CHILDBIRTH IS WEIRD: REMY’S BIRTH STORY

growing another human being inside you is super weird. i’ve always thought it was weird, the kind of weird that fucks with my head so much that i choose not to give it much thought, like space, or the sea, or why men always respond to perfectly plausible tweets with “didn’t happen”. 

and then one day, i found out i was pregnant! i was doing the ‘growing a human’ thing. alas, it still didn’t seem real. so we gave it a name. remy, like the rat from ratatouille. ok, so we’re having a baby, i could get my head around that. we bought every overpriced kids outfit that had dinosaurs on it, read approximately one (1) parenting book, downloaded a few apps, and then sat and waited for this kid to turn up. because despite the countless hospital appointments; the scans showing me his big old head, the heartbeat monitors, the doctor who literally put her hand up my vagina and told me she could feel his fingers – i was convinced he wasn’t in my tummy. i knew we were having a baby, i just wasn’t really sure where he was. because it sure as hell wasn’t inside me. a baby? inside my actual physical body? seems fake, but okay. 

i was convinced that once i’d actually pushed him out and seen my bump deflate like a balloon (i assume), and that screaming bloody delight was placed into my arms, i would be able to grasp the concept of pregnancy and birth. *so, he was in there, and now he’s right here? got it, continue*

but thanks to a bunch of drugs that didn’t really work, an unwanted epidural and an emergency trip to theatre, i am left, five months on, still a bit unsure of where this big old life-ruiner* came from.

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saturday 17th february. it was my due date, and my body decided it should be on time for the first time possibly ever. after an evening at the hospital with the promise of being induced the next day, i woke up at 6am with a shooting pain in my lower back.
i lay next to danny for around half an hour, the contractions coming and going every ten minutes or so. regardless of whether or not this was labour, we would be meeting our new addition within the next few days, and that was absolutely wild to me. on reflection, i should have just lay the fuck down and appreciated what would be my last ever lie in, but i was too hyped about the fact i was finally in labour, and more importantly, that i had done it myself! i didn’t need to be induced! i went to sit in the living room for a few hours and practice my breathing exercises because i was determined to do this all drug-free. i wanted the hypnobirthing, water-pooling, meditating labour of dreams. but obviously, this is me and so everything was about to go tits up. 

we’ll fast forward past danny waking up, text-screaming at our parents, me turning down mcdonalds hash browns for the first time in my life and opting for oatmeal instead (who IS she?) (i needed slow release protein. i was about to be a MUM, time to be responsible. mum’s don’t eat hash browns) (spoiler alert they totally do), and the first few boring hours at the hospital. 

1pm: i was in the delivery suite, pretty intense contractions every four minutes that were lasting about 70 seconds each. despite the eight million cups of water danny had been thrusting into my hand, i was apparently dehydrated. i honestly had no idea how, and i was (internally) furious when the midwife insisted i had to have a canula put into my hand. it took four separate tries to get the needle into my vein (damn you, fat hands) and in the end a special doctor man person had to come and numb my hand and do it properly. i loved my midwife, i really did, but by the fourth stab i wanted to pop it into her hand instead.

anyway, turned out i had given myself a UTI the day before i went into labour, because i had been so insistent on a natural induction that i had convinced my poor boyfriend to have sex with me – it worked for ross and rachel, and dammit, it was going to work for us! and it kind of did. it just came with severe back contractions and dehydration, and i totally and completely regret everything. thank you, f.r.i.e.n.d.s. 

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so labour isn’t the most fun i’ve ever had. the UTI meant i couldn’t lie on my back, the canula meant i couldn’t pace around, and the high risk pregnancy (due to me being paranoid as fuck and turning up at the hospital every week) meant i couldn’t go in the water pool. the contractions got real bad, the gas and air was absolutely wank and pointless, and so it was time: i (politely) demanded the drugs. which ones? any please. just help me. 

i opted for diamorphine because it sounded phenomenal. it’s derived from heroin, so you know it’s the good shit. they shot me up and i was ready to go, except, obviously, because it’s me, it didn’t bloody work. “that hardly ever happens!” exclaimed the midwife, while i smiled and laughed and pretended i didn’t want to kill myself and take her with me. there were mere seconds between each of my 90 second contractions, and i was convinced this was the worst labour anyone had ever had. except also, i hadn’t screamed in pain yet so i was pretty sure the worst was yet to come. it hurt, the most anything ever has, but i was managing to somehow breathe through it all which is absolutely wild when i think about it because i genuinely complain for half an hour after i accidentally bite my cheek by eating pizza too vigorously. 

the next two hours were horrible, so i’ll skim past. i’ve probably gotten all my timings mixed up, but there was a point where i projectile vomited more than i thought possible despite only having half a pot of oatmeal for breakfast. there was another moment where i was too drowsy from the diamorphine to go to the toilet, so i awkwardly sat on a bedpan while everyone stared at me and ran the tap in the hopes it would make me pee. it did not. there was the bit where they told me my UTI had given me a temperature, and doctors and nurses started coming and going into my suite. 

then, there was the bit where they said the baby’s heart rate was going far faster than it was supposed to, and i’m really sorry but you’re only 5cm and we’re going to have to perform an emergency caesarian. i was absolutely gutted and terrified, but i was also too sleepy from the diamorphine to care too much, or tell danny it was going to be okay, or speak to anyone really. i could barely keep my eyes open while they were asking me to sign the waiver that essentially says “if you and/or your baby die i’m sorry but it isn’t our fault” (it might not have said that, i was very out of it)

i’m fast forwarding AGAIN because nobody cares about the gross bits but basically we got to theatre, did the epidural, danny came in wearing scrubs and looking ridiculous, turns out i was 10cm so we didn’t have a c-section, i had to push, panicked because i was numb and they told me i wasn’t actually pushing, looked at danny for help, he shouted “push like a poo!”, and out popped a baby. mine, to be precise. which is good! we were expecting mine.

i felt really, really weird when they put him on my chest. all three of us started sobbing immediately; me and danny out of relief, and remy because life is pain and apparently he realised that at a very young age. danny went with him to get weighed, and as i lay there completely dazed and unaware of the three people still down by my favourite region sewing me up and such, i felt like i had no closure on the whole he-was-in-my-tummy-for-nine-months-and-now-he’s-an-actual-person thing. i was so convinced that when i gave birth i’d finally be able to grasp the idea of it all – pregnancy, childbirth, how it all works. but thanks to that god damn epidural numbing most of my body, i hadn’t felt a thing, which left me still utterly convinced that he actually didn’t come out of me at all. i guess we’ll never know. 

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*i love my baby so much i hope you understand my sense of humour because i would absolutely die for that beautiful bastard 

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