Elliot is here!

♥ Elliot Paul Rudolf Mason ♥
25th November 2011
9 pounds 10 ounces
4:45 pm 
Brighton Hospital
He’s here, finally. After waiting an extra 15 days and a labour that was more painful and took longer than expected as well, Elliot, little EllieBellie is finally, finally here. 
So, Dylan, Andy and I were a particular shape. We had found our ways, had our routine, did our thing and then shazam! Another being joins and you’re ‘forced’ to change your shape. This change is difficult for all involved. Of course. So, now, we’re on day 10 of Elliot being our newest member, we’ve already gone through: feeling weird, elated, grumpy, confused, utterly exhausted, angry (Dylan), happy (Dylan) and many more highs and lows of emotions. 
Dylan in particular liked the baby at first, but was very, very sad and disturbed to see him breastfeed on the boobies that were ‘his’. He had a few good meltdowns over this, but, since yesterday he’s contented with the rule that ‘the baby gets milk first, because he can’t eat things like ‘mananas” and then when baby is finished Dylan can have milk. This seems to have really appeased him. He often wants to hold, cuddle, kiss and hug the baby which we think are all good signs. :) 
Here they are together: 

Hormones are now fluctuating, so I’m up and down a lot with baby blues and crazy mummy mania, but that too is already getting less. Though not as much of a ‘birthquake’ with Dylan, Elliot’s arrival has truly whacked everything out of shape (again!). You kinda think it won’t, or only a little, and then you realise how little you were really prepared for the massive impact a new baby will have on your little family from before. A whole new shape is needed. We’re getting there. I think our shape is going to be starshine heart shape with rays of light beaming out oh and a bit of unicorn. :0) 
Elliot and Tam’s Birth Story
Since having given birth to Dylan, I read a lot of other people’s birth stories and a lot of people don’t start their stories the way I want to start mine. They seem to ‘romanticise’ the whole process a bit. The way I want to start the birth story is: holy motherfucking mother of hell this baby birthing thing hurts so bloody much!!
Right, got that out of the way. :) I really cannot for the life of me not say that first. It is, for me, THE most excruciatingly painful thing a woman can ever go through (apart from perhaps going through massive rheumatic pains and a few other chronic illnesses). And to gloss over that, or not even mention it up front, to me, is like, I dunno, not being true to what the overriding experience actually was. And for me it was: misery, pain and true hell. Of course, afterwards, totally different story, but birthing not my favourite thing to do to put it mildly!!
Ok, so what happened? Elliot was 14 days overdue so I went in on the 15th day to have my labour induced. I was already feeling very apprehensive about inducing the labour, I had a couple of days before asked to delay the induction in hope that labour would’ve started naturally, but nothing happened, so on 24th November I went in at 8am to start induction.
By 11am they inserted the first pessary. This pessary is an artificial prostaglandin and is meant to soften up your cervix. Because my cervic was no where near low down, still high up and tight shut (it was trying to tell us something I think), the midwife had to insert the pessary in a rather ‘plumber-like’ way. (LOL). This was not massively painful, but definitely uncomfortable. 
Then, nothing much happened for about 6 hours. Andy and I mostly played word welder on our iPhones. The fact that nothing happened in response to the first pessary was frustrating for me because I had hoped to be in at 8am and out by 8pm that same evening (still banking on this whole idea that a second birth is faster). Ha ha. Mostly because I didn’t want to leave Dylan with anyone other than myself at night. Alas, it wasn’t so and my wonderful neighbour was a trooper and looked after Dylan like he was her own! 
At about 5pm they inserted another pessary, again, in a plumber like manner, oh so elegant! Nothing much happened for a while again and Andy and I went to a local pub even where they had lovely food! It was actually a lot of fun to go out just the 2 of us like that. :) 
Andy wasn’t allowed to stay the night, so he left around 10pm and I went to sleep around 11pm after having chatted with the lovely Katie who delivered Dylan. She is flat out awesome and she was on shift that night, so we were hoping that she could catch Elliot as well! Had a lovely chat with her and went to sleep. 
In my sleep, I noticed that some really mild contractions had started and I remember being so tired that I ignored them and slept through them, ha ha. Then around 3am, I thought my waters had broken, but instead it was just quite a lot of mucus (I found out hours later), but the contractions were getting stronger, so I called Andy and he drove to the hospital straight away.
So, when Andy got there, it turned into a bit of a waiting game, sort of, as the contractions were coming on, but not as fast as with Dylan. With Dylan the first thing that happened was my waters breaking and from there on it went pretty fast, but this time, we timed the contractions to be every 7-10mins or so and stayed like that for quite some time.

Ok, so this was around 11am and at this point, I was finding the contractions pretty painful already and then I remembered how with Dylan there was a time that I could not help but SCREAM through the contractions and so at that point I thought to myself: ‘oh noes! I’m finding the contractions already very painful and I’m not even screaming yet!! – what’s gonna come?’ And then I said to Andy: I think I’m going to ask for an epidural. (While with Dylan I was all gungho about going totally natural, this time round I was all for trying to give me an easier time (though of course I didn’t want to overdo it, morphine! morphine! morphine! hee). But yes, I wanted them to be prepared for that I might want an epidural. So I told the midwife.

