One Born Every Minute will be back on our screens tonight and I can’t wait to follow the birth stories of this season’s couples. Last year, I was pregnant with Amy and didn’t miss a single episode. While I was watching the series religiously and soaked up every little thing like a sponge, Ben started to more and more refuse settling in front of the telly – the moaning and grunting scared the bejesus out of him and the looooong groan at the start of each episode even went to hunt him in his dreams, I kid you not.
As the first episode of the series looks at two dads who desperately want to be there for the birth of their babies, I thought it would be a great idea to take a little writing break and let Ben do the work – so here is his first ever guest post on Mummy Alarm, giving you his view on Amy’s birth.
Amy was due on 14th April and although midwives and consultants were sure she’d make an early appearance, there was no sign of her on her due date. We were booked in for a growth scan that day and the lady doing the scan noticed that Amy wasn’t surrounded by enough amniotic fluid. She sent us to the consultant who booked us in for an induction on Saturday, 23rd April, but to be honest I didn’t think we would need the induction when Caro was having regular contractions all Friday. I was sure we’d hold our baby in our arms by Saturday morning – I could not have been more wrong. Caro’s contractions had completely disappeared by 3am in the morning and after a couple of hours of sleep we made our way to the hospital where we made ourselves at home in the induction suite. It was boiling hot and we were sweating from just sitting there doing nothing. After some tests, the nurse finally decided it was time to start the induction process. A little tampon-like strip was planted onto Caro’s cervix but didn’t stay there for very long as it fell out every time she went to the toilet. We were both getting frustrated and agreed with the nurse that it didn’t make much sense to give it one more try, so we waited for a room on the delivery ward where a consultant would break Caro’s waters to kick things off.
Down on the delivery ward, things progressed really quickly. We were given a room that was nice and spacious and the midwife came in to introduce herself and explain what would happen. Caro got into her nightie and within minutes the midwife came back with a scary looking instrument that she used to break Caro’s waters – imagine it a bit like the hook they used in Egypt to pull out the Pharaoh’s brain through the nose. The waters came out looking as muddy as the banks of the river Avon and by the look on Caro’s face I knew that that wasn’t a good thing. Also, the midwife looked a bit worried. She got a consultant to come in, who then decided it would be best to speed things up by hooking Caro up to a hormone drip. Once hooked up, the contractions started to come in strong and fast, however Caro’s cervix wasn’t moving anywhere. Caro was in absolute agony and the midwife even suggested to go for an epidural to take away the pain but Ms Stubborn wasn’t having any of it. Throughout the entire pregnancy she had emphasized that she did not want an epidural as she didn’t want it to effect Amy, but this was getting harder and harder to watch. After another half an hour later, Caro wasn’t making a single noise and I asked her if she was really sure she could keep this up until the early hours of the morning. She didn’t seem convinced any more and when I told her that it really wasn’t the time and place to be stubborn, she agreed for me to get the midwife.
A couple of minutes later, the anaesthetist started the epidural procedure which was way more complicated than I had anticipated. I thought it was just a matter of needle in – needle out but Caro had to sit on the bed and not move while the anaesthetist administered the epidural. Altogether it took about 20 minutes until the drip was in Caro’s back but then it only took a couple more minutes for it to work. It was like they had injected Bacardi into Caro’s spine as she was back to her happy and chatty self within minutes. She was laughing and joking with the anaesthetist and midwife and we even managed to get some sleep until the midwife woke us up, because the ECG reader showed that Amy’s heart beat was dropping every time Caro was having a contraction. The consultant checked Amy’s oxygen levels by inserting a needle into her head through the cervix and her results came back borderline. I can’t even put into words how scared we were. The consultant was talking about an emergency c-section, instantly switched off the hormone drip and I could see on Caro’s face that all she wanted was for Amy to come out safely. I got into my scrubs and the consultant ran another test before we were meant to make our way to the theatre. Luckily, the results allowed us to relax a bit. Amy’s levels were picking up again and the consultant asked Caro, if she wanted to go for the c-section that had been prepared or have an episiotomy to help deliver Amy.
What a question? The midwifery team prepared everything for the birth, put legs on the bed and the consultant made the cut before she used a forceps to help Amy into the world. To me the whole birth was incredibly quick compared to everything before. All in all it maybe took about 10 minutes before I could hold my little girl in my arms but it were the most intensive 10 minutes of my entire life and a real rollercoaster of emotions. When I first held Amy, with her little head all bruised and squashed from the ordeal she had to go through, it just felt so magical. She was the most perfect little girl I had ever seen and even now I can’t even begin to describe how proud I was to be her daddy. I am so glad that I was there to share this moment with Caro and couldn’t imagine ever not be there for the birth of my child. It’s an experience that changes your life forever and an experience that I would not want to live without.
One Born Every Minute is on Wednesday nights at 9pm on Channel 4 and available to watch online at www.channel4.com/oneborn