I am very, very proud of myself, my husband and my lovely angel Lucy, for getting through the experience. A very strange thing to be proud of I guess, but I was so worried about Labour and how I would handle the pain that I felt very proud when we got through it and were together as a family for a few hours.
The room they usually used for these sort of 'situations' was already being used, so I was ushered into the room where the birthing pool was. It seemed ironic as I had been planning on using the pool for pain relief when I went into Labour.
I had been forewarned it could take up to 24 hours for labour to really kick in. This sounded horrific to me, and I thought that there was every chance it would take this long as my body did not seem ready to give up my baby just yet.
I was given gel to ripen my cervix and told I would be checked in 6 hours at 10.30pm. Nothing really happened in the first few hours except more tears. We all sat around in the depressing room and wondered if this was really happening. I couldn't tell you what we spoke about, except they were empty, meaningless conversations. Nothing meant anything now my baby had gone.
Eventually I started get low back ache, like before my period. I didn't realise it at the time but these were contractions starting in my back area. John, my Mum and my Sister took turns to rub my back for me, or I would pace the floor rubbing it myself. It was surreal as I had tried to imagine Labour so many times, now here I was but everything was not as it should be. Everything appeared as though lit by a half light, making the experience even more surreal. The backache continued but it was bearable, at 10pm the midwife Meaghan came to check on me and everyone was ushered out of the room.
"Good girl!" she exclaimed, "You are already 5 cms dilated! I am going to break your waters now". A moments discomfort then a warm bath water feeling washed through my legs. "There is blood in your waters" she told me, "You may have had an abruption - have you had any pain?". The guilt as I racked my brains trying to think, had I missed a vital sign that could have saved my babies life? I didn't remember any pains, hell, I would have been straight up the hospital if I had!
She asked me if I wanted any pain relief, I told her no as I thought I had managed so far without any, I'd be OK. Then the next contraction came. And it hurt like hell this time, now that the soft cushion of my amniotic fluid had been removed. So I buzzed and was begging for pain relief, I was given Entinox and Diamorphine. And then things start to get a little hazy....in fact, I lose an hour or two. I have vague recollections of hallucinating, the beeping of equipment made me think I was in a nightclub, I had an entire conversation with John that didn't actually happen. My grasp on reality had slipped waaaaay out of reach. I didn't say much and when I did it was total nonsense. And it doesn't take the pain away, in fact you still feel every single painful contraction you have, but for some reason you just don't seem to care or react in the normal way to the pain. I remember hanging over the back of the bed with the mouthpiece for the gas and air firmly clamped between my teeth, and I though how funny it was that I had been nervous, embarrassed about showing strangers my bits and pieces and yet now here I was, nightie hitched up around my waist, all my bits on display and I couldn't have gived a damn if the Queen herself had popped by. When you are in Labour you go into your own little bubble, you totally withdraw into yourself - well that's how it was for me anyway. Then I am feeling the urge to bear down, and Meaghan is telling me I can push, and I am now saying I need an epidural. Meaghan says I can have one but then she checks and tells me baby is already on the way- it's too late for any more intervention now. So I flip onto my back, and she tells me to push with every contraction. I push with all my strength, and despite the pain I try not to cry out as all I can think is I want my baby to be born with dignity, not to a sweating, cussing, screeching banshee. So I barely utter a sound, and I am concentrating on the words Meaghan is saying, I pant when she tells me to and it burns and burns but I don't push, and then she tells me to push again and so I do and suddenly... relief.
Lucy is born into the world, and the room is silent.
"It's a little girl" Meaghan tells us, and we kiss each other and cry softly, partly with happiness that we finally meet this little person, but mainly with sorrow that she will never be ours to keep or parent in the true sense of the word.
Lucy is placed onto my chest so I can see and I gaze at her through my drug addled fog and barely take in what had just happened. "Her name is Lucy" I mumble, and all doubt as to whether I would use my special name that I had lovingly chosen is gone - Lucy deserves her real name, not a made up name because I am too selfish to part with the name I love that I know won't ever be used for a living child.
And then all hell breaks lose, I am haemorraghing and my uterus won't contract down and they can't stop the blood. The cord was stuck round Lucy's shoulders and when they cut it to free her they cut me as well by accident and so the bottom end of the bed is now awash with blood and medics and doctors trying to stitch me up and trying to stop me bleeding to death. I am being injected, prodded, poked, stitched, manhandled. But I am still in a Morphine fogged dream world, and all I can say to the Midwife is I don't want them to take my uterus away. And I wonder why there is a cleaner at the end of the bed stuffing my lady bits with paper towels, John laters tells me this was another hallucination as it was actually a doctor stitching me up.
And suddenly the room is empty again, and I stare at this little girl on my chest, and I tentatively reach up and touch her face - it is warm - and this surprises me as death is cold in my mind. I stroke her perfect little cheek and marvel at her beauty and how much she looks like both of us but in miniature.