(If you haven’t read part one, check it out here!)
We pick up MY birth story as we arrive at hospital for the second time in just a few hours.
Hospital (Part 2)
In a way, I’m glad we were sent home the first time around. Because we had already walked the corridor to the ward, it didn’t feel so surreal. It was just exciting. After a short wait in a waiting room, we were taken to the delivery room. This time already had one up on the first visit!
Helping Em to the bed, I scouted the room for the different things I’d need, the different things I could be in charge of.
The midwife said ‘Pop yourself on the bed, I’ll take a look at your notes and examine you’. As she looked at the notes, Em had another contraction – the biggest yet. I remember the midwife sliding her glasses down her nose slightly and saying ‘I think you might be further along than you realise….!’
She examined Emma and turned to look at the clock, it was 9:25.
‘What time did you start having contractions, love?’
‘About 1 o’clock,’ we replied.
‘And you haven’t had any pain relief?’
At this point, Em and I were wondering what was going on.
Emma was shocked. I was shocked. The midwife was shocked. A trainee midwife joined us. She was shocked.
Realising that the big push was closer than anticipated, we were shown how to use the gas and air. That became one of my jobs – to give Emma the gas and air when she needed it, and to make sure she stayed hydrated.
By 10pm, with a final few spurts of bonfire night fireworks popping out the window in the distance, Emma was pushing. Strangely, this is probably what I remember the least detail about. When my neice was born, she was out in 15 minutes. That gave me the idea that it wouldn’t be too long. But time went on and there was little movement with each passing contraction. Em changed position several times but nothing was working. After a while (at this point I’m losing all sense of time), the midwives suggested squatting over the toilet – a position that umm, opens things up more naturally, shall we say. That didn’t work either. Back to the bed. By this time, Em was starting to get light headed from the gas and air, so we dialled it down a bit.
Soon we were interrupted. Screams. Huge screams. Distressed screams, from the woman next door. Screams like something was seriously wrong. Then an alarm sounded. Midwives ran down the corridor. One called ‘Crash! Crash! Crash!’. Suddenly we weren’t so concerned that our little boy was taking a while to come out. The senior midwife left to help out next door, and Emma soldiered on.
This was taking so long that the senior midwife returned after about 30 minutes, and still no sign of him coming out. It was now nearing midnight. Emma had been pushing for nearly two hours.
She explained that they normally give it two hours before considering intervening. Because of her low BMI, Emma had been considered a high-risk until around a week before this. She didn’t want to deliver on the high-risk ward with doctors. She was so happy when she was made low-risk. I knew she would hate being told that she’d have to go there. All I could do was reassure her that it was for the best, explaining that they wouldn’t be moving her unless it was necessary.
At midnight, Emma stopped pushing. If I remember correctly, she couldn’t have the gas and air because she wasn’t pushing (apologies if that’s completely wrong and not a thing!). On the high-risk ward, a monitor was strapped to her stomach to monitor the baby. For that reason, she could no longer use the TENS machine, which meant she had to endure every single contraction without any pain relief whatsoever.
This period was probably the hardest for me. When she was pushing, the baby could’ve come at any moment. And I just had to keep her focused on that. But when she wasn’t pushing, and the pain relief was gone, there’s was nothing I could do. She was in agony, and all we could do was wait for the doctor to examine her. I could see Emma really struggling with the pain. She pleaded with the midwives to help her and ‘get this baby out of me’. I was helpless.
The doctor arrived, and with just the head visible, she advised that a surgical forceps procedure would be needed. Throughout the entire pregnancy I was 100% confident that everything would be okay, but hearing that my wife would need to go into surgery scared me. At around 1:15am, Emma was wheeled in to have an epidural and I was shown to a small changing room to change into a set of scrubs. I’d always wanted to wear scrubs, don’t know why – but that was something ticked off my list!
I was told someone would come to get me in a few minutes to take me into theatre. Leaving Emma’s side was the worst thing for me at this stage. At the point where she was most scared, I couldn’t be by her side. I don’t know whether or not it was my eagerness to get back to her skewing time, but it was a lot more than a few minutes. I was stood, pacing back and forth on my own in a dark hospital corridor in the early hours of the morning, wondering why it was taking so long, if it should take this long. It was unbearable.
I think after about half an hour, a nurse came to show me into theatre. Emma was led there, with a glazed smile on her face as she saw me. The epidural had obviously worked. I remember thinking how relaxed the surgeon and nurses were. They were chatting with us both. Maybe it was to keep Em feeling relaxed.
I gripped Emma’s hand as things got underway. I don’t know whether I did it because I was anxious or excited or scared, or whether it was to comfort her. But I did it. And I didn’t let go. The surgeon soon explained why our baby wasn’t budging. With a pleasantly surprised tone, she said, “Ah! There we go. His little arm is up above his head like Superman.”
She told us that no amount of pushing would’ve moved him. That made Em feel a lot better about it. I don’t think she had said it at this point, but I could tell she felt like she’d failed because he wasn’t going to be born naturally.
The surgeon pulled out the forceps and OH MY GOD THEY ARE HUGE AND SCARY AND I WISH I DIDN’T SEE THEM. In a few moments, the head was out. She invited me to take a look. I never intended to look anyway, let alone with his head just sitting there, hanging out of my wifes nether region!
Then it happened.
At 1:59am on Monday 6th November 2018. He was here. He was placed on Emma’s chest. Our little boy. Our beautiful little boy. I was living the most wonderful moment of my life.
I cried. I’d never been so happy.
He gave out one little cry but that was it. He was so content. The surgeon asked which one of us was the laid-back one. We both laughed and said, “neither of us!”
It turned out that the surgeon had to perform an episiotomy to help get our boy out. I don’t even know if she told us as it happened. But we were in surgery nearly another hour as she applied the stitches and inserted a catheter. For the majority of the time, though, I had no idea what else was going on. I just couldn’t take my eyes off our boy and the incredible woman who brought him into the world.
I was invited to accompany a nurse who would weigh him and do the initial checks. I put on his first nappy, but I was so scared to hurt him. He was so small. He was 6lbs 15oz. A little dwt, but our little dwt. Our little Raife Edwards Davies.
So there we have it! The birth of our son from my perspective. There’s still so much I remember from the rest of that night. But you’ve already read around 2500 words of this birth story, so I’ll leave you alone!
I hope you enjoyed this story. It’s the greatest story of my life!