Sunday 6 April 2014

Juniorette's Birth Story

The 6th of April was a Sunday. Since I was officially one week past my due date, I had a membrane sweep scheduled for the morning. The grandparents entertained Junior while S and I went to St Georges. I was excited to see Sue, my favourite midwife from Junior's early days. She put me at ease and told me that the sweep might hurt. No kidding! Almost as soon as she started, I made her stop. Her conclusion was that my cervix was still tight and my body was not ready for the birth yet. S and I stopped for lunch on the way home, and didn't expect further developments for several more days.

Around 4:30 that afternoon, I felt contractions. Or at least, I felt what I thought might be contractions. Since I had not gone into natural labour with Junior, it was hard to tell. Just to be sure, I timed them and they were about five minutes apart. I quietly told S that I thought something might be happening, but I wasn't sure.

At dinner, I told the rest of the family. My appetite and energy were low, but I still guessed it would be a while before anything happened. We fed Junior, bathed him and put him in bed. I went to relax in the living room, and decided that it might be better to lie down and sleep while I still had a chance.

As soon as I was horizontal, the contractions became more intense. They were lasting around 90 seconds, with about five minutes in between. S came to check on me and encouraged me to call the hospital at 9:30 PM. The instant I sat up to make the call, the contractions changed again - fast and frequent. The woman on the phone booked me in, and told me to take some paracetamol. S told his parents to get the car ready, and we left. By now I had my eyes closed and was going into my internal space. I knew what was happening around me, but found it hard to speak or interact with anyone. I was gratefully aware that there was no traffic, except for a few red lights. S's dad overshot the hospital entrance and we did a u-turn. Inwardly I was shouting, "hurry, get me out of this car!" We drove into the maze of the hospital car park, with its speed bumps and twisty turns. "Getmeoutgetmeoutgetmeout!" It was just past 10 PM; they had closed the entrance nearest to Delivery Suite. We had to go around to the front.

If you've ever visited St Georges' maternity ward, you know this means a long walk through several endless hallways, then up the lift that takes ages to arrive as it slowly descends and stops at every floor. S found a wheelchair, while his mum helped me make the short walk from the car to the front door. Only a few footsteps, but the contractions were coming almost every minute.

At Delivery Suite, we checked in and the triage nurse informed us that they needed to assess me. She asked if I felt like I needed to push - I answered no, then suddenly yes. Yes, yes! Gah, why is no one listening to me? Get me to a room! This baby is coming!

Except, I only said "yes". The rest happened in my head, and it felt like an eternity before they moved me.

The next thing I knew, they were asking if I "wanted" to move from the wheelchair to the bed. I managed to squeak out "yes, but you'll have to move me. I can't do it myself." My bum had barely touched the bed, one leg swung onto it while the other dangled off, I leaned back, and my waters broke.

Now they started to take notice. I kept hearing them talk about putting in a canula and examining my cervix, but I knew it was far past that point. The contractions were one on top of the next. Who cares about a canula?

"Oh, I see a head."


Several pushes later, she was out. I immediately felt better. I asked S what time it was - we looked at the clock and it was only 10:55 PM. We had been in hospital for less than an hour. A few more minutes' delay, and Juniorette might have been born in the car park. But she wasn't. She was perfect, tiny, pink, and healthy.

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