Because of the heart rate dipping with pushing, they had to check that she was ok, so that meant drawing blood from bubs scalp to check lactic acid levels. They showed she was ok, so they let me push more. Another hour of pushing and what do you know? Nothing. She would come down a little, then go straight back up. They could tell (somehow? They are clever) that she was OP and chin up, so in the worst position (other than breech) with her head at the biggest size she could possibly make it.
It was decided that she was getting too stressed, and another blood test showed an increase in lactic acid levels. This, along with no descent from 1 3/4 hours pushing, and an accelerated heart rate meant that they needed to look at getting her out quicker.
It was decided to try an assisted delivery using ventouse, then maybe forceps if the ventouse got her down far enough. If that didn’t work then I would have to have a cesarean section. I was prepped for surgery. This meant turning my partial epi into a full block – bizarrely you lose all feeling in your legs. There were loads of people coming to see me from the surgery team, they really explained everything and the order it would happen in well and I had to sign consent. Even so things moved fairly fast. Jim had to go change into operating theatre clothes – very cool! He felt like something out of Grey’s anatomy, which was further enhanced by the relative youth of the surgical team.
I went into the surgery room and had to be moved onto the surgery bed – fun! They had to roll me onto the board thing, shift me to the bed and roll me off. I giggled a lot at this as I found it really amusing for some weird reason! They put your arms out like a starfish and legs up in stirrups, which was fine. Then they tried the ventouse to get her out – you have to push when they feel the contractions coming, though you can’t feel a thing.
No deal. She wasn’t interested in coming out that way so after 3 goes it was abandoned and I was prepared for surgery. The whole time the staff talked to me and introduced themselves if they were new. I felt really, really safe and Jim felt that I was in great hands. As it was now bang on 10 pm, there was a changeover in some staff, but even that didn’t feel alarming at all, due to the professionalism of the team.
They don’t put up a screen to shield the site from view, though I couldn’t see anything as the bed is tilted and you are lying flat anyway. They cut into me and began the job to get bubs out. You don’t feel any pain, but you do feel tugging and pushing and pulling. It is a weird sensation, that’s for sure. I have read up on the procedure so I know what they did, but you have no idea what is going on, then all of a sudden they will say something so you do know. In my case it was something along the lines of ‘That is a big head; there is no way that was going to come out any other way!’
So, at 10.28pm, Lily was officially born! 3910 gm (8lb 10 oz), 51 cm long with a head circumference of 36 cm. She tested a 9 on the Apgar immediately, so that was all good. Jim went off with Lily to the other part of the room where they do all the checking of everything – I presume she was suctioned as there is no other way to remove the mucous for a c-section bubs to get breathing sorted. I knew she was fine as I could hear her – certainly nothing wrong with those lungs! Jim cut the cord and once Lily was sorted out he got to hold her. They brought her round for me to have a look at her before this though, so that was nice.
Meanwhile they started the much longer part of the operation – sewing me back up! This was more uncomfortable than the first part. It wasn’t helped by the fact the epi started to wear off on one side – the side they were doing all the tugging and pushing on. (I have always processed anaesthetic and stuff like that quickly). So they had to top up my epi, and while that was waiting to take effect they gave me the gas – OMG – fun! I really enjoyed the few minutes I had on the gas, it was a great feeling! I can see how it would help in a natural birth too. They inserted a drain just above the wound site – apparently I bled more than usual during the operation, but not enough to need a transfusion. The wound was sealed with staples – rather bizarre but effective it would seem.
Finally they finished everything and we were taken to recovery. While there they latched Lily on for a feed – she had no problem sucking or anything and was very alert, showing no signs of anything from the drugs I had to have for the operation. They also checked for the block to be wearing off, as I had had extra they thought it would take a while, but no, it was already moving down the body (told you I was efficient at metabolising the stuff!) By now it was about midnight, or just before. A pethidine self administered drug thing was attached to the epidural site for pain management.
From recovery we were taken to our own room. There I was monitored every half hour (BP, pulse, alertness etc). Jim and my friend went home about 1am. Lily was kept in bed with me, which I felt fine about as they wedged her in with pillows and stuff so she couldn’t fall out. At about 4 am they got me up and I walked around – got to brush my teeth and my hair, both needed it! It wasn’t too hard walking as the pain killers are pretty strong – of course as I had been lying down I had not been using the pethidine, so the trip back to the bed was pretty sore and I pumped away at the pethidine for the next hour (you can only use it every 20 minutes) to get a base level back. The most awkward thing was managing all my bits and bobs – the pain box, the catheter and the drain container!
So that was the long tale of how Lily finally got out – hope it didn’t send you to sleep (unless you have a newborn, in which case you need all the sleep you can get so you should be thanking me!)