Sunday, July 20, 2014

Birth story - Part Two

Part two of the story is harder. It's a tale that ends well but is difficult - for me to remember and maybe for others to read. It reminds me why we gave birth in a hospital, and how valuable it was for me to be fit and well.  

I held Milla to my chest, in water that turned red, it was euphoria, relief that the pain was over and sheer excruciating joy.

Somehow I moved from the bath to the bed. The cord was attached, it felt weird between my legs as I carried her. Her little bottom felt so sweet.

Everything in this part of the story requires a lot of Charlie's help to remember.

On the bed I held her, tried to feed, to deliver the placenta. It was hard to find contractions to push with. Midwife Melissa tried to help get Milla to feed. I knew this was important but it was hard to focus on pushing again. Melissa said I'd need to change position, I told Charlie to take his t-shirt off and he held Milla. I stood up and leaned over the bed, facing him, cord between my legs, severed now.

Blankets on the floor collected blood. And lumps. And more blood. I can't remember them putting me on oxytocin drip. I can't remember the placenta coming out. I remember them checking it and it not being complete. Melissa said it was going to get busy. She inserted a catheter, it hurt and made me feel sad. Doctors and nurses appeared. I was going to theatre as I'd lost too much blood (about 1.5 litres at that point) and would continue to if they didn't quickly remove the rest of the placenta. Milla was only minutes old. More pushing on my tummy. Very painful. Someone asked about gold teeth and I had to remove my earrings and ring. I handed them to Charlie. He looked bereft. I was wheeled away, trying to keep my eyes locked on his. For Charlie it was shocking how white I was, and how red the floor was.

Down corridors and into an assessment area where a young guy in scrubs talked me through forms and how injections into my spine would work. I signed forms. I said I was allergic to Maxalon, a question I would be asked again and again. He knew that meant muscle spasms. Melissa was with me, I can't remember what she said or did. I was thinking about Charlie, wishing I was with him, or he was with me.

Into theatre and cheerful nurses and orderlies moved me prone onto the bed in the centre of the room. We chatted about my nail polish colour. I was congratulated on Milla's birth. Lots was going on. They explained I was to make a 'C' shape with my back. I was injected in my back. A surgeon insisted a nurse called someone to ensure they were aware of my condition and what they were planning. The blood bank was called to have two units on standby. The surgeon said he 'just touched' me and I lost another 300ml. I'm not sure when I was told I'd lost 1.8 litres.

I shook. It felt like fits and stressed me out. I was cold and tense. Apparently normal for the spinal block but I hated it and complained over and over. My hands shoulders arms were the worst. Staff held them for me. Everyone was kind.

I got wheeled to recovery. My shakes were so bad the nurse couldn't read my blood pressure from the cuff and was trying everything to get my vitals. We talked about her niece who studies at Melbourne Uni, Vietnamese people who she knew working at RMIT, and how if she had another baby she'd definitely get an epidural. It was very quiet and I wondered how long I'd been away from Charlie for.

A midwife appeared and was given handover from the nurse. I made a joke about getting my bikini body back. Not well received. She pushed my tummy, checking my uterus was contracting into a distinct mass. We went back to the birth suite. It took me a moment to realise it was the same room I'd given birth in. Charlie was holding Milla.

They moved me across onto the bed. Charlie brought Milla over. She was dressed. I asked Charlie if they had decided on a name.

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