This post comes with an 'at your own risk, don't say I didn't warn you' gaijinwife warning. There are no graphic pics though so feel free to skive off work without getting caught by boss at huge pic of crowning baby head on screen.
I am at my lovely friend Jo's house. She runs a shelter for pregnant women and mothers of small babies. She has just taken her kids off to gymnastics while Ryu and I hang out here. Why am I here... the kids weren't on the mend it seems and on Thursday hub rang and said they were both going at it at both ends and we jointly decided that probably best if Ryu and I don't come home on Friday as planned. I think would be almost impossible to keep everyone out of everyone elses way in a house where the majority of doors are sliding - in fact the only one with a lock is Granny K's, and not too keen on me and Ryu spending our first few days camping out in there. Why anyway when I can have a guest cottage, home-made brownies, and multitudes of tea and good banter with Jo?
So, I have been thinking about how to go about the whole birth story. I was going to put it into good, bad and ugly sections but then whole thing would end up all up the shite and really needs to be in chronological order to be of any sense at all. So that it will be.
It all started...
at 1 am on Saturday night. I lay in bed trying to gauge whether or not these pains were any different than the ones of a week earlier. Forty minutes later and at very precise 8 minute intervals I tell hub perhaps we should get up and get moving. I aren't in any kind of excruciating pain and think am actually doing stellar job of holding it all together in the face of what is to come. Hub on the other hand, being a man and all, is having difficulty multitasking and takes far too long getting his shit together - despite our warnings by the doctor that we should get a move on or we might be looking at having bunster in the back seat of the family wagon. He even, and it is with huge embarrassment that I actually admit this, spends ten minutes 'doing his hair' - his hair that he got cut very short on Saturday morning so not even in need of any product whatsoever. Oblivious to his wife clutching the kitchen bench oh, every eight minutes or so, he wets, dries (with hairdryer on lowest setting so wont wake kids up), brushes and then puts some product in his hair. Nice to know that one of us will look half decent during the whole thing!
We get into the car and ring the clinic on the way - got a nurse who was on the previous Sunday when I spent day dossing around clinic in false labour. She says that perhaps we should give it another half an hour or so before leaving. Silly to go back to house as might wake kids so park car on side of rice paddie for half an hour - during which time hub dozes in front seat while gaijin wife just about eats padding off back seat oh, every six minutes or so.
We ring back and get a moving - albeit very slowly. I am wondering what part of 'possibility you might have baby in car' hub didn't understand - he is driving at 47km at 3am. Not a policeman, k-truck, stooped over granny pushing a wheelbarrow in sight. I tell him as nicely as can muster that there will be no-one to appreciate his nice hair if we have to stop in the middle of rice paddie to deliver this baby. Speed increases.
At the clinic...
I get my first penicillin drip and strapped to the baby monitor. Thankfully contractions are still regular and is obvious that I wasn't lieing on the phone and the bunster is in fact perhaps maybe sorting his shit out ready to come out. An hour later we get sent to one of the rooms and I get told to call for the nurse when contractions are about three minutes apart. All of a sudden they are ten minutes apart but wooooooa baby, not acting like ten minute apart contractions at all. Long and strong and within about an hour they are only five minutes and I get stupid damn sensation to go for big crap, which impossible as nurse gave me an enema when I got to the clinic. Sometimes a full bowel can prevent the baby from getting down properly. Enema not the nicest thing in the world but in the scheme of things only a slight inconvenience.
Nurse comes and I get wheeled back to the delivery room and hooked up again - another round of penicillin and another baby monitor check. If you test positive for Group B Strep you get penicillin during labor so that it isn't passed on to the baby as it comes down the birth canal. Again, another slight inconvenience that really just means you can't bend your arm for the thirty minutes it takes to administer. Need to have every four hours so my next one was to be at exactly 12 midday.
Things starting to get serious...
An internal check reveals I am still only about 5cm but everything getting very soft and saloon doors ready to spring open. I must have spent three hours in extreme discomfort and the last hour wishing to hell I had never seen that big spider. I think at one stage I even voiced a shocking 'I .. DO ... NOT ... WANT... THIS ... BABY' The midwife was very good and would massage my lower back during contractions. When she left the room for various things hub would try her technique. Due to lack of midwifery classes he couldn't get it quite right though and got a round of 'NO, DAME, CHIGAU' and other terms of endearment from me. Back away and retreat to the other side of the bed and continue wiping brow of poor wife with cold facecloth. She would also apply upward pressure on my bum which was to prevent piles or hemorrhoids or whatever those little grape like / bubble wrap type blood balls that can pop out your bum during child birth are.
