Born in 60 seconds – our birth story

“There are always exceptions to the rule, it just so happens that you were one of those exceptions.”

This is my final Symapthy Pains article because as the title suggests I am now, for the first time, a father.
I always wanted to finish this series with the birth story as every single one I’ve heard before is different and I figured ours would be too. What I wasn’t expecting was how different it would be.
This is the story of how Elodiedh Darcey Shilling, 6bl 15oz came into the world on a beautiful July Saturday morning.
newborn baby 6 days old
Due Date : Thursday July 10th 2014
For some reason I always thought that our daughter would be born early so for the past few weeks I have been working like mad to get on top of work and sorting out bits and peices that needed doing in the studio and at home. Statistically first time babies are usually late and apparently there’s only a 5% chance of any baby arriving on their due date so we weren’t expecting anything to happen today.
After a very productive morning in the studio I headed back to Epsom to meet Emma for our (hopefully) final midwife appointment.
We’d already booked in a date for induction so the talk was mostly about sweeps. The midwife wasn’t keen on giving us one which did frustrate Emma slightly.
When we got home we ordered a curry.
birth story Epsom
Due Date +1 : Friday 11th 2014
I was awoken by a very teary Emma in the morning. She didn’t know why she was crying ┬ábut to be honest I’d got used to random floods of emotion from her over the past few months. Decided to head into the studio.
Called Emma at lunchtime and she was crying again, no contractions so I did my best to comfort her.
Had a client in after lunch who told me how he delivered his daughter at home himself.
Hadn’t really considered this and the prospect of having to do this worried me somewhat. Later on we had the first of our NCT group’s babies into the studio. Lovely Hollie was only 5 days old and I was treated to stories of sleep deprevation and the other joys of being a new parent.
At 6pm I left the studio and called home to a calmer Emma who informed my that she “thought” her waters had broken.
“What makes you think that?” I asked
“I just feel like I’m constantly pissing myself”
It was at that I thought to myself, tonight’s the night.
Emma was remarkable calm when I got home even though it was obvious that contracts had started.
It was at that point that I downloaded an app for the iPhone to time contractions.
At about 11pm contraction were about 7 minutes apart and lasting up to 45 seconds so we thought we’d better give the hospital a quick ring.
They asked us to come in to see if Emma’s waters had indeed broken so we made the short trip into Epsom.
We hadn’t actually had a chance to do a tour of the labour ward but when we arrived it was all very nice. Me being a good Boy Scout brought all our bags with us just in case.
After about an hour we were on our way home, apparently we were in very early labour but the waters had broken. 0cm dilated. We were told that we needed baby to come out within the next 90 hours but to wait until contracts were lasting a minute and were regular.
Having actually paid attention in our NCT classes I already knew my “maths for men” so this wasn’t anything I didn’t know already.
We knew that being at home was the best place to get things started but I had a feeling it was going to be a long night.
Epsom Hospital birth story
Due date +2 The Birth : Saturday 12th July SuperMoon
2am : As soon as we got home things escalated. Just before when went to the hospital Emma actually said to me “I thought this was suppose to hurt more”. I promised that I wouldn’t reminder her of that later.
The plan for the night ahead was to have at least 30 minutes sleep. With contractions now regularly every 5 minutes that didn’t seem to be a possible.
For the next four hours we sat on the bed whilst I drew on my NCT training and rubbed Emma’s back whilst trying not to feel useless.
At one point we built a little pyramid out of pillows so that Emma could rest her head and catch the odd 5 seconds of sleep.
Four hours of back rubbing takes its toll on you so by the time the sun rose I was laying down next to emma desperately trying to stay away whilst pathetically stroking her back with one limp hand.
It terms of pain relief Emma started off with two paracetamol which she threw up about 5 minutes later.
We tried out the TENS machine but that also had the same affect. In fact the throwing up continued for most of the night till we moved to the bathroom.
The bath seemed to make things a bit more bearable but I could tell we were getting closer.
