So Thea had arrived.
I saw her in the hands of the midwife between my legs, she was grey, blue and purple but totally calm. She wasn’t screaming but her little face was screwed up in outrage.
I got on my back and the midwife put her slithery little body on to mine. She felt cool and we were both covered with blood and birth gore. The gas and air had made me feel spaced out and detached from the situation. I started to remember why I hadn’t wanted any drugs. I wanted to feel present in the moment but I just felt shell-shocked and shaky.
Chuck was crying, he had clearly bonded with Thea the minute he saw her but for me I just wanted to protect her and make sure she was OK but I didn’t feel like she was mine, I couldn’t quite believe it.
Time pretty much ceased to have any meaning after this, I’m not sure how long I lay covered in blood and goo, cuddling this precious little bundle and slowly starting to feel again. I was so tired and spaced out – I felt completely overwhelmed.
The cord pulsated and then the midwife helped Chuck to cut it. He looked overjoyed. Then she injected me and asked me to push. It was the first time I’d actually tried pushing – it bloody hurt but a minute later I felt the placenta plop out of me. Chuck photographed it for some reason? It looked pretty gross. I certainly wasn’t tempted to eat it.
The midwife brought us some tea – it was probably the best tea I have ever tasted.
Eventually Thea was taken to be weighed and she promptly pooed all over the scales. My tiny baby was only 2.66kg which unfortunately put her in the low weight category and meant she had to have glucose blood tests – a nasty little prick into her heel so they could test her blood. Poor little mite.
After she got clean, Chuck got to have skin to skin time with her and it felt amazing seeing how happy and content they looked. What was really wonderful was knowing that she would be safe and cared for even if I was so spaced out.
We stayed in the Birthing Unit room and Charly’s sister Lynn came to see us. She was leaving for France in the morning so we decided to let her come and see the little one before she left. She went to Tescos for us and got us something to eat – I’d had the odd bite of cereal bar during the day but had thrown up pretty much everything so I needed sustenance.
We phoned everyone else too. My parents were over the moon! I spoke to my brother half an hour later.
Seph – “So Mum and Dad are on their way to you then?”
Me – “Really?!!”
It seems my mum, who had formally declared that she would be led by us and wait to hear from us before coming to see us after the birth, could no longer hold back and had jumped in the car with Dad the minute we’d put the phone down!
Actually it was wonderful that they came. After the trauma of birth, a hug from your mum makes you feel so much better.
We didn’t let anyone else hold her on the first day, we just wanted Thea to be with us, but it was so brilliant to have Lynn and my mum and dad come and see us.
When Lynn arrived the room still looked like a crime scene of a particularly gruesome murder – I left Thea in Chuck’s arms so the siblings could bond with her and waddled totally naked to the shower – absolutely no shame! That’s what pregnancy does to you.
Things were slightly less horrific when my mum and dad arrived. Chuck made a bit of an effort to hide the blood all over the bed and floor. Thea had done her little shuffle onto my boob and had started to feed. I started to feel more like her mum – I think the bond grows, it doesn’t just smack you in the face like you expect. It’s not like the movies. Maybe it is for some people but for me it started after the birth and began to grow.
At 10pm we moved to the ward and were settled in a bed. It seemed like only minutes went by before Chuck had to leave. I felt really fragile and now I had to take care of Thea by myself until morning.
Of course there’s loads of help around and the midwifes were great. One of them found me a sandwich (which was appalling) and they checked her blood sugar again – which had gone down!
I hated being in the hospital without Chuck. I was feeding Thea well, and yet her blood glucose had dipped, she was sleeping but I couldn’t relax for worrying about her blood sugars and thinking I should be trying to get her to eat more. I felt like I needed to set up a constant vigil and if I stopped looking at her she might cease to be!
Although there’s so much support on the ward, I wish someone had asked me how I was because as the 4th of July turned to the 5th July, I felt overwhelmed, scared and really sore. I needed a cuddle and several strong painkillers.
How much better would it be if you could rest after giving birth and Daddy could take care of the vigil. There ought to be a rule that if you’ve just given birth your partner can stay all night to look after you.