Tash hit 10cm at about 10pm, it was time to push! I've seen a few films so had my supportive breathing noises and standard sentences at the ready, complete with sympathetic tones.
Then just like that her contractions slowed completely down to a point where they weren't enough to push him out. Doogie Howser was replaced by a senior midwife who took the lead. As they were putting in (I say putting in, they were stabbing her like an angry person with a voodoo doll) an IV drip to try and kick start them, I thought I'd change the subject, so I complained about the poor WiFi coverage and asked around if anyone had the password.
There was a silence in room, the main midwife glanced back. "You're going to have to push with no contractions, he has to come out." There was a sudden beep from a machine in the corner breaking the silence - apparently unplugging stuff to charge your phone is also not allowed.
Tash was exhausted but like the trooper that she is and without the use of an epidural, morphine or gas and air, she gave it everything. She started pushing, I clung onto her hands and squeezed and pushed when she did, *parp*, bloody Haribo and energy drinks. I blamed the nerves.
During our birthing talks we had decided I'd stay at the head end, I thought a supportive solution using a selfie stick to capture the action but that was quickly dismissed. With the birthing position she was in I found myself right over the business end. I thought few episodes of One Born Every Minute was enough preparation to take a glance, how wrong I was, it was actually like something from The Walking Dead.
Tash didn't appreciate my practiced support techniques and calmly looked me in the eye and told me to shut up. Not knowing what else to say I decided to get her some water and a wet towel. This decision will be one that stays with me forever. The bathroom was located in the corner of the room and whilst wetting the towel it dawned on me, there was no way of returning without looking into the eye of the storm. I took a breath......
It was now about 2am and with little progress as the little man was laying in a strange position, he was getting distressed, I remember hearing his heartbeat speed up on the monitor. "We are going to have to make a cut to get him out" I swallowed hard, not sure if Tash had heard - she never was very good at paying attention.
By this time there were various people in the room including midwives, doctors and pediatricians. They made the incision and she said there was meconium, i think my reaction convinced her that I knew what she was talking about. Some kind of precious metal? Kryptonite? or another way of saying her insides were outside?
After a few pushes and a yank he shot out like a bit of wet paper being blown out of a straw. The midwife put him on Tash's stomach and in front of me. He was blue, still and not breathing.
Every emotion washed over me, was he ok? Was she ok? Who unplugged my phone?
Like something from one of those vet shows or that scene from Batteries Not Included they wrapped him in a towel and started rubbing him vigorously as he was whisked away. I was peering over heads on tip toes to get a glimpse like I was at some kind of concert and then I heard it, the first cry. My eyes welled up and I breathed a sigh of relief.
My attention was back on Tash who after 26 hours, a broken vagina and a pee in the pool was calm. The painful part was yet to come though as they began to put her back together like Humpty Dumpty. Two of the major blood vessels had burst so they needed stitching up ASAP because at the moment they were being plugged by the midwives fingers.
Labor must do funny things to you because it was at this moment as they were stitching her up, she calmly sat up forgetting all about the pain and said with a straight face "please don't sew up my bum hole" the midwife slowly appeared in complete shock like a child peering over a wall. I obviously laughed and at this point I knew everything was going me to be ok.
The little man had now been checked and given the initial all clear. One of the midwives asked me to take my top off which I thought was a bit forward considering Tash was still being sewn up a few feet away. Who am I to argue. There I was half naked, sucking my stomach in looking like a nervous virgin who had undressed the first time when she told me about skin to skin contact "oh yeah, that" at this point I realised I'd mistaken a twitch for a wink.
He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and I stood over Tash cuddling her and holding her hand. That moment time stood still and was like a freeze frame of my life.
An hour and a half of being stitched up, some constructive charades style feedback from me on what it looked like she was passed her son to hold for the first time and the trauma of recent events disappeared as she got lost in his eyes and he starred back transfixed at hers, recognising her voice as she gently spoke to him.
We were a family, and he was perfect.........
Tash you are my hero.
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