At 1:20am on 6 August, I started pushing. It was hard work and not ideal with my legs up in stirrups. But once the epidural’s in, that’s what you have to do. I had trouble visualising where I needed to push. In many ways this wasn’t what I wanted – on my back, pushing in the classic chin on chest manner. I tried to remember the breathing techniques we’d learned in the NCT class but I couldn’t really work out what I should do. So I followed the midwife’s directions and did the best I could. At this point, the epidural being only half effective was useful. I actually had some feeling left which helped me push. I didn’t feel like I was pushing long, though each push was tiring. After an hour and a half though, the midwife was concerned that we weren’t making enough progress. Her senior colleague decided that it was time for intervention – a trial of instrumental delivery. They would try a forceps delivery and if that didn’t work, they would go straight to a C-section. Oddly, the news didn’t upset me or make me feel disappointed. I think that was partly being somewhat out of it and partly relief at knowing we would be meeting our baby soon. I kept pushing with every contraction as we waited to be transferred to theatre. Rob put on scrubs and grabbed his camera. As I was pushed along the corridor, I was pretty convinced that a C-section was going to be the outcome. I felt OK about this.
Once in theatre, there were many people, bright lights and much equipment. I needed a spinal block – a far more effective anaesthetic. I don’t think it took long to put in, but once I lay down again, I felt very sick. I threw up the blackcurrant squash the midwife had made me drink before starting to push (which was the first sustenance I’d had since 4pm). Once I’d stopped throwing up, my legs were lifted into the stirrups – a very strange feeling. As far as I could feel, my legs were still straight and on the bed, yet I could see them up in the stirrups. I could wiggle my toes and see them move, yet I couldn’t feel them move. I couldn’t feel a thing below my waist (They check this by blowing a cold spray at your body and seeing where you can feel it).
Then it was time to push. I couldn’t feel a thing so I had to follow the midwives’ directions of when to push. I tried to remember the feeling of pushing from before and visualise my body doing it. The senior midwife was pleased with the progress I’d made since she’d last examined me. She said she was more confident now that we could deliver the baby with forceps. (I felt very pleased that the effort I’d put in was worth it).
So it proved. I can’t remember how many pushes it took, but suddenly there she was! Phoebe was delivered, wrapped up, placed briefly on my chest and taken away to be checked and have her cord cut.
I sent Rob over to take pictures. She cried! She was covered in cheesy vernix and had lots of fair hair. They wrapped her in a towel and placed her back on my chest.
I’m not sure what happened then. I know I’d lost a lot of blood (1.2l according to the notes) and needed a transfusion. I remember asking to see the placenta (a huge bloody chunk of flesh) and being amazed that it had been delivered so quickly (2 minutes after Phoebe). I needed to be stitched up. Rob and Phoebe disappeared. I assume they went straight to recovery. There was nothing wrong with Phoebe – her Apgar score of 9 and then 10 proves that. I was pretty out of it and remained so until lunchtime. My legs were still non-functional and I couldn’t move. At some point, Phoebe was put onto my chest for some skin-to-skin and her first feed. She latched on beautifully and guzzled like a champ. I was so proud of her and happy that she was finally here.