Isabel’s Birth Story, Part Two

In my new room on the MLU (see part one) I was hooked up to a cylinder of gas and air (and, incidentally, went through 3 of these before I was finished) because they had no wall supply and ditched the TENS… the batteries had died anyway. I was given another internal — 7cm dilated, dilating at 1cm an hour give or take — and offered more pain relief.

I was hoping to finish the labour on the gas and air alone, because up until everything had actually started I’d had visions of having a laid back labour with as much walking and squatting as possible to promote a faster and easier birth. Unfortunately, this was a tad naive and greatly underestimated the pain I’d be in. On reflection I am glad I felt so confident (for lack of a better word) because I think it helped relax me, and ultimately got me to 7cm dilated on just the gas and air. That said, I was under no illusions of being some kind of hippy Earth mother and gladly accepted a shot of pethidine at this point.

I’m not sure if it was the pethidine or having spent about 4 hours inhaling nitrous oxide, but I remember shortly after the shot I was kneeling on the bed with the head raised for me to lean on, and with each contraction I was having what can only be described as a “detached” experience… I was being talked through my breathing by the midwife who had a very odd accent, and I felt like I was no longer in my own head. Not an out of body experience because physically I felt “there”, it was just the weirdest mental trip ever.

I don’t recall much between that point, and a few hours later when the midwife finished her shift and a new midwife started, must have been approx. 6am by then and I’d been up since just after 7am the day before. I didn’t feel overly tired at the time, and 9(?) hours of labour had gone by in what felt more like 3-4 hours. Karl probably disagrees as I’d had him standing up giving me back rubs, as well as holding my hand, poor bugger.

It was another couple of hours before the midwife asked me if I’d had any urges to push (er, no). I had to change positions on the bed so that she could break my waters (didn’t hurt, didn’t feel anything, I was just suddenly lying in a big wet patch), and I had another shot of pethidine because the other had worn off. Breaking my waters did the trick because shortly afterwards I knew I needed to push.

It took half an hour of pushing to deliver Isabel, although the majority of that didn’t seem to be achieving anything. At one stage the midwife made me put down the gas and air because she thought I was concentrating more on that than pushing. I was actually just suffering from excruciating back pain — because I was lying down.. worst decision ever — made worse each time I tried to push. It felt like my spine was being torn out, and I screamed more swear words than I realised I knew. It got to the point where I was in so much agony I just lay there crying at the midwife that I couldn’t do it (not really sure what I expected her to do, it’s not like I could change my mind at that point!)

I made my biggest “mistake” right at the end, as Isabel was born. Because I was tired, and in pain, I gave one last huge push to finish off, which didn’t give the midwife time to “help” her out… Isabel turned too quickly and I ended up tearing. I had at least 6 labial stitches (TMI, yay) — I’d not even realised prior that you can tear that way — and lost 400ml of blood. I remember seeing some on the wall at the end of the bed! It sounds scarier than it was, though; and well worth it for such a lovely ‘prize’.

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28 comments so far

  1. Vasili said:
    On December 12, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks for that lovely mental picture in the last paragraph. Nice thing to read as the first thing since waking up. :P

  2. Aisling said:
    On December 12, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I kind of vomitted at the end of this entry. I need to lay down, but I’m on a bus. D: Urrrgghhh. Um, but, yay, Isabel! :P

  3. Meggan said:
    On December 12, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    YAY BABIES! Oh man, I mean, I guess at least you didn’t have an episiotomy but still, tearing! Of the ladybits! Ack. Totally understand the urge to just be DONE with the whole thing. You sound like you did great! I was over on the other side of the pond cheering GO JEM GO at my computer. :)

  4. Chans said:
    On December 12, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    You did an awesome job delivering Isabel Jem! It’s never as easy as they make it out to be on TV or whatever and I don’t think you can fully comprehend what it’s like until you’ve actually done it. I don’t have any children so I can’t speak from experience but I’m sure you feel all that pain and agony you went through was absolutely worth it in the end.

    Thumbs up to Karl too for helping you through it all these hours of labour, even though the women do all of the hard work delivering dad’s are usually forgotten when it comes to the mental support they give.

  5. Clem said:
    On December 12, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Oh no, that does sound scary. But of course it was worth it in the end. :) And, you know, you had the support of a million people on the internet, even though you didn’t know it at the time. Twitter EXPLODED after you tweeted that you were going to the hospital! Also, I know you’ve heard this 24730293 times, but I really love Isabel’s name.

    Am I the only one who doesn’t feel like vomiting/etc? :P

  6. Vera said:
    On December 12, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Wow blood on the wall… if you had had a boy, I’m pretty sure he’d find that such a cool story :P Then again, maybe Isabel too will (in time) find it cool :)

    Well, as long as you are able to make fun of it like this (now), I guess things didn’t end up too bad then.

  7. Emsz said:
    On December 12, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    @Clem: No, you’re not the only one :P

    I’m a horrible person right now and grinning at that last paragraph. *hides* It’s just the way you describe it that makes it funny, though I am sure that it wasn’t (and still isn’t) very fun for you.

  8. Angela said:
    On December 12, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Well, that sets me back another 20 yrs for having kids (I’ll be about 480 yrs old when I’m ready now). Haha. Seriously though, congratulations! I’m glad it went well and you’ve got your sweet little prize. Hope you’re getting enough rest now!

