Maisie arrives

Having gone to bed at about 11pm, I was woken by Lisa doing her deep breathing at 1:30am and knew the contractions were back. We got up (very reluctantly - I was completely knackered) and switched the laptop on and started timing them. They were coming thick and fast and Lisa looked in a lot of discomfort. I rang the midwife and they said we could come to the hospital. I rang Rona and she wizzed straight over from the Portland in her car and picked us up. We threw the huge hospital bag in and off we went.

3am - We got to Calow. When we got the labour ward, Helen who was a lovely midwife who looked after up until the actual birth said as she saw Lisa zombieing toward her down the corridor "Ooh eck, this looks like the real thing". Rona went home and I stayed. After Helen had examined Lisa she said she was 3 cm dilated and that they would monitor her and wait to see what happens.

5.50am - Helen came to check on Lisa. She was really tired and although she had been coping with the contractions she was beginning to struggle. Helen suggested she had some morphine which would help numb the pain and allow her to lie down and get some rest. She agreed, knowing the pushing baby out would take a final burst of energy and this needed to be conserved. After she had the morphine I wandered outside and rang Rona to give an update. She later sarcastically thanked me for waking her up at 6am to say there's no news. I went to the Dad's room to try and sleep for a bit and give Lisa a chance to rest but I ended up lying on a sofa which was too small, listening to distant healthcare staff nattering somewhere down a corridor.

7:15am - I went to check on Lisa and there was a staff handover meeting but Helen saw me and said Lisa was doing fine, her waters had broken and she was probably not far off a delivery time. I excitedly went in to see her and she was lying down looking much more chilled out than before. She said she'd enjoyed lying there, listening to the rain and the machine which they'd switched on to audibly monitor the baby's heart rate.

8:20am - the new Midwife (and a student midwife called Liz) who had taken over from Helen came in and did a examination and said "Lisa, you are fully dilated and you can push in your own time". Lisa pushed for the best part of 40 minutes, switching between kneeling up on the bed and lying on her back (despite what the NCT woman said about this not harnessing gravity effectively). I was amazed by Lisa's pain threshold and her determination to get the baby out. My job was to top up and hand Lisa water in between pushes and pass the jar of vaseline to keep her lips moist. There was after all a lot of heavy exhalations going on. Lisa removed all garments which she felt were in the way and even switched off her TENS machine and got me to remove the wires which were in the way. My best attempt to offer Lisa encouragement as the head crowned was the unforgivable phrase “C’mon Lisa, it’s all downhill from here”.

9:06 - Maisie was born and I wept tears of joy. I wasn't surprised. I could feel myself going all wobbly leading up to it, watching the midwives working so expertly and efficiently. I hadn't actually cried since the last episode of Heroes but that was a drip compared to today's stream. I think it was due to a mixture of pride (at becoming a Dad), utter respect for Lisa's impressive no-nonsense approach to it all, relief (when she came out and immediately started making noises and moving) and also an overwhelming feeling of gratefulness towards the 3 women in the room who were making it all happen, and so professionally too. When Lisa's waters had broken earlier they had detected some meconium so Maisie was immediately checked (and any poo sucked out of her lungs). Then she cried and I cried and Lisa was the only one keeping it real. If I hadn't been so happy, I might've felt slightly ignored what with people busying about around and not realising that actually the Dad was quite tearful over here.

I didn't get to cut the cord as a result of this hastiness but I can live with that. Lisa's placenta got stuck when the cord broke but it came out soon after and Lisa had some stitches. They put her on Lisa's chest first for skin-to-skin contact and then a bit later I put my special kangaroo top on and had some skin-to-skin, She was smooth and hot like a pebble that had been in volcanic water. Lisa asked a midwife "is she ok? Are her lips meant to look like that?" and she answered "yes, that's the way she is". All in all it was the most moving, exciting, scary but ultimately fantastic experience ever. We are now three and I'm looking forward to watching her grow every day.

They moved us up to the ward where people could visit. Unfortunately there were no NCT-type people but instead a few chavvy couples, nattering illegally on mobiles, drinking fizzy pop, showing off their tattoos and Sheffield Wednesday tops and asking about formula feeding a baby, seemingly without even attempting breastfeeding first. In the afternoon Rona, Bill and Mum came and marvelled at our end product. I went home with Mum since Lisa had to stay in the night just as routine checks due to the meconium. I went out for a gulab with Rona and Bill for tea before returning to the hospital. Graham and Mum came too as did Claire Power.

We did a bit of baby head-wetting at our house and then everyone left and I stumbled into bed for MUCH needed sleep.

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