Labour – Part Two

So, now we were at hospital and we made our way slowly up to the birth centre. A midwife(maybe – I didn’t know at this point who was who) let us in and we were asked to sit and wait for a while. It seemed like an eternity but was probably 20-30 minutes before someone came to get us and took us to a side room. There my wife was assessed by the on-duty midwife whilst I tried to help make her comfortable and get through the next while.

This room was a normal room as far as I recall. No fancy birthing bed and no pool, either. The midwife did her checks and my wife was 5 cm dilated. So yay, we didn’t need to go back home and labour was properly established. This relived me massively. I believed we would be given the delta between contractions but I still worried we’d be sent back as we weren’t far enough along. By now it had started in my head, and the car journey was such a hassle for my wife that I really don’t think I could have taken a knock-back!

castor-oil

Castor oil. Can help induce labour but really it’s here because Google wasn’t helping my ‘icky birth’ search and this looked cool

I made the room as comfortable as I could. I put on some hypnobirthing background music, I got some food ready and some drinks. I was helping my wife stand, sit, lie as she wanted (mainly the former two – lying was bad as that would not help the labour now would it? Gravity is your friend…). I was doing as much as I could think of too help, and responding immediately to her needs. She was focused on labour; I was focused on making that as comfortable as I could.

My wife mentioned to the midwife that she had wanted a pool. So this was going to be setup for us, and would take a while. In the meantime we stayed where we were and periodically upped the Tens machine, did various hypnobirthing exercises and let the midwife check us from time to time. In a couple of hours we moved to 6 cm dilation. Not the pace we’d hoped for but still good progress.

pool.jpg

Yep, a birthing pool. Move along…

As part of this labour started to get real. I don’t want to go into details nor do I need to. But being a very intense biological event it puts stress on the human body. I knew this. I had accepted it. My advice to any man is accept, expect and deal. It’s reality and part of the birth of your child. It is not icky, scary or anything else. You need to be there for your wife/partner. Get over it ahead of time, or straight away. You frankly do not matter. If you pass out and fall over? That’s where you’ll stay. And you’ll be no help to the Mum nor will you see the birth. Pull yourself together, man.

The Tens machine’s limitations were starting to show. Gas and air was requested and provided. I avoided trying any which must be the first time in the history of man that the male birth partner has not partaken. To be fair even had I wanted to (I was focused on helping, not getting air-drunk thanks very much) there wouldn’t have been much time. Contractions were between 2 and 3 minutes and that gaseous cocktail was needed elsewhere…

mayo

Believe it or not my search term for this was ‘midwife dilation’. The mind boggles.

At that moment, around 7, the pool was ready and we moved rooms. I gathered what I could and the midwives/assistants helped with the rest. Oh, and my pregnant wife of course! I think the birthing pool, and what I guess is act III of our labour can come in a third post…

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Labour – Part One

It’s very nearly 3 weeks since my gorgeous daughter was born. I’m still getting to know her, learning what she does and doesn’t like, and most importantly learning how to look after her. My wife is doing similar, with the added complexity of being the only one who can feed her and recovering from labour. My wife is doing brilliantly. My wife is amazing.

Anyway, I digress. What I wanted to do now is talk through the labour a little as I remember it. Naturally there will already be fog from the time passed, plus the event itself was intense but hopefully I can capture some of it so my wife and I can remember in the future.

labour.jpg

Quite clearly, yes it was labour

The first I knew about it was at 2.43 AM on Monday 17th October. My wife woke me and said “Contractions have started” then walked off. I was still in a sleepy haze but eventually worked out that I didn’t know what she wanted me to do with that information and that I should find out how far apart they are. Good call, it turns out.

It’s interesting to note here that my wife the night before had asked her bump to come along now – and she listened! Also, this was the date we reckoned our baby was due. Good workings Mummy!

The contractions were already 4 minutes or so apart. We’d been told by NCT that 3 in 10 was when you head to the hospital. So, I was getting ready to go. My wife here was doing a sterling job of looking after herself. Tens machines, birthing balls and general exercise were working well. We stuck hypnobirthing music on and I tried to get going on my part of that, from touching her shoulder (an anchor) to reciting calming words (3, 2, 1, relax relax relax) and counting down from 10 with affirmations in-between during a contraction.

artist-impression

An artist’s impression of my labouring wife and I on our journey to hospital

Soon we made our way to the hospital after ringing them and being told to do so. The car journey was hard for us both – my wife especially, of course. It was 30 minutes, on a thankfully quiet nighttime road. I managed to get there with correct turnings in every case – improving on my Best Man’s attempts with his labouring wife a few weeks’ earlier. But cornering and bumping in the road didn’t help calm the labour and of course contractions continued throughout. I carried on with my counting and affirmations and we somehow made it to the hospital. I like to think I was rather calm and well-controlled up to now, and I’ll give you a spoiler – ongoing, too. My wife I would hope would agree…

I parked up in the previously scoped-out 20 minute drop-off area. It was 4-something AM by now (I can’t recall exactly, I think maybe 4.15-4.30?) and given the fact it was hard for my wife to walk and she was having contractions this was the only option and the actual car park was a no-no. I knew what the fine for parking here was and had accepted in my mind that would be ok as a full day’s car parking was only 2/3 of it anyway. We parked up, and I got the various bags (which I had loaded into the car earlier of course, taking time before we actually left our house as a couple for the last time) and we headed up to the birth centre.

I’ll continue the rest in a separate post…it’s getting rather long, isn’t it?