Wow! What a week it has been! Where to begin dear diary.
Well, on Wednesday – that would be the 20th June – I woke up feeling so much better after having been laid up for nearly two weeks with a terribly painful back. It is a problem I have had for the last 20 years, but in the last 4 years it has started to get worse and worse. Due to this painful, bed ridden state, I was really feeling sorry for myself and my 12 week body transformation had turned to a 12 week body disaster (more of that another time, perhaps). So, imagine my surprise, when on Wednesday I was not only able to walk, I was completely pain free!! I simply could not believe my luck.
I set about tidying the house (something I particularly abhor), as it really needed it. I was tempted to let it sit for a while, after all I had been in bed for two weeks and should probably take it easy, but I am also trying to break my habit of procrastination, so I decided to go full steam ahead. In no time at all, I had completed what I had set out to do. Just then, the phone rang. It was Jay. “Hi, darling, what’s up?”
“I’ve been trying to get hold of you. I’m having a problem filling in these forms.” And before I could answer, “It’s okay, Dad helped me.”
“Okay, so how are you?”
“Okay, I guess. I’m just feeling so big and also quite tired.”
“Well, you are 37 and a half weeks pregnant now. Your body is holding a big baby now. Just take the time to rest. Does it feel like this baby is never going to come?”
“Yes,” Jay replied grumpily, “I just feel so heavy and huge.”
“I know Angel, it is hard. But at the very worst it will be another five weeks, that is all.”
“Five weeks? I’m 37 and a half weeks now!”
“Well, at this rate, you could go two weeks over.”
“I’m NOT going two weeks over, I will ask them to induce me.”
We chatted a bit more and I told her that I would see her on Friday to take her to her appointment. I made myself a cup of coffee and sat and drank it. As I scanned the now tidy house, I felt good. I decided that as it was nearly 2pm, I would pop out and get that scrapbooking paper I had been eyeing before collecting JC after school. The phone rang again.
“Hi, Jay, have you missed me.”
“Mum!” Immediately, I knew something was wrong.
“What, are you okay?”
“My waters have just broken!” My heart leapt into my mouth.
“Alright I’m on my way!”
“No, mum, I have already called Em. He is on his way to pick me up.”
Change of plan. “Okay, I’ll meet you both at the hospital.” And then as an after thought, “How did it happen?”
“Ally came to visit me and as I answered the door they just went. It felt like I had done a massive pee in my pants.”
“Are you okay? Is Ally with you?”
“Yes, she is with me, and I am okay.”
“Alright, I’m leaving for the hospital now and will meet you there.” I frantically ran around the house trying to think of what I might need. An apple and two bananas made their way into my bag. I phone Dee. “Hi love, Jay’s waters have broken, I’m on the way to the hospital, I need you to pick up JC from school.”
A moment’s stunned silence. “Okay, I’ll leave now.”
“I’ll phone you when I get to the hospital and we know more.” I decide to phone Tee. She had taken her brother and sister-in-law who were visiting from America to Queensland. She was going to be gutted that this had happened whilst she was away.
Her phone rings. “You can only be phoning me to tell me Jay has gone into labour.”
“She is,” I say. “Her waters have just broken.”
A sigh. “Okay, well let me know how it goes. Is she in any pain?”
“No, she didn’t sound like she was in pain.”
“If there is no pain, it could be a while – days even.” She should know, she’s a nurse. I gulp – days? I don’t know if I can bare to wait days.
I rushed around the house frantically trying to think of what I might need. It could be hours or days.
I drove to the hospital. Dee phoned. “I’m on the way to pick up JC. What time does he come out of the gates?”
“3:30. God, I can’t believe this is happening. Our baby is having a baby! WE are going to be grandparents.”
“Calm down, Sarah, it will be okay. Don’t drive too fast, you can’t afford another fine!” Bugger, he was right. I was skating very close to losing my licence. I glanced down at the speedometer. 100, perfect. I set the cruise control. It felt like I was crawling.
I decided to phone Jay again. “Hello?” She sounded awful.
“Hi love, it’s mum. Are you okay?”
“Mum, I’m on the toilet. I can’t move I am in so much pain.”
“Where is Em?”
“I don’t know, on his way?”
“He needs to be there, love, he needs to hurry.”
“Don’t yell, mum, he’s doing it as fast as he can.”
I wasn’t yelling, but I understood how she felt I was. Dammit, I should have driven to her first. I decided to phone Em. “Hi, it’s Sarah. Where are you?”
“Just outside my front door, why?” He didn’t sound impressed and immediately I felt like an overzealous, overprotective mother. Then, I didn’t care.
“Jay’s on the loo, in great pain. I’m just getting into the hospital now. You get Jay, and I will make sure I have a wheelchair for when you arrive.”
I walked to the reception desk at the front of the hospital. A clearly lack-lustre receptionist looked at me. “Hmmm?” she says. Why do people take jobs they clearly hate? I wondered.
I explained that my daughter was pregnant, in labour, in pain and that I needed a wheelchair as she was unable to walk. The receptionist looked past me. “Where is she?” she asked.
“Well, she is on her way, about five minutes away.” Which was a lie, but I hoped I wasn’t too far off the truth.
“Well, when she gets here, let me know and I will phone the birthing suite for a wheelchair.” Did the ridiculous woman think I was lying?
