I was in my mid twenties in 1979. Patrick was born in a "Birthing Room" in the hospital's Heirport. I dutifully went to Lamaze classes and signed enough documents to wipe out a small rain forest. Patrick was due on July 12th. It was the fourth of July and I had a sneaking suspicion I would not make it another day. Labor lasted all night but I slept through most of it. Finally around 10:30 am I went to the hospital (the hardest part of labor was the ride to the hospital). A Dr I had never met told me I was 3 Centimeters dilated and didn't want any emergencies so I should stay in the hospital and he would see me later that afternoon. My Dr. off was fishing. Remember I wasn't due yet. I realized at eight months along that I didn't like my Dr. and didn't know what to do about it. He accommodated me by going fishing.
We all got settled into the "room" at about 11:15 am. 11:30 my water broke right there in the middle of the floor. My concern was to clean up the mess. Then I had to use the rest room BAD. Well I sat on the toilet and it was very comfortable for me. I then thought; "I can't have a baby in the toilet" and with everything I could muster up I pulled myself up and walked out of the rest room and rolled onto the bed. All my muscles were of no use and I could hardly stand. I suddenly HAD to push. The nurse came over, examined me, said something to my sister and quickly left the room. Patrick was crowning! I was sooo excited.
Another nurse with 3 inch long fingernails came in and told me to blow and not push. I was thinking "PLEASE don't let those finger nails examine me", yikes! I was trying to put my hands over my face so I wouldn't hyperventilate as they forced a monitor on me saying they had to have a readout for hospital records. That lasted about 1 minute. I started taking off the monitor straps so the nurse took it off.
Then some vampire came in to draw my blood. I am just about to have a baby any minute now. I am in the last throes of transition, you know the look: head spinning 180 degrees, eyes glaring red and a deep unnatural voice spewing "JUST BE QUICK", and they want to stick a needle in me. What were they thinking? I have an extreme phobia of needles to top it off.
Another strong pushing contraction and he was gone. This was a man I had never seen before walking into a most private and compromising situation. I had no control of my surroundings. I am not a control freak but I really hated all the interruptions and people I didn't know walking in on our birth. Hospital policy was astoundingly invasive.
Finally the Dr showed up and I could push. What a relief that was. It was announced: Patrick's birth 11:51 am 5 July 1979. I looked over to my left and there were all these people I had never met before looking in through the OPEN doorway. I asked my sister to close the door.
Well, about an hour later I had to relinquish my baby and the "birthing room." Him to the nursery and me to a regular maternity recovery room. My precious little one was poked, prodded, injected and fed a bottle. I told them I was breast feeding him. I was ordered to stay outside the nursery as they wouldn't let me in to comfort him while he screamed, strapped to a board being circumcised (Note: routine circumcision of baby boys is still fairly common in the USA, where Roomy lives, but is not carried out in the UK. Parents in the USA can opt out of this operation for their sons.) I was not allowed to hold him. I just cried while I watched him through the glass that separated us.
Hospital policy dictated I stay for 24 hours. I couldn't sleep and just wanted to get out of there. I'm a vegetarian so they brought me milk and ice cream to eat. I was so very hungry. A nurse stood in front of me to make sure I drank some pink goopy stuff that I said I really didn't need. I wasn't sure what it was. She told me it was to "help" me poop and I would not be allowed to leave until I did. The next morning I lied and told them I pooped good. It took the Dr four hours past my prepaid 24 hour time to sit in the room while a nurse examined me for release. They wouldn't let me leave until I paid the extra $40 for going over the allotted 24 hours and told me to take up the issue with my Dr.
The ride home was almost as uncomfortable as the ride to the hospital. Finally I was home with my baby in my own bed as my Mom cooked me some good food. I ate and Patrick nursed. We slept. I swore I would never have a birth that out of control again.
Thirty something, 1990. Labor started about 9:00 PM. I went outside and walked and walked and walked. Finally around Midnight I layed down to rest. I felt something break, but nothing hurt. My water broke. Back in the bathroom I go. On the toilet I'm talking to my Midwife telling her she needs to come NOW. About 2 hours later Sally was born in a portable inflatable spa. Her 11 year old big brother, my Midwife and my youngest sister were in the warm water with us. There were 2 video cameras going and 14 women surrounding us. My tearful Mom was holding the phone while watching as my other sister was listening long distance on the other end of the line.
While in labor I was on the phone giving instructions on how to get to the birth place (a very good friends house) I told people to not talk during contractions and even shushed them when they whispered. I ordered everyone around to do exactly as I wanted and took full control of everything. My midwife just did what was needed to be done and supported me with everything. I was in the water about 5 minutes before Sally was born. She was asleep at birth and stayed asleep for about 45 minutes as her and I stayed in the water relaxing.
I used a birthing stool to deliver the placenta. Funny, I could not release the placenta until everyone was out of the room except my Midwife and I. Sally got passed around to all the people in the house amazed at holding a baby only about an hour old. I stayed a week at my friends house. She and her brood of lovely children (many born in the same room as Sally) waited on us and even planted the placenta under a tree. This time I took on too much control. But I felt much better about this birthing experience.
Early Forties, 1997. My siblings' children were making them grandparents. Patrick was now 18 years old. Sally had just turned 7. My husband and I were married just 10 months and he was asking if the midwives had any elbow length gloves. He was serious.
The bedroom of our apartment felt like a sauna. We had a small wading pool inflated in our tiny bedroom. It was half full of very warm water. I insisted everyone stay out of the room except my two midwives until I was ready. They supported my weight while I squatted during each of my transition contractions. I pushed on the third one and my water broke. I stepped into the little birthing pool and asked one midwife to call my daughter, her nanny and my husband into the room. Five pushes later Steven was born. No gloves.
My Daughter could not handle the primal groans I was making and right after the birth was crying in the living room promising she would NEVER touch THAT baby. Daddy cut the cord after it stopped pulsing and held his little guy as I cleaned up and dried off. A half hour later Sally was cooing and lovingly holding her little brother. I didn't have to be in total control. I had two very competent and warm-hearted midwives to support and encourage me. My daughter was well taken care of and my husband was right there with his bare hands in the water helping guide Little Steven into the world with the rest of us. I didn't have to do anything but relax after that. My Daughter and Nanny were my Doulas. Steven nursed and I simply enjoyed the time I had to rest and be with my Family. This was a simple uncomplicated birth. Patrick was in school elsewhere and came up 3 weeks later. I hadn't seen Patrick for over a year and I was very happy to hug all my "kids" at the same time.
Patrick is now 21, Sally will be 10 in just under two weeks and Steven (my practice grandbaby) will be 3 in December.
I will be 50 in four years. I will welcome menopause and if invited, I will be delighted to be the tearful Mom at the birth of Grandchildren.
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