Monday, July 30, 2007

And Baby makes three.

Story contd.

Thank goodness for Aunt Rose! She was the spinster sister of Dodie, William’s mother and William had always been her favourite nephew. She used to drive an Austin 7, on the crown of the road, at a steady 15 miles an hour, yelling ‘Road Hog!’ at every car that overtook her. Settled now in Worthing she acknowledged that her driving days were over and had given the car to us. William started teaching me to drive but I got so tired of him hanging out of the car window, apologising for me, that we decided to leave my driving on the back burner until it was a more suitable time.

Off we went to Epsom hospital - William driving very carefully as I explained the baby no longer had that great cushion of water to protect it. At the hospital William was told to go home and that he could phone in the morning. I realise that mothers now want a ‘birthing partner’ to support them during the birth but it was unheard of then, and all I wanted was a nurse who knew what she was about; I had a job to do and I didn’t want any distractions.

I was put in a quite a pleasant room and told to get into bed. Then I was left alone and was aware that, from time to time, people looked through the glass panel on the door. Every time I got a contraction I could feel my face flushing with discomfort. This went on for some time with me stolidly deep breathing, and trying to relax in between. Eventually a nurse came in, examined me and was surprised to find I was fully dilated. She said she seen me lying peacefully (as she thought) on the bed and assumed I was a long way off giving birth. I was rushed down to the labour ward where a doctor had just delivered a baby and was ready to go home. Tough!

Throughout the birth he and the nurse were chatting, in a playful way to each other, except when they gave me instructions. Finally when my baby was born I was so exhausted that I sank back when I had meant to look at the baby emerging. My relief was short-lived when the doctor said I was torn and he would have to put some sutures in. There was just time to get a fleeting glimpse of my son and then he was whisked away.

‘We won’t bother with a local – she’ll be numb down there.’

I had been so proud of myself and now this arrogant clot of a doctor put me through what I can only describe as medieval torture and I screamed and sobbed. I have been wary of male doctors ever since and will always choose to have a woman if possible. The anger is still there although I no longer imagine attacking his nether regions with a large cutting needle to see if he was ‘numb down there’

At last I was back in the room with my son in a cot beside me. I took him in my arms and gazed at him. It was instant, deep, everlasting, unconditional love. He was long and skinny, pink and white with a silken down on his little head the colour of golden treacle toffee. We stared at each other. Such a serious little face with navy blue eyes. I expected they would change, and he did eventually have a deeper version of William’s eyes instead of my green ones. He clamped onto the breast to the manner born – no problems there.

When daylight came I looked out of the window and there below, on the forecourt, was William. His face lit up when he saw me and he waved violently so I could tell he knew the good news. The nurse told me in a disapproving manner, that he had phoned three or four times during the night. And why not? Now he had to wait for visiting time in the evening to see our son.

I went back to bed and my favourite occupation; staring at our # 1 son. This little scrap had changed my whole life and I was supposed after six months, to leave him in the care of somebody else? Not bloody likely!

25 comments:

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

How awful, those male doctors. I could tell a parallel tale, not birth-related but otherwise similarly unanaesthetised gynaecological nastiness from the early 1990s... and I choose woman doctors too, although in fairness I would also have to say that the least painful smear test I've ever had was the only one done by a man. And I understand about the different expectations in terms of birthing partners, but it seems really mean to make William wait so long after you'd given birth to get to see you and his son. Still, a lovely happy ending!

Theblonde said...

Numb??? On fire more like!

Funny how quickly we forget just how painful the experience of childbirth is when thinking about baby no. 2!

zoe said...

i so agree with theblonde - when i gave birth to todd, which wasn't an easy birth, i screamed the hospital down.

but that's a lovely story - your first son sounds delightful - but making the father wait to see him for an entire day - unheard of now!

granny p said...

Good news; glad you got it up so quickly. But weren't they primitive then?... keeping husbands away like that. As for the stitching bit... What they did to you was outrageous. I'd have wanted more than a needle to attack that doctor with. I think I got anaesthetic when I was stitched up. On the other hand - my second baby was born on a Saturday afternoon and there was noone immediately available to to do it. They shoved my feet in stirrups and left me there agape, facing the door, so that anyone who looked in - many people did - stared straight up me. I was enraged afterwards. At the time I was too besotted with my new son - as was his father; it's being a Saturday afternoon meant noone was around to stop him coming in the moment the baby was born. You hear terrible things about maternity services now, but at least husbands are considered part of the furniture and the right to have him - or someone else familiar - around to keep you company is not disputed.

kenju said...

How dare they make William wait to see the baby! That was medieval torture.

I know what you mean about not wanting to leave the baby in the care of someone else. I didn't either!

sablonneuse said...

What a beautiful description of the ordealof childbirth and how quickly you forget it when you hold your baby! But the stitches. I'd forgotten the stitches. Ouch.
In the hospital where I had my daughter all the ladies were walking about very gingerly and refusing to sit down for days. When the senior doctor examined me he said in a horrified tone "I didn't sew you up like this did I?"
Very reassuring.

celerman said...

Thank you for visiting and yes you were in the right place.

Maybe I should tidy up my comments a bit.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a wonderful story of the birth of youyr son, except for that torturous doctor....How stupid can someone be....!
This is so lovely Pat, your description of your dear little baby son---well, I felt like I could see him, right now....BEAUTIFUL, my dear....!

