Plan C – when medicine trumps all

When my waters broke at 11 pm Sunday and we drove excitedly towards the hospital for a routine check on my condition. We fully expected to be returning home within a few hours to let the contractions take their course and await active labor. Instead I was still strapped to a monitor in Watford General Maternity Triage at 2 am with a very unhelpful nurse saying of the baby’s heart reading, “well it’s not terrible, but it’s not amazing…” I defy anyone to find any medical print out “amazing”. This level of wooliness did not bode well. What followed was a night of constant monitoring, contradictory opinions, medical meddling and the most intense pain imaginable.

Thank goodness for the Natal Hypnotherapy. Despite all the confusion and potentially worrying condition of the baby, I concentrated on my breathing and didn’t get distressed. Otherwise I could merrily have worked myself into quite a state.

I stayed focused through the incessant beep of the monitor; the crash of the big surly nurse bursting in the room every five minutes to silently stare at the readouts; the three failed attempts to insert a viable cannula into my arm; the long delays each time they said they were going to do something for me; the gaggle of nurses enjoying a laugh at the reception just outside our door; the hormone that was supposed to help speed things up and simply made the pain suddenly so much more intense; the anesthetist’s cryptic questioning while making the first references to the word caesarean and banning all food and drink intake at 4am; and the woman down the corridor screaming out for someone to “kill her now”. My affirmations went out the window, the relaxing music couldn’t be heard over the din, the lights were far too bright and I wasn’t allowed to change positions or walk about in order to help gravity do its work but I didn’t really care. I was thinking of the baby (who I was certain was just being lazy and not really in any distress) and just breathing…

At 7 am the team came in enforce to deliver the news that they were going to perform an emergency C-section. In their mind they had given things a chance to take their course and the hadn’t. Baby hadn’t got worse but there was no signs of any real improvement, so they “had no choice”. In my only real moment of weakness, a few tears of disappointment trickled down my cheek. This wasn’t the way things were supposed to go. None of it was. Then within minutes I was wheeled away to a busy theatre to enjoy a few clumsy attempts to give me an epidural (mid-contractions were a particular delight). The rest was a strange but rather joyful experience. Hubby and I chatted intimately, ignoring as my body was painlessly wrenched and yanked about. Then we heard it, the exasperated cry of our brand new baby boy.

A caesarean couldn’t have been further from our minds at every step of the way, and yet there we were at 8.10 am on 17th March, suddenly welcoming the newest edition to our family. No further mention was made of his potential distress. He scored top marks in his APGAR tests and every other check that followed. So were they right to worry? To mess with the natural progress of things? I guess we’ll never know. All we can do is be thankful for our beautiful little boy and get on with the job of taking care of him.

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