Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday Update

Posted c/o bluetooth tomfoolery with Mr DD's phone and rockmama's laptop:

March 18

5.34 pm

I usually start travelogues before heading off on holiday rather than while being, for all intents and purposes, confined to barracks. But I suppose having a baby is a little like going on an extended, life long trip, so I figure I can use the same approach.

Why it didn’t occur to me that I’d be rooming on a ward, I have no idea. I’d been spoiled by my last trip to hospital, paid for by my private health insurance. The rooms there were rather more like posh hotel rooms, albeit occupied with crash carts, which most posh hotels HAVE, but not necessarily en suite. Not only that, but my window looked out on a beautifully landscaped courtyard peppered with flowers.

Arriving on the antenatal ward today was a vaguely rude awakening as I was ushered into a dimly lit ward containing 3 other women in various stages of gestation.

A hospital ward is like the crappiest ever sleepover- The college roommates that you didn’t choose or even get to fill in a form stating likes/dislikes for. Wards are a mish mash of strangers, all dealing with contagious and embarrassing problems best dealt with in private, but forced to deal with them instead from behind the relatively ineffective privacy of ugly curtains. (The ones surrounding my particular personal space portray local scenes from the Aylesbury Vale including the statue of Lord Buckingham, the lions in front of the court house and the “blue leanie”, a building that was once the home of a financial management company that rather famously went broke and lost a lot of people’s pensions.)

My ward mates consist of a 40 something second time mother in for what I believe was an ECV, (the procedure used to turn a breech baby in utero) a young first time mother who’s spent most of the day looking like she was thinking of ways to kill herself and, perhaps, most abrasively, a VERY young mother on her fourth child from a third father. Yes, she’s exactly who you think she is. Yes, she has Sky television and takes holidays to Majorca on my dime. And if she doesn’t stop playing with her noisy “virtual pet” in the next five minutes, I’m going to throw it and her out the fucking window.

I didn’t quite know WHAT to expect upon my arrival, but within 40 minutes or so (a record pace, I feel) I was seen by a midwife, covered in goo and strapped to a machine that monitored the Prawn’s vitals. Since my particular ward room is at the end of a dark hallway, midwives tend to forget about us, so I was pleased that I had the forethought to use the loo BEFORE being strapped down.

For those of you who would rather NOT read this next bit, look away NOW. (There will be rather a lot of bits like this. There is little dignity in childbirth.)

The fun thing about labor induction is that the first stage involves a Prostoglandin pessary, and everyone knows where THAT goes. Unfortunately, this also involves an internal examination, which brought involuntary tears to my eyes and made me yelp. Curse these stupid curtains, it’s not really the done thing to yell blasphemies on a Mothering Sunday on a labor ward, but sometimes there’s very little you can do.

So far, I’m of the opinion that although HAVING a baby won’t necessarily be boring, WAITING to have one is bloody tedious. I’ve spent the day silently chastising the Prawn for his/her laziness and forcing us to drag him/her out kicking and screaming as well as gently cajoling him/her with promises of sweets and Playstations. Neither approach seems to be working all that well, but the Prostin, I’m pleased to say, seems to be doing what it’s supposed to and has lead to unmistakable tightenings in the depths. Nothing too painful yet, but a sign of things to come.

Mr DD has been performing his duties admirably- shuttling bits and pieces around, picking up things I’ve forgotten and couldn’t possibly spend the night in the hospital without (Cadbury’s Eclairs, Ritz crackers and my laptop) and of course, the mandatory hand holding and joke cracking, to keep me sane.


The ward is deathly quiet at this hour. My one remaining wardmate (the first time mother) is snoring peacefully after being given a dose of codine. The other two were discharged and I must say that I was more than happy to see the back of the Tamagotchi-wielding chavette the next curtain over.

So, yeah. Labor.

Due to the fact that roughly every pregnant woman in the Aylesbury Vale chose this afternoon to drop their sprogs, my induction, which began this afternoon, was put on hold. For several hours, I was fairly convinced that the second Prostin pessary was NOT going to be necessary, as I was turning various shades of red trying to breathe through fairly steady contractions. However, not wishing to have ANOTHER woman in serious labor on their hands, my second dose of Prostin was put off, so I find myself sitting here in the dark with rapidly waning contractions, having to start the whole process all over tomorrow. Very frustrating. I sent Mr. DD home to get some sleep, although the rather lovely midwife one duty was more than happy to let him stay past visiting hours. I would prefer to have him awake during the actual delivery.

