a long time ago, in a maternity ward far, far away…..
S and A decide that it was a fantastic idea to move house on the baby’s due date……
A, S and S’s mum arrived at the near empty maternity/labour ward with status of 0.5cm dilated…..
A discovered the fun of matching shapes to everyday objects – fatherhood training……
S went for a swim in the birthing pool – A pretended he was the hoff…..
S got drugged. A was jealous…..
the amniotic sac was popped, it resembled pink hate slime, this shit had just got real…..
if you would like to catch-up with part 1 (a new world), click here!
if you would like to catch-up with part 2 (the empire strikes back), click here!
so, where did i get to. oh yes, S’s amniotic sac had just been popped and i needed to be sick. i had kept it together right up until this point and it just got a bit too real too quickly. i needed to regroup and needed to support the mother of my soon to be born baby boy. there was only one solution; i vomitted.
there you are ladies and gentlemen, i have no shame in admitting to you that childbirth and the prospects of becoming a father bat-shit terrified me and seeing the woman i love in pain and all of a sudden evil ghostbusters 2 ectoplasm gushing from her lady garden had tipped me over the edge. all the pressure and stress in my head manifested itself in my abdomen so i sauntered into the adjoining bathroom and relieved the stress straight into the toilet bowl. it was the nausea of love.
when S and i got married, just over a year later, people were amazed at how calm i was. to be honest, going through childbirth makes marriage a doddle. and the shit that had just gotten ever-so real was about to get a whole lot more real as i now explain to you all the events of the 9th august 2011 – b-day. (hmmm, supposed to sound like d-day, but more sounds like a sink you wash cats in…..)
fishing for babies….
it was coming up to approximately 9am. S had been in labour for over 20 hours, was exhausted and in pain. the morphine and subsequent pethadine had taken its effect on the pain, but also on the labour – it had slowed right down and midwives and doctors were showing signs of some concern. these signs manifested themselves in more frequent visits and a couple of cups of tea being provided for the viewing gallery of myself and the mother-in-law.
S, still in much pain was wired up to the monitor and given a final dose of morphine as she was in agony.
a couple of hours later, about 11:15ish, an exhausted sarah felt as though she wanted to push. the midwife, hannah, advised her against it however as sarah’s cervix had not fully dilated and there was a need for the midwife to do some manipulation under the hood in order to facilitate a safe delivery. the doctor was called.
the doctor had some concerns and the monitor wasn’t picking up babies vitals – so they had to attach a monitor to the top of his head. this is where they go fishing for babies as they literally hook it to their scalp. with a metal hook. so now S had legs a kimbo with wires protruding from her downstairs, my hand was gradually getting crushed and the mother-in-law was wiping S’s brow.
stress levels – maximum
time travel – 1940’s great britain….
let me reiterate the situation. S was exhausted and attempting to squeeze out a kid. i had lost the feeling in my hand from the squeezing provided by S. the midwife was looking concerned and the mother-in-law was gradually losing it. the doctor was called.
welcome to the 1940’s. why do i say this? well, the doctor was a very charming south african black gentleman who all the midwives refer to as “doctor stephen” this is of course most irregular, as most doctors are referred to by their surname, the reason doctor stephen was not referred to in such a way was because, as one nameless midwife put it later “we can’t pronounce his surname, so he just gets stephen.”
doctor stephen examined S and pulled together a course of action in order to safely deliver baby given S’s incredibly weakened, exhausted state – he proposed a forceps delivery. at this point, the mother-in-law lost it.
imagine the scene, i am there looking into the pained, exhausted face of the woman i love, whilst in the background her mother was a bawling mess and under the hood a south african black gentleman is proposing how he is going to tear her apart in order to extract child – but of course he needs consent. the following is a transcript of the conversation that occurred. to be fair to S, imagine being smacked off your head on morphine and pethadine trying to understand a very thick south african accent whilst sucking on the entonox…..
dr. stephen “S, i am going to have to give you an episiotomy”
S (looking at me and going to town on the entonox) “A, what the hell is he saying?”