She looked hesitant. Not a good start. See, here in Brighton, if you’re a low risk pregnancy, they’re not going to encourage you to have pain relief like epidurals and for good reasons of course. But, when you’re the one in pain, you don’t want resistance. No. you. don’t.

So this particular midwife, informed the labour ward and also asked if she could go ahead and break my waters. She then also did an internal and found I was about 4cms dilated which meant I could go up to the labour ward (before that I was still on a maternity ward.)

Ok, when I arrived on the labour ward, I was introduced to a new midwife who I immediately explained to that I wanted an epidural. She then explained the risks to me and started what I’ve come to refer to as the ‘stalling process’. (Again with good reason, but when you’re in so much pain, you hate them for doing this). The stalling process goes somewhat like this:

Mother in excruciating pain: “I want an epidural”
Midwife who is not in excruciating pain: “Well, why don’t we wait and see for the next 2 hrs, your waters may break at any moment and then it’ll go really fast”
Mother in excruciating pain: “No, I want an epidural, now” 
Midwife who is not in excruciating pain: “I really think if we wait a bit longer you’ll be 10cms in no time and then it would be pointless to have the epidural as it’ll take 30mins to put in and 30mins to take effect. Let me examine you to see how far you’ve dilated.”

I then agreed to be examined with a huge sigh and heaps of reluctance. So she examined me and said that I was about 6cms dilated, she then said that we could either wait and see if my waters would break naturally or she could break them for me (with a scary looking crochet like hook, mind you). I was desperate to get things to go faster, so I said ‘go for it’.

She broke my waters and then the contractions really started to kick ass. Faster, more intense, more frequent, more painful. Helloooo!

Please. Epidural. Now.

She got the message and found me an anesthetist, who was -luckily- readily available, as often they are otherwise engaged. He came over and explained the risks to me (again). He also explained that he needed to put in a ‘cannula’ for a drip, I was like: ‘whatever you need to do dude to get me out of this hell hole of miserable pain’ (ok, I didn’t say that, but I think everyone got the message).

So he started to faff about with my arm/ hand and oddly, he had to be overseen by my midwife doing that. It occurred to me that it was odd that the anesthetist who was going to put a needle in my spine of all places, needed supervision from a midwife, but at that point, I was so desperate for pain relief that I would’ve let a toddler do the spinal block on me; paralyse me for all I care as long as I don’t feel this anymore! So I didn’t mention it. Cannula went in, but the plasters didn’t stick very well. Again, I didn’t pay too much attention to it, too busy being in the most horrifying pain of my life and also: I started throwing up.

All of a sudden, the whole thing became like a scene from fawlty towers or monthy python or something.

I was throwing up, while having massive and frequent contractions, the anesthetist was ready in good old scrubs and disinfected gloves plus mask with all is little surgery equipment on a table, his boss, was there as well to ‘oversee’ (again: I thought: what?! is a student going to put a needle in my spine, but then couldn’t care less), then all of a sudden 2 new midwives came in to alleviate the one for lunch (lunch seemed like the oddest concept to me at that point, too normal for the state that I was in) and then there was Andy, too. So there were about 7 people plus myself in one room, I was throwing up, and then, I was asked to sit on the bed with my back arched towards the anesthetist for the best way to administer the epidural. I could hardly do anything with that pain, but ok, I tried. When I went to sit down, I didn’t sit down ‘the right’ way, so the midwife asked me to move and as I tried, the cannula (from earlier) popped out of my arm, as did about half a litre of blood! It sprayed out like mad!

Nice one.

And while under more normal circumstances I would’ve freaked out a bit to see so much blood squirt out of my arm, under these circumstances, I just rolled my eyes and hoped that someone was on the case as I had other things to be busy with.

So then everything got a bit fawlty tower-esque with one midwife running over to try stop the bleeding, another getting me another puke bucket, Andy picking the cannula up off the floor, other people looking confused at the labouring, bleeding, puking woman screaming obscenities. Crazy chaos moment that was.

Then when all had calmed down a bit and my arm had stopped spraying blood, one of the midwives said: ‘I think we’d better check how far you’re dilated because I think you might be quite far, and if you’re near 10 already, the epidural will be useless as it takes about an hour to do it all and by then you may have already given birth’.

Really, really, not the thing I wanted to hear: more stalling. But, she made sense. Also, the boss of the dude who was going to put a needle in my spine said that it would be a shame to go through having an epidural done with all the risks involved and then not have any use of it.

So, even more reluctantly I agreed to be checked again. Yep. almost 10 cms now, so epidural is really not a good idea (according to everyone in the room apart from me).

