Not a story for the faint hearted or those of you who feel weak to the stomach by blood and gore and other bodily fluids….
Tuesday 30/6 04.00am – 22.30pm
I have contractions every 6 min, so I wake P up for us to prepare to go to Varberg Hospital.
We eat, pack our last things and go. By the time we arrive at the hospital around 6am, my contractions are regular at 5min.
We get a beautiful, state of the art, delivery room.
When I am hooked up to the CTG, my contractions are suddenly more irregular both in time intervals and strength. Some are weaker but some are really painful. When the the first midwife examines me, I´m surprised and disappointed to hear that I´m only just open. (3cm are needed for a patient to be considered “in labour”). How can it hurt so much (like a knife in my belly) at this early stage? Why is there so much pain that all I want to do is be sick? I´m definitely not superwoman, but I´m no cry-baby either... I get the answer about 1h later. After a particularly strong contraction I look at P: “I need to be sick!” I throw up. And throw up. And throw up. Another contraction. I throw up again. And another one. The room is starting to run out of sick bags. I RUN to the bathroom. Let´s just say that I have “an upset stomach”. It suddenly dawns on me. I´ve got food poisoning. Something that I ate that morning had not been 100% and I have the most sensitive digestive system.
From 8am – 8pm, I´m throwing my guts out on average twice an hour. Even swallowing my own saliva makes me throw up. One of my lowest points of the day is finding myself in the bathroom (after being carried there by P) with an upset stomach, placed on the toilet seat, with a monster contraction going on, whilst puking huge amounts of bile down a sick bag...
My body refuses to let the delivery continue, so despite all the pain and long hours, I´m not open more than 1.5-2cm. At 9pm the new midwife and the doctor decides to halt the process. “Thank God”, is the only thing I can think when the morfin starts to work, followed by a shot of Bricanyl (to ease off the contractions).
I get to rest during the night and when I wake up the next morning, it´s more 28h ago since I had something to eat, and more than 24h since I had something to drink.
Wednesday 01/07, 09.00am – onwards
P and I are both awake. It´s just before the doctor and midwife are meant to come and see us.
I´m crying. I´m EXHAUSTED, both physically and mentally. I suspect that they will recommend me to return home (until the regular contractions come back), something that does not exist in my world,,,. I can feel when I stand up and walk to the bathroom, that the contractions are somewhere just around the corner and I know the reason WHY it never “happened” yesterday, my body was too busy trying to get well and was not prioritizing having a baby at that point. It could-it would be different today! At the same time, I´m so empty on energy and fighting spirit, not having eaten in such a long time, that thinking about another day in pain-for hours!-is scaring the living daylights out of me. It´s not possible! What should I do?!
P is so cool...I love this man so much... He goes: “You make the call. If you are too tired and run down, of course we go home and let you rest. If you want to stay and deliver today, and have the energy to do so, I give you a treatment to start you up again, I promise”
As suspected the doctor wants to send me home (although she puts it slightly more delicatly...”busy time of the year-lots of deliveries, not so many available beds, bla bla bla”), whilst the midwife, who is back on her second shift, so we met already Tuesday, is more encouraging...”you choose what you want to do, if you want to stay, you can stay in this room, or if you want to go home, or away for a drive....?” I tell her I need 1h to think about it, but that most probably we´ll go outside the hospital “for a walk” and check if that could set anything off.
What actually happened is that I asked P for that treatment. He worked on pressure points and did his osteopatic magic. Less than 40min later I find myself with regular contractions every 4 minutes, with each contraction being incredibly strong. The difference being that without the food poisoning, I can concentrate on my breathing and actually relaxing my pelvic floor rather than to hold everything back in survival mode.
In less than 90min I´m open 3cm and moved back into a delivery room. I´m in labour. According to Elisabeth, who will be the forth or fifth midwife that I meet at Varberg and who is also the one who gets to do “the honours”, I go from 3-10cm super-fast.
During this time I take the laughing gas (which at one point sets me back to the day before when I suddenly throw up violently. Luckily, this only happens once) and I have an epidural.
I get stuck when the baby´s head is 1cm from the opening. They give me contraction strengthening drip. I remember thinking: “If he is not delivered within the next 30min, they will have to cut me open. I really am empty of any energy or strength soon...” I had had 2 cheese sandwiches at 9.00am that morning – and kept them. That was all the food I´d had in the last 35h.
Elisabeth is amazing. I´m so high on drugs. I´m screaming into the mask. I´m making the epidural needle get stuck in my back because I´m too wasted to have the energy to tell the narcs doctor that I have a major contraction coming right when he is about to puncture me. Elisabeth keeps her cool. She gives me calm, clear directives. She ends all she says with: “Monika, did you hear that/understand that/clear on that?” Although she knows and sees how my energy level is just starting to completely die out, she doesn´t rush. She says: “Monika, give me your hand” Me: “Huh?” I give her my hand. Elisabeth: “This is Robin´s head” Oh, my God, I could FEEL his head! Elisabeth: “Just stay focused a little bit longer, can you do that, Monika?” I hear myself answering: “YES. Just tell me what I need to do”
Moments later it is real. It is true. It is happening. (Without one single rip, or one single stitch needed! Elisabeth, you are such a pro!)
He is sooo warm! He is soooo big! He is purple! And he is out.
He is gorgeous and it was worth it all. All.
The heavy, heavy belly.
The sleepless nights.
The swollen body.
The hormonal tears.
The weirdness of being pregnant.
The 9 months.
Because finally, in the end, the prize, the gain, the fruit of the labour took my breath away so hard and with such impact, that the tears streaming down my face and the growing heat of love in my heart is still not enough to describe what it was like to suddenly be there, after all that wait, face to face with my son.
Robin, I love you.