Here’s some of Emm’s best quotes from the night
“I can’t do this”
“We’re going to have to go to hospital and get her cut out”
“How did my mum do this eight times? She must be one of those people that likes pain or something”
“Why doesn’t anyone tell you it’s like this?”
“I feel like I need a massive poo”
“I want my mummy”
After I heard the last remark I got worried. The contractions were still three or four minutes apart but were not lasting more than 45 seconds.
We were told to return to the hospital about an hour after contractions were regularly lasting 60 seconds.
For the last hour I’d been pottering about, I’d had a cup of coffee and some toast and even a quick shower.
Although we only wanted an epidural as a last resort and pethidine if she really needed it I couldn’t imagine Emma going through this for another 12 hours or so without anything more than a warm bath.
Then she said….
“I want to push……”
“Oh no you don’t” I said
“I really want to push, or do a massive poo”
“Let me see”
I’m not going to go into graphic detail on what I saw but I didn’t see a baby so I thought we still had loads of time.
I rang the hospital and told them what was happening.
The midwife seemed more concerned than me.
“Can you get in?”
“Sure we can, we’re only about 10 minutes away” I said
“If you think it’s coming just pull over and call 999”
That worried me a bit so I called my sister who lived down the road and who had already offered her taxi services.
“I’ll be there in half an hour, is that alright?” My sister excitedly said
“Can you be here in 5 minutes instead?” I calmly replied.
“I’m going to push” came a voice from the bathroom.
On my second inspection I saw a head, probably about a banana in width (you can’t get away from these fruit analogies can you?).
I still thought we had a while but the idea of actually having to deliver this baby myself was also becoming a reality.
Thankfully this was when my sister arrived and we carefully bundled Emma into the back seat.
Thank goodness it was a Saturday morning as the streets were clear and we arrived outside Epsom Hospital about 10 minutes later.
The next challenge was getting Emma out of the car which wasn’t helped by her protests and calls of “she’s coming, she’s coming”
Standing up out of the car Emma stopped in her tracks .
“She’s in my pants”
“Don’t be silly she’s …….oh” I said as I felt what was clearly a head.
I really didn’t know what to do at that point, should I run into the waiting room shouting “my wife is having a baby in the car park” or should we just try and make it through the doors and up to the second floor?
Urgency and the fact that at this point that fact that I’d convinced myself that the only thing stopping this baby coming out was my carefully placed hand we opted for the latter.
On arriving at the delivery unit I pressed the buzzer which sparked a flurry of midwifes all trying to get Emma into a wheelchair.
“I don’t want to sit on her head” she protested but after being flipped backwards she was whizzed down the corridor to our room.
We got her out of the chair and onto the bed to reavel a head already trying to make it’s way into the world.
Over my shoulder I heard a gasp and a rather urgent sounding “oh my” coming from the midwifes.
Two pushes later I barely caught sight of a baby flying out of my wife and being placed in her chest.
“Hello” said my wife in a tone that after knowing each other for ten years I have never heard. It was certainly laced with surprise but there was also something else quiet lovely there too.
I’m not ashamed to admit that as soon as my daughter opened lungs seconds later I got rather emotional.
To my left the midwife’s conversation caught my attention.
“Time of mother’s arrival at the unit 8:36, time of birth 8:37”
To this point Emma’s pain relief had comprised of 2 paracetamol, 2 baths and half an hour using the TENS machine at level one.
After the birth things got complicated and Emma was taken into theatre. For about 10 minutes I was left completly alone with Elodiedh only minutes old wrapped up like a little baby taco before we joined the party. If people ask when “when did it all sink in?” I can honestly say it was at that point. For a few minutes it was just my daughter and I and all was quiet and calm.
After a spinal block, 2 sets of stiches, a balloon that was put inside Emma’s uterus, 2 blood transfusions, a bunch of pain relief, a night in the recovery room and a night on the ward we were discharged and ready for our new adventure I like to call Normal 2.0.
birth story Epsom Hospital

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