Here’s a story about a couple of days that have changed me forever.
It was 9AM. I woke up in bed as usual next to my girlfriend Sarah. Her pregnant belly was a weird shape. She moaned as she turned onto her side – and crack. I told her it sounded like his leg snapping in half. She needed a wee and went to the toilet – and said it’s weird it’s coming out without pushing. We debated whether her waters had broken until it was confirmed by a rush of water down her legs. It wasn’t long until there were trails of water all over the house. We called the MLU – and because there wasn’t any pain (contractions) we were sent to the main hospital to get checked out. About 5 seconds later the contractions started. We had our showers and headed to the hospital.
At about 11:00AM Sarah was strapped into a machine that recorded the babies pulse and the contractions. She was having contractions but in no kind of uniform pattern. They were really strong too. The nurse eventually turned the screen away because I was jumping up and down with excitement announcing that the contraction had scored an 80! After a while on the machine the nurse had a feel about and told us that stuff was happening, she was 2cm dilated and to get to the MLU. After a stupidly long wait in the waiting room, we headed off. It soon became obvious that Sarah was unable to walk, and would never make it to the car. Doubled over in the corridor an old man asked if we wanted a wheel chair and ran off. We waited for a while and as the contraction had stopped, I said fuck this, lets not bother waiting, and we started to walk on. Just then a shout from behind as he came bounding down with the wheelchair. This guy didn’t work there, I don’t know who he was, but huge thanks to him. Because the next thing we knew we were at the car. Sarah was screaming at me that we should have stayed there, I told her it was less than 2 minutes away. I wondered what to do with the wheelchair – and assumed that would understand that it was an emergency so just abandoned it on the car park.
The time was 12:30 when we arrived at the MLU. Sarah decided she needed a poo. So she got on the toilet and didn’t have one. Her Mom came in soon afterwards. Sarah was scared to push incase the baby came out. We assured her that he was hours away and just to have a shit if she needed one. After a lot of crying and screaming she was coaxed on the bed. A new midwife came in, she didn’t have a Walsall accent – so she obviously was in charge. She examined Sarah and determined that this baby was coming RIGHT NOW. Sarah was under a huge amount of pain. She started hitting the gas and air. She still needed a poo – and told us a lot. At one point even explaining that it was her bum that needed the poo. With two pushes the baby’s scalp was visible. Another couple of pushes got the top of his head out. Another push got his face out. The umbilical cord was around his neck.. which scared the shit out of me, but I tried to hide it for Sarah’s sake. The midwife called something to someone outside, and after receiving a response told Sarah to push, untangled the cord and his lifeless ragdoll body flopped out behind the head. The body seemed to come alive, he was towelled off and passed to Sarah. She looked panicked. I was about to tell her he was fine and healthy when he made a little cry sound and she burst into tears. He was gorgeous and healthy. Born at 1:35.
There was blood and shit everywhere. When the baby was passed to Sarah he also did a really black shit all over the place. He had also tore her a bit. So we all had a hold of him and a relax. We all fell in love with him. Sarah gave birth to the placenta and I cut the cord. Sarah started to feel pain again. We all assured her that her body had gone through a big change, and is now changing back. The baby was breast fed, he slept, he got held by many more family members, and slept some more. The one thing that surprised me about all of this is that he hardly every cried. I thought they were meant to cry non stop? I dressed the new, still unnamed baby. The midwife came and sewed her tear up. She had a local anaesthetic but the pain was really bad so she had to hit the gas and air hard again. She settled for a while but the feeling of needing a poo came again. We tried her on the toilet, we tried her walking around, we tried her on the toilet. Eventually it was determined that she needed to go to the hospital.
An ambulance was called and arrived before we even knew about it. Sarah couldn’t do anything so it was left to me to pack all the bags and get the baby in his car chair. I was way out of my depth. I convinced a nurse to put him in his chair for me, and to make sure it was all safe in the car. I headed over. I didn’t know where we were going so we went to the same place I’d been that morning. Luckily Sarah was already there, in a room, with midwives laughing and joking around her. It was determined that she had a hematoma, which to my understanding is a big balloon of blood. Her bladder was drained – giving her a lot of relief. She was given an epidural and was taken to surgery. I was all alone with our new son. He was being nice and chilled though, just looking around. It was still a huge relief when Sarah’s Mom turned up a few minutes later.
