The tale of the hairy midwife

We have a birth story for you today, readers. A brilliantly written (obviously – it’s by Fee!), sweet, bloomin’ hilarious read with the loveliest, most deserved happy ending.

Enjoy.

It all began on a Friday. Cervical suture removed, induction started, induction continued all weekend, induction branded a colossal failure on Sunday afternoon. Alternatives are being bandied around when I am checked for ‘one last time to be sure’ on Sunday evening. The doctor believes she will be able to break my waters. High fives all round and I positively skip to the delivery room (more of a waddle but I am skipping on the inside).

 

Chatting to the doctor as she breaks my waters – it’s amazing how quickly you can become comfortable making small talk with someone who is elbow deep in your ‘area’ – she tells me that it is most commonly about 12 hours between manually having your waters broken and delivery. I am excited – no, I am overjoyed. Sometime the next morning, our baby boy should be here.

 

We are introduced to our midwife who has a scottish accent that for some reason I find very reassuring. I ponder if I should have married a man from the land of tartan. My ‘Hot Scot’ reverie is interrupted by her asking if I would be happy for a student to be present. As every examination throughout my pregnancy was used as a teaching opportunity, I see no reason for the group viewing of my nether regions to stop now. Plus, new midwives need to learn and two heads are better than one right?

Expecting a fairly young, slightly nervous looking female to appear, I am somewhat surprised when a big beefcake of a man walks in (I know – gender stereotyping is not my usual bag). I am delighted. I should imagine it is similar to the feeling you would have if trapped in a burning building and a muscly hero appeared to rescue you. Again, I’m not usually one to behave like the female lead in a romance novel but I’m scared, I’m vulnerable and I had gas and air during the water breaking. I’m not myself.

 

I am dispatched for a walk around the hospital, waved off with shouts of ‘We don’t want to see you for at least an hour! Walk up and down stairs! Get your contractions started!’. I oblige, inching my way down the stairs, slightly hampered by the contractions that are coming almost on top of each other already. Looking back, this should have set off some alarm bells. It is 7.30pm.

 

Tom and I take a stroll around the car park – well, more of a stagger with me stopping every minute to try and breathe through contractions whilst Tom frantically rubs my hips which is where ALL THE PAIN is. I start to feel like I really need the toilet *cough, number two, cough* – again, this should have raised a red flag but no, off we toddle to the main reception. I can’t go to the toilet and we resume our ‘walk’. This going to the toilet attempt is repeated three times. Foolish, my friends, foolish.

 

After 45 minutes of making a show of myself in the hospital car park, I announce that if this is early labour I certainly can’t cope with another 11 hours of it and I want an epidural. Having had four spinal blocks in 18 months I was adamant I didn’t want one but that was before I found myself in a public toilet on all fours. No judgement if you find yourself in that position often.

 

We make it back to the delivery room at the point I can no longer stand from the pain. I am alternating shouts of ‘I want an epidural’ and ‘I can’t do it’ whilst our muscly friend (not my husband, sorry Tom) supportively rubs my back and says ‘You can do it, you are doing it’. I return his kindness by getting him in a headlock and shouting ‘No I can’t!’ in his face. This is where having a big hairy midwife came in handy – he calmly struggles free and assists Tom in removing the relevant clothing so they can examine me. Our lovely female midwife has a rummage and emerges saying ‘You’re fully dilated and ready to push’. She looks at me, shocked. I return her shocked look to the power of ten. Hairy Midwife remains calm and continues assuring me I can do it. I remain doubtful I am able for the job. It is 8.20pm.

 

Before I know it, I am in stirrups, have a heartbeat monitor strapped round my bump and everyone in the room is cheering me on to push as if I am taking part in a triathlon, not attempting to do something that, to be frank, feels like I am trying to poop a bowling ball. Phrases such as ‘Too advanced for pain relief’ and ‘Ooh, he’s got a big head’ send me into a spiral of panic but Hairy Midwife distracts me by holding my feet and encouraging me to push against him with each contraction. His endless encouragement is just what I need and I would probably propose marriage if not in such a comprising position (again, sorry Tom). After about an hour of this, I am exhausted but spurred on by the fact the (female) midwife can see the baby’s head and apparently he has a lot of blonde hair. Slightly concerned a baby that looks like Jedward is going to pop out but I push that thought to the back of my mind. It’s not the time.

 

Both midwives are concentrating on the monitor and it becomes apparent that I need to push him out fairly quickly. In my delirious state I hear the words ‘forceps’ and ‘no time for pain relief’ – they don’t come back to me for a few days but my body must have heard them on some level because all of a sudden the pain changes and the pressure becomes much more insistent (see bowling ball reference). Hairy Midwife is telling me that it’s very important I listen and do as they say whilst our other midwife explains she is going to apply something that will lessen the stinging as our baby makes his grand entrance. The conversation went like this:

 

Hairy Midwife: You must listen to what we are saying…. don’t push…don’t push….

Non-hairy Midwife: I’m just going to use this numbing… oh!

 

And just like that our long awaited, much dreamt of, perfect baby boy enters the world as if he’s been shot out of a cannon. Or something more lyrical. It is 9.30pm.

