Monday, October 06, 2008

Iris makes her entry into the world! Day one, 1st of October, 2008

Iris Matilda Smith entered the world at 03.50am on 1st of October, 2008 after a 30 hour labour which started on Monday night. She was already nearly 2 weeks' late by the time labour started, and evidently far too cosy to come out without a real fight.

Lou and I had planned a homebirth in East Dulwich. I had amazing care from 'The Lanes' community midwives, a new practice set up at my GP's, The Dulwich Medical Centre.

Erika arrived first and stayed about 9 hours with me throughout the night. I first started off with the TENS machine and the contractions were coming quite strong and evenly spaced, around 10 minutes apart. When they became a bit more intense, I moved into the birth pool which felt great. Contractions speeded up a bit for a while, so I hit the Entonox (gas and air) which was really effective. However, the contractions eventually slowed down, and after an examination, I was only about 2 centimetres dilated.

Vanessa arrived around 8 or 9am, so we moved out of the pool onto the bed and back onto the TENS although I was a bit too spaced out to use it properly, so it kept turning itself off. I did not use the gas and air as this was thought too be slowing down contractions, so I stuck it out for another 4 hours with no pain relief. However, after examination, there was maybe only half a centimetre's further dilation. By this point, I was really struggling to cope with the pain, so it was decided to call an ambulance and transfer into hospital. Luckily I packed the hospital bag!

Hospital was a rapid decline towards a Caesarean section which I had demanded when arriving, but we had to try all the other options first. I arrived at hospital and the anaesthesist was in theatre so could not administer the epidural straight away, so I went for a shot of Pethidine, but that didn't seem to have any effect and I was still hysterical and in loads of pain. I only calmed down once the epidural turned up - that was a relief to have that! I had been quite against the epidural, pethidine etc, but by this point, I was past caring as I was exhausted and had had so little sleep. This was now Tuesday afternoon and I had not slept since Sunday night.

A drug called Syntocinon was administered to keep the contractions going. This was not painful due to the epidural, and eventually, after about 8 hours, I was fully dilated and ready to push. However, when it came to pushing, I was so completely numb that I could not figure out what was going on down below that I couldn't do anything to help the midwife with the pushing, so I was whisked into theatre for a ventouse delivery. The ventouse is a little suction cap attached to the baby's head. The surgeon gave it a couple of hard yanks and I really did try to push with all my might as I knew that the next stage would be the Caesarean which I was not keen to experience, but unfortunately that was the only option left.

The C-section was quite gory, I even slightly felt one of the cuts that they made. They used a lot of force to yank the baby out of me. First, she had to be pushed back up the birth canal as using the ventouse had already made her descend a fair way down the canal. As the surgeons were pulling her out of me, I kept getting tugged down the operating table and they used a lot of force, leaning on my chest to yank her out. Eventually she popped out, healthy and giving us a good cry to mark her arrival at 3.50am.

Iris had quite a temperature and high heart rate throughout the birth, so was put on antibiotics just in case she developed an infection. She was whisked away from me for 2.5 hours while the doctors in the special care unit repeatedly failed to canularise her. Poor little thing looked like a voodoo pin cushion after they were done with her. In fact, they didn't manage to get the canula into her, so Lou brought her back to see me as I'd been separated from her for far too long.

I transferred with her to the post-natal ward. The midwives here were absolutely lovely and looked after us really well. Midwives Hilary, Amelia, Sharon and Katarzyna all looked after Iris.

We had tonnes of visitors in hospital:

Mum, dad, Aunty Helen, Glitter Aunty Laura, Uncle Piggy (Mathew), Colette, Tessa, Bayan, Davy Diamond and Godfather Rob.

Iris and Lolly had lots of gorgeous gifts including a golliwog (!), a pendant with the letter 'I', tonnes of beautiful flowers, a brown dolly, lots of magazines and a cute little elephant, amongst others.

After 3 days, we went home to East Dulwich and introduced Bombi to her new home.