Written on the 3rd October 2011
What a week last week was. If I’m honest I don’t think I’ve ever had a week quite like it, well not on a scale of life changing events. It all started on a Saturday morning when my fiancée and business partner Chrissa Maund’s waters broke and we rushed to the hospital in eager anticipation. This was short lived though as after being there for about an hour we were told to go home and wait. Now I know that we are not the only people in the world to be told this and in actually fact most of this blog is not unique to me and Chrissa but I can say it from my point of view and although we met some amazing, wonderful, helpful and supportive mid-wife’s and healthcare assistants who I would never dream of saying anything other than high praise, there does seem to be large areas of our experience in which we were lacking in care and seemingly abandoned. Waiting is difficult at the best of times, waiting for Christmas day when you were a kid was painfully slow, but waiting for “things to be move along” after waters have broken is like nothing I’ve ever been through before. Chrissa, already by now was in a lot of discomfort. All the family were up in the house, busying themselves helping us clean, tidy, prepare (we even managed to replace an internal door between my Dad, Chrissa’s Dad and me) and at the start of the ‘waiting’ nobody was not willing to commit to a job that might last more than 5mins, but as time passed it become less and less likely that anything was going to happen soon. And so everyone ended up all returning home and to bed.
It was 11pm and Chrissa was pacing around in pain. We both made the decision to go into the hospital. So after the Grandparents arrived to wait at our house while Eryn (Chrissa’s first child) slept, we drove the by now familiar route to the hospital. Once there, we were again told to wait. An hour passed by and finally we were seen. “It seems that you are still not ready” we were told, “however we don’t want you to go home and want to keep you in overnight and you will more than likely be induced tomorrow (Sunday) at 4pm” At last a bit of progress! We were shown up to a ward bed and this is where I was asked to leave at 6:15am. I’m allowed to return at 8am. So I drive home, feeling slightly empty at this point. I’m sure it’s from watching too many movies and having a slightly confused view on how simple these events are, but I did expect that the next time I made that drive it would be Chrissa, Marnie and me.
8am arrived. I made my way back to the hospital and found Chrissa who had been just recently told that “she is still no further along” but that we were going down at 4pm to give nature a helping hand. And so began another wait! We passed the time talking about the future and how life will change once Marnie is born. Chrissa starts to become worried and I try to do my best at keeping her focused on how happy we’ll be, but she started worrying about “maybe there’s something wrong, my waters went hours ago (by this point it had been 24hours) "I’ve read…...." This is where too much information is not always the best thing. Chrissa read the leaflet about the drug the hospital uses induce expectant mothers. I’ve got to be honest none of the side effects side seemed pleasant, but then again if we read the side effects of paracetamol and believed them we probably wouldn’t take them either. We then met a lovely mid-wife who really took the time to talk to us and talk to Chrissa about all her fears and really helped put her mind at rest, which is half the battle. So 4pm came and went. So did 5pm. So does 6pm….
9:45pm we were moved back downstairs to the same area that we first went into at the time Chrissa’s waters broke into a room with four other beds and told that once the doctor had looked at us we would be ready to go, but first they needed to see 30mins to an hours of trace (the heart monitor of the baby print out) so with Chrissa rigged up to the machines we were left alone. Just to give some background on the this, at this point Chrissa had already been attached to this machine two or three times over the previous 24hours but apparently new trace was needed), this was perhaps the most uncomfortable part of our stay. The position that Chrissa had to sit in to make sure the monitors were working caused her huge amounts of pain in her lower back and every time Marnie moved we lost her heartbeat. After four or five times of calling the mid-wife back to re-establish the heartbeat with the monitor we gave up. Finally at 2:30am the doctor arrived and said he was happy for us to go ahead. Tired and relieved we started to think about the end of journey and going home with our baby daughter.
