As a first time father the idea of attending my wife’s labour was rather intimidating, I always thought of myself as being rather fearless but in this case I felt an unexplainable feeling of apprehension. Looking back at things, I think it was because we talked about the birthing process a lot and watched things like one born every minute as well as attending a mindfulness course (at my wife’s request 😉 of course). Additionally, the Mrs kept reiterating the importance of her birthing plan and how I would have to advocate for her during the really crucial period of time. Needless to say she is a demanding woman and getting it wrong would create a lifelong grudge….. if you’ve been in a long term relationship you will understand this point.
Anyway back to the story, it was Friday at roughly 2am, my wife was about 4 days overdue now and things were getting tense. She had spent the last couple of days trying to self-induce labour by having things like extra hot Indian food, greasy kebabs and lobster. I took part and my belly suffered. This really had me unwell and had a very bad effect on my Crohns disease. But I digress, at 2am my wife and I were both in and out of the bathroom the whole evening. She then began to vomit aggressively all over the toilet floor and seat. She had intense pain in her back and I felt useless in terms of support as I was barely able to stand myself. After consulting with her mother I was tasked with cleaning the bathroom while everyone got ready to head towards the hospital. I almost threw up from the murder scene that was our toilet but I soldiered on.
So we were ready to leave, my mother-in-law drove us to the hospital in what was one of the most draining journeys I had experienced. When we got there we were kind of far from the entrance that we needed to get to and so some police officers gave us a lift to correct building. Now usually I would never voluntarily jump in the back of a police car, but at that point I was too far gone. As we got to the labour assessment centre I ran off to a bathroom to relieve myself while my wife and her mum waited to be seen. When I returned I found that my wife was only 1cm dilated, had been admitted to the home from home centre and that she had been administered with Dihydromorphinone to help with her severe back pain. We were put in a room, her mum went home and she tried to get some sleep. I lay there on the couch with some toast and a bottle of water trying to take a nap. However, I spent the whole night in and out of the bathroom.
I phoned my dad and asked him to come to me with my medication, at around 2pm he came and I left with him to go and get some rest at my parent’s house. My mother in law had returned by this time and stayed with my wife. I felt really guilty that I couldn’t stay as my health was really letting me down. When I got back to my area I went to A & E where I received some treatment for my condition. I planned on returning that night but my wife said there had been no change and that it would be a good idea for me to rest until further notice. The next day I returned to the hospital to find out that my wife had almost been rushed into an emergency C-section because the baby’s heart rate had jumped up. However, it returned to normal and so they did not conduct the procedure. As I waited with my wife the midwife told us that she was still only 3cm dilated which was crazy since she had been in labour for almost 48 hours. Several doctors came in and discussed the possibility of a C-section and gave us the pros and cons. My wife was fed up and at this point we agreed on the C-section because she had a temperature, kidney failure, the baby had pooed inside her and her blood pressure was high. I was very nervous and worried for both her and the baby but I tried my best to be calm and behave in an upbeat way. So I went and got dressed into the scrubs provided to me by the hospital, said a prayer and made my way to the theatre room.
The medical staff were very supportive and tried to put us at ease. As the procedure got underway I tried to talk to my wife about other things and keep her mind of what was happening. The minutes felt like hours and the room felt tense, then suddenly the doctor said that the baby was out and we heard the crying. He then lifted my daughter up to show us, I was in awe as it never really hit me until that moment that I was someone’s father and that she was our beautiful baby. Unfortunately, my wife couldn’t see her from over the curtains, the staff tried several times to show her again but she saw a leg or arm which really upset her. I went round to where the midwife was cleaning her up and took 1 shaky picture of her which my wife still grills me about till this day. I then cut the cord which she also grills me about and then got to hold my baby girl for the first time…..
The feeling was indescribable; my child looked deep into my soul that day with those beautiful brown eyes and I was blown away. The mid wife told me that in all her years as a professional, she had never seen a new-born that focused and alert she said it was a really unique thing which I absolutely loved. I was also fascinated about how our daughter looked, as my wife is black and I am a white/olive skinned Arab. So seeing the blend of our complexion and features was something I was excited about beforehand. Anyways the moment seemed lovely and I took her over to meet her mum, she was exhausted but was very happy to meet our daughter. She held her and bonded with her momentarily, then the doctors finished stitching her up and we were moved on to a ward. It was not how we wanted things to go and sadly my wife’s preparation and her birthing plan went out the window. On the other hand, we were blessed with a gift from God and our life had changed for the better. However, I hope that the next birth (God willing) will be a lot easier and that our experience will help us next time round.