The birth itself was fine. This irony was not lost on me- the girl who had spent 10 months (they all lie about the 9 mths) in abject terror. More about that another time.
I was induced a little early, again for reasons I shall not go into here. I had a fabulous midwife, hitch free delivery, no stitches. Hell, I didn’t even get any pregnancy induced stretch marks. Smug? A little.
Tiddler passed the Apgar 9 and then 10, she was put on my chest and all was well. No-one told me, and if they had I would have told them where to stick it, but if you batter the old gas and air like your life depends on it you will be a space cadet for several hours. I did, and I was.
I cannot remember much of the hours after Tiddler’s arrival. We were kept in the delivery suite for HOURS though, as initially Tiddler’s temperature was too low and then there was no bed for us on the main ward. We had a surreal picnic of Brie and prawns eaten off a clinical metal trolley. I had been one of those stupendously paranoid pregnant women and avoided all foods that had the merest hint of controversy.
Six or eight hours later, thinking about it I actually don’t know when , but while still in the delivery suite, Tiddler jerked in her crib and went purple. I mean purple. Ribena berry purple. I will never forget what it looked like. I immediately said to her Dad that this was not right, something was wrong, he initially thought she was fine and tried to reassure me not to panic. She was making a weird rasping noise. She wasn’t breathing. I panicked. It’s funny but in these situations you just don’t think straight sometimes. I went outside to get someone, couldn’t see anyone... went back in the room, I think I called the “normal” bell… no answer. It took a good few seconds for me to really shout and get help. Isn’t that stupid? Tiddler is our first child, we didn’t know what was going on, but still – stupid.
I can’t remember at which point help arrived, they used suction and got her breathing again. I don’t remember much of a hullabaloo. God knows if anything is even in the notes (must remember to look into that). As quickly as she had got into difficulty she was fine again, my baby was back. I was terrified but no-one else seemed to be making a big deal about it.
At some point after, we were transferred to the main ward. I remember the feeling of pride as onlookers cooed at Tiddler in my arms. This was to be the only time I held Tiddler in normal surroundings in “public” for weeks. It was something I looked back on and wished for again and again, to be able to show off my new baby.
After a major meltdown upon arrival in the main ward precipitated by 4 days of very little sleep, chemical craziness from gas and air and the small fact of your baby stopping breathing, we were quietly moved to a side room. However, within minutes it happened again. Tiddler went purple, the same horrific hue, the same noises. This time I didn’t fuck about. Straight to the emergency bell. FYI, they work pretty bloody quickly and effectively too. Within 20 seconds we had a room full of medical staff. Same thing as before, suction, obstruction cleared, Tiddler breathing again. This time though I really lost it. I hadn’t got over the meltdown on the main ward and I was beside myself, really frantic, terrified that Tiddler was going to die.
Luckily, the Supervisor of Midwives was one of the army of staff that had rushed to our room. Upon examination of Tiddler on the resuscitaire, she expressed concern that Tiddler was “floppy” a term we would hear again and again and called SCBU to come down and look at her.
Within minutes Tiddler had been taken away from me into the “hot room” of SCBU. The nonchalance we had encountered before had disappeared and things suddenly turned a lot more serious. We were told by the Supervisor of Midwives that my husband could stay the night in the hospital –in the ward. This was much to the consternation of the ward midwife, so we made a friend there…
(to be continued)