“Babe, wake up. I think my water just broke.” – Part 3

Posted on March 30, 2010

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We arrived at Frances Perry just after 1.15am. It’s March 17 2010.

Thanks to the kind instructions of the midwives, I parked at the 30 minute car parking on the ground level. The traffic attendants only come out to prowl after 7am, so I could leave Thumper out there for five hours.

Michele stepped out of the car and rested her head on the bonnet as Caroline and Crystal fussed over her. I took my time, making sure I brought all the bags and tried to remain calm. I am the buttress of support Michele would be turning to, and an irate and restless husband would not help alleviate her pain.

“It’s going to be a long day,” I thought to myself.

And I wasn’t wrong.

We were brought to the birthing suite on Level 6, all nicely prepped up for Michele’s arrival. It’s where all mothers-to-be deliver their baby the normal way. Of course, at that point we didn’t know how Levi would be delivered so we fully expected to remain in the birthing suite.

Michele was hooked onto the foetal monitoring device again. It was a permanent fixture on her as the staff kept a close eye on the frequency of her contractions.

I remember the night going by really quickly. Every time I glanced at the clock another hour had passed. I guess watching your wife suffer and listening to the very audible gasps of pain, moans, groans and comfort words has an effect on time.

So there Michele lay, with mother, sister and husband by her side. She couldn’t have been in better hands for support. I never left her side, always offering my hand for support. Believe me, touching helps. Michele later told me she could not have done it without my presence. It had a calming effect on her.

Michele opted not to take the gas after one inhalation almost made her gag. That said, the side effects of pre-labour included throwing up, so one way or another Michele had to hurl.

And hurl she did. Everything she drank (to keep her hydrated) came out; everything she had (dinner I suppose?) came out. Every hour or so, she would gag and hurl. The first time, Crystal and I missed the spot and her vomit ended up all over the floor. We had to wipe it off our shoes and clean up the mess.

No position was comfortable. Sitting didn’t help as her back would hurt. Lying on her back hurt even more. Walking was extremely uncomfortable as she was tired and couldn’t walk anymore. But walk she did, as sore legs were preferred to a sore back.

Every hour or so the midwife would come in to check on Michele. We took this chance to head out to the pantry to grab some hot beverage. I mostly just kept eating biscuits to keep myself fueled.

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Keeping the mood light and easy in the pantry at 4am

Twice, Michele popped into the ensuite for a hot shower. The hot water and pressure is a temporary relief, but relief nonetheless.

By 6am Michele was incoherent and was in a trance-like state. She was completely spent and nodded off many times while moaning in pain. If pain so great is keeping you awake, it has got to be one hell ol’ mighty son of a pain.

Crystal and Caroline (who mostly sat and watched) were exhausted too and began taking turns to nap. Sometime after 6am I quietly snuck out back to the ground floor 30 minutes parking and drove Thumper into the underground parking. My wife might be in labour, but I don’t want to cop a fine!

Around 6.30am the obstetrician came in and told us the bad news – Michele wasn’t dilated enough and Levi was still ‘pretty high’ up her pelvis. Michele and I had a birth plan, and it involved Michele giving me the go ahead to allow Caesarian birth if she entertained the thought of it. Unless she said it out loud, it’s a normal birth.

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It's 8am. After suffering for over seven hours, the epidural saved Michele from the wall of pain that is a very stubborn child.

I guess hearing the news broke Michele’s spirit. She could not believe the pain she was going through wasn’t making an impression on our very stubborn child. The pain was too great, and she lost the fight. She opted for an epidural.

The anesthetist was called, but would only arrive after 7.30am. For another hour Michele was squealing and moaning in agony. If vision emasculation was possible, that was it.

When he finally arrived, the pain and tension evaporated. Michele was inconsolable and just wanted the pain to go. The anesthetist was very professional, and took his time to clean himself, prep up and read the legalities to Michele before inserting the needle into her spine. I couldn’t look. I was too tired, too stressed and too concerned to care.

But for the first time, Michele was able to relax. She even afforded a smile, and fell asleep.

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