Ok, why not go in the birthing pool? Cool, I liked that idea as Dylan was born in that very same pool. They filled up the bath, I went in, and then the pushing part started. Only, I was so so exhausted, so fed up, so in pain, that I wasn’t pushing ‘right’. I knew from last time round how to push, it’s like this:

Open up, go with the downwards pressure, don’t bear against it in order to brace against the pain, noooo, open up your ‘canals’ and willingly decide to be in even more pain than you were before.

In other words: you need to go against what you instinctively want to do: brace against the pain, and willingly open yourself up to be in even more pain. So it’s like telling someone to walk into a fire, or walk over glass. No one in their right mind wants to do that.

So, for a very long time, I kept ‘bracing against’ the pain, which effectively means I was doing a sort of clenching thing, ‘down there’ and not opening up the way for Elliot, but ‘opening up’ was just so so painful, I could not get myself to do it. The midwives kept saying: bear down into your bum etc. t this point though I was SO fed up that at some point I said to the midwife: ‘please, can’t you knock me out or something and cut this baby out of me?’ They laughed!! And I said: ‘this is REALLY not meant to be funny, I’m very VERY  serious’. When they told me that wasn’t possible, my brain started scheming. I remember thinking: ‘hey, isn’t there a drug that stops / slows down contractions? if they give me that, then they can put in epidural and then they can start contractions again using pitocin’ ha ha. I was totally out of it, but I was so clear headed about this plan. I remember just thinking to myself: ‘How can I convince them, this is a good idea?’

I spent too long pushing in the bath. At some point, instinctively I wanted to get out of the bath, I felt I needed to be more upright. Use gravity. So after about 2 hrs in the bath I got out and went back to the room. I panicked a bit, because Dylan was born in the water and I didn’t know how to give birth ‘on land’. I couldn’t lie on the bed, lying down was the last thing I wanted to do, so, I stood in front of the window and saw this iron bar attached to it. It was the perfect ‘holding on to’ bar.

So I stood in the room for a while longer and I don’t know what happened, but all of a sudden I found some kind of strength within me that I didn’t know I had. From whence I do not know it came! I was like a woman I didn’t know, like a primal cave woman who stood upright, with slightly bent knees and I started to fucking push. And it came with such strength and primal force, it wasn’t me anymore, it was I dunno, some kind of flintstone in there that did it all.

Then, I thought the head was out, and this, for me is the most painful part of the whole birthing thing. As I thought the head was out, I thought the midwives would started pulling Elliot out, but they didn’t do anything, so all of a sudden I heard this voice scream, no squeal: ‘pull him out!! pull him out!! why aren’t you pulling him out?!!!’ And all of a sudden I realised it was MY voice screaming this, but I had never heard it at that pitch and with that hint of craziness before! Then like 5 voices were screaming back at me! Which was confusing as I didn’t know who to zone in on, so I just kept screaming back: ‘pull him out!! pull him out!!’ Then, I heard a male voice cute through it all say: ‘You need to hold you breath and push again – into your bum’. Ok, so this was clear, I had to push more. So I pushed more, and more and more.

Turned out that when I thought the head was out, he was only crowning! So I pushed and pushed and pushed and I remember screaming in pain while half hanging off that bar, half falling through my knees until I felt all of his limbs and his entire body fall out of me.

The relief of that moment is indescribable. It’s over. It’s over. It’s over. Hallelujah. It’s over. 

Apparently Elliot had a lot of the cord entangled around his body (not his neck), so it was a bit of struggle giving him to me, but they managed. And as hard as this labour was, I remember being instantly concerned for babe, wanting to know if he was ok, and then I held him! And all was instantly beautiful. (Though a little sore, down there).

Then, there is this beautiful peace and joy and happy stuff. The after care is something I really enjoy. They do your stitches if you need them, make you a nice bath, make you toast, give you drinks etc. You get to chat (and apologise) to everyone and you’re just generally in an oxytocin bliss which is just wonderful. Also, you’re just so happy you’re not in pain anymore and then there is the wonder of getting to know your new baby!

Oh another hilarious thing happened. So I needed some stitches and they gave me gas and air to deal with the pain. I only ever had 2 puffs of gas and air with Dylan which had no effect, so I didn’t think gas and air was going to do anything for me. But they said to use it anyway and inhale really fast and deep. And so I did and got instantly massively stoned!! LOL! I couldn’t stop laughing, it was HILARIOUS. I used it twice and the second time I used it right when something was really painful, so I inhaled even faster and deeper and then I saw black and said: ‘oh noooo, I think I overdosed!!’ While still giggling through that too!

That gas and air stuff is truly funny, and the moment you stop inhaling you’re back again. It wears off within seconds!

So then Elliot was checked over and we were released after 6hrs! We were home by midnight.

And now, we’re doing the early newborn thing of no sleep and trying to adjust back into life. We are totally in love with Elliot, he is amazing. And Dylan is coping so well now.

It’s a remarkable thing, this life. I’m blessed and grateful. : ) <3

Thanks to all for reading if you’ve made it this far!

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