Tag Archives: labour

Drifting in and out on Valentine’s day

Six days old

I’m not quite ready to talk about the labour. At least not in any narrative styled format. There are some fragments which feel a little more accessible so I will pass those on instead.

Light contractions started on Friday 11 February and they were accompanied by a need to drink lots of sweet, earl grey -decaf- and feeling utterly drained as if I had the flu.

I spent Sunday in bed counting the time between contractions. I watched bits and pieces on my ipod playlist including The American and Hot in Cleveland.

We went to the hospital at 11.30 on Sunday night and were sent back. I was confused about the reference of waiting until the pain was unbearable but I began to understand what they meant from 2.30am onwards.

My plan had been to go through the birth alone but between 2.30 and 5 in the morning I wasn’t able to let go of G’s hand and he stayed with me through the whole thing.

St Michael’s hospital has an impressive view of south Bristol which was lovely at night with ‘electricity so fine’. After the epidural kicked in at around five in the morning the sunrise on Valentine’s day was even nicer.

I was fully dilated at 8.15. I could’t push until 9.15. The epidural stopped working around 10. I went into theatre after 11 and the first questions I asked when she was finally delivered were what time was she born? and ‘what colour is her hair?’

I lost a litre and a half of blood. She weighed 10lbs and two and a half ounces.

I had a ‘spinal’ which numbed me from the chest down in case I needed a Caesarean but before that I would have agreed to anything for some pain relief. I remember thinking that the form they got me to sign could not possibly be enforceable in a court of law.

I was quite chatty and complained about the CIA and waterboarding and tried to explain why torture was appalling. The anesthetist said that at least I hadn’t lost my sense of humour. I’m not sure why he thought I was joking.

Her first two nappies were put on by the hospital staff. The first nappy I put on was with the help of G and we put it on backwards. Luckily it was him that got told this after he took her to be examined by the doctors at the hospital.

She cries in hysterics when she is hungry but sings a warbling note of discontent when slightly unhappy that sounds like ‘al-lah’. The volume descends until she’s barely whispering. The sound is quite reverential and sounds like ‘why hast thou forsaken me’.

When she’s upset she pinwheels her arms as if she’s bowling overarm – a cricket analogy that came from papa. Sports references are not the first place I would dip into but this one stuck with me.

Her mood swings are instant and she gets distracted for around 10 seconds before remembering whether she was upset or not.

When she finishes feeding she places her head on both her arms and falls asleep scrunched down on my chest.

The G and I are convinced that she doesn’t come across so well on photographs so we keep taking more and more in order to capture how beautiful she is.

Still not too sure who she looks like but am thinking that she has my eyes.

Mum and baby

Baby B: Antenatal Class II – Labour of Love?

33 weeks, four days

The second and final antenatal class was about labour and pain relief. There were over 20 of us there and I hadn’t realised that so many partners would attend as well but I guess for most of them it was relevant. I’ve become so used to saying ‘my baby’ and not having to worry about anyone else’s needs that I forget it’s not the same for everyone.

My main objective was to find out about labour and the pain relief. I had originally been very positive about things like epidurals but a friend had told me how she was against them so I had been rethinking it. I have also been reading Hypnobirthing: The Breakthrough to Safer, Easier, More Comfortable Childbirth and about how childbirth doesn’t have to be about pain. Some of this was also mentioned in the class.

Some of the useful information was about when to call the hospital – when the contractions are coming every five minutes or so, are painful and building in length to at least 40 seconds; the three stages of labour, (1) when the neck of the womb opens to 10 cms (2) when the baby moves down through the vagina and is born (3) when the afterbirth is delivered; what to pack in the bag for the hospital, remember toothbrush, some food, dressing gown, socks, ipod etc. needs to be ready from week 36;

We were given a pack of pamphlets that look quite useful:

  • Coping with the ‘Latent’ Phase of Labour
  • Positive controlled breathing in labour
  • Pain relief in labour
  • Epidural pain relief in labour – St Michael’s Hospital
  • Third stage of labour
  • Listening to your baby’s heartbeat during labour
  • Relaxation for pregnancy and labour
  • Guidelines for when to go into hospital
  • Diagrams of useful positions for labour
  • Advice for labour supporters
  • An A to Z of ideas to help you cope with pain and feel in control of your labour

I am not too worried yet about labour, my biggest issues have been about who to take in with me, ex-boyfriend / best-friend / housemate? Sister? I think I’d rather be alone but we’ll see; the cost of child care when I have to go back to work a year later; whether to make an effort to keep the dad updated with photos or information once the baby is here; what kind of life insurance to take out in case something happens to me and the baby survives and other such issues.

I am not sure about the class, I felt it was structured a bit strangely and not quite as helpful as I had thought. When one girl asked about whether we could put things like ‘using forceps’ in our birth plan, the midwife looked at her like she was totally out of sync and talking out of turn. Barely anyone knew about labour though so we couldn’t feel as relaxed as her when she assured us that it would happen anyway no matter what we read.

I sit here writing this while the baby keeps shuffling around and pushing the boundaries of my belly with its knees and feet. I’m not yet at the stage where I want the baby to arrive as soon as possible. I am happy to be an incubator for a while longer since the lungs don’t fully develop until the last couple of weeks. I’ll be full term in three and a half weeks and I may kick into more worries around then but for now I’m enjoying the Hypnobirthing book and my musical playlist of baby lullabies [spotify].