So, as far as I (or anyone else at work) knows, one of our colleagues is probably a father right now. And that made me realise, I’ve mentioned a few of the things that happened around my daughter’s birth, but I’ve never told the actual story. So, why not? Let’s use today’s post to discuss just that!
I won’t go through the conception reaction or anything, since my daughter was largely planned for. Instead, let’s take a look at the hours leading up to the birth, the birth itself and what happened afterwards. Who knows, maybe a Dad’s perspective will be something interesting to read? Perhaps…?
Counting The Seconds
It all started when my wife began to get a “stomach pain” that was worse than any of her normal ones. When it dissipated, but then re-occurred just a few minutes later, we knew straight away that her contractions were starting. So she sat down and I began running around the house gathering everything for the hospital bag. We had a lot of time, in hindsight, but panic took over me (and I’m not ashamed to admit that).
One piece of advice to those expectant Dads; get the hospital bag ready pre-contractions. It didn’t help my wife’s mood to see me running around like a headless chicken.
Anyway, I started timing the contractions on my phone, making note of the space between them. The hospital bag had been gathered, and I was still flustered. It was, after all, 11pm at night and I’d had a busy day at work that way… So I was already running on fumes. Luckily, those fumes had a lot of life in them!
Get To The Chopper
As soon as the contractions were close enough, we both decided it was time to head to the hospital. At this point, it was about 1am on the Thursday morning, and like Arnie, I was helping my wife get to our “chopper”, a wonderfully broken old Hyundai Accent. I could feel the panic setting in again, and as we drove, both of us wondered if it was too early and they’d just send us back again. They did.
So, we’d driven 30 minutes to the hospital, waited to be seen, and then drove 30 minutes back again. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were in the house at the time as well, and were very surprised and confused when we turned up again. My wife was getting stressed now, so the three of us did what we could to calm her down and keep her comfortable (I’m actually laughing at using that word when contractions are involved). Time went by very slowly as we continued to time the contractions and wait for my wife’s water to break.
However, by 6am we decided that it was probably time again. However, this time I phoned the hospital first to get their opinion. They agreed and back to the car we went.
Stuck In Limbo
So, by 6:30ish on the Thursday morning, we arrived at the hospital’s maternity ward, and were shown to the waiting room. My wife was in agony already, and it was really hard to watch her go through the pain of contractions. Little did we know that we’d seen/felt nothing yet!
It took about another hour or so until we were taken through to one of the “examination cubicles”, and by this point the contractions were getting pretty damn frequent. They gave my wife a bed to lay on whilst we waited, and we got to sit and listen to all of the crying babies echoing through the halls. Strangely, it actually made me even more excited for my daughter’s arrival! However, after another hour or so, we were moved to a private waiting room because they needed the hospital bed.
It was here that one of the midwives came to check my wife’s “progress”… (I hate using that term). Unfortunately, whilst doing her checks, the midwife must have pushed a little too hard, and she actually broke my wife’s water by accident!
With that, they moved us to the other side of the maternity ward, into the delivery area. We were taken to another room, and by this time (about 9am I think) my wife was having trouble standing because of the pain. It was horrifying to see the amount of anguish she was going through.
So, the midwives gave her the gas to try and numb the pain… She really breathed it in as much as she could. But it didn’t appear to be helping whatsoever. Luckily, there was a spare birthing bath, so they set it up and filled in, before helping my wife to climb in. It helped… For a while…
After sitting in the birthing bath for a good couple of hours, the pains got worse, so they gave her the gas as well. Again, it helped at first. We spent most of Thursday in that room, my wife trying to ease her pain and me just trying to help and follow orders as best I could. It was a long day, especially for her. The worst part, however, was that my wife really liked the midwife that sorted the birthing bath out, but her shift finished and two other midwives came to help out. They weren’t as friendly or reassuring…
And so it was that Thursday became Friday, and they needed to clean the bath out ready for someone who was scheduled to actually give birth in said bath. They dried my wife off, and moved us to yet another room. Thankfully, it was nice and large private room. This was at about 5am on Friday, if I remember correctly.
The Long Wait
By this time, my wife’s pains were almost unbearable for her, and nothing I could do helped. To be honest, it makes you (as the birthing partner) feel pretty useless and helpless.
Eventually, my wife asked for anything that could stop the pain, and we agreed to an epidural. Now, I know some people don’t like the idea of using an epidural, but my wife just could not stand the pain anymore. Plus, after being in labour for 24 hours at this point, I think she deserved it…
And boy, does it work! As soon as it took effect, she was so much more comfortable. It was actually pretty damn incredible. Oh, and in hindsight, it was probably the right move. You see, we stayed in that room, my wife laying on the bed, through two midwife shift changes! They kept checking how dilated my wife was, but it was never enough. Then, sometime after the sun had gone down once again, they checked on my daughter’s positioning, and found that she’d moved upwards, instead of downwards.
We were told they would wait a few hours more and then, if nothing had changed, we’d need an emergency C-section. That was not what my wife wanted to hear.
One Last Try
Well, here we are… The moment of my daughter’s birth. It was at 7am on the Saturday morning that the hospital staff decided to take my wife down to the operating room. It was terrifying, if I’m completely honest. I had no idea what would happen next, nor whether everything would be OK. My wife still wasn’t dilated enough, and my daughter had moved upwards slightly further.
I can honestly say that I’ve never been so scared in my life!
When we got to the operating room, however, my wife was fully dilated. So, the doctors and midwives decided to let her try and push my daughter out. It didn’t work. So, as one final attempt before the emergency C-section, they grabbed some forceps and tried again. This time, with a lot of pushing power, I heard my daughter cry for the first time ever.
A Week’s Holiday
Ok, so “holiday” is really the wrong term, but after the birth, my wife and daughter needed to remain in the hospital for a further week. Because her water had broken early, and she had gotten an infection, both of them were taken to a private room and she was told to stay in bed. Every 2 hours, the doctors would come by and give both of them injections of antibiotics, so sleep was luxury for them.
By the third day, you could tell how much of a toll it was having on my wife, and especially on my daughter. It was heartbreaking. And what made it worse for me was that I couldn’t be there all the time… Only just through visiting hours. So going home every day whilst my wife and daughter were stuck in that room was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever experienced. But, after 7 days in that room, and an awful lot of antibiotics, the day finally came when I could take my family home.
And That’s All Folks
That was my daughter’s rather stressful birth story. In total, my wife was in labour for 54 hours, which is an experience neither of us are going to forget anytime soon… Thankfully, my daughter is now a healthy 2 year old, and we’re all enjoying life together.
What was your birth story? How did you find the hospital staff? Let me know in the comments below!