About those Hummingbirds: I don't here any noise from them...I'm really to far away, but when they have come close to me, the noise I hear is ffom the sound of their wings and it is almost like a buzzing of sorts....

PI said...

Ooooh Zinnia - I feel for you and as for the smear test it's like having an umbrella opened inside you and after my last one I decided to call it a day. They consider over 70's expendable in any case. The doctors and nurses had such power in those days.

theblonde: I've never forgotten that particular episode.

Zoe: Was Todd more difficult than the twins?

Penny: I know it's not funny but the picture you paint had me giggling. Reminded me of Dad's Army 'They don't like it up 'em!'
The free and easy attitude to visitors nowadays is a mixed blessing - accounts for a lot of the cross infection which we never had.

PI said...

Judy: yes all your plans go out of the window and someone else is in charge of you.

Sablonneuse : both the doctors who did me could have benefited from a ladies sewing class.

celerman: but you are a man. And you are going to tidy up? I would say I'm just teasing but Mr Althouse would disapprove. You're very welcome.

PI said...

Thank you Naomi - and also for answering my question about the humming birds so promptly. What bliss to sit on your deck and see the little darlings. We have to make do with noisy sea-gulls.

Sandra Ferguson said...

This is a wonderful story of the birth of your son -- aren't those moments so precious? And sons, well, what precious creatures they are. The first days and months go so quickly and can never be captured again. How I miss my babies.

Doctors can be a crude bunch and completely clueless on the pain they inflict. For ever male who doesn't get it -- I think of Bill Cosby's description -- pull your bottom lip over the top of your head and you'll get a small inkling of child birth. Yep, that about sums it up.

Mary Witzl said...

Poor you, going through that unnecessary pain after labor! A friend of mine who was a doctor used to insist that a lot of men went into gynecology and obstetrics because they had failed to get into other more desirable specialties. Reading stories like yours seems to confirm this.

I had our second baby in Japan, and commuted to a hospital two hours away because there were no women obstetricians in our town. And yet when I went into labor I was all by myself; my doctor got stuck in traffic and two other women went into labor before me.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

You felt some "discomfort" with the contractions? Is that all? Not searing pain like a thousand knives stabbing you all at once? My God, you were a trooper, woman!

That doctor sounds like Mengele. What a high-handed moron to attack you with a needle and no anaesthetic. Apart from him it sounds like a beautiful birth.

My 2 were preemies and were whisked away to the Neonatal ICU and, although I heard 2 tiny cries, I didn't get to see them for 12 hours. I was too stupid and overwhelmed at the time to realise I could have insisted. It was like being in a very lonely fog.

But, although i always love hearing birth stories the way they're meant to go, I will be forever grateful to the doctors and nurses though for getting the girls through these first critical days and I find it hard to complain at all about not getting to see them. Getting them here safe and sound by hook or by crook (ouch!) is all that matters in the end. 20 - maybe even 10 - years earlier and they might not have survived at all.

apprentice said...

What no rubber ring? What madness that spouses were only allowed in at set times.

If there was a God it would all be done with velcro.

PI said...

Thank you Sandra and welcome! That's a great description of Cosby's.

Hi Mary! I'm beginning to wonder if anybody had a straightforward birth - apart from Martha in 'Who's afraid of Virginia Wolfe' and that wasn't real.

Hi Sam! That must have been some ordeal. You are quite right - all one wants is to have them here safe and sound. And I think because of that a lot of sloppy treatment is overlooked.

Anna: that's the best idea I've heard in ages!

belle said...

Pat ... oh, what a story ...

my mother tells stories about the Simpson Maternity Pavilion in Edinburgh being built double glazed in the 1890s or so so that the cries couldn't be heard OUTSIDE. And she said you went private in those days (when she had me, I mean, not in the 1890s) so that you were sewed up with silk not catgut like the NHS did you ... yeuch!

Glad I didn't go for motherhood now!

FOUR DINNERS said...

Only Doctor I'd trust is Doctor Who.

One tried to shove a camera down my throat once - he'd finally knocked me out cold as doing it with local was a no go. I woke up and he had a black eye. Oops. Well it was hardly my fault if I was asleep was it?

PI said...

Belle: ghastly story! even with silk that semicircular cutting needle still gives me the shivers!

4d: now when I was a nurse little boys di as they were told. And were grateful!

zoe said...

the girls were a dream to give birth to - despite the fact that i couldn't have an epidural or gas.

todd .... he wouldn't come out and finally i dilated within 5 minutes and he shot out like a canon ball. no epidural again, and as i was being stitched up i told my gynaecologist to fcuk off more than once, each time he told me not to move ...

PI said...

Zoe: I'm glad the girls were no problem - I can't imagine going through it twice in one go. So Todd made his presence felt - no surprise there:) I wish I'd had the courage to tell the doctor what I thought of him.

f:lux said...

OUCH!

PI said...

f:lux: don't let it put you off!

MissMeliss said...

Oh, this whole story - all the parts - was wonderful.

I think the doctor was numb somewhere above his shoulders, though.

PI said...

Missmeliss: you are right about the doctor - couldn't have put it better myself!