Max Riley - Birth Story

On the morning of the 2nd of December we had a really early start. We needed to be at the hospital by 6am, so we were up and about at 4.30. The night before I had been really (really, really) emotional, to the point of hysterics and crying, which I think was just due to anxiety. But from when I woke up on the Wednesday morning all of the anxiety was gone, I was still nervous, but mainly just excited.

We left home at 5.30 and checked into the hospital at 6. We were taken to my room and after about half an hour a midwife gave me a hospital gown and some compression stockings to put on. A little while later an orderly and another midwife came in and they took us upstairs to the theatre.

Before we went in, the Big Man got changed into his scrubs and each of the theatre staff came out and introduced themselves to us and told us what their role would be in the caesar. Next up the anesthetist came and put the drip into my hand and I was wheeled into the operating theater.

Once we were in there the theatre nurse talked me through the epidural and the obstetrician explained how the caesar would be performed and what would happen at each step. Information overload! I started to get really nervous, mainly about the epidural. The Big Man had to sit in the corner whilst the epidural was done, but the theatre nurse and orderly held my hands and talked to me whilst it was being done. I was really worried that they would try and distract me, but they were really good and let me know exactly what was happening and what to expect next.

The epidural started working almost straight away and I was moved over to the operating table and had a catheter inserted (I was really nervous about this too, but I didn't feel a thing). Not long after that they started the operation, I didn't feel any pain, but there was lots of pulling and pressure. The Big Man wanted to stand up and watch the operation over the top of the curtain that they put up, but I was still scared and asked him to sit with me and hold my hand. The theatre nurse sat on the other side of me and told me what was happening. After about 5 minutes I started to relax, so the Big Man stood up. Turns out it was perfect timing. As he stood up they made the last incision and the nurse let me know that I was going to be feeling someone putting a lot of pressure on the top of my stomach (to help push the baby out). The Big Man got to see the obstetrician pull the baby's head out. As they pulled the baby out completely they dropped the drapes down so that I could see as well and I saw my baby for the first time :).

The moment I saw him was absolutely magical and I will never forget it. He was pulling a really cranky face, but didn't really cry much at first. The pediatrician, midwife and the Big Man took him over to the warming tray (I have no idea what it is really called) and did all sorts of things to him like clearing his lungs, warming him up, and the Big Man got to trim down his umbilical cord. The whole time Max was over on the table I watched what was happening and said silly things to no-one in particular like 'I just had a baby' and 'that's my baby over there' and 'did you see him, he's perfect'! Madly in love from the minute he was born :)

At one point the pediatrician came over and let me know that Max had a fair bit of fluid in his lungs and was 'gurgly'. This meant that he would have to go to the special care nursery. I asked how long he would need to be in there and I was told it could be anywhere from one hour to 24 hours and if it was worse than they thought he might need to be transferred to the Royal Women's and Children's Hospital. But the pediatrician said that he didn't think it was too bad and they I could still have a hold of him before they took him away.

The midwife bought him over all wrapped up and handed him to me. Amazing! I think the photo explains how I was feeling better than words will ever be able to... Like I said, love at first sight!

I held him for about 5 minutes, but then I got nauseous and started to have trouble breathing. They took Max off me and handed him to the Big Man who was sitting next to me. I remember asking the nurse if she could hold the sick bag on the other side so that I could see the baby and if I could please have a drink of water so that I could actually throw up. She said no to both :(

After a couple of minutes I started to feel better and the midwife took the Big Man and Max away so that he could be weighed and be put on oxygen in the nursery. At that point I started crying because I didn't know when I was going to get to see Max again.

The obstetrician finished sewing me up and I was transferred through to recovery. I stayed there for about 20 minutes before I was taken back down to my room. I was desperately hoping that the Big Man and Max would be waiting in my room for me, but they were both still in the special care nursery. The midwife went and got the Big Man for me and he filled me in on how Max was doing and told me his weight and vital stats.

Over the next four hours I think I asked to see Max about 40 times, but because I couldn't get out of bed and Max wasn't allowed to leave the nursery it didn't happen. The Big Man spent most of that time in the nursery, but came back every half hour to let me know how Max was doing.

Around lunch time the Big Man convinced one of the nurses to bring Max into me for a visit and I was finally allowed to hold him again. But because he was still cold and not quite getting enough oxygen I wasn't able to unwrap him or feed him. The took him away again and I expressed so that he could be fed with a syringe (which he spat out anyway).

I must have had a lot of morphine and adrenaline in my system because I stayed happy and excited the whole time. Beforehand, I had thought that if something stopped me from holding and feeding Max straight away I would be an absolute wreck.

At three o'clock the Big Man's parents, my Dad and my sister arrived and the Big Man took each of them through to the nursery to look at Max. The pediatrician also came in and told me that Max would be released at 6pm. Happy news indeed!

It only got better from there... the midwife came in at 4pm and let me know that Max was being released early! They bought him in and all of the family cleared out so that I could finally hold him up to my chest and feed him. He was an absolute natural and fed like a champion. I was over the moon to finally get to feed him and spend some quality one on one time with him. The Big Man and I were so happy to finally have him with us both and it was one of the major highlights of the day.

The rest of the afternoon was a bit of a blur, Max got passed around between the family members, the Big Man and I and a million photos were taken. Our family left at about 7.30 and the Big Man and I marveled over Max for another couple of hours before the Big Man headed home as well. Max and I hung out together for another hour and then they took him away so that I could get some sleep. I asked if I could keep him with me overnight, but because I still wasn't able to sit up on my own or get out of bed they took him to the well baby nursery.

I slept like a baby, but woke up at 2.3oam and released that they still hadn't bought him in for a feed. I buzzed the nurses and they woke him up and bought him in. I hung on to him for as long as possible before they came and took him back to the nursery. The next morning I woke up at 5.30am. I knew that they were bringing Max in at 6am, so I just sat in bed and waited. I didn't turn on the tv or read, I just sat there and kept running through the previous day in my head with a huge smile on my face.

It was a long day and it didn't go exactly how I had planned, but it was still perfect and was easily the best day of my life.

T xx


Ange & Phil said...

That is such a beautiful birth story Tam, even brought a tear to my eye!! Damn you girl you have made me clucky again!!! lol. That photo of him as he is coming out is AMAZING!!!! Did Sean take it or did you guys get one of the others their to take it? Lots of love to you all, can't wait to meet Max! xoxo

Fern said...

Wonderful story, and congratulations again, you look like such a happy little family :)

Tamsyn said...

Thanks Ange and Fern :)

Ange, Sean took that photo about 7 seconds after Max was born. It is probably my favourite photo (out of the hundreds that he took!). Don't get too clucky, you still have a while to go before you can have another one don't you? Can't wait for you to meet him!

Hanna Louise said...

Tamsyn, what a priveledge it was to read Max's story =) I have been looking at photos of him and can't wait to meet him! Congratulations again, and I hope you and all the whanau are having a lovely christmas

Tamsyn said...

Thanks Hannah, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas too xxoo