A “he needs to give you an episiotomy”
S (sucking the entonox as though it was air) “what the hell does that mean?”
A “well, he needs to give you a cut downstairs so you don’t tear when they deliver the baby”
S (biting and sucking and speaking at once) “is it gonna hurt?”
i will take a break from the proceedings here. how in gods name was i supposed to answer that? i paused to think. it wasn’t going to hurt per se, as they would give a local anaesthetic in order to do the cut, but the recovery would hurt….. my mind was just saying “of course it’s going to fucking hurt…. argh!!! be reassuring!!!!”) luckily, the midwife chipped in:
midwife: “it’ll hurt more if you tear”
absolute genius. don’t lie and say it won’t hurt, just promise that the alternative will hurt so much more. S was in distress. the mother-in-law was neither use nor ornament, as she admitted later, she was terrified S was going to need a caesarian and it reminded her of her own pretty traumatic birth of S.
S agreed to the episiotomy and doctor stephen got to work getting the over sized salad tongs lubed up to slide around the babies head and to basically pull him out. it was 12:20 and time for baby to make an appearance. S pushed. stephen pulled. i kept my complete cool and supported my fiancee.
at 12:26 little O came into the world. and as overjoyed as i was at becoming a dad, i was worried.
what they don’t tell you at ante natal….
O was delivered at a grand 9lb 12oz. no wonder the forceps were needed. he was in the top 2nd percentile of birthweight. he gave out a cry and my stress levels dropped and he came in for his first cuddle with his mum, of whom we were all so proud.
but as i said – i was worried. again, i blame television…..
so you’re watching eastenders and natalie cassidy goes into labour and they get into the hospital and after 2 mins of gushing, guffawing and growling a perfectly pink healthy baby is presented you the sweaty natalie cassidy mess and your expectation on what a fresh born baby looks like is set.
let me tell you, for any of the dad’s to be out there, is that it’s all lies. babies are born ever so slightly purpley-blue. and no-one told me that. we went to every ante natal and read up everything we could to be as informed as possible. not one mentions that the kid comes out blue. so i had a very small hint of worry, but everyone else seemed quite relaxed. i asked S, if i could go and tell my parents that they had become grandparents and stepped outside.
i took the opportunity to go to the desk and ask the assembled gathering of midwifes and obstetricians the following question “is O ok? he’s blue – is he supposed to be that colour?”
upon asking that question i immediately thought “A, of course he’s not supposed to be that colour, he’s a human baby, not a child off avatar” but the scene i was presented with was a bunch of doctors and midwifes looking at me as though i had just asked the dumbest question ever presented to them in all their combined careers which was answered by the most patronising obstetrician over his half moon reading glasses “yes, he’s fine – they all come out like that”
well nobody told me!!
crying like a mo’fo….
so i made my way up to the waiting room and told my mum and dad and sister that they had become grandparents and an auntie. at that point the flood gates opened. since i had been sick i had held it together for S and for O and now the 48 hours without sleep and mental endurance of witnessing childbirth had taken its toll. i was now responsible for the love and care of a beautiful little baby boy and all the emotion grabbed hold of me – i was crying like a mo’fo. i was the proudest and luckiest man in the world.
stress levels – normal.
i would like to thank all our family for their love and support and all the amazing doctors and midwifes in our national health service who hear far more horror stories than good ones (this was supposed to be a good one!)
most importantly i’d like to thank S and O – the loves of my lives without whom all this wouldn’t be possible.
O – i am your father….. dun, dun, dun, dun-de-dun, dun-de-dun….. dun, dun, dun, dun-de-dun, dun-de-dun……
n.b. you maybe able to just make out the marks the forceps left on O’s forehead. these faded after a couple of days.
if you would like to read S’s version of events (much shorter!) then click here!