Cont…….. and so you re-join us in the labour room . We were introduced to our midwife who would be with us on this epic roller-coaster journey of pain and emotion.
I quickly sorted out the free parking ticket and brought the bags in as instructed so it was one less thing for me to think about, I was calm and collected. It was happening tonight!
My wife was pacing around the room dealing with her contractions, I felt a bit lost, as if I was just a spare part at this time. We had bought these massage balls and cooling spray but she did not want any of my help at this moment, so I did what anyone should in this scenario, sat down and cracked open the thermos and enjoyed a nice cup of English Breakfast Tea.
Shortly after she was introduced to Gas and Air, knocking it back like an addict. Although it initially made her sick apparently it relieved the pain and she continued with it. We were then moved rooms to a labour room with a birthing pool, “no diving in the shallow end or bombing” I joked, it fell on deaf ears. My wife stripped off and stepped in with my assistance. I could tell she was more comfortable in the water and I assisted her by holding the ventilator for gas and air. There wasn’t anywhere I could lean so it was going to give me arm ache for a while, and true to my prediction the hard plastic seat was there for me to sit on.
The midwife had been monitoring my wife through the whole process and noticed that that her temperature was up above the acceptable level and instructed my wife to vacate the pool area. It was no longer safe for her to be in the water, the baby would have to be delivered on the bed.
And so the contractions continued with each one came puffs on the ventilator accompanied by a yelp.
“Is this really hurting that much?” I thought
I was repeatedly asked the time by my wife, I lied on plenty of occasions not too dampen her spirits. So as the hours went on, I offered and made my wife drink water; hydration is very important in most things in life and assumed it was imperative in this situation. I held her hand at times and the ventilator and offered encouragement, “nearly there now“, “you have come so far keep going” – I had no idea whether we were any closer or not it just seemed the right thing to say at the time. I couldn’t exactly go “come on Mrs Mac, I want to be back by Sunday Lunch time!”
“I want pethidine” she groaned
Now I know birth plans rarely go as expected but the one thing my wife said she didn’t want was this drug. She was adamant she wanted to experience as much of the birth as possible, “you little joker” I said
“I WANT PETHIDINE!, ask the nurse to give it to me” she replied
She clearly wasn’t joking. But how much of it was her and how much of it was the gas and air.
The nurse said it was too late for pethidine, so that got me out of that one!
As the night wore on my wife became more restless, struggling not to push every time a painful contraction came. The midwife was still concerned at her temperature it was just past 4am, an hour to go until the next internal examination. My wife insisted it be done immediately, she wanted to know what the current situation was, we were 8cm dilated. Only 2 cm to go, surely it won’t take that long right?
“Mac, I don’t think I can do this anymore” my wife groaned
I thought “you should of thought about that nine months ago!” but I replied;
“Course you can, you are doing really well, you are almost there now“, again not really knowing if we were almost there or not. My stance was that if I remained calm and confident all would be ok and it would help my wife out.
At 5pm the midwife and staff administered started hooking up a cannula; they were concerned that her temperature was still too high and she may have an infection. They seemed to be taking a lot of samples of blood and other things.
Trying to keep a women calm during contractions while they put a cannula in her arm was particularly difficult. Every time they were about to put something into her arm, she would wave it around. I could tell she really didn’t know what was going on, focusing solely on the contractions.
I knew this wasn’t quite normal.
They hooked up the air hockey strikers and monitored the heart beat of the baby, all was ok.
As time went on, I could tell my wife was becoming more uncomfortable finding it difficult to focus on instructions being given. At this point more and more staff midwifes/nurses were coming into the room.
“We are going to need to break her waters” they said, I was away from the head end so really got the full effect of what was going on in the room. Luckily I am not queasy!
“We need to monitor the baby, we are going to put this monitor into your wife and onto the baby’s head, can you help us hold her into position”
I didn’t bother trying to explain that to my wife, I just asked her to move herself into a certain position.
It took them two attempts to attach the monitor as my wife swiped it away on the first almost successful attempt, they tried to explain to her what they were doing but I could tell she couldn’t comprehend what was happening, for the first time I started to feel slightly worried for my wife but as ever remained positive in uncertain situations.
