Yesterday’s blog left you at 10:00am (after thirty hours of labour, including six hours of pushing) Monday morning.
Today’s blog is pretending to be written on Monday afternoon.
I knew something was wrong, so after trying the birthing centre I called my Mum, hoping she’d tell me I was being silly.
She really didn’t. She was frightened too. It’s never good to have your fears confirmed.
Now is as good a time as any to say that one of my best friends in Canberra had a baby last month. They’re all fine now, but she had preclampsia during labour to the extent that her organs began shutting down and she had to go into surgery.
Incidentally, if I ever want to figure out if someone has treated me badly (which is often difficult due to my messed-up brain chemicals), all I have to do is imagine the person treating my sister that way. On those occasions, imagining my sister in the same situation makes me instantly furious. NO-ONE is allowed to treat my sister badly or cause her pain. (What a shock Megan didn’t ask me to accompany her to the hospital. Apparently crying hysterically isn’t what good birth partners are known for.)
But she was in real pain – and real danger – and there was nothing anyone could do. So I sat at home and cried.
I called the birthing centre again, and begged them to tell me what was wrong.
Mum called me back saying there’d been a minor complication, and that NOW the baby would come any moment. Everything was okay!
The minor complication was that birthing centres are perhaps a little too focused on the mums’ peace and privacy, and had advised Megan to push “when you feel like it.” This resulted in Megan pushing too early (beginning at 4:00am, when she was close but not close enough), which slowed everything down (probably by several hours).
I walked to Helen’s house to get her number in case I needed a lift.
I returned home and cleaned some more, moving as if I was wading through honey, and keeping my phone within sight at all times.
At 11:30am, I received an SMS from my mum. It was a girl, and everyone was fine.
About half an hour later, I received an SMS from Jim saying the same thing. Old news, bro! You snooze, you lose.
A few hours passed, and then yet another Perth friend called to take me for an official visit by invitation. I was still dazed and shaking, and ended up causing her multiple trips, but she was very sweet. She was so respectful that she came to the hospital for me twice (each a round trip of over an hour), and didn’t go in herself.
I held my first niece on my lap and took this video. She’s four hours old here.
Most of the time I held her, she was sleeping deeply, barely stirring. Her head was as squashy as an over-ripe avocado and she flinched away from the slightest light (even with her eyes closed). I was stunned at how perfectly her nose and mouth and eyelashes and hands were formed.
The hair on her head is real, and will stay. It’s a family trait.
Jim told me she also had hair on her back – but that’s the kind a lot of babies have, that just goes away. (Or is it???)
As I write (we’re back in real-time now), the whole family is home and doing fine. Here’s them in hospital:
And this gorgeous photo was taken within the last twenty-four hours:
She was 3.55 kilos (that’s 7.8 pounds), 50cm long, and the circumference of her head was 35cm.
She does have a name, but I won’t be saying it publicly, so if you’re a real-life friend you can SMS me or CJ or my Mum or Dad for that.
Megan went through the entire experience without painkillers of any kind – not even gas. (She had stitches, too.)
She was kind enough to give me these two golden nuggest of advice:
1. Don’t eat corn just before going into labour unless you really want to see it again.
2. Use pain relief.
She also said that she got to a certain point and thought, “That wasn’t so bad” – and then had another eight hours of labour.
Unsurprisingly, it was the hardest thing she’d ever done. But also the most rewarding. To which I say, “Duh! Just look at that gorgeous girl!”
What’s that you say? You want another photo? Okay. This is her on my lap at four hours of age (with my hand for scale).
And now, after a day of travel and two days of hectic catch-up at work, I’m going to go and have a nice lie-down.