Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Labour Story, Part Two

Wednesday, 29 July 2009
My water had not yet broken, and upon closer inspection the midwife discovered that the baby’s umbilical cord was across the top of his head. This meant that as soon as my water broke, the cord would become trapped against the cervix. With everrything being tangled up in there, I wouldn’t be able to push the baby out normally.

The midwife explained that I’d need a C-section. I wasn’t really bothered about facing the section – to be completely honest, I was almost a bit relieved, in a way. I knew I was going to have a big baby, and as you know the thought of going down the scary episiotomy route was something I didn’t want to do. I knew that I didn’t have to wait much longer to meet my baby, and I was excited that I wouldn’t be sitting on any stitches! The midwife started making arrangements for a visit from the anaesthetist who would give me an epidural, ready for the operating theatre. As I was being prepared for the epidural, my water broke! Now THAT was a weird sensation! I was sitting down on the bed, yawping like Chewbacca from a contraction, and I remember my voice rising with a bit of panic as I said, “Um... something’s coming OUT OF MEEEEEEEEEEE!” and it felt just like I was trying to pass a water balloon. All over the floor, and my cute zebra-print furry bough-especially-to-be-in-labour-in socks! (Jason said it really did look like a water balloon.)

Not long after that I got my epidural but something wasn’t right -- it wasn’t working. I remember asking Jason and the midwife what seemed like a million times, “When is it going to start working?!” but it seemed hours and hours and I could still feel everything. I moved from the floor to the bed and over the next little while, my left side was quite numb but I still felt every contraction down my right side. I felt a bit irritable by this point; the pain was getting more and more severe. I was still permanently attached to the Entinox nozzle – the time while I was waiting to go to theatre was a swirling psychedelic trippy dream: music coming out of my iPod speakers like floating soupy balloons around the room; Jason’s strong hands on my back; his gentle voice encouraging me and cheering me on.

They wheeled me down to theatre. Jason went to get changed into hospital gear, and they made him wait outside while they got me ready. They decided to abandon the (literally!) half-arsed epidural and give me a total spinal block. After a bit of difficulty getting things in the right place, the spinal block was in place and hello? That was so funky! I was completely without feeling from just below my boobs all the way down. I kept thinking of Uma Thurman in Kill Bill – you know the scene where she’s in the back of that car, just after she’s escaped from the hospital? The one where she’s laying there saying to herself, “Wiggle your big toe. Go on, you can do it, just wiggle your big toe.” I was trying to wiggle my big toe, too, and it was just completely dead!

Jason came back in and the surgeons started to do their business. I felt about a minute of gentle pulling and tugging, and then all of a sudden Jude was here! I was really surprised at how quick everything went! The midwives rushed him off to clean him up and do their weighing and measuring.

Jason was almost giggling with adrenaline, and I lay there on my back, heart fit to bursting at the thought of having another son – two boys! Imagine! Two wee fellas! I had a few tears and Jason did too, and then they showed us the baby and things while I was getting stitched up. Jude Alan Proctor was born at 12.09pm on Tuesday 7th July, weighing in at a colossal ten pounds, on the nose. They weren’t kidding when they said second babies are bigger than first babies – Ben was only 8lb 10oz.

It took absolutely AGES to stitch me up, though. Having no basis of comparison I assumed things were going as they should but Jason says it took about 30 minutes to put me back to normal.

After that I was in a recovery room with a couple of lovely midwives and Jason. We chatted about the baby, and about summer holidays, and exchanged pleasantries – I couldn’t really concentrate on the conversation though as I was shivering uncontrollably! It was odd; I wasn’t cold or anything but my teeth were chattering and I was juddering and twitching like a lunatic and I just couldn’t get a hold of myself. The midwives said it was a normal response to the surgery and it subsided after an hour or so.

After a while, they took me back to the room that I laboured in. Jason and me visited with our lovely new son and I dozed on and off. What a day!

The next day, the doctor came to see how we were doing, and to talk to us about a few things.

“Do you know what actually happened, has anyone explained things to you?” he asked us both. When we replied that we hadn’t, he went on to tell us that I had actually suffered from a ruptured uterus; that after he’d made the incision through my skin and my abdominal muscle, Jude actually busted right through my uterine wall before they had a chance to cut through it. He said that the uterus was stretched so thin that Jude quite easily made his own way out.

He went on to explain that we should think very carefully before having any more children, and that in all likelihood, my uterus would not be able to withstand another pregnancy. Not that big a deal, said we – we only ever planned to have two kids and no more.

Part 3 coming soon...

Friday, 24 July 2009

Labour Story - Part 1

Friday, 24 July 2009

Well, here I am and my gorgeous boy was 2 weeks old yesterday. I thought I’d spend a little time writing about how the labour went – in the few moments I have where he is not attached to either one of my boobs.

I tell ya; I am a smitten kitten – I can’t believe how beautiful he is! Every minute on top of the previous one brings a new level of astonishment at how handsome he is. He has us all charmed, to be sure. I look at him and my breath catches in my throat while the boil within my soul’s cup rolls and rolls with the enormity of it all. It’s as if I’m wandering through an extraordinary dream – weird and beautifully I find I’m a mother of two. Is this real? Doesn’t that just blow your head right off?

