The year my darling daughter was born I was turning 27, on the day. Oh yes, the nurses were all excited. It was my birthday and I would have my firstborn child on this day. My husband had gone and purchased a new car and wanted me to look out the window – look I have parked it there, have a look. Yeah sure, lovely, now get over here and hold my hand as I am in pain. He and the nurses stayed at the window discussing the car and how lucky I was. ‘Hello! What is wrong with these people?’ was all I could think. I had gone to the hospital about 3am and it was now about 11am.
I was two weeks past the due date and over the whole huge stomach. My husband had been so anxious about getting me to the hospital he had done test runs to work out the shortest route for months. In the last two weeks he had taken to sleeping fully dressed to save time. When I woke him up to suggest maybe I should go to the hospital his reply was, “Thank God”, and away he went into his action plan. Almost forgetting me. When we got to the hospital they said there was no need to panic. I panicked about being sent back home, I cried, “I can’t do this anymore, please let me stay.” So they did.
By 11 am we were all bored and now we had the distraction of this new car to look at. My husband had managed to duck out at 9am and to occupy himself he traded our car for another one. How nice for him. He wanted me to be pleased; he thought he was doing a good thing. “Really? You really thought that?” I asked him, while thinking, ‘Oh God please, please help me here.’
Eventually I was put on a drip to speed up the labour – by now the doctor and nurses would have been thrilled to see me go home. I wasn’t going anywhere and this was not going on for a further two weeks, either.
After I was put on a drip I got to lie on my back for hours. I had monitors all over me and everyone, including me, could watch the pain grow in strength. What a treat, hey? Just what everyone wants. My husband was completely fascinated with this wonderful piece of machinery. “Look, look the needle is going up.” he said. “Hum yes, I see it and actually I can feel it, I have the pain, remember that.” I replied. Like the stupid morons we both were, we asked: “Where will the needle go to on this scale as the birth progresses?” Why would anyone answer that question? The nurses must just love people like us. “Oh, to here.” the nurse pointed – which of course was so far away from where we were I insisted they take it all off me. I was going home now. I had changed my mind.
After that the fun stopped. Each time my husband saw the needle rise he wanted to mention it. Each time he looked like he was going to mention it I glared my now convincing don’t you dare glare. Each wave of pain I got I wanted to kill him. After 16 hours of being in the hospital, about four of which I was on my back and could not move. It was decided, by everyone, that something had to be done. I had a private doctor; in fact he was so private we had barely seen him in the sixteen hours. My husband went looking for him and found the doctor eating his dinner. It was 6pm. My husband insisted he do something to help me as this was getting ridiculous. After his dinner, the doctor dropped in to have a look and discovered, apparently for the first time, that the baby could not move. She was stuck and we would need to do a caesarean. My body frame is small and the baby was in a transverse lie position; she was lying across my stomach and could not turn around as there was not enough space. Really, the doctor should have known this already. I had not changed my body shape in the previous nine months, nor the last sixteen hours of this day. He should have known. I had skipped reading the section about caesarean births as the doctor had given me every indication that all was good and there was no need to worry.
Right now, after hours on this dreadful machine on my back, I was not going to worry and I announced: “You can pull her out of my throat for all I care; just do something.”
She was born at 8pm that night. My husband went as green as the gown they put him in as he slid under the table. I watched as they left him there and kept working on me. I was a complete and utter mess and nothing had gone to plan except we had our beautiful daughter and I can confirm now that she is the most determined person I know. I am sure thinking back on that time how she enjoyed every moment of listening to us while she was saying, “I am stuck you idiots and I cannot get out of here.”
Copyright © Mary Willetts 2012