Last week BBC morning news had some doctor on their program saying that some fathers probably did more harm than good coming along for the birth of their babies. The mothers become more stressed and the chance for a C-section increases. Just hearing him say that made me feel slightly panicky. Let me share with you the worst moment for me during the whole birth.
My water broke on the night between Monday and Tuesday and they told me to come in, I was relatively calm, I think my husband was more nervous than me. He tried to call for a taxi, but as it was about 3 am it was hard to get any. I don’t remember at what time we actually got to the hospital but when we got there they just took my blood pressure and told me we could go home again. By this time the contractions had started coming and I was a bit nervous about going home, so they let me stay at the ward. It was light when we got up to the ward, Steve brought up the bags and we said goodbye. It was a bit strange to leave him, but I was ok, not in too much pain. I think I might even have manged to sleep a few hours. At breakfast time he showed up again, but nothing much had changed with me. Contractions were still coming but no more or less.
By lunchtime they probably wanted me to go home, we decided to take a walk, ended up sitting having lunch at a Beefeater when my contractions started coming faster and harder. We went back to the ward and they strapped me into a monitor checking the baby’s heart rate. My whole belly was jumping so I needed to stay strapped in for an hour so they could make sure nothing was wrong as his heart rate was raised. Eventually he calmed down and they unhooked me. The pain kept on rising and rising. But no-one had examined me yet due to the infection risk after the water had broke. I was after all over a week early, so they were in no rush.
Steve spend his time rubbing my back, every time I had a contraction I jumped up and he stood stroking the small of my back. At 8 pm the nurses came in and told the partners they had to leave as visiting hours were over. And this takes me to my most painful memory of the whole birth. I was in pain and they sent him away. I was standing in the corridor crying, shaking. It felt like someone was chopping of my arm. I felt lost and sad and very very lonely. It was so awful.
Lucky for me I got talking to some of the other women on the ward which kept me distracted for a bit. Another girl had contractions as well and both of us were in pain. The other two ladies were jealous of us as they were due to get started as they both were 10 days over time. The other girl who had contractions were using gas and air, and screaming out in pain. I tried to bite my lip feeling a bit weird sitting with a bunch of strangers in so much pain. Eventually a midwife came to check the other girl, told her it was time and rolled her down to the labour ward. This meant we lost a member of our team, and the other girls wanted to sleep. I was in so much pain a night-nurse gave me some painkillers and I tried to sleep. I think I manged maybe 3 hours, after which I called the nurses telling them the contractions were getting stronger and faster and they finally 24 hours after the water broke examined me, but I was not open enough.
I could no longer stay in the bed, laying down was awful, it just hurt so much. I got up and the midwife at the night desk told me I could maybe go have a bath. I tried that and it was quite soothing for awhile. When I got up I tried going back to my bed but laying down just was too painful so I got up and walked around. The midwife a the desk felt sorry for me and suggested I should go to the TV room. Why not I thought, and tried to sit down. There was only one channel working and it was ITV, all other channels were just showing snow. The pain was now so bad I was just crying and screaming non stop, but as the TV room was empty I felt less shy about it. I decided that enough was enough and went to ask for some gas and air, which they rolled in to me in the TV room. So there I sat with my gas and air watching Jeremy Kyle. A vile show that strangely doesn’t get any better with labour pains and gas and air! The pain just got worse and worse, the gas and air maybe taking the worst edge off. I still felt awful, I just missed Steve so much. I had my mobile with me and kept on texting him.
In the end it got so bad I went back to the midwife and I asked her “as I was just in the TV room anyway could I not please please please have my husband here”. She said no, but as I was crying so much she said “look we’ll examine you again and if you are open enough we’ll send you down to to the labour ward and we can call for your husband”. Said and done I was now 6 cm open and enough for me to go downstairs. They got a wheelchair out, that I tried to sit down in but the pain was too bad so I asked if I could walk there instead.
As we got downstairs Steve said he was on his way. The contractions were now changing, instead of peaks of pain, it now felt like there was just one long huge spike. A never ending wave of pain. As Steve got through the door it all felt better. Sure I was still in huge pain but I wasn’t alone anymore.
And he was fantastic being there, he helped me with the gas and air, held my hand, calmed me down when I was getting panicky. I really think I would not have been able to cope if he wasn’t there.
So I think for mothers who want their partners there, it should be a given that they can!