I was staring at one of the readings with printed lines on (sorry I can’t remember the name of the machine), the midwife said;
“those are reading the baby’s brain activity, the lines should be longer and not close together”
Someone else piped up;
“the baby’s heart rate keeps dropping”
“Mrs Mac we need you not to push at all, the baby’s is getting stressed”
All of a sudden the room was full of people, looking at charts and monitors, it was blatantly clear that something wasn’t right, “don’t remember them discussing this in NCT” I thought.
My wife was struggling to understand instructions given to her, I had to hold her down on a number of occasions so they could put lines in or take bloody samples as she kept swiping them away. That was testing emotionally.
“Now Mac, at this point we can no longer stick to your birth plan. We just need to do what we can to make sure that mother and baby will be ok” the midwife said. I kind of guessed a while back that it wasn’t quite going how we had planned!
At this point I felt empty, my positive energy zapped from me momentarily and after a deep breath eventually came back into the room.
“has your wife had any surgery before” I was asked by a new women in the room dressed as a surgeon.
“No” I replied.
“Are you sure your wife hasn’t had any previous surgery, no stomach surgery before” she shouted.
“no, none I am sure of it“, I replied again, she tried to ask my wife too, I have no idea why it was clear that she wasn’t with it.
Surgeon; “is she allergic to anything?”
Me; “no, nothing, we did this earlier”
Then my wife piped up “peanuts and brazil nuts, I’m allergic to peanuts and brazil nuts!”
At that point, it emotionally hit me, my eyes started to well up, my wife had no clue what on earth was going on, she had no real experience of hospitals, operations or the severity of the situation I felt very alone despite being in a room full of people. I also found it mildly amusing that she did not understand that they were asking if she was allergic to any kind of medication.
I took a deep breath and wiped my eyes, – focus – focus – this won’t help
Then someone shouted “right we cant wait any longer, we need to go NOW for an emergency C-Section”
A nurse turned to me and said “ok, so we are going to take your wife, we will get you and your bags and prep you for surgery and you can come in”
I felt saddened for my wife, I knew this is not how she wanted to give birth to our child.
Instantly a women who was just about to wheel the bed out the room barked “THERE IS NO TIME FOR HIM TO GET READY WE NEED TO GO NOW!”
And then I was on my own, a nurse calmly told me to get my things and took me to a room. I struggled with all those bags, not really knowing what on earth was happening.
Was my wife going to be ok? What was Sepsis?
Is the baby going to be ok?
What if my wife isn’t ok and the baby is? How on earth am I going to deal with that?
I ended up in a recovery room that had two bays in, in one bay was a family with their new born and then there was me in an empty bay sat down alone. What do I do now? The parting words from a nurse were “we will keep you posted“.
I sat alone, looking at the floor, should I text my family or my wife’s family? Surely if they are awake at this time in the morning it would just worry them.
I could see the entrance to the operating theatre from where I was sitting, a few people rushed in and out, none making eye contact with me.
“I guess it is what it is, I will just have to deal with whatever hand I get dealt” I thought.
After about 20 mins, someone came out and said “congratulations you have a baby boy“, we are just going to clean him up and do some tests and we will bring him out to you.
I felt relieved, less tense. They hadn’t mentioned anything about my wife, so I asked after her “we are still working on her, we will bring the baby out as soon as its ready“.
Why would they say that to me? They eventually brought out this baby wrapped in a towel with a hat on, and handed him to me, he weighed 6.5Ibs. He looked so calm, I got to hold him for all of five minutes when I was instructed to grab a set of clothes for him and a nappy as we were going to the Special Care Baby Unit – “why are we going there, how long will we be there for? Will everything be ok?” I thought.
As Mini Mac and I arrived, they tried to put a cannula into his hands, but they could not. We would need to come back another time so they could do it. He was being subscribed a course of antibiotics, as they thought my wife had an infection and needed to be sure that he was not infected. We would be staying in hospital for a few days.
We eventually made our way back to the recovery unit, I was told my wife was out of the theatre and they had issues waking her up.
When I finally got to see her she looked tired and groggy, but she perked up when she saw me “we have a boy can I see him?”
“of course!” I replied I gently placed it on her chest, being mindful of the op she just had.
“he is tiny, Mac he is so beautiful”
He was very cute – I was exhausted, it had been a long night, no doubt the first of many to come.