Harry's Birth Story
While sitting on my birthing ball watching football on a Wednesday night, I felt a kind of electric shock “down below.” When I looked down, water was cascading over the plastic ball. It looked quite effective, like a garden center water feature. My husband David panicked and I stood up saying “I might just be wetting myself,” but I knew. For the next hour until the midwife arrived I stood in our den on a pile of towels while water poured out of me. I felt like that peeing statue in Brussels.
I’d planned a home birth, but when the midwife arrived she said that because my waters had broken but the baby’s head wasn’t engaged it was out of the question. So off we went to hospital, where I lay awake worrying all night.
The following day there was still no sign of the baby and I was told they would induce me at 9 the next morning. I woke up at 2 AM, disorientated, but thinking I might be having contractions. I lay for a bit until I’d established that, yes, they were probably contractions, and, yes, they hurt like hell, then I got up and timed them. They were 30 seconds long and five minutes apart.
I told the midwife and she suggested I try and get some sleep. Ha ha! I put my walkman on and danced around the room to Robbie Williams instead, which seemed to help. Then I had a bath, and I threw up in it. The midwife gave me two aspirin and suggested sleep again. Instead, I timed the contractions, which were now 30 seconds long, two minutes apart. She examined me (rather grudgingly), and I was five centimeters dilated. She suggested we head for labor and delivery, and we called David.
David arrived, I was in agony, and then it all gets a little hazy. I asked for Pethidine. In fact I think I begged. But they said no. They couldn’t get a good enough heart rate for the baby and Pethidine slows it down further. I panicked.
And then I entered what I can only describe as a “World of Pain.” I can’t remember much about it except pain and blackness and pain and voices and some more pain. The blackness business is weird. The only thing I can compare it to is that I once ate some wasabi too quickly and it hit the roof of my mouth and it all went dark, my teeth fizzed, my eyes and nose ran, and there was a loud sort of hissing rumble in my ears. I was feeling sort of like that. And then there is the pain on top of it, something like having my insides in a vice.
Six hours later our son Harry was born. They put this hot, wriggling, heavy, wet thing on me and I couldn’t even think what was going on. In fact, somewhere in my mind I thought he was a lamb. I didn’t know it at the time, but it turned out they’d tried to vacuum him out and it had failed so Harry was delivered by forceps (with accompanying episiotomy). Then, thanks to my waters breaking two days earlier, I sort of flipped out with a fever and spent the rest of the day semiconscious, occasionally coming around to see David making goo-goo eyes at Harry and kissing him far too often.
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