20 October 2006

Special Delivery #3

The Making of Mitchell - the hard bit.
About four years ago, I competed in a large, full-contact karate tournament. I was in a big room surrounded by many people, all yelling my name and encouraging me to keep going, to ignore the pain, to not give up and to really push myself. Suddenly in the Delivery Suite, I was again in a big room surrounded by a crowd of people yelling much the same stuff.

Only this was much harder.

Dr Nicholl and his protege Tania were there, as well as Alison the Grumpy Midwife and of course my super-husband. Dr Nicholl explained that when I felt a contraction come on, I should push as hard as I could until I couldn't feel the contraction anymore.

It doesn't sound like much in theory - simply push downwards with all the muscles in your body for twenty or thirty seconds, without breathing, then repeat it every couple of minutes for about an hour. On the other hand, it does sound a bit difficult, doesn't it?

The epidural was fading pretty fast now, and the contractions were quite clear. As each one built up, I said "here it comes", then pushed with all my might while hubby, who was right next to me, did a magnificent coaching job. It reminded me of our kickboxing practice sessions, when he would miraculously get me to run around the oval just ooooonce more, when I thought I couldn't. Both obstetricians and Alison the G.M. were also very vocal, and it really did help a lot.

Unfortunately, Fetie wasn't paying much attention. Despite the vocal enthusiasm of my coaches; the physical contortions I was performing with two people pushing my knees back and grinding my elbows into the mattress; and the huffy-puffy I was contributing, the little guy only moved about five centimetres, and his heart rate came through the monitor in increasingly erratic patterns. After nearly ninety minutes, we all congratulated each other on our efforts but agreed with Dr Nicholl's assessment - that Fetie needed forceps - or "the salad servers" as he called them.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't relieved. I mean, it would have been great to go without the physical trauma of forceps and the accompanying episiotomy, but after an hour-and-a-half of pushing and no pain relief, I was pretty keen to get the whole thing over with. Dr Nicholl gave me a 30-minute rest while the epidural was topped up again (aaaaaaah lovely!), the stirrups and screen were set up and the various pediatricians were summoned to prepare for the arrival.

What seemed like seconds later, Dr Nicholl asked me if I was ready to push again. I certainly was, and my husband/coach kicked into gear right away, with lots of "come on baby!"s and "that's it - you can do it"s at all the right moments. This was, however, a slightly more delicate affair, as the doctors needed to manouvre the forceps and Fetie's head to the right spot without injuring anyone. At some point Tania performed the episiotomy, though I couldn't feel a thing.

Only about three pushes later, hubby was invited down to the Business End to see the arrival of his son. Despite the fact that we'd agreed many weeks previously to keep hubby up at the clean end of my body, he really did think it would be rude to refuse, so down he went. This was the moment that it all became real at last, and it finally sank in that an actual baby was being born. Hubby took one look and said, "Oh my God! I can see an ear!" It's certainly a moment I'll never forget.

Then, two careful pushes later, I could see him. My son. Halfway out, then all the way. Finally, after all these months and the longest day of my life, a little blue baby appeared, arms outstretched and mouth wide open. The emotional impact was indescribable (I'm a bit teary typing this!). In moments he was cleaned and breathing, and was on my chest. "Hello! Hello! Hello! Oh, hello!" was all I could say. It felt so incredibly good to meet him at last, and to have my gorgeous husband there to share the moment with me.

Apparently during the next few minutes the placenta arrived, I was given stitches and the bedclothes were changed, but as far as I was concerned, nothing else happened that day. I just fell in love with my little, battle-scarred boy.


Mitchell, Mum & Dad.

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