the birth, part 2
So back to the hospital for about 8pm and by now it seemed that the contractions proper had kicked off. They were coming at the rate of every 6-8 minutes and when they did, the Guru was doubled over in pain – ah this was a bit more like it – was essentially my reaction, no more pussy footing around but the real thing. I am sure that the Guru felt this way as well, but just didn’t tell me at the time.
From about 8 to 11 we were in the family room as there was more space and a window to look out of, but at 11 a nurse came around to tell us that the lights were going out and shop was being shut up for the night, so we could either move to the guest room (was almost exactly the same, only smaller) or wait next to the Guru’s bed (with her in it, obviously) in the pre labour windowless room; hmm, some choice. So, the Guru went to bed, I went to stay with her for a bit and mother in law went for a bit of kip in the family room. Cue more hand holding, a decent bit of rubbing, plenty of pain and no sleep for the Guru for the second night in a row. At midnight I went for a bit of a sleep and the m-i-l took over until 2am, whence I returned to my post – at this point, unable to stand it anymore, the Guru asked to be moved rooms as the woman from earlier was making so much noise in her agony, again one has to wonder why they share rooms.
Between 2 and about 330 not a lot changed, the contractions didn’t speed up appreciably, but nor did they slow down. The m-i-l took over at about 330 with instructions to wake me up about 5, which she signally failed to do and it wasn’t until about 7am that I awoke on the vinyl sofa in the family room – felt a bit bad about this, but I did ask to be woken up. Oh well.
By this stage the contractions were staying at their steady rate and the Guru was getting increasingly worried that she would have to have the baby induced as she wasn’t dilated enough to get the bugger out. These worries, along with various requests and a certain irritability carried on to about 10am, when she went to see the duty Doc. It wasn’t the Ichiro look-alike today, but the Loud One – this was a doc we had seen in the past and he had a tendency to emphasize the occasional word in a sentence by shouting it as loudly as he could. He also talked to you as if you were 12 yrs old, which wasn’t a great combination, but he good news for the Guru was that she was at 7cm by this stage, on course to deliver that day. This made her feel elated for about 10 seconds before she remembered the pain, lack of sleep and then had to walk back to her bed.
From here and for the rest of the morning and afternoon it was a bit like waiting in limbo. The midwives came and went, checking the Guru, checking the baby’s heartbeat, not checking the husband and generally saying, oh yes, we’ll take you through to the delivery room, but I think you’ve got another hour or two to wait. This happened at middy, 1pm, 3pm and 430 and each time I went to the toilet as I didn’t want to have to leave the delivery room mid push to visit the lavvie – the Guru picked up on this and thought I was abandoning her at various times. How untrue. All through this afternoon session was hard work – the guru wanted to get whole thing over with, whilst I wanted her pain to stop. It’s very difficult to watch a loved one in almost constant pain, even if it is exactly what they want to be doing, especially when there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. On the other hand at least the Guru wasn’t getting too angry with me, that was reserved for the m-i-l; after living with the guru for a good few years I have come to realise that she is an adult an that if she wants something she will ask for it. The m-i-l doesn’t realise this and so kept trying to do things for the Guru, like rubbing her back or massaging her calf muscles (she was getting pretty bad cramp – the Guru, not the m-i-l) without asking, about which the Guru got quite narked at times. Me, I just kept out of it and did what I was told, which is perhaps the best thing to do at times like these (i.e. dealing with one’s spouse).
So, at about 515, the call was made and we moved to the delivery room. Now at a point such as this I was expecting the contractions to be huge, roller coasters of pain, rampaging every thirty seconds, but no, the Guru maintained her stately and regal pace of about every 5 minutes. Into the delivery room and with yours truly in tow, which caused a little bit of surprise on the part of the midwives, but no problem, ready to go...
And nothing happened. We went in, the Guru go into the high, legs akimbo chair and then we waited. The first contraction/push happened about 10 minutes after going into the delivery room, then a break of about 6-7 minutes to the next one. After about half an hour you could see the midwives were getting a bit impatient as they kept popping in and then wandering off. It was most disconcerting as I was in there with the Guru, at her head end, not the business end, as it were, and various midwives and doctors came in and gave the Guru’s ‘business end’ the once over, muttered something like ‘good’ and then buggered off again, never really acknowledging there were people involved.
In answer to the question ‘how long does this usually last?’, one of the midwives said about 2 hours was normal and anything over three was getting dangerous. At 2 hours in there was still little sign that the little bugger wanted to come out, but into the last 30 minutes and things really started to hot up. Well, that should be that the guru really started to cramp up, as with every contraction she would be yelling more from the cramp in both calfs than from the birth (it seemed). In the end we had 4 midwives and a doctor in there, mostly holding/massaging the Guru’s legs – on her instructions, she was ordering everybody about, much to the nonplussedness of the Doc.
But even here the contractions were still only coming at about 5 minute intervals, not like any tv/film birth drama I have ever watched. It seemed that the Guru would give one almighty heave or two, everyone would be a flurry of activity, then the contraction would subside and the assembled would stand around looking at each other, whistling, popping out for a cigarette, saying things like ‘how about those Giants?’ until the next contraction came along, wherein everyone would leap into action once again. All very odd.
But get there we did. The final few pushes did come a little bit closer together but in the end the Guru did need a helping hand – so for the final one, one of the midwives actually climbed on top of the Guru and was pummelling her stomach, like giving cpr but a bit lower down. I had visions of the baby being forced out and shooting across the room with the midwives and doc lined up like a slip cordon...
But luckily nothing like that happened and at 8:05 he finally made his entrance into this world – and he looked just like a purple gremlin.