“Oh dear what can the matter be, Tabitha Scout was born in the lavatory”
Time and time again I chat with different friends and acquaintances about labour (we women just can’t get enough of it), everyone has a tale to tell, a sly poo here, a urination that you passed as your waters there or being in the ‘heels together let the legs fall apart’ position and a relative coming in the room (that happened to me!).
Now I am going to tell you a story about the birth of one of my daughters, it’s quite funny and is definitely going to feature in speeches at all major events of my daughters life (18th, 21st, wedding etc).
I was 36 weeks pregnant (previous child born at 37 weeks so not unexpected), and was having contractions on/off for about 5 days and saw the midwife at a routine appointment who said I was 3cm dilated (I have since learnt that once you have had a child you can ALWAYS be 3cm dilated, I haven’t checked). Eventually I talked my way into hospital about 7 days into contractions (these are not wham bang thank you ma’am type contractions more like low lying type pains, but regular and for days), the pain was getting worse and as I was 3cm dilated they counted that as labour. It was all going pretty slowly and 7 hours later I was still 3cm dilated (and probably still am), contractions were regular and I was on that thing with those bands around your tummy which if you tense/ fart the chart reading goes bonkers! They were discussing when to induce me and at what point they go to a Caesarian. I wasn’t happy and fed up watching Homes Under The Hammer, so something needed to happen. They did another internal and my waters broke, hurrah!!! Now we’re talking. Alas no, after that my contractions completely stopped, nothing, 7 bloody days and now nothing.
Induction began very quickly subsequently and slowly the contractions crept up on me, getting closer and closer together. I felt I was coping very well, until, bugger me they hurt, they really really hurt. Before you knew it I am begging for an epidural (something that I had sworn I never wanted and something the midwives remind me wasn’t in my long forgotten “birth plan” while I was virtually dying in pain – I don’t exaggerate ever), bad news was 3 very lucky mums to be were already numbed by the beautiful epidural (I am assuming its beautiful, I haven’t actually had one) and with only one anaesthetist on duty I had to wait till one of these ladies gave birth. Well, as you can imagine I was beside myself, having given in to the fact I needed such pain relief, the fact that I now couldn’t have it because others did made me more jealous than I have ever been in my life, and the rage it created in me was insane, I am surprised I didn’t have a hernia.
Trying to calm and reassure me the (poor) midwife did a downstairs examination (yeah cos that’s just a delightful calming experience) and to my annoyance was informed I was STILL 3cm dilated.
By now I was not a very nice person to be around and had had enough of it all. Just ten minutes later though I informed everyone I needed to push, there were 2 midwives in the room who patronisingly smiled at me and said “no you don’t darling, you are 3cm dilated, just relax and breath”… FFFFUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKK… I then told them over and over I needed to push, and over and over they looked at each other, smiled and basically told me to “shut the fuck up”. Well if I didn’t need to push then I must need to poo (this was their suggestion but I did agree), so I get them to get me up (I have a drip because of being induced, and those bands around my belly) and off I go down the corridor as we didnt have an ensuite due to this being an old maternity hospital half way through it‘s move to a brand new unit (literally cardboard boxes instead of a bed), I find a toilet, get in and lock the door.
Well, I didn’t need a poo and I DID need to push.
So in the toilet, on my own, I gave birth. I wasn’t horrendous pain wise, it WAS horrendous sight wise. She came out fine, push push push, done… but good god the mess, I pulled that red chord (the one that hangs in the Costa toilets with the triangle toggle) with conviction and before I knew it the door is unlocked and there is a fair few midwives all holding towels!!!!
They quickly get to work in a way I will never forget, it was absolutely incredible. I remember one saying “you’ve had a girl, a beautiful girl”, I replied “I just can’t believe I have had the baby in a toilet”. I was (now i have fully thought about it) in a state of shock.
I was taken back to my room – with umbilical attached I think?!? It’s all very blurred, and then I was pampered to within an inch of my life (as pampered as you can be having just pushed a baby out of your small parts). Even the few stitches I needed were done by the head honcho, and I was run a lovely bath and given a very lovely private room for the night, tasty dinner was served and the only thing missing really was a mini bar.
Baby and I were given a clean bill of health and the next morning we were home. This is life and this is birth but as mums we cope, lovely thing is for a few precious moments it was just myself and my girl in this world, it was scary too but it’s kind of special and funny, just like her. We don’t know how much our different births differentiate us from others, but this birth was special to me and so is she.