Friday, 6 February 2015

The Birth Story Part II

The Waiting Game.
Gwyn held my hand firmly as she prepared for the next wave of contractions. I could feel her grip increase every time she sunk her face into the sofa and grimaced in pain. I felt helpless being unable to take any of the pain off her. All I could do was to be by her side and measure her contractions whenever they started. By now, she was feeling contractions twelve minutes apart and for around sixty seconds each time. These were early signs of labor and we realised that the wait had just begun.

It was now 1pm. Kristin had just arrived at our door step.

"How is everyone doing?" she greeted us with a smile.

Kristin must have seen these situations happen too often. She looked calm and collected. On the other hand, I was entirely green and quietly panicking under my skin about what was to come next. 

We explained the situation to her. The contractions were now consistent. We got into a routine of timing them like clockwork. The intervals between each set of contractions remained roughly the same at twelve minutes apart for a long while, although from Gwyn's expression, the pain seemed to increase more and more each time.

"Let's have a look." said Kristin as we made our way to the bedroom.

She requested for an old towel to be spread on our mattress and then asked Gwyn to lie down. I stood by at the side and watched on attentively. Reaching into her black nurse bag, she grabbed a pair of medical gloves and promptly put them on.

"This may hurt a little." she warned before proceeding with the inspection.

Almost immediately, Gwyn yelled and her body crouched together instinctively. I stood still, rooted to the ground and was in shock. It was clear that she was in great pain and yet there was nothing I could do. Again, I felt helpless and could only offer words of encouragement. I have always considered Gwyn's threshold for pain to be quite high. For her to react the way she did, it must have been intolerable.

"You are about 2cm dilated." stated Kristin.

"What?!? Only 2cm?" was our initial response. We were somewhat expecting a lot more because of the amount of pain Gwyn was in.

"Do you want to stay home first or do you prefer to go to the delivery unit now?" she asked.

We had devised a birth plan and the idea was to stay home for as long as we can before going to the delivery unit. We wanted to stay relaxed during the build up and home was the perfect environment to do so.

Guessing that it could take a while before dilating fully, we decided to stay put. There was ample time for Gwyn to take a shower and Mum to prepare curry chicken for dinner. Kristin went home to rest and prepare for the night ahead. I started packing the hospital bag.

Over the next few hours, the contractions would continue steadily with the intervals between each set gradually reducing. At about 5pm, we sat around the dining table for an early dinner.

"Eat more." Mum told Gwyn. "You'll need the energy."

Friday, 30 January 2015

The Birth Story Part I

The Early Signs.
It was Tuesday, January 14th, 7am. I had just woken up after snoozing thrice. Rubbing my eyes, I dragged my feet across the hall way to the bathroom and back. I put on my suit and lugged on a new pair of socks. It seemed like a typical work day morning until Gwyn sat next to me on our bed and said:"There was some blood."

My eyes suddenly lit up. She wasn't due for another five days, but we always knew that it could happen anytime near the due date. Was this going to be the day she goes into labour?

I asked her if she felt any contractions. "Some slight ones but could be nothing." she replied.

"Should I stay home today and not go to work then?" I wondered.

It sounds like a silly question but both of us didn't know the answer then. After a long silent pause, she decided:"I think you should carry on and go to work because it could be nothing. And, even if it is something, there will be enough time for you to come home. Remember they were sharing during antenatal class, it doesn't happen straight away."

With that, I left for work feeling nervous. Subconsiously, my gut was telling me that this could be the day. I arrived at the office, went straight to my boss and told him about what had happened in the morning. I was pre-empting my colleagues at work because when Gwyn does go into labour, I would be dropping everything right away and be gone for the next two weeks.

The morning felt really slow as I struggled to concentrate on the office tasks on hand. I was constantly texting and checking on her. She had gone for a walk to the village cafe with Mum and the dogs. They were having breakfast and everything seemed alright. It was at 11am when things started to change. "I think you better come back now." read her text.

We live about forty five minutes drive away from the office but I got home in slightly over half an hour. When I entered the living room, I saw her standing up and leaning forward against the back of our sofa. Her right hand was on her tummy and she looked like she was in pain. "Are you alright? Have you called Kristin?" I asked.

Kristin was our midwife and lead maternity caregiver. She had been visiting us regularly since Gwyn became pregnant. She was in her late fifties and had a very sociable and gentle personality. We chose her as our midwife because we got along well and shared very similar views on labour. She was also a very experienced midwife, having done it for more than thirty years.

It wasn't long ago that we last met her. In fact, we had only just saw her on Sunday at the Lavender farm in Otaki. "See you soon." when we bade farewell at the farm now seems all the more ironic.