So, when I left you last, I was hooked up to various machines, feeling sorry for myself and hanging out in a hospital room.
Contractions were starting to get more intense (and by that I mean freaking painful), and I was struggling to do anything. I knew instinctively I was nowhere near the final stage of labour (y’know, the bit where you actually have to push out a baby!), so on top of feeling a lot of pain, I was also feeling disheartened and impatient. And tired.
This was the point I decided that I was ready to ramp up the pain relief. I’d gone in with the mistaken belief that I’m sure many women have, that I would try to give birth without any pain relief. Actually I wasn’t far wrong, but I’ll get to that. The midwife had left the room briefly (this surprised me a LOT about being in labour. The midwives leave you alone a lot), and I remember saying loudly and angrily to my very patient other half, ‘Where is that midwife? I neeeeeeeed her! I want the pain relief!!’
When she returned, I asked for more pain relief. I’d had some paracetamol (not even sure why they offer this, it did nothing as far as I could tell), and tried some gas and air. I was hugely disappointed in the gas and air; so many people had told me how great it was but all I had felt was sick and dizzy, so I’d soon given that back. The next step was diamorphine, and oh my lord I’m glad I asked for it. Almost instantly, I felt so warm, cosy and sleepy. I felt like all was right with the world. And I fell asleep. Into the best sleep I’ve ever had. Unfortunately my contractions were strong enough to wake me, roughly every 5 minutes, but 30 seconds of moaning and I was asleep again. During each contraction, I would notice that my husband seemed to be asleep. I’d think, how dare he? I’m in labour with his child and he’s SLEEPING??! But before I could do anything about it I’d lean back on my pillows and fall right back into sleep.
A couple of hours later, I started feeling that elusive feeling; the urge to push. So, I started to push. It only felt like maybe 30 minutes of contractions and pushing, but it turns out it was more like 2 or 3 hours. A long-ass time. It was a good job I’d had that sleep, because I needed the energy. Strangely enough, the pain of pushing out a child didn’t stick with me, but the energy required did. By this point, the diamorphine had lost it’s effect (so I did end up giving birth sans pain relief, in the end!), but still I don’t recall feeling a lot of pain. When I think about giving birth, all I think is how hard it was, how I didn’t think I could do it, and how I wanted it all to stop and for them to just give me a caesarian. But when I heard the consultant say ‘if she’s not out in the next couple of pushes we’re going to have to get the forceps,’ I damn well pushed.
And then, quietly and with minimal fuss, another person entered the world, and this teeny tiny little creature was put onto my chest. She smelt like me, and we knew each other already. She looked at me, and I looked at her, and we were both happy.