I was just waking up to go to work this morning when Marjolein said “I don’t think you are going to work today…”. I was immediately very, very awake. We were eight days overdue at that point and I had been waking up with a start every time Marjolein turned over in bed (quite an undertaking with that belly) or went to the toilet. Now that we are experienced parents 😉 we do not panic the moment the waters break and indeed they had broken at a quarter to five. Marjolein had kindly (and pragmatically) waited until I was waking up anyway to tell me. She called her mother to come over and look after the boys and we set off for the hospital as soon as she arrived. By then the contractions were coming every five minutes, but they were very manageable and Marjolein walked into the hospital under her own steam.
Once we were in the obstetrics department they immediately hooked Marjolein up to a monitor so that they could pull a chart of the contractions and the baby’s heartbeat. Falco was doing fine, but the contractions were looking a bit feeble. This got worse when the nurse adjusted the position of the monitor: it looked as if the contractions, which Marjolein could still FEEL were not doing anything at all. Of course this called up images of how the contractions died away when Matthijs was being born. Not a nice memory. Marjolein was fed up with this and wanted to get up and move around, partly to make use of gravity and partly because it gave her more control. As soon as she did so (it was about nine ‘o clock by then) the contractions picked up enormously in both frequency and intensity.
That was fun for an hour and then at ten ‘o clock the obstetrician came in and had a feel. Unfortunately for Marjolein this was also during the contractions, which is particularly painful. Marjolein always feels cowardly in these situations, but outwardly toughs it out. Dear Doctor pronounced that we had eight centimeters of dilation and that she would come back in an hour. Marjolein was not in agreement with this, as she believed that the eight centimeters had been built up in the last hour. Needless to say, as soon as the doctor was out of the door Marjolein said “I have GOT to push”, so I went haring after nurse and doctor. The nurse came back in a “no nonsense way”, took one look and started pulling things out of cupboards and shouting “don’t push, you will swell up the rim…”. This was a waste of time as the baby had moved right down and Marjolein was producing tremendous contractions. Sure enough, the last two centimeters had evaporated and Falco was arriving right now, like it or not.
Suddenly the room was full of people. Marjolein grabbed my hands (thank goodness for short fingernails) and pushed like crazy. The head appeared after two contractions and the doctor grabbed it and started wrestling the umbilical from round Falco’s neck. It took two more contractions before the head was out and, with a snip, then the shoulders were born. I had expected the body to just slither out once the head was born as it was with Daniël, but apparently Falco has broad shoulders.
He was a cheerful purple colour at first, with rather rattly lungs and got carted over to the table to get a whiff of oxygen. When they weighed him he was 5030g so he got dropped in an incubator for a little while until he started to “pink up”. We had arranged for a blood sample to be taken from the umbilical to check his blood sugar and see if he would get an A-O conflict like Daniël. Neither of them was a problem and he was soon back in Marjolein’s arms. In the meantime it took about an hour before Marjolein could get her stitches, but she was almost euphoric that it was all over and that she did not feel as battered as she had with Daniël.
Falco had to stay in hospital that night so that they could keep an eye on his bloodsugar and so I went home and fed the boys and my mother and father-in-law chips with a curious floating feeling. It was all over and NONE of our fears had come to pass. Falco was indeed huge, but Marjolein had had a relatively easy delivery and there was no problem with A-O blood groups, he was not jaundiced and not even very fat.