This is part 3, the end stage of labor, something I will never forget so long as I live. A big dose of respect to every mother out there, I'll never look at a woman the same way again.
We had gone 90% of the way with only gas and air, a dose of Pethidine seemed to give a little break, but now she wanted an Epidural and I was ready to give in. Then in walked my Saviour, a new midwife had come on duty by the name of Moira. Clare said she may have to have an Epidural and Moira said 'No you won't, you have come this far without one, the hard work has been done I'm not going to let you have one'.
This woman was amazing, really inspirational and just what we needed after the 24 hours we had just been through. She even made me a coffee, the first thing to pass my mouth for about 10 hours. She was so upbeat, but told me we were just at a stage where Clare will think she can't possibly go through with this, and try to run away. She will also start swearing at me.
Well Clare never swore at me, she never even cried at all when we were in hospital. She did however go through a short few minutes of thinking there is no way she could continue. I was just so proud of her, especially at this stage as she was smiling even when she was in pain, and she kept telling me how much she loved me.
The midwife told us the baby was at least 3 hours away, but I noticed Clare's abdomen change shape. It kind of went straight rather than round, and she also felt different, like wanting to take a number two. We asked the midwife to check her cervix but she seemed to think it was impossible that this was 'it'. This was 'it' though, there was now a sense of urgency. The midwife told her to resist pushing and then went to get help.
It was hard for her to resist pushing during the contractions, it was a relief when she was told to push. She had such a serene look on her face, this was her time, it seemed like she had come of age, she was like the Oracle out of the Matrix. Cool is something Clare just doesn't do, but right then the only way to describe her was cool.
She had a real problem pushing the baby out, I think it could have been the Pethidine which seemed to take so much out of her. The midwife looked so concerned, and they kept monitoring the baby. I had been pushed out of the way by now but knew Clare wasn't going to really go for it unless I did something. So I went up to her and gave her a bit of a tough pep talk.
After this she really started to push and the baby was on her way. Someone asked me to press a button, I assumed it was the button to start the baby monitor but they said no that big button over there. I pressed it and an alarm went off, I thought oh my god what's going on here! She saw my face and said don't panic we are delivering your baby now, we need the team in here to help.
A few minutes later the baby was almost out, Clare was still looking like the Oracle, and it was time for me to step away. I walked to the door and waited for the cry, it was great to hear that cry. All I did was note the time 9:38 I didn't know at that point if it was 9:38am or 9:38pm I just kept repeating in my head 9:38 so I didn't forget.
They asked if I wanted to cut the cord, 'no thanks', do you want the baby on mummies chest or cleaned up first, 'cleaned up please', does daddy want to tell mummy what sex the baby is 'no thanks'.
I wandered over and sat next to Clare, she looked so happy. All I saw was the back of my daughters head. The midwife had been trying to get rid of me for ages and now I felt I could leave. I didn't particularly want to hang around for the afterbirth so I left.
I looked outside and saw it was morning, I pretty much just repeated 9:38 to myself but it just wouldn't lodge in my brain. I still hadn't seen my daughters face and I just wanted to be alone with Clare and the baby. I went back and barged back into the room. They were about to stitch her up and it was clear I wasn't welcome but I wasn't going anywhere. I saw the bloody window and curtains were wide open so closed them. I looked at the baby, she just looked perfect, like an idiot I counted toes and fingers.
Please read my conclusion article which I'll write up tomorrow. On reading this through to myself quickly it sounds a terrifying, dreadful experience but it actually was very positive. I don't want to put anyone off, I asked Clare at many points during labor if she would do it all again and she always said yes, even at the worst points. I would also do it all over again.