So the majority of you will know, almolst three weeks ago I became a dad, Connell gave birth to our son, Noah Jacob. This is the story of how it all happened on the night!
We went to bed on the Sunday night thinking that the due date had been and gone with no real happenings. We had brunch at home with my parents, tea at Connell’s parents and came home, watched Hawaii 5-0 and went to bed.
I’d had a cold all week and had struggled to get rid so was all wrapped up in my little futon bed in the spare room, getting ready for a night sweating it out! However I was woken at 1am by an angelic singing sound coming from somewhere outside the room! There it is again, it’s Connell. “Are you OK babe?” I asked. “I think my waters have gone,” came the reply! Well, I shot out of bed and out to see her. It did appear they’d gone and she said she’d been in pain almost since we’d gone to bed! She’d had what we thought were Braxton Hicks (fake contractions) whist her parents earlier in the night. I’d secretly timed those just to guage and they were about every 10mins but then they seemed to go with nothing else happening. I timed what we had now, and we were looking at about every 6. I rang the hospital and they asked to speak to Connell, asking her a few questions before telling us to come on down and to bring our bags.
So I drove us down to the hospital at half one in the morning, took us about 11 minutes, and we made our way to the Maternity Assessment Unit. In there they examined Connell, concluding she was around 2cm dilated and would examine again in a couple of hours, meanwhile we should chill out there as best we could letting gravity do it’s work! The time seemed to pass reasonably quickly, Connell was in quite a bit of pain with the contractions and was using our borrowed TENS machine quite often to assist. Two hours passed and the examination suggested she hadn’t dilated much further and would be checked again in another couple of hours. “I don’t think I can do it”, said Connell. She was having a really hard time with the pain. The midwife with us said she could use one of the baths for pain relief or have some diamorphine, the latter would, however, mean she couldn’t have the water birth she really wanted. I managed to convince Connell that she could do it, I really wanted her to have the water birth she had looked forward to all along, although I knew that she was open to whatever pain relief became necessary!
One thing I wasn’t ready for in all this labour business was just how sick Connell might be. she must have filled about 4 or 5 of those funny little cardboard containers you get! The midwife eventually gave her an anti-sickness injection to help try to keep her from dehydrating.
As we we got to the next examination we had made it to 5cm and were able to move through to the delivery suite and into the birthing pool!
We headed through and were pleased to know that the room we wanted was available, the posh one that had been part funded by Channel 4 for the TV show One Born Every Minute. The midwife in there was really good, although I forget her name, and put Connell at ease and got her started on the Entinox (gas and air) whilst she started to fill the pool. After a few minutes Connell had got changed and was in the pool, the midwife was about to leave though as we had got through there at about 6.30, shift change time. We were joined by a new midwife, Becky, and a Student Midwife, Elisabeth. As we had become accustomed to, both were brilliant. It didn’t seem too long before Connell piped up with, “I keep feeling like I need to push!” “That’s great,” was the reply. It appeared game time was here!
It hardly seemed we’d been there long at all before Elisabeth was saying she could see the head! Really? It seemed to be so quick! Yes definitely tyhe head, and there was hair on it, wafting in the pool! Connell was still really feeling the pain and was crushing my hand and fingers as each contraction came and passed, although she was actually fairly quiet, hardly having said three words since the pushing started! I later found it she had essentially taken herself off to a far away land, via the gas and air and the need to try to distance herself from the pain. I just kept telling her how proud I was of her, and I was, immensely. She was handling everything so well.
Fairly soon after Elisabeth told us that the head was on it’s way out and had started to crown. They told Connell if she reached down she’d be able to feel it! “Is that it?” she shrieked when she realised the whole thing wasn’t there and she just felt the tip of the crown! It takes time apparently, who’d have thought! Becky advised that it came out and went back in a little as it stretched the exit. “It goes back in?” Connell checked, “For F***s sake!” The only time my wife swore the whole labour!
Things started to get closer and soon enough Becky was explaining that the head was about to come out totally, but that this would be the worst pain Connell had ever experienced, stinging alongside the usual contraction pain. The head made it’s way out and we just needed a few more pushes before the rest of Noah joined us. Connell didn’t really feel any contractions at the end and Becky had to feel her stomach and tell her when to push. Looking back I realise that Becky and Elisabeth had realised this and that Noah’s cord was around his neck a bit, and so were quite keen to get him out as quickly as possible. At not time during the birth though did we realise this and they were brilliant at hiding any concern and just getting him out. As Helen held him and breathed a sigh of relief I cut the cord, an emotional moment for any father I’m sure, not just the wussy ones like me, although I held it together, I didn’t want to appear soft after what Connell had just gone through! I did however have to get a little David Hasselhoff as Connell slipped into the water with Noah, tiredness taking over before I leapt into action and grabbed them both. Noah wasn’t fussed in the slightest, spitting out any water in an arc like he’d been there a thousand times before!
The rest of the day passed, we had probably the best tea and toast in the delivery room as we made the first phone calls to our parents and my gran. Lots of tears and excitement before we eventually moved onto the ward.
Connell stayed in over night as he was being sick quite a bit after his feeds and we all just wanted to keep a check on things. Going home that night at 1030 was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, I was gutted to leave.
I went back for them in the morning though, 8.15 and we already had the discharge papers. We were out of there by 9am heading home to truly start our family together.
The midwives at Leeds General Infirmary were all fantastic.
I’m enormously proud of my heroic wife for going through what she has for the last 9 months and on Born Day. She handled the whole pregnancy brilliantly and was inredible on the day itself.
Noah Jacob is amazing.
I’ll keep you updated as time goes on with how we’re all doing!