 

As they handed me our son, Tom took a photo that he loves because he says that in it I am smiling like he hadn’t seen me smile for the past two years. Right there in the foreground of that photo, that incredible moment, is a muscly, hairy arm belonging to the unexpected beefcake midwife. Every pregnant woman should have one.

 

The moral of this story? Well firstly, if you are nine months pregnant, your waters have broken and you are having contractions every minute, return to the delivery room. And secondly, labour can be unexpected and it may be nothing like you imagined or planned but at the end of it you will experience (to quote Aisling who put it perfectly) ‘…a moment of joy so powerful that to remember it still knocks the breath from my lungs’. And it does. Every single time.

Categories: Becoming a Mother, Uncategorized
22 interesting thoughts on this

22 Comments

  1. rachel JHD
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Wonderful & uplifting read x

  2. Carly
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Oh god Fee, crying before work, not a good start to a Wednesday!! But this is beautiful & I am so happy for you all.

    On a side note, the image of you getting Mr Midwife in a headlock made me laugh out loud, just brilliant.

    X

  3. Katielase
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Perfect. Just like everything you write. I laughed out loud on the train at the headlock and ‘trying to poop a bowling ball’ and then wept at the end. You are so so deserving of your happiness.

    And I have to say, once again, everything you write or say about labour and motherhood makes me feel that I can do this. Even if I don’t get a beefy midwife (although here’s hoping…)

    KL xx

    • Katielase
      Posted May 21, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      PS: is it weird that ‘trying to poop a bowling bowl’ is the phrase that has most reassured me about labour? Toilet-related imagery I can comprehend.

      KL x

      • Fee
        Posted May 21, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        You may become convinced that the baby is going to come out of a different orifice than planned. Don’t worry, she won’t. I kept checking with Hairy Midwife to make sure.

        • Katielase
          Posted May 21, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

          Haaaaa! Noted.

  4. Posted May 21, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Wonderful Fee! I can really relate to the “if this is early labour I can’t do another 11 hours of it – OH” bit. I think if somebody had come along and given me some sort of time frame I might have had a bit less of a meltdown (rather than triage midwife on the phone going “yes this is pre labour, we won’t send anybody out yet, you’re doing REALLY WELL” uh huuuh, whatever lady).

    Pooping a bowling ball is so true – I can really remember how HARD the head as I was trying to get it out. Such a weird sensation.

    All this and I went into labour exactly a year ago today!! Perfect timing. Feel a bit emosh. Thanks for sharing!

    Px

    • Fee
      Posted May 21, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Ooh, almost Ernie day!

      I genuinely think if I’d known the ‘car park phase’ was actually the transition stage I would have been much calmer and probably not tried to strangle The Hairy Midwife.

  5. Posted May 21, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    That bit about your smile just got me. You wonderful mamma, you. And wonderful Max. And wonderful hairy midwife!

    xxx

  6. mysparethoughts
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    uh-mazing! Gutted I didn’t have a hairy midwife must request if there is a next time. Brilliant post!

  7. Peabody_Bites
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Hilarious. Love love love the hairy midwife (I hope I have one) and I may have cried on the bus at your last paragraph. With only three weeks to go, stories like this are what make me (marginally more) confident that I can do it!

  8. Ro
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Beautifully written Fee! And that photo of the heartfelt joyous smile sounds wonderful, hairy forearms and all. Xx

  9. Posted May 21, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Fee, whilst incredibly moved by the birth of your perfect blonde non – Jedward-esque child, I’m weeping with laughter. Do you think you can hire out your beefcake midwife? I feel that every AOWer deserves a birth with him.

  10. Gemma R
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Oh another birth story that has me weeping. So lovely. Totally agree from experience – even if it is your first, if you’ve got contractions every minute go to the hospital no matter what the midwife says on the other end of the phone. If baby R hadn’t been stuck she would have been born in the car or possibly even at home.

  11. ChirstyMac
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Almost pmsl. This is brilliant Fee. Bloody brilliant. X

  12. Emma
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    oh wow, such a beautiful story. It sounds like you found a true gem in the male midwife.

    Many many congratulations on the birth of your boy xxx

  13. Another Sarah
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Everything about this is wonderful, just wonderful. X

  14. Posted May 21, 2014 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Such a great birth story, and beautiful writing too. I’m nearly 29/40 pregnant and the ‘popping a bowling ball’ is both scary but, like katielase says, it is also strangely reassuring to get an actual idea of what it might feel like!

  15. Posted May 22, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Brilliant story, I could visualise it perfectly!
    Think there is going to be a demand now for beefcake mid husbands!

  16. Posted May 22, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I love a good labour story (I have an odd obsession considering I don’t have one of my own!!) and this is, without doubt, the best I’ve ever read. xx

  17. Sharon
    Posted May 22, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Love your birth story Fee, cracked me up and I shed a few tears too! Love it. I had a hairy beefcake looking after me just after I had Phoebe, and he was so gentle when he picked her up to do her checks I loved him! X

  18. Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Love!

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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