There is no single word in the English dictionary to describe the last 3 days. Where to start… Well, I guess from Thursday morning might help.
As I posted before, Sal went into labour roughly around 2.30 am on Thursday morning, waking me up just before 4 to say she’d started having contractions after getting her ‘show’ (sorry to gross you out) at around 2.00 am. By 8.00 am, the contractions were around 7-8 minutes apart and they looked and sounded painful. By 9.00 am they were 5 minutes apart and looked to be progressing quickly, so we made the decision to go to the hospital. Incidently, in true Sally nature, the entire house was clean by the time we left.
When we got to the hospital, we were directed to a Labour Ward room and Sal was in good spirits, despite the pain of contactions. We were to have a baby sometime today. Hah! A subsequent examination at 10.00 am told us she was only 3cm dilated, which was usually grounds to send us home, but they let us stay – it looked like a quiet morning, we were the only people in the labour ward (and were the only ones for the next 24 hours). At Noon, Dr Chew came and examined Sal and she was only 4cm dilated. Things were progressing slowly, but we were reassured that things usually hastened up from this point on. We still kept our spirits up – well I did. Sal’s contractions were getting more and more powerful, things seemed to be really moving on, however, the examination at 2.00 pm and 5.00 pm, Sal was still 4cm dilated which was a huge surprise. Sal at this point had asked for pain relief and opted to use the bath to try and ease the pain a bit and the combination of Nitrous Oxide with some Pethedine seemed to take the edge off the contractions.
Sal was still getting contractions but no pushing urges and around 10.30 pm, she had another examination, was found to be only 6cm dilated. ‘Is that all’ was Sal’s response. I shared her disappointment, but didn’t voice it (I didn’t want to add to Sal’s quickly declining mood). Sal decided to get back in the bath which was helping a lot and by now she was sucking down breathing in the Nitrous Oxide almost constantly. Sal was 7cm by 1.30am and by 2.30am, she started to get the urge to push, which was what we were waiting for, so we got her out of the bath and onto the bed for an examination which told us Sal was at 9cm dilated. She stayed on the bed for what we hoped was the final stage and first steps into actually giving birth.
The next 2 hours were horrible. Sal was getting the urge to push the baby out and she would totally lock up with the effort, her arms would start shaking and her face would go bright purple with the strain. After the 2 hours, 4.30 am by this stage, Sal was still 9cm dilated. The nurse could feel the baby right up against the cervix as well. They gathered that the baby being right up against the cervix was what was making the urges to push but the cervix not being full dilated wouldn’t have let the baby pass. As the pushes continued, the body would not allow the uteris to contact, thus meaning the cervix would not full dilate – a kind of human body catch-22 situation. The nurse contacted the doctor and assessed the situation, then decided to give Sal., who eagerly agreed, an epidural to stop the pushing, with the hope the body would reinitiate the contractions and fully dilate the cervix.
With the epidural, Sal returned to her normal self, even laughing with the nurse from time to time. They also offered a mattress and a pillow to me to try and get some rest while the epidural was in place. I thought it was quite humourous – I ended up on the floor on a 3-foot square mattress with a pillow and blanket. As it was more than 24 hours (27 I think) after I had last slept, I fell asleep almost instantly. I woke up 2 hours later to find a swarm of people around Sally discussing what to do next, I felt a little silly lying on the floor with all these people…
Sal’s actual doctor had come on duty on the ward and was talking with her and the other nurses. He had done another examination and unfortunately the contractions had not kicked in and she was still at 9cm. The decision was then made to do a ceasarian section to give birth to the baby.
Thirty minutes later, Caitlin was born. It all happened very quickly. They took Sal into the theatre while the dressed me up in the garb for theatre – I was even allowed my camera. I was given a chair at Sally’s head and a sheet was draped over Sally and up over a bar which blocked our view of what was going on (from our angle, if I’d stood up, I’d have seen everything). About 10 minutes after starting, Caitlin was delivered and taken over to the crib and cleaned up, where I was then able to cut the umbilical cord (it was already cut from the placenta before Caitlin was delivered, I just cut the remaining 30cm of it) and a student nurse who was observing took photos for us. We then took Caitlin back up to the Maternity ward while Sal was being stitched up.
It was really unnerving watching the doctors operate on Sally. You would think it was a delicate operation, but the act of actually getting Caitlin out was quite rough, they had to really wrench at something to get her out where the doctor was using his full weight – albeit delicately I’m sure – to move it.
Up at the Maternity ward, we cleaned Caitlin, measured and weighed her and then the nurses gave her to me to hold while they inspected the placenta which was found to be normal and healthy.
So, after 30 hours, Caitlin Elizabeth was born at 8.55am on 23 November 2007. Weighing in at 8 pounds, 2 oz and 53 cm in length. She had a full head of dark brown – almost black – hair and the cutest eyes you’d ever see.
I have many photos of the first 2 days, and will probably have many more which I’ll upload very soon – can’t do it over dialup, but
that I sent to my brother-in-law yesterday. I will just say this, the nurses at the Maternity ward, during the labour were fantastic. They helped out in every way possible and were very very helpful in our difficult situation.