The doctor came in at about 10am and declared that I was 9.5 cm dilated. Friggin fantastic, the home stretch. My waters hadn't broken though so I thought they would get the crochet hook out and break them for me - I appealed in a big way for this but the midwife told me to 'gaman' a bit longer so everything could happen naturally. Fuck naturally. I want this baby out right now and if that can be boosted by sticking a crochet hook up my fanny then so be it.
What do you know and about thirty seconds after being told to hold off on the hook and my waters break - absolutely bloody amazing. It was like in the movies - and no I don't mean happened while standing outside fab restaurant leading to ride in limo with Mr Big to hospital. I mean as in the hugest gush of water ever. I had the 'trickle' with Shou and with Marina they broke them so I was ready for it. The midwife was quite surprised, as was her apron and the surrounding floor. She even left to get a mop. Amazing! These foreign women walking round for months with humongous sacs of amniotic fluid.
Here we go...
Things got very serious after the waters broke - all of a sudden the saloon doors are wide open and waiting for the bunster to come out. I don't have the pushing sensation anymore but the midwife tells me that on the next contraction I have to push. I wonder if I even have the energy left and when the next contraction comes I can only muster enough strength for one push - it was enough to suck the head down a bit though. The doctor is in the room now - the labor bed has been elevated and transformed into a birthing chair with legs over leg hold things on the side. There is the doctor, a midwife and a nurse all standing waiting and instructing. Not too embarrassed though and at time wouldn't have mattered if Ace of Base was in there belting out 'all that she wants, is another baby'.
Once the head started coming I got told to push through a few more contractions. The head out and all of a sudden the doctor is joining in and I have to just push push push until he is out. A flurry of hands (doctors) as they pull the bunster out. 11:59 - one minute before I would have had to have another drip in my arm. Have you ever seen those programs where they tell you the top ten things a mother first says to her baby after giving birth? Well, my comment would have to be edited out.
'He's nearly black??'
Well, was more a purplish color but still - not the white, reddy goey shite you expect. He had the cord around his neck - from moving too much right before birth. This was reason behind flurry of hands and need to get him out fast.
His cord got cut, shite sucked out of his nose and mouth and then put onto my chest for his first mummy outside the womb encounter. Pleased to say I managed a 'hello beautiful, it's your mummy!' that time round. Hub was all teary - but I think all my extra bodily fluids had been mopped up so I was just extremely exhausted and relieved it was all over and that the bunster had ten fingers and ten toes and eyes not on the side of his head etc.
The after birth...
Bubs got taken away for his first bath while the placenta got delivered and my bits attended to. The placenta came out quite quickly and all intact. I asked to see it, which I am pleased I did as amazing gooey red sac that provided nice squishy home for bunster for ten months. The midwife was very thorough in her explanation, so much so that I forgot entirely about previously wanting to take it home to plant in garden.
The doctor didn't do any choki choki with the scissors during the birth but in hindsight I wish he had, as healing after an epistiotimy (sp?) would have been better than the three separate war wounds I have now. It took half an hour to stitch them up - using a local anaesthetic but still, is most sensitive area in whole body and someone is going at it with an injection and a needle and thread. Not pleasant but have just gone through process of pushing big head out small hole so feel like twat if start complaining about any of the after birth ouchy ouch. I did have a few small-ish bum grapes pop out during birth and the doctor took it upon himself to push these back up - without warning. Thanks for that. They popped back out later, hence the bum bullets and cream I got given.
After the cleaning up the nurse puts my pants and PJ bottoms on (yes, I left house in PJ bottoms (but very cool Victoria Secret ones) - figured hub looked good enough for the both of us) along with a pad the size of a small yoga mat. I get a blanket and strict orders that I had to stay put for two hours - birthing chair has transformed back into bed and I can lie there watching TV. After his bath bunster gets brought in looking all cute and babyish and gets a token five minute suck on boobs. This is the clinic's idea of 'kangaroo care'.
Hub leaves and a few minutes later, while I am still in the delivery room, I get my first visitors!! The family who were going to be driving me to the hospital if I had gone into labor during the day when hub was at work. I think it odd that
a) people who are not related would want to see you while you are still in delivery room and
b) that nurse would show them in.
Spoke to my friend later and she said they were in the area when got a text from hub saying baby was born. They had intended to just come in and see bubs through the glass in the baby room but the nurse said strapping foreign mummy was in fine form and wouldn't mind if we just went on in to the delivery room.
So, that's the nuts and bolts of my birth story. Eleven hours start to finish - definitely the hardest yakka out of the three births but still not too bad in comparison to some other stories I have heard.
I think it best to stop there and I will fill you in later of my weeks clinic stay - or not. Really just bollocks about sore shrinking uterus, cracked nipples, bum bullets and donut cushions.
Ryu is asleep attached to boob as I type but I think has just done huge crap in nappy so better go and change it.
Oooh, I think he just smiled at me.
But still, what parent doesn't think their six day old baby is so advanced he can smile already.