony. They had to give me medication (a needle in the ass cheek, no fun) to stop the contractions because it was too much too fast, “you”ll probably have your baby tomorrow!” I was told but I spent that night alone in a room with 3 empty beds and no baby.
13th of January 2017
Adam came back to the hospital as soon as they let him in, he’d spent the night in a hotel nearby just in case anything happened. I was given another dose of prostaglandin and contractions started again, they were off the charts and every minute and a half, again, I was given medication to slow them down and pain relief (which was like tripping) I wasn’t dilating at all but I knew they would try to induce meone more time before I was given a Cesarean section. I was given a sweep by a doctor with Hulk hands,it was so painful that I couldn’t hold back the tears, the midwife gave out to the doctor and said “you shouldn’t have done that without gas and air” which made me more emotional because I was hormonal as fuck and having someone stand up for me made me feel like I wasn’t just being a gobshite. No change by that night so this time I went to sleep in a room with 5 other women but still no baby.
14th January 2017
I was given a third dose of prostaglandin and you can guess what happened, yeah intense contractions but no dilation. Another sweep but this time with gas and air (wohoo), no change in dilation and I was told that they couldn’t try again and to start fasting for a c-section. FINALLY! I was going to meet the baby I had gone through so much to make. I was gowned up, breeze blowing on my stretch mark covered arse, sexy surgery socks up to my knees ready to go when the doctor came in and told me that I should go home and they would bring me back in during the week. I was heartbroken, I hadn’t slept in days, I was exhausted, sore and just dying to meet my son. I was still having contractions so I was told to give it one more night and that the doctor would see me the next morning. Reluctantly and with the encouragement of the wonderful midwives I agreed.
15th January 2017
So we went down to the labour ward for an exam, and I was still only 1cm dilated, I was devastated but the doctor must have just thought “fuck it” and he broke my water! I was put on the drip of liquid labour because it seemed like the baby had decided to poo, now I was in “active labour”. I sat on the exercise ball for a bit but the contractions were a whole new level of pain, so they suggested the epidural which I said yes please to because I was out of it on the gas and air anyway!
I’m finally getting the epidural, contractions are off the charts, they’ve had to reduced the drip because I’m close to passing out and trust me I’ve got a high pain threshold but this was insane. All seems fine until I ask the nurse if it’s normal to feel the catheter, she said I probably just thought I could feel it. I could definitely feel it, I could still feel everything! The epidural wasn’t working, great.
So after a few more hours, and 3 more anaesthetists the second epidural finally started to work, so did the gas and air! But it can never be smooth sailing and I started to vomit, my temperature went through the roof and there was nothing anyone could do until the baby was out. I was started on antibiotics and Adam had to blow my nose and hold my sick bag for the foreseeable future.
23:00 pm – 01:08am
After what felt like an eternity and a few minutes all at once I felt like I needed to push, no one believed me, but after politely (not really) telling Adam to go the fuck out and get the fucking midwife someone finally listened. The epidural was reduced so that I could push with the contractions, I felt like my hips were breaking, I couldn’t catch my breath, I was passing out, my vision was blurry, I couldn’t speak, bar when a midwife said “you have to try!” while holding my knee to my chin, I said “I am fucking trying” and she was so sorry which made me so sorry but then I heard Adam say “Eileen I can see him! He has so much hair, black hair!” I tried my best but he was stuck. I had to get an episiotomy from one end to the other, I still have the 4 inch lightening bolt scar, like Harry Potter, except its not on my forehead its on my bum. They tried the vacuum, which felt like a plunger and hurt like hell but it didn’t work, eventually with the aid of a forceps and a senior surgeon something happened.
Oscar entered the world, weighing in at a whopping 8lb 7.5oz with a full head of hair and the biggest eyes! He didn’t make a sound. He was whisked away because I had spiked such a high fever and because he had pooed inside and I kept passing out so I don’t actually remember seeing him for the first time, he eventually got skin to skin with his daddy and when I was a bit stronger I finally met the little man who given me all that trouble for the previous 9 months and I instantly forgave him.
Because I’d spiked a fever in labour we were both kept in for a little while longer and given IV antibiotics, seeing the little cannula in Oscars hand was so sad but even then he was the calmest baby I’d ever seen. Not remembering Oscars birth properly kills me, I can’t imagine how other mothers feel in worse circumstances or for mothers who have to wait longer to meet their babies or never get to meet them at all. Adam has filled in the blanks for me for the 3 days I was in labour, while I don’t remember everything I do remember him saying “I owe you for 100 years” when Oscar came out, I like to pull that card when there’s bottles to wash and I’m too tired to wash them ?