Thomas’s Birthday -The Birth Bit: Part One

This follows on from my induction story which can be found here and here.


Ian was dressed in fetching blue scrubs. In his pocket was a newborn sized nappy and a hat, ready for our baby, and a camera to capture the moment. I was attached to an IV pole and attired in a fetching hospital gown and nothing else. We were as ready as we would ever be to meet our child.


It was about 2pm when an entourage arrived to escort us to theatre. I walked myself there, gown flapping open in an undignified manner. Not that I cared, and I was clasping Ian’s hand far too tightly to allow him to do anything about it. It was my final pregnant waddle, because the next time I stood up, the baby would be on the outside. As we passed through the anaesthetic room right in to the theatre itself, and I caught sight of the waiting bed, my stomach rolled involuntarily. My instinct was to turn and run, but at that moment my baby gave me a hefty kick. The thought of finally meeting him or her after all these months, and all this hard work to keep them safe and healthy proved to be a more powerful motivator than fear of what was about to happen. Without much persuasion, I found myself hauling my heavy bump up on to the edge of the table in preparation for the spinal block.

A consultant anaesthetist had been specifically called in to administer the anaesthetic, in view of my history and fears.

“So, do you know what you are having?” was his first question. “Do you have a name ready?”

We confirmed that we would be finding out the sex for the first time today and that although we had a shortlist of names, nothing was definite until we met our baby.

“Well I can highly recommend the name Paul for a boy. It’s a fabulous name. Just so happens to be my name in fact.”

I had to laugh a little.

Before I knew it we were talking about dentistry and teeth and anything but what was about to happen.

I was so grateful that Ian was allowed to stay with me whilst the spinal was administered. I hung on to him as though my very life depended upon it, trying to focus on what we had been laughing about just a moment before. The local anaesthetic went in with a sting. I could feel pushing and then… pain. I cried out in fear more than because of the pain itself. I didn’t want this to go wrong in any way. I wanted it to work, but without causing me any harm. Ian forced me to look in to his face as they topped the local up and tried again.

“I can’t.. I can’t.. My legs.. They’re numb…” The words came tumbling out of my mouth at top speed as I convinced myself they’d hit a nerve and I was losing the feeling to my foot.

“Brilliant” The anaesthetist’s voice cut across mine. “That’s exactly what is supposed to happen. I was so tense I’d completely forgotten that going numb was exactly what we were aiming for.

Several people helped to move my legs up on to the bed and lie me down. A screen was put up and Ian reappeared on a stool next to my head. I felt very vulnerable all of a sudden. Completely numb from the waist down, exposed to the entire room. The preparatory stage seemed to take forever. They tested the anaesthesia using a cold spray, working it gradually up my body until the point that sensation returned, well above the operative field. I was aware of lots of pushing and tugging as they inserted a catheter. My chest felt heavy, the anaesthesia seeming to interfere with my ability to take a proper deep breath. My head began to spin and I started to feel hot and detached from the surroundings. I felt a suffocating sense that something terrible was about to happen. Nothing was in focus, and my ears echoed.

“I’m dying” I said, with absolute finality. “Help me?” And then more urgently “Oh no… I’m dying…. I’m going to die.”

“You’re not dying” the anaesthetist cut across my irrational thoughts for a second time. “Don’t worry, I can see everything on the monitors. I’ll know if you’re dying long before you do.”

As he spoke he was already busy administering something through the cannula in my hand. It took just moments for some clarity to return. The crushing sense of doom diminshed and the room came back in to focus.

I had to smile at how ridiculous I must have sounded.

“We’re almost ready” a voice came from behind the drape.


3 Replies to “Thomas’s Birthday -The Birth Bit: Part One”

  1. Dear Caro,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your comment over at Sixuntilme made me stop by and read it.

    Do you have any idea of how much your story resembles mine? I haven’t managed to write about it as detailed as you have, but described some of what happened here:

    Like yours, my story is full of unsuccessful induction attempts, lack of communication between us and the health care professionals involved, as well as lack of sleep. My body didn’t respond to all their efforts at all, and our daughter certainly didn’t seem to be ready to vacate her protected little cave either. I had a strong wish to avoid the epidural sedation as well, not because I have had any bad experience with anything similar, just because I could not stand the thought of having someone poke around with a needle in my spine, and therefore I was devastated when in the end there were no other options than a c-section. It went well enough, but to this day, I’m still annoyed by the fact that we’re treated as a group and not individually, just because we have diabetes. I’m quite convinced that our daughter would have been able to enter the world on her own, had she been allowed to decide when to, but our hospital’s policy is to induce pregnant diabetics at week 38+0.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Sorry to read that your story is so similar to mine. Unfortunately you’re not the first person to say that, and it seems alarmingly common for women with diabetes to have this experience. I still regret consenting to induction, but I found it hard to refuse when repeatedly told about the increase in still birth rates. It’s very hard to go against policy when under pressure. Achieving consent through coercion is obviously unethical, but I think for many, many diabetic women it’s what happens. As I’ve said before, some new evidence of what actually happens to diabetic women who go to 40, or even 42 weeks, would be helpful, but no one is going to sanction that kind of research.

      I believe now that induction is almost always doomed to failure if carried out early. I think inductions that work do so because the woman was close to going in to labour herself. And the artificial environment, the pressure and the invasiveness of it all don’t create a mind-set conducive to going in to labour.

      Of course, I’m glad that Thomas is here and healthy, and also very happy for you that you have your beautiful daughter – congratulations! Thanks for sharing your story and blog too.

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