8am Monday morning our room filled up with new people. Fed up, we decided to go for a walk. Anything to stretch our legs. On returning to the room we saw it was a hive of activity, none of it around our bed. At this point tiredness was really the only feeling we had so we went to the main reception where we had arrived on Saturday night and just asked what was happening. The receptionist was lovely and said she would look into it. Within 5mins a mid-wife was at our bedside. She then told us that we would need to wait to see the doctor to make sure it was ok and that we would need to provide 30mins to an hour of trace. This didn’t go down well! Both Chrissa and I became more than a little annoyed so start pointing out everything that we’d been through to get to this point and that we were not interested in going backwards.
10mins after that we were in a side room getting ready. Well if I thought thing had been tough since we arrived on Saturday, Monday was going to put that definition to the test. Now I’m again aware that I’m talking about how I felt throughout this and not really touching on what Chrissa was going through, that’s mostly because I don’t know what she went through, I know it was a much bigger and emotional experience than I had, but I was there with her throughout. It’s not an easy thing to see the person you love going through such things and feel totally helpless. Don’t get me wrong I became very very good at getting drinks of water sometime I could even do 2 drink at a time and towards the end I managed to master pouring the drink into Chrissa’s mouth, but Chrissa did all the work and I just watched on in awe of her.
The first rough ride came with the epidural. The doctor who did it was amazing, very quick and very professional, it’s just brutal to watch, let alone having it done to you, but at least afterwards the pain Chrissa was in was severely reduced and this means we could all relax a little bit. At 5pm the mid-wife examined Chrissa, it seems that we were no further along then when we arrived on Saturday night, but she had an idea. It turns out there are 2 ‘waters’. Top and bottom. Top ones normally go when the bottom ones do. The bottom waters were still there. So the mid-wife burst them. This was like turning the switch to go. Within an hour Chrissa was in a huge amount of pain again and the doctor came back in to top up the epidural and then an hour later Chrissa was in pain again. This was at change over. So we had a new mid-wife. We explained where we were at and she examined Chrissa. 8cm dilated!!!!!!
At last we were there!!!!!! Chrissa grabbed my hand and just kept saying “I’ did it! I did it. I never thought I’d actually do it!” I was so proud of her after her waters (or at least half her waters going) on Saturday morning to Monday evening it had been a long journey. Less than an hour later Marnie’s delivery had begun. We were riding a wave of happiness. Not long now…
That was until 5 doctors walked in. They told us that they were concerned about the Marnie's heart rate and believed a forceps delivery will be the best way to move forward at that point. That worried us, but everyone seemed convinced. Delivery continued while the doctors readied themselves. Forceps are applied and Marnie is born. Joy. We are over the moon. She is amazing! She starts crying and I’ve never been so happy to hear a baby cry. The doctor then started calling out for help. “there’s a bleed” I look at Chrissa and she had lost all her colour, the mid-wife gave me Marnie who was still crying. Chrissa lost her vision and hearing as she lost blood. I rock Marnie trying to get her to stop crying. More people came into the room. The next few minutes felt like hours, but the doctor stopped the bleed and then I saw the full extent of the blood loss. It was all over the floor. The packing filled a large plastic box. Chrissa had lost over a litre of blood, but she was ok. Marine by now had stopped crying and we were left alone again. This was perhaps the most emotional moment of the whole weekend. So along with two mid-wife’s, I helped Chrissa move back up on to the ward. Once again I went home alone.
Then next day (Tuesday) I brought Eryn in to meet her new sister. This is when we discovered that Chrissa’s bladder was not working due to the blood loss and that she needed a transfusion. So by the time Wednesday night came we really were ready to leave and come home, not without one last drama as Marnie stopped breathing for a few seconds. It was a panic to find some help, luckily there was a mid-wife just outside our door and she came in to help. Afterwards she explained that it’s quite a common thing and that Marnie had basically choked on some mucus. Still, in that moment it didn’t feel like a normal, everyday occurrance, it was terrifying! After everything that had gone before it!
Wednesday night we arrived home. Chrissa had left to go into hospital on the Saturday and so much had happened in between. There was still more, with Chrissa having an allergic reaction to one of the painkillers. Thursday I was back at work trying to catch up on everything that had been building up. To end the week I was flown to Paris to film a presentation. Afterwards I bought presents for my 2 girls. What a week!