This week I’m excited to introduce Geraldine from Over Heaven’s Hill as part of my guest series – The Partner’s View. Geraldine’s partner talks about the birth of their child by emergency c-section following induction and excessive blood clotting.
It makes for quite a scary read, but in the end all was ok with Geraldine and baby A. The responses from Geraldine’s partner makes us realise that anything can happen in childbirth, so it’s best to be mentally and physically prepared for anything to happen.
What were your thoughts and feelings leading up to the birth of your child?
I’ll be honest, I couldn’t see past the pregnancy stage. We talked about the logistics of preparing for the baby so much. We had everything planned and bought and decorated. I didn’t really focus on becoming a Dad until I had a horrible dream a few nights before. I was dreaming about some sort of riot where three tall guys in black attacked me. One of them put me in a choke hold and as I tried to free myself I lunged forward and kneed one of them in the stomach. Suddenly in the dream it was daytime and I saw, my wife Geraldine hunched over holding her pregnant stomach in pain. I woke up in floods of tears and shaking. It was only after this dream that I started thinking about the emotional side of becoming a Dad. Ultimately, it was a slow process for me because I was so focused on how Geraldine was and that we were physically prepared for the new arrival.
As a birth partner, how did you prepare for the birth?
We didn’t prepare! Geraldine didn’t even prepare! I think we thought it would just happen. She was scheduled for an induction so it felt like we were on a program or schedule. Guilty truth – I had planned the night Geraldine went into hospital on getting a Chinese takeaway, making a cuppa and bringing them to bed playing my PlayStation as a kind of swansong to my soon to be old life. But when I got home (at midnight, Geraldine hadn’t progressed at all so I was sent home) that all went out the window because I was just worried about Geraldine and the baby.
Tell us a little about your partners birth?
It didn’t go to plan. Not that we had a plan. But we didn’t imagine it would end up being an Emergency Cesarean Section. After the induction process Geraldine wasn’t progressing and had been bleeding for about 12 hours. The moment her consultant came to examine her we were told she was going for an emergency c section due to excessive clotting. It was quite frightening. From being told it was surgery to Geraldine being whisked away to me wearing scrubs and crocs with the name doug written on them, everything happened so fast. The c section was flawless and our beautiful daughter was born in minutes.
What were you most afraid of during your partner’s birth?
Nothing during it. We trusted the doctors, nurses and midwives (helped that Geraldine works in the hospital). It was immediately afterwards. There was Geraldine who started vomiting on the table and this beautiful baby who was effectively brought over to a hot plate. I didn’t know if there was anything wrong with either of them or how I could help. I was frightened something had gone wrong with the c section. And I didn’t know if the baby was ok because she was whisked away and surrounded by nurses and midwives and I couldn’t see her.
I wasn’t sure where to go or who to check on. Everyone had their jobs in the theatre and I was of low priority. I didnt know what to do, I felt like I couldn’t help anyone. Thankfully moments later everything was OK. Geraldine was just put on too high a dosage of some drug or another and after fingers and toes were counted we got to meet our daughter.
What was the best and most positive part of your partners birth?
From my point of view, I was actually relieved that Geraldine didn’t have to go through the pain of childbirth. We still don’t know how the clots appeared and what risks may have been involved if she delivered naturally. It was a relief to know that A was born healthy and quickly.
How did you support your partner and baby after the birth?
Geraldine needed a lot of support due to the pain levels and consequences of the c section. I was still working as she recovered in the hospital for five days. As soon as work finished for the day I hopped on the train to them and looked after the two of them the best I could. A was perfect and a beautifully placid baby. I had two weeks off when we brought A home. I did as much as I could with shopping, meals and caring for Geraldine and A.
What advice would you give to a birthing partner?
If you have the opportunity in the build up to the big day, make sure your calm, hydrated and at your optimum. You are needed but be a concierge from a five star hotel – be good but be invisible. It’s very overwhelming but it’s not about you. For one day just make sure everything you do is perfect for your partner.
A little bit about Geraldine
“I am a soon to be 33 year old and am a mother of one quick and adorable toddler. I work as a Medical Librarian and I am a Writer and Crafter by nature, a Graphic Designer by chance, an all round SciFi nerd and lover of robots and Steampunk. But most of all I am a wife and a mother, and blissfully happy with my lot. I live in the Irish countryside in County Meath with my husband of 10 years, B, and our 2 year old daughter, A. Being a mother has changed me and my perspective on life. I’m becoming someone I didn’t know I could be and while I’m enjoying the journey, I’m slightly terrified too.”