We kept going. The heart monitor was not doing its job while I moved around. I was getting pretty annoyed about having to wear it and didn’t mind much when it dropped out but the doctors were getting antsy. Each time I had a contraction I would move and the monitor would cut out making it look like a dip in the heart rate. They started talking about putting a clip on our little ones head. That did it for me. I remembered the same thing happening with Lucy and it was the worst pain I have ever experienced. The stubborn angry lady came out of me. I declared I would not be having the clip and made up my mind to do each contraction standing. (The best position for the monitor.) I longed to lean over the bed or the balance ball or just crawl into a corner but I just couldn’t bring myself to have that clip. I laboured on growing more and more tired but finding the energy to work through each contraction.
Myles was amazing. We talked before this day about what I would like him to do and as I went through it all he was so good at meeting my requests. We spent many contractions staring into each other’s eyes, breathing together. It was all very Ina May. I’m so glad we got to labour together. I think it really strengthened our marriage no matter how hard the following hours would be.
The contractions were coming quickly. I was breathing and moving through them but had barely any time to rest in between. I was getting excited. Having not been through labour before I thought that this must be what it is like. I was sure I’d be at least eight centimetres dilated. But at 2am another check told me I was only three, maybe four centimetres and still barely effaced.
I was exhausted. Physically and mentally. For almost two whole days I had been gearing up to have this baby. I’d been totally absorbed in getting labour going and after nine hours on the drip I was chugging along very slowly. I’d been standing up for the last five or so hours. I’d been pleading with my body to let my baby out and it just wasn’t working.
The doctors came in a number of times telling me what I already knew. They wanted to take me to surgery. Our girl wasn’t distressed but she also wasn’t budging. My contractions, though they were coming close together were not particularly strong. I could have slapped the doctor when he told me I didn’t look like the contractions were uncomfortable. “This is what nine months of training for a calm birth get you!” I should have yelled. But he meant well.
I’d been texting my mum through the whole process. She was at home with Lucy. She gave me so much encouragement. It felt like having her in the room not just receiving her texts but remembering all the words she has spoken to me in my pregnancy and in my life. What a blessing to grow up with a midwife mother. She taught me about birth, about how to prepare yourself and deal with the marathon of labour. She taught me about natural childbirth and how to stick up for your rights as a pregnant woman. Though she was looking after my firstborn she was right there with me in the wisdom she embedded in my heart and soul. She is the reason I knew I had to fight for my natural birth. I knew I would have to exhaust every option so that I would feel empowered about my birth experience the next day.
I collapsed into Myles arms. So much of me wanted to give up. But I knew that I had to give my all. I had to know that I did all I could do. So I asked for more time.
They gave me two hours. I could go for a caesarean now or in two hours. It didn’t seem like very long and in fact it wasn’t. During the two hours they kept checking and checking. Nothing improved. The decision was taken out of my hands. I would go in for surgery again.
It took longer this time than with Lucy. Because our girl wasn’t distressed they had more time. I signed the form and the midwives prepped me for surgery. They took out my drip and I sat down. It felt so good to sit down. The contractions all but stopped. Another blow. It was all the drugs. My body hadn’t taken over. Myles and I chatted. Despite the disappointment in my body it was pretty exciting. We would see our little girl soon. By hook or by crook she’d be out soon. I couldn’t wait to meet her.
Off to surgery I went on my stretcher bed with my chin held high. It was all very casual and friendly. The surgeons made jokes as they wheeled me in. Nice ones. It was the most familiar part of my labour so far. Once again I surrendered my body to the hospital machine. I sat up on the bed while they put in the spinal block. The anaesthetist took a good few goes to get it in. I began to feel very nervous. I tried not to think about the knife or the needle for that matter. My body went numb, they called Myles in and began.
In high tradition Myles and I sung our little girl into the world. Lord of Lords, Let the Weak Say I Am Strong, Jesus Paid it All. My voice was weak but my heart was willing. Myles will tell you I seemed quite out of it. I think after all that time I was just happy for the lie down.
After what seemed like not long at all I heard that blessed sound. Our girls first cry. She was gurgling and spluttering a bit. A bit of something had gone down the wrong pipe. But she was out! My heart filled up and ran over. There is no sweeter noise. Myles went over to cut the cord and then brought our girl straight over to me. We had told the doctors that I wanted skin to skin straight away. They had laid all the dressings so that we could.
My Norah girl was put on my tummy and there we lay looking at one another. She was a dark purply pink colour and had a thick mop of black hair. She was covered in gloop but she was mine. My sweet girl. It was just after four in the morning. The twenty first of March.
She nosed around for a while and then leapt her way over to her first feed. They took us up into recovery and then to my room. I had lost a fair bit of blood in the operation but didn’t need a transfusion. We settled in to our shared room and Myles fell asleep on the floor. The sun came up on Norah’s birthday and I held her in my arms so glad that she had come safely into the world.