  9. Trish said:
    On December 12, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    :O I think I’ll definitely wait a few more years before I have a kid. To think that my mom went through so much pain to push out a little turd like me…my mom couldn’t get any drugs because there wasn’t time or something. Poor woman. D:

  10. Mar said:
    On December 12, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    That sounds like a completely awful experience. Having heard so many stories like this, I’m really not sure why i want a child of my own someday. Ah well. I do, so I don’t think anything is gunna stop me.

  11. Mumblies said:
    On December 12, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I think you will find the detached feeling you experienced was the gas and air Jem, some find it useless, others find it extremely helpful. I myself had problems getting the G?

    Although having Isabel was hard work, I am certain that you agree it was worth it and as I told you before, give it another month and you will have totally forgotten that pain and simply remember the wonderful feeling you get when you finally hold your baby for the very first time and gaze upon the miracle of love and life and you and Karl created.

    A beautiful baby she is too, a treasure to cherish and a joy to behold. I’d like to thank you both for this wonderful gift of a granddaughter too.

    For all of your readers, I am sorry that you won’t get to see Isabel, she truly is beautiful.

  12. Hev said:
    On December 12, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Oh my, I am so sorry that you tore. Make sure that the midwives or the ob checks those. My mother also tore with me. But wasn’t it worth it in the end.

  13. Audrey said:
    On December 13, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Thank you for sharing such a personal story. The eew factor is high, but you’re known for your realistic style I think. It’s good the ripping wasn’t any worse. I’ve heard some aweful stories of similar situations where the mother nearly died from it. Now you’re both safe and sound with all of your fingers and toes! (:

  14. Louise said:
    On December 13, 2009 at 3:21 am

    Aww man! I just ate lunch! :P Nah, it’s cool. I’m glad it was all worth it! :D

  15. Melinda said:
    On December 13, 2009 at 4:56 am

    Uuuuuuurrrghh! This sounds so scary. More reason I shouldn’t have children. But, my wimpiness aside… Yay babies! Congratulations. :D

  16. Kris said:
    On December 13, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Nope, I don’t feel like vomiting Clem :)

    But then I has held Isabel, and she has lovely soft hair. ( All be it sometimes crusty. )

  17. Meg said:
    On December 13, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Kind of wish I hadn’t read that last paragraph, but congratulations times a million!

  18. Mallory said:
    On December 13, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Oh my God, tearing during childbirth sounds worse than even the contractions, if you ask me! Yikes. Although, it could have been worse, I suppose … After all, some mothers aren’t able to deliver their child naturally at all. C-Section scars FTL!

    And while this entry didn’t gross me out, exactly, it did make me even more positive that I never want to have children of my own. Ever.

  19. Hanna said:
    On December 13, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I guess I just have travel there to check what kind of little treasure she is. :)

  20. Rachel said:
    On December 13, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Wow…that sounds painful. I don’t think I want kids, ever, though I’m too young anyway. XD
    I’m really glad that Isabel was worth it though, though it’s kinda obvious that you’re gonna feel that way. :) Congratulations as well(again), and I hope everything goes well for you from now on. =)

  21. Caasi said:
    On December 14, 2009 at 12:27 am

    I did exactly the same thing with the declaring I could no longer do it. Completely useless but it felt like the right thing to have said at the time.

    Major grats! I hope all is going well for you and that you’ve not had any complications since Isabel’s birth.

    I’m kind of feeling the opposite to Mallory. While I wouldn’t go as far as to say this makes me want to have another baby, it’s certainly not put me off any.

  22. Georgina said:
    On December 16, 2009 at 11:34 am

    TMI indeed, but ouch… *cringe* I can’t imagine the pain you must have felt. :O Nevertheless, I have to agree with Cassi. Childbirth has always freaked me out quite a bit but I would love to have children in the future. I’m glad that despite the pain it was worth your little one. :)

  23. Carly said:
    On December 20, 2009 at 10:17 am

    I’ve officially been put off childbirth for life now, thank you Jem :-D

    ‘Karl probably disagrees as I’d had him standing up giving me back rubs, as well as holding my hand, poor bugger. ‘

    Poor bugger…!!! I can’t remember the name of that film about babies, but I do remember the line ‘I’ve just had to push something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a pea!’ (or words to that effect…)

  24. Lilian said:
    On December 21, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Ooh er, that made me feel faint. You have a way with words m’dear. But of course, it was all worth it for the result :) That result being a tiny, epic farting-machine.

  25. Erin said:
    On December 22, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about the tearing but I loved how you mentioned the blood at the foot of the bed. Mostly because it reminds me of all the times my mom said told such colorful stories at the kitchen table in order to mess with us kids. And here you are messing with the innernets. =D

    Congrats on Isabel’s successful arrival. I’m so happy for you all. =)

  26. Tehomet said:
    On December 23, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    Congratulations!

  27. ErisDS said:
    On January 7, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I just wanted to say that this is at the same time both the most beautiful ?

    I am a similar age to you and at a time in my life where I know that’ll be me soon. I’m excited and horrified but mostly petrified of how much it will change me.

    I know I’m a bit late but still, congratulations on Isabel’s birth and I wish you all the best. Please keep sharing those special moments in that fabulous gutsy style of yours!

    Eris

  28. Grandpa said:
    On March 5, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Now, when Isabel is bathed, fed, burped and all nice and sweet smelling, you’ll realise how I felt about your Mum when I was allowed to cuddle her, I just loved her to bits!! You will know of course that her first words were to me . . . "Lardle, lardle, lardle" LOL. Well done Jem and Karl. XXX Grandpa.