Look what I made! Approx one week ago, our super rad little boy, Archer Lachlan Adventure, was pushed and pulled after approx 15 hours of trying to get out. He certainly lived up to his middle name in getting out into the world.
It started late the night before. I had cooked up a massive steak meal for myself and S, and then we took an evening stroll. The idea being we were trying to kick things along as the pregnancy was 4 days overdue and there was talk of inducement. By the time we got home and went to bed, she was aching around the lower abdomen and hips, but we put it down to pre-labour pains and went to bed…or tried to.
By 1am the next morning, she was up with the first of the contractions. I immediately realized how relatively useless I would physically be in this process, so grabbed my iPhone and opened the contractions app I had downloaded, I started to indulge my inner-Olympic timekeeper. Quickly a pattern had developed and we were at 30 sec contractions every 4-5 minutes, which according to plans was Hospital time (much like Hammer time but with more antiseptic).
We hit the hospital in record time, thanks to being only around the corner and there not really being any substantial records for that type of thing. It was 3am. We checked into Emergency, but not before I had called some very expectant Grandparents to be. We met our Midwife, R, who was our back-up to the Midwife we had been dealing with. I should have known this was an indicator things weren’t going to go exactly how we thought! R did a check on Wife to see how far along she was. This involved her doing things with her hands that I had only previously seen a vet do to a cow. I would see this repeated another dozen times during the day. Apparently she wasn’t dilated enough, so she sent us home to ‘relax’ (her words…a bit of a birth-hippy!)
Home we went. It was here that we had a visit from Mr Pain. I think S remarked about 1 hour in that it was unbearable and she couldn’t do this- this was concerning as for the last 9 months she had been OK with it, and at this point there wasn’t much I could do. The contractions hit unbearable so we phoned back in and headed for the hospital.
I would like to say that once there, the party kicked off! But it didn’t. After all, we went public. The best we could manage was a game of administrative pass the parcel, as they worked out which birthing suite (sounds fancy but I wouldn’t go to one to celebrate an anniversary, although it did have a spa bath, which is more than I can say for a certain inner-Sydney boutique hotel!) and a game of non-musical chairs. Non musical chairs involved me sitting in a solitary chair for the next 10 hours, getting up and down to attend to the pains of my labouring wife. Not that I was doing much. Mr Pain was getting taken care of thanks to a heavy make out session S was having with the gas inhaler.
Speaking of drugs, she was going to avoid them if possible. However it quickly became apparent she was going to hit them harder than early 90’s Anthony Kiedis could say ‘Blood, Sex, Sugar, Majik’. Dosed up on the gas, which proved nothing but a gateway drug to Epidural. The epidural was eventually administered. This was only after trading off with the Birth Hippy. According to her, the pain of a pre-existing back condition could be alleviated with a simple hot bath, as opposed to an injection into the spine blocking the pain receptors. She would later also try to convince S to avoid stitches and “just blow on it to make it better!”
Once the epidural was introduced things went downhill. It didn’t work. The block went too high on the torso, not blocking contractions. It also caused some shakes, and S to turn blue on one side. All this culminated at the end of the birth hippies shift (union rules…fair enough it had been going for over 14 hours). Not to worry- we had Mary, the midwife on duty. She was balancing the birth of our child with some day to day admin. During the 30 minutes Mary failed to introduce herself, the Baby’s heart rate spiked, causing a flurry of monitoring ward Doctor’s to appear like medical Meerkats. They rushed in talking of foetal stress, and of the baby needing to come out NOW. I had been saying something similar for the past 12 hours!
Just as the Dr was preparing the salad servers they call forceps, Mary appeared and suggested we ‘push’ one of her two great ideas for the day…the other being putting on pants. Considering S was now past 10cm dilated, this had an immediate effect and she managed to get the job 90% done.
In the manic haze of energy at this moment, my lasting memory won’t be her grace, strength, bravery or composure but the advice given by one of the attending Doctors. “Now is time to push…just like you are doing the biggest poo of your life!” Poetic and beautiful. Push she did! And within 5 minutes little Archer was pushed and pulled into the world. Mum was relieved it was over finally, and Dad stoked he had a little boy.
However the joy was short lived. Archer’s lungs were still asleep and not functioning properly on his own. A tense 30mins followed, which resulted in him and Dad taking a trip to the ICU and Mum left to dry in the stirrups for an hour on her own. Don’t think this was mentioned in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. Apparently it was peak hour, with 5 bubs popping out in 40 mins.
Archer spent the night in ICU getting some help with his breathing and some general monitoring. Eventually Mum got to meet him and his name was formally decided. Archer Lachlan Adventure certainly lived up to his name with his entry to the world(the Adventure part…he didn’t indulge in Archery mid-delivery in a Loch based land). It wasn’t a perfect birth, but he was a perfect result.