Saturday, 20 February 2010

Seventeen Years Ago

About five in the morning I decided it was time. I phoned my mother (six hours ahead in England) and heard her gently crying as I told her the pains were getting stronger and we would phone her from the hospital when we "had news". I remember saying "It's not so bad", which made her cry a bit more, given that she knew what I was in for.

The baby was ten days overdue and an induction was booked for the next day. I was glad not to have to go through that as I'd heard not-so-good things about being induced. (Not true, as I learned next time round.) So off to the hospital we trotted, I was wired up to a fetal monitor and everything looked great. The baby's heartbeat was low and steady, making everyone tell me it was a boy (even though I knew better in my head). I took a long time to dilate and kept stopping in between. At about 4pm I was finally ready to push. Two hours later we were starting to think about Plan B. Apparently the baby was "sunny side up" meaning that she was facing out and her neck was craning backwards to try to get out. That, plus a pelvis that hadn't been given the manual on how to expand a bit, meant that the babe was well and truly stuck. I heard mention of a c-section and begged my doctor to let me keep trying, but I think I already knew that was hopeless.

The c-section was a fairly relaxed affair for the baby, (compared to the one I had ten years later) and a huge warrior-princess came out about 45 minutes later, a shock of jet black hair sticking straight up like a Mohican. Unfortunately, my uterus was bleeding profusely now so there was lots of "irrigation", general shifting around of organs, and a blood trnafusion was at the ready. My main memory of the whole thing was shaking uncontrollably, and my head banging on the table. (You should have seen the black eyes I had the next day.) I stayed in recovery for five hours and then they wheeled me back to my room for what became the worst night of my life. The only "drink" I was allowed was a sponge on a stick with mouth wash. Mouthwash!!! Eventually one of the nurses took pity on my dry mouth and allowed me to rinse with water as long as I spat it out.

I was on heavy duty pain-killers at the time and was supposed to ring when I could feel them wearing off. It was at this time that we learned I have the constitution of an elephant when it comes to pain relief. It was wearing off at about twice the rate of a normal human, and my body went into full convulsions just to prove to the nurses that I wasn't faking.

My insurance coverage allowed me an extra day because of the c-section, although even then none of my docs thought I was ready to be discharged. (A whopping three nights woo-hoo.)

Anyhoo, she's 17 today. Where did the time go? She was a high maintenance baby, but I am guessing that was because I was making up the rules as I went along. She's been a very low maintenance child and teen - have I just jinxed things? I am so proud to have a tall, willowy, happy girl, but more because of the way she's met her dyslexia head on, achieves A grades despite the odds and refuses to let it stand in her way.

You go girl! (But not just yet!)

Expat Mum


  1. 3 days !!!!!

    I hadn't even got out of bed by day three.

    I got five days in there and had to lie through my teeth, saying I had done the required poo (yeah, like I was going to risk my innards all over the floor by doing anything more strenuous than a polite mini fart) to be allowed home even then.

    And this was a non head banging, non convulsing middle of the road c-sec.

    I may have to tone down my criticism of giving birth in an Italian state hospital having read your story.

    I got something caught in my throat at the end of the the last line. I'm not ready to even think about that bit yet.

    Congratulations on not only having survived birth, but on a job well done in the bringing up part.

    Sarah - British mum of a mini Italian nationalist, in deepest darkest Lomellina.

  2. Such a lovely post. It doesn't matter how long ago, we mums never forget the experience of bring new life into the world.

    CJ xx

  3. Oh my! I have a willowy 17yr old too! (was it the trend that year do you think??) I also have a scrumptious 20yr old and was allowed the luxury of 8 delicious days in hospital while I got my wits together and 'learnt' how to be a(at least not quite such a scared) Mummy!

    Was thrown out after 30 hours with my second LOL Happy 'Birth'day to you both

  4. Oh, Happy birthday to your willowy 17yr old. It really doesnt matter how many years ago these experiences were, does it? we always remember. But only 3 days, bloody hell! I had a c-section (long & quite amusing story, maybe I should blog it) with son number 3 (18), and I was in for 5 days, and that was with the NHS!

  5. Ten days in hospital was mandatory in the fifties and early sixties-heaven, except for the fact that we only saw our babes for feeding.

  6. I have a 13 year old and have always regretted that we can't have more - despite the usual IVF etc etc. It's reading posts like this that makes me cross my legs and realise that not going through all that again really isn't the worst thing in the world!!
    I hope she (and you) had a fantastic birthday. X

  7. A gorgeous post, and thank you for putting the delicious torment into words. I think sometimes we shy from the gore and the detail... It's all part of life's rich tapestry, non?!

    Happiest of birthdays both! x

  8. wonderful post on so many daughter turned 18 just after christmas this year and l was thinking very similar thoughts...our wow moments l think..something we will always think about with wonder and awe...and L felt so special didnt you? like no one had ever done such a thing ever before..

  9. Saz, I've written a post, including thanks from us to our fabulous contributors, referring to the Times article ('omigodomigodomigod!') - I've set it up for Friday, but should you wish to change, post it earlier, tweak it, or delete it, please do - I just wasn't sure whether you might get to this spot at this time... Love you, Fhi x

  10. just noticed FHina, thanks so much wonderful.....l have taken the sidebar thingy off...overkill l thought...

    l have posted a small note on my current situation, hope you feel its ok to post it here, if you dont think it appropriate feel free to take it off schedule....l tried to post on mine but its completely disappeared l think lve lost the damn thing!!
    merci ma cheri!! groses bisoux!

  11. Absolutely fine, my Sazzie, and very brave of you, I think. Post what you feel comfortable with, whenever - Hugs! xox

  12. and you would go through it again wouldn't you........all mother's would go through it again and again.

    Happy birthday to your baby,

    Gill in Canada