Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The baby I (nearly) delivered!

Ok, so I know that you don't want to know the boring bits of what we have been up to recently. You just want to know the story about the baby don't you?!

There are three stories. The Birth Mothers. The Birth Fathers. Mine.

The Birth Mothers is probably the most calm and accurate. The birth Fathers and mine are probably the most exaggerated and similar in that we both tell the story as though we were the hero delivering the baby single handedly!

It all began one weekend outside church. My friend was heavily pregnant and booked in for induction on the Monday. She was already feeling lots of cramps and contractions and I told her that because I only live down the road I was happy to help out if she needed someone to watch her other two daughters if anything happened late at night etc...

Nothing happened that night or the next and I text her good luck on the morning of the induction. It turned out that she got sent home from the hospital because the baby wasn't ready and was told to return 24-48 hours later. It was all a bit flat and disappointing. That night I turned the water on in the shower and while waiting for it to run hot I sent her a text  "Thinking of you, hope you are having a relaxing night, not long now..."

She didn't see that text because she was at home having quite advanced contractions waiting for her parents to come and mind her girls so she could head to hospital. I was under the hot water when Byron came into the bathroom and handed the phone into the shower. It was birth Father saying things were advancing quickly, her parents were only half an hour away but they needed me to watch the girls so they could leave for the hospital right away.

I hopped around the bathroom naked, trying to dry and put on the nearest clothes quickly, they were my pj's and dressing gown but I didn't think anyone would care so late in the evening. Byron tried slowing me and telling me not to fuss, there was no rush, no point in crashing on the way etc... I ignored him and jumped in the car with hair still dripping and drove the couple of minutes to her house.

Getting out of the car I felt a bit nervous. I'd only once seen this friends house, in daylight, while collecting her husband for a rugby match. I wasn't completely sure which house it was in the dark so I nervously knocked at a door of a vaguely familiar house with only one faint upstairs light on. When I heard the cries of a woman in labour float down to me I knew I was at the right house. I heard a shout telling me to come in but the door was locked. Between contractions the husband raced down the stairs, threw open the door and raced back up.

I followed and found my friend on her bed in full on labour. An ambulance had been called and the paramedics were talking them through until it arrived. I found myself going from "polite early stages of friendship" to "friendship signed, sealed and delivered" over the course of the next half hour. I'm not a midwife although I have seen babies delivered during my nurse training. I found myself mentally going through the theory of delivering the head, then shoulder, baby and then tying off the cord. I held her hand and counted her through deep breathing, telling her she was doing great, and then turning and reassuring her husband between contractions. I was so relieved when the flashing lights of the ambulance glowed outside.

The paramedics came in and talked and seemed in no hurry but did suggest trying to get my friend to the local hospital (at least a 25 minute drive even with lights and sirens) My gut feeling was screaming out at me that this baby was never going to stay put that long but I was very cautious about influencing whether to do a home birth or not just in case anything went wrong. My friend was wanting to try to go to hospital so between contractions we managed to get her down the stairs and onto the ambulance trolley. As the paramedics strapped her on she was saying she needed to push. Again my gut feelings were saying "Stay and deliver" but I just helped to get the trolley into the back of the ambulance and then ran back passing the husband his shoes, wallet, phone, keys etc.

I stood there in the dark in my dressing gown and bare feet and watched the ambulance pull silently out of the driveway, flashing lights reflecting off the trees and houses around, my heart was pounding and I had a lump in my throat as I watched the lights fade into the distance and found myself involuntarily blessing myself over and over. I returned inside the quiet house where two little girls stayed sleeping oblivious upstairs and waited for the arrival of parents I had never met.

Minutes later a car pulled up and a frantic and anxious grandmother thanked me over and over for helping. I told her all I could and then went home. I had only just finished telling Byron the story when he received a message saying the baby was born two minutes after leaving the house. The waters had broken as they turned onto the main road and the paramedics had pulled over and next push the baby was born. Immediately I felt great disappointment for my friend that she had not made it to the expertise and safety of the hospital or equally stayed in the comfort and reassurance of her familiar bedroom. She told me afterwards that she was not upset about leaving the house so close to the birth as she had needed the freedom to be more noisy and vocal when pushing the baby out than she could ever have been with her daughters asleep in the room next to her at home.

If I'm honest I was also a bit gutted about getting so close to witnessing the birth of my friends baby and then missing out by 2 minutes. I have had stern words with her that I expect her to have baby number 4 as a planned home birth with me there helping. Never mind that she isn't planning to have 4 kids. There is plenty of time for her to get used to the idea. Meanwhile I'm busy preparing by watching re-runs of "A Birth Story" and "Maternity Ward" on Discovery Health...

4 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. Wow... thats a great story. Always trust your gut! Would they have waited if you told paramedics you thought it was too close to leave the house? So Gina.... was it a boy or girl?

  2. I got the impression the paramedics were happy to try for the hospital although I think they could have been persuaded if the mother or father insisted on delivering at home. As for the baby... A beautiful baby girl!

  3. What a wonderful story!! I witnessed the birth of my nephew two years ago. It was at the top of my Bucket List to see a baby (other then my own) be born. I will never forget it as long as I live!!!!! So what did she have?!!!!?

    ~ Wendy

  4. Never mind!! I just read the first comment and saw it was a baby girl. : ) They might just try for that boy so you could be in luck. ; )

    ~ Wendy