Baby arrives! Not for the faint hearted by Rhianon

[advert:mpu]So, after two acupuncture sessions, many herbal infusions, one curry and the obligatory roll around in the sack, contractions finally started 9pm Friday night. 

It was just at the beginning of Eddie Murphy Raw, which was a terrific distraction, as was a glass of wine - recommended by a friend and I must say it worked. Nothing ever pans out as the book tells you it should though, and soon contractions were 20 seconds, but with only 3 or 4 minutes between, and you're supposed to call the hospital when they're 60 seconds and five minutes between.

Debate ended when my waters broke in a murky deluge - meconium - baby's first poo to you and me - and lots of it. Even I knew to call the labour ward straight away for this...

After a very calm lift in to the hospital from a friend (dp* STILL doesn't drive), we were quickly told to ditch the water birth idea as I was going to be strapped up to the foetal monitoring system for the duration. The midwives don't really like the mother to move much, as they don't know whether meconium indicates foetal distress, and don't want to risk it swilling around even more.

Contractions were going steadily but I wasn't dilating. I was only vaguely comfortable on my back but baby was only comfortable if I lay on one of my sides. I could hear the change in his heartbeat with each contraction, and it got more and more unnerving. And more and more like ds1's nightmare birth which ended in an emergency c-section. It was around this time that I began begging (yes, begging) for an epidural, but the anaesthetist was in theatre... or so they said. The midwives wanted to help me avoid a caesarean, and part of me (nothing lower than the waist) thanks them for it.

By 6am, excellent news, I was 9cm dilated. The contractions changed and I felt like pushing but everyone said hold off, as we needed one more centimetre, damnit!

By now the bed was awash with bodily fluids, mine and baby's. Things were getting pretty ugly; dp was holding up like a rock, but I was beginning to lose my rag.

Then, at 7am, the all clear to push! For some reason I believed people who said they only pushed for ten or twenty minutes. But it took an hour and forty five minutes for the baby to come out, because he was lying back to back with me. As we heard one dad saying later 'It is a magical moment when the baby comes out, just whatever you do, don't look back at the carnage!'

Unfortunately, the baby was slightly blue, floppy and grunting instead of crying - the hallmarks of merconium in the lungs. The concern was obvious in the room and people appeared from everywhere, red buttons were pushed and things happened quickly. The baby was whisked straight onto the resuscitation table, given oxygen and within six minutes had had his lungs at least partially drained of meconium. He was turning pink and they let me have a quick cuddle before putting him in the incubator, which would be his home for the first 24hrs out of the womb.

The doctors asked for an hour to assess and stabilise him in intensive care. You can imagine how long that hour seemed...

*dp refers to 'dear partner' and 'ds' to 'dear son'

See Rhianon's next blog - Bringing Baby Home

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