It gives me immense pleasure to welcome Amelie to the world! If her arrival is anything to go by, she’s going to have a flair for the dramatic. We were planning on a nice, chilled-out home birth but ended up in a densely populated operating theatre 40-odd minutes away. She knows how to make an entrance!
Starting at the beginning, Kate had been having latent contractions for a couple of days. They got closer together so, on Saturday night, we hastily handed over Dylan and Xander to my parents and prepared for the birth. Frustratingly the tightenings seemed to have stopped completely by 11pm, so we went to bed. We were woken soon after 7am the following morning by Kate’s waters breaking.
There were still no contractions, so I put the kettle on and called our local hospital. A couple of hours later, the community midwife arrived. By this time, the contractions had started, but were fairly erratic. She carried out the various tests we’d become used to over the past few months and all seemed to be fine. Except for one thing. The baby’s heartbeat was clearer higher up – she may have been preparing to come out feet first, Jackie Chan style.
The midwife contacted our local hospital who, due to constantly having their resources diminished, were unable to carry out a simple scan to confirm the little one’s position. This meant we had to go to the next nearest hospital which is the best part of an hour away. Thanks, Tories. My dad soon arrived and drove us there as the contractions began to become more frequent. When we got there, the scan confirmed that she was in breech. There was no way we were having a home birth now!
There were two options; a breech delivery – which the doctor was keen to try – or a caesarean. We opted for the latter, but were then told our baby was too far along as he could feel her feet. Then he changed his stance a little. He said that they had to try a breech delivery and go for a caesarean if we ran into trouble. He was rather chipper at the prospect of a breech delivery, I have to say.
We were immediately whisked down a long corridor and ended up between a delivery room and an operating theatre. There seemed to be a few differences in opinion between staff about which one we were going to, but Kate was taken into the theatre while I was shown to a changing room where I had to put on scrubs.
Back in the theatre, Kate was being attended to by at least four members of staff as they prepared her for both eventualities. There were at least ten people in surgical gear and constant movement everywhere. It was like being in Grey’s Anatomy, albeit with people – myself included – who don’t look like Hollywