"I think I'm having contractions" she said. "I'm taking a bath to see if they calm down."
The baby was past due by 2 days, and it certainly was feasible for an appearance to be made. Eventually we agreed it was time to call the ambulance, and we arrived in the maternity unit at about 6:30 in the morning. On the radio was playing "mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm" by the crash test dummies, and it was a glorious sunny day. The nurse came in.
"Have the waters broken?" she asked.
"I don't think so," she replied.
"Well let me take a look anyway, and see how you're doing."
Just at that moment Chris let out a cry. "Oooooh. I think my waters just broke. It felt like a trickle down my leg."
"Are you sure," asked the nurse, "it normally comes out a lot faster than a trickle."
She did some sort of litmus test, and sure enough it showed the waters had broken. The contractions were about every half an hour, and weren't very painful. So we were moved up to a ward to wait for the long haul.
Chris started to walk up and down the ward, in the hope that it would bring on the labour a bit stronger. After some 9 hours, (and about 24 miles of walking up and down the ward), we were moved back down to the labour ward. The nurse did another inspection and said that she was about 3 cm dilated, and that it wouldn't be long now. Meanwhile, Chris was enjoying the benefits of gas and air, and was gurgling away with glee.
At about 10 o'clock, and whilst the nurses were changing over, something happened on the baby's heart monitor. Alarms started to go off and the heart rate went through the roof. I tried to call the nurse but they were too busy sorting out changeovers, so they said they'd be there asap. When the nurse did appear she said that it was probably the baby finally fully engaging into position and was it was ready to go. Now the contractions started to come thick and fast.
Chris was complaining about the pain. She had a tens machine, gas and air and had had an injection in her bum for pethidine. All weren't enough, but she was sure she didn't want an epidural, so she had to make do with what she had. The contractions were only a minute or so apart, and eventually the nurse said "ok, she's had enough." A quick examination showed she was still only 3cm dilated, and in their words "the baby's going nowhere."
Suddenly a doctor, an anaesthetist and several other plebs appeared. They did their work quickly, anaesthetising the nether region so that a large incision could be made to allow passage for the baby. Using forceps akin to a couple of frying pans, they grabbed hold of the head, and as another contraction came (with the added line "I need the loo") the baby's head appeared. The contraction subsided but it was still not out. "I don't care, just get it out of me" she cried in anguish. "Are you sure? If you're sure?" said the midwife with the
"It's a girl, it's a girl!" he shouted.
"no it's not," I said, seeing the willy...
"Oh yeah," he said, turning the baby round.
Suddenly something strange started to happen. He went limp and blue, so they dashed him out of the room. He came back in a few minutes later, all back to normal and letting out that tired cry.
16 years ago today. Happy Birthday John.