We sat and chatted, kept family members informed. I tried to find any kind of distraction to take the negative thoughts out of my mind, to stop my eyes filling up with tears. After what felt like forever but was probably more like an hour, we were moved to the recovery room to wait for her. A good while later she was rolled in. Looking like a completely different person. No longer strained, no longer stoned, no longer a red twisted face. Instead a white, smiling, pretty face. The kind of face you get after having a huge shit. She couldn’t feel her legs and would have to stay in overnight. She was given her own room and we all gathered around happy. At about 11:30PM I headed home. Jackass had been alone all day and needed feeding. I wouldn’t be able to sleep properly there anyway, it’d be like sleeping on a plane. The baby would be well looked after. Everyone wins.
The next morning I woke up refreshed and happy. So I decided to text Sarah. As I started to type the indication came up showing that she’d started typing too. She had bad news for me, the baby had to have an x-ray. Over night the nurses had been looking after him and noticed he was throwing up bile. This is usually determined to be a bowel obstruction. This didn’t sound like a big issue. Bowel obstruction.. it’ll work through his system or they’ll be able to fetch it out or something right? When I got to the hospital I was pleased to see Sarah looking much better. She had got feeling back in her lower half and was holding the baby. That morning in the shower I had decided we were calling him Alex. So I let her know. Then we let everyone else know.
The nurse told us that the baby will have to go to the neonatal unit and asked if I’d like to follow her so I knew where it was. The neonatal unit is the scariest fucking place I have ever been in my life. Lots of ill babies in little tanks with wires and tubes coming off them, with their worried desperate parents looking on. We’re those parents now. I said hello to everyone and one of the doctors explained to me what was going to happen. They were going to get him in a tank and stick lots of wires and tubes in him. Then they were gonna try to get him to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital to investigate the obstruction – and maybe cut him open and fix it. I am not thrown by many things in life, I can approach most things level headed without any kind of emotional reaction. This isn’t one of them. The nurses explained the visiting hours and made it clear that me and Sarah can come and see him at any time. Because of Sarah’s problems she’d have to stay in the hospital while I followed the baby to Birmingham to sign any consent forms.
I explained the situation to Sarah and we went and visited him. Sarah in a wheelchair because after losing a litre of blood she was still quite swollen and queezy. He was in the tank now. The nurse explained that the tube in his nose is to take away the bile in his stomach – because it isn’t passing through his body. He isn’t allowed to eat anything but the nurse assures us that he won’t mind for a day. Sarah wept as she held his hand through one of the holes on the side of the tank. He seemed happy enough. As if he was sunbathing. Basking in the heat. Asleep by occasionally stretching out.
We were moved from the private room to a ward with three beds in. The bed opposite was occupied by a young girl. She was being discharged with her baby and was filling out a form. She argued with her boyfriend on how to spell “nothing”. The midwife told her it would be a good idea for her to take notes of which pills she takes at home. she asked whether the midwife could do that. The midwife explained that she wouldn’t be there when she was taking them. These wards are the number one reason I would consider going for private healthcare. I trust the doctors and nurses 100%. Just give us our own room. Don’t make us listen to shitmuchers talk about their shitmucher friends buying a shitmuncher phone from a shitmuncher. Eventually the room was empty except for Sarah, which was great. They allowed us a lot of family to visit which I think really cheered Sarah up. But she was really cold, shivering visibly. She was really pale, almost yellow. But she was happy enough.
At about 8PM there was a shift change and the new midwife on duty told us she was waiting for results of a test and if they’re good she will discharge Sarah. The shift change was like black and white. We’d gone from not seemingly being cared for at all to being cared for completely. The midwife explained that because Sarah’s iron levels are so low she could do with a blood transfusion. The aim was to give her the blood transfusion and discharge her tomorrow.
And what is where we are at the time of writing. What started off as a very straight forward birth turned into a rollercoaster ride of our worst fears. Our love for Alex was instantaneous and total. It breaks our hearts to be away from him but he’s in the best place he can be right now. In a lot of ways we were quite lucky. If Sarah didn’t get the hematoma we wouldn’t have gone to the hospital. We’d have taken Alex home and would be wondering why he wasn’t working properly. Things could have got a lot worse. All we can do now is put our faith in the doctors and nurses.