“How about I just go up to the birthing suite who know about my daughter, are expecting her, and I get the wheel chair myself?”
“Okay.” she said without hesitation. Why wouldn’t she agree, I just saved her a one minute phone call.
I went up to the birthing suite. Immediately I saw it was heaving. There were pregnant women everywhere! Eventually a nurse comes over to me. I hurriedly told my story again but she had a blank expression on her face. I raised my voice. “Does anyone know about my daughter Jay XXX?”
“Oh yes, she phoned a little earlier. Is she here?”
“No, she is on her way, but she is 4cm dilated and in extreme pain. I need a wheelchair.”
“How do you know she is 4cm dilated?” My blood was starting to boil. I prayed that Jay wasn’t in the lobby of the hospital giving birth in front of everyone to see.
“Can I just have the wheelchair and you read her notes while I bring her up. She’s been 4cm dilated since 28 or 30 weeks.”
A wheelchair is handed to me with strict instructions to return it. I looked at the woman incredulously. Seriously, woman, what on earth do you think I am going to do with it. Deposit my daughter and head off with it as a getaway vehicle?
I didn’t have to wait long for Jay and Em to arrive. She was in extreme pain. I rushed over with the wheelchair. There was a liquid/blood stained towel underneath where she had been sitting. Em took the car to park it and I rushed to the lifts. I had a momentary urge to shout “Excuse me, pregnant woman in labour about to give birth!” but knew Jay would never forgive me for doing that. We entered the lift with about four other people. She looked very white and I was worried.
“Mum, I want an epidural straight away,” she whispered.
“I’ll be sure to let them know as soon as we get there.”
We arrived at the Pregnancy Assessment Unit. Jay was placed in what I now call a holding seat, which is where they pregnant women are assessed for labour and any other difficulties. We weren’t their long. We were taken to another room for assessment, where Jay could lie down. “Yes,” the nurse said, “I think it is safe to say that Jay is in established labour.”
“Are you going to check to see how far dilated she is?” I ask.
“Not right now, they will do that in the birthing suite.”
I impatiently started wondering why we had made this ridiculous pitstop then and not just gone straight through to the birthing suite. Eventually, we were shown to room 8. I had a lovely view over the valley. Not that Jay cared. She just wanted to get on the bed. The contractions were coming in thick and fast now. Em had parked the car and made his way up. He was standing next to her holding her hand, stroking her hair. I tried to make her as comfortable as possible. It had been an hour since they arrived and the nurses were still asking questions and filling out forms, feeling for contractions.
“Is anyone going to check how far dilated she is?” I ask again.
“We will,” is all I got. They looked at Jay who was now sucking on gas and air like there was no tomorrow, feeling quite sick and whoosy in the process. “Jay, do you want to try pethidine first?”
“No, I don’t, I want an epidural, now please!!” The two nurses nodded and left the room.
Five minutes later, one of the nurses came in and announced that they needed to change beds as the one Jay was on was in fact broken. I am by this stage really struggling not to lose my cool. Em and I helped Jay into the chair whilst they removed the bed. She sat in that chair for about 20 minutes when the new bed arrived and behind it a couple of doctors with a trolley, which I assumed to be the epidural cart. “Okay, Jay, let’s get you on the bed, so you can relax for your labour.” As Jay moved, she cried in pain. “I can’t take this, I want to push.” My heart was breaking, but I couldn’t lose it.
“Come on, love, let’s just get you on the bed.” I was wondering why the hell they weren’t checking how far dilated she was. At least that would give her some indication of how much longer it would be. Some hope that the pain would end.
The midwife helped us to help Jay on the bed. “I can’t do this,” Jay said.
“You can, Jay,” the midwife said, “you may have a while yet.” She said it in a kindly, encouraging way. I couldn’t be mad at her.
The doctor announced that before they gave her an epidural, they needed to check the cervix. FINALLY!
The doctor had a look. She looked at Jay. “Jay, did you say you wanted to push.” Jay, still sucking on that gas and air, nodded. “Well, then push. You are ready.” I KNEW IT!! A mother always bloody well knows!
What followed was a series of long agonising pushes that lasted about 20 minutes, but finally, baby C was delivered into the world at 4:33pm on the 20th June 2012. He was delivered onto Jay’s chest who was exhausted and still a bit out of it with the gas and air. Surprisingly, none of us cried.
Em declined the offer to cut the cord, so I did the honours. I actually cut my own grandsons cord!
Baby C rested on Jay’s chest for while. He was so big and robust! She had not taken off her bra (thinking there was plenty of time to do that), so they asked her to remove it as it was important for skin to skin contact. As Jay held him and Em held Jay, I snapped many photographs. Baby C’s face was very blue which they explained was bruising due to being shunted through the birth canal so fast.
I couldn’t believe it. There it was – the circle of life, right there before my very eyes. I said a silent prayer to my mom. “There he is, mom, your great grandson. How I so wish you could be here to see him. So perfect. So beautiful. How I wish you could see the wonderful woman Jay has become. Mom, you would be so proud. I am so proud. Somewhere, somehow, Mom, I did a good job.”
As I watched the family before me, no longer my own, but an extension of mine, little did I realise that more drama was yet to come and it could go so horribly, horribly wrong.