I myself am also going to attempt to get some shut eye before the Prawn makes his or her big entrance.

March 19th


It’s hard to get any true sleep on a hospital ward, unless, of course, you are drugged, which, let’s face it, is the best way to be in a hospital. My wardmate, the other first time mum, sounds rather like she is in urgent need of some of said medication. I think she’s pretty much praying for a c-section at this point in time. (I would too if I’d been in labor for 48 hours) I feel like I ought to try to be of some comfort as it’s outside visiting hours, but I think she might be beyond the tea and sympathy stage.

I got a fair amount of sleep, for which I am grateful. It would not have happened without Armando, my trusty body pillow that Mr DD graciously brought me from home. I’m not entirely sure that you’re supposed to bring outside bedding into a hospital, but I was damned if I was going to spend the night propped up by 16 dozen sticky, hospital issue pillows, crinkling quietly to themselves and requiring rearrangement every time I shifted slightly.

There seem to be a massive army of midwives occupying the ward at the moment, however, it still seems to take a short ice age to get one of them to notice you. I spent an hour longer strapped to the Prawn Detector this morning than was actually necessary. Although I am quite happy to sit and listen to my offspring’s heartbeat, I am aware that it is actually a little grating for others in the vicinity.

Again, those squeamish individuals might want to look away NOW.

My second internal exam was not much more of a party than the first. I was unpleasantly surprised to discover that I am only dialated 1 cm. For those unfamiliar with the concept of cervical dialation, for a baby to be born, the cervix must be dialated 10 cm. Anyone who has spent the night being woken by strong back contractions will be understandably disappointed to find that this was all for naught and that you are no closer to your goal than before. It also doesn’t help to have midwives constantly telling you what a big baby you’re expecting. And how it’s facing the wrong direction. Yes, I am aware of the size of the baby, thank you. It has been parked squarely on my bladder for the last 9 months. The spectre of a caesarean section looms rather menacingly in my immediate future.

Although I did not expect to, I actually am rather envious of my wardmate now that the midwife has announced that she is, in fact dilated to 7 cm and ready to go down to the delivery suite. However, it drives home the point how much further I have to go and how much more pain I have to look forward to. My only hope is that I proceed far quicker than my unfortunate wardmate.

Now, if I can just attract someone’s attention so that I can get unstrapped from this unholy apparatus to take a shower….

Further update from Mr DD:

Our heroine has now had (or was about to have) a THIRD pessary imported into the opening of PrawnLair in an attempt to lure him/her out. Things seem to be intensifying somewhat. Rockmama was last seen grimacing whilst bouncing up and down on one of those exercise ball things. Having been sent home once again to get some sleep, it's now 11:25pm and I'm getting text messages that would seem to point towards a potentially early return to the hospital.

Catching mitt at the ready.


katty said...

Oh my. What a wonderful blog entry. Eagerly awaiting next installment. I do hope everything has gone ok and that you and the baby are fine. Kxx

MsPrufrock said...

This never popped up in my Bloglines, the bastards.

I can't believe it hasn't happened yet, you poor dear! I was entertained by your story thus far (sorry) since I have so recently been through more or less the same in an NHS hospital.

I hope the next post is an arrival post about that pesky Prawn. I'll be thinking of you today dear!

dawnatello said...

it is morning here is canada and i am wondering if the prawn has arrived after reading your post as i do believe the uk is 6 or 7 hours ahead so it has got to be here by now.

hope you "caught" it!!

Southern Comfortable said...

Thinking of you, and eagerly waiting to see the Prawn!!!

Mollywogger said...

Jesus, woman! The Prawn needs to learn some manners. S/he has stayed far too late for you to be hospitable.

Hoping that you're done with all of that and enjoying motherhood now.

Patience said...

Didn't pop up in my bloglines either!!

Eagerly awaiting the next entry!

lisalou said...

You two sure do write a good suspense story! Good Luck! I can't wait to hear about the Prawn's arrival!

Brandy said...

I know this comment is extremely tardy (sorry, still trying to catch up after the birth of my own little "prawn") but I had to comment on the ward. Holy crap!! Apparently I am very blessed not to have to go anywhere near anything like that. All of the rooms in the OB portion of my hospital are private and I am THANKFUL for that. I was happily in the privacy of my own room from the moment I entered the hospital and after reading your post I will be thanking God for that every chance I get! :-)