So it all started not long after we went to bed – as strangeness would have it, we’d stayed up a bit later than normal writing our birth plan, if you can believe it! And in the early morning of Tuesday 7th July 2009 things started happening. About 1am I got out of bed for my 328th visit to the toilet that night, and lo and behold (sorry – gross alert) out plops my mucous plug into the toilet. Hurrah! When I had Ben, the MP (can’t bear to type it again, it’s too yucky!) fell out onto the bathroom floor on the Saturday, and I had Ben on the Monday night. So, excited that things were obviously a-movin’ I came back to bed, told Jason the news and we snuggled down, hoping to drift off to sleep with the happy thought that things would probably start happening within the next couple of days. Happy thoughts mixed with a little bit of smugness – “I totally knew that I would go early,” I mused, and true enough there I was 5 days before my official due date sans the ol’ MP, safe in the knowledge that things could start any day now.

But – would that we had the luxury of a day! Not ten minutes after I returned to bed did I have what I thought was a little contraction. I dismissed it straight away – didn’t even mention it to Jason – as in the last couple of weeks especially I’d experienced all manner of twinges and twangs and tickles and tweaks. But then about ten minutes later another one came.

“Jase, “ I tapped him on the shoulder, “I think I might be having a contraction.”

“Mmphff,” I think was his initial sleepy response. When I had another one in another ten minutes, he was all action stations, leaping out of bed to make coffee for him and tea for me, to sit and wait to see what was going to happen. We assumed we had quite a bit of time to deal with the early labour stuff – I knew that second babies tend to come a bit quicker, but I was 39.5 hours from start to finish with Ben so we were quite relaxed at that point. Jason hooked me up to the TENS machine (borrowed from the lovely and generous Leanne – thanks Leanne!) and I electric-shocked myself through each contraction without too much fuss. It was painful but manageable, and as long as I was upright and walking, I was able to endure them tolerably well.

Incredibly, over the next two hours my contractions increased in intensity and the time between them was dropping and dropping... 7 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 4 minutes. I couldn’t quite believe it!

“Should we go to the hospital do you think?” Jason wondered.

In total disbelief, I said, “Surely not already!” but sure enough, things were getting so painful that I knew we had to get to the hospital. We woke up our friends next door (thanks Tracey & Craig!) and Ben took Jason there, and then we got in the car. To divert myself from worrying that I would deliver our child in the front seat of a Citroen, I timed my contractions with the stopwatch on my iPod. All the way to the hospital, the contractions were lasting about 30-40 seconds and I was only getting about a minute and a half’s break between each one.

Wansbeck General Hospital, incidentally, is 16.5 miles door to door, from our house. Google Maps says the journey takes “around 27 minutes”. I can quite categorically say it was the longest 27 minutes of my life... I was a little frightened in the car as the pains were coming thick and fast, but Jason made good time and soon enough we arrived at the maternity ward. We were quickly installed into a really lovely labour room, popped the iPod on shuffle on some speakers and I changed into my PJ’s.

I laboured mostly on my feet leaning over the bed... I still had the TENS machine on but to be honest I don’t think it was really doing much by this point so I took it off in exchange for the Entinox: my friends the gas and air. Oh, bliss! That stuff is great; I got all the way to about 6cm dilated with it, before I had a shot of Pethadine (Demerol for those of you across The Pond) to help dull the pain. Jason was brilliant – rubbing my back, encouraging me and telling me I was doing really well. Despite the obvious discomfort, it was really good; very relaxed, a really lovely atmosphere with the music on and everything. I felt reassured that I was in really good hands, and safe in the knowledge that Jason was “overseeing” everything to make sure things were going the way we’d discussed. However, not long after that was when things started to veer off plan.

Sunday, 12 July 2009


Sunday, 12 July 2009

Jude Alan Proctor

Born by emergency Caesarean section on Tuesday 7th July 2009 at 12.09pm, at Wansbeck General Hospital. Weighing in at an eye-crossingly healthy 10lbs!

Birth story to follow; just as soon as we catch our breath!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Pineapple, Curries and Sex -- oh my!

Sunday, 5 July 2009
Me still being pregnant is starting to affect more than myself and those with whom I share a house. Last night, my Mum dreamed that I had been kidnapped by black market baby sellers, who were going to whisk my child off the moment I had it to sell it to the highest bidder! Creepy!

Don’t get too excited by this blog update: I have to report that nothing is happening so far. Not a twinge, not a tweak, not a cramp or a spasm to be had. All that seems to be happening is that – quite unbelievably – I’m getting bigger! The other day we were in Tesco buying a few groceries, and the checkout girl looked at me and said, “Dear me, how many have you got in there?” And then on Saturday when we were at the beach, a couple walked past us and the man said to the woman, “EEEEE wouldja look at the size of her belly!” Admittedly slightly sensitive about it, I muttered, “A little LOUDER NEXT TIME, fella!” but he didn’t hear me.

It could be worse, I suppose. Luckily I haven’t really fallen prey to the Feelerey Strokers' Brigade. You know who I’m talking about... those amongst society who descend on you with palms outstretched, ready to rub your tummy. I’m not that fussy anyway; I don’t mind too much. But I have to say I wasn’t exactly jumping through hoops thinking about the fact that two strangers in as many days have likened me to a zeppelin. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not exactly so offensive as to be truly hurtful or anything, but sarcastic and irritable cow that I am, it predisposes me to disdainful reply. Okay, so calling attention to the fact that I am 39 weeks pregnant is tantamount to pointing out that I have blonde hair – it’s just not news to me – but countering the Tesco lady’s observations with a remark, say, about her substantially colossal snout and bad 80's hair might have hurt her feelings a little. Tempting, though. Maybe this illustration of self-control means I'm finally turning into a grown up!

So we are slowly working our way through the list of stuff that is supposed to naturally kickstart labour. When I was having Ben, a curry did the trick. And ‘Chicago’ was on the TV that night; maybe it was all the jazz hands and tapdancing? But nothing is working so far. I’ll keep you posted... tonight I am going to eat lots and lots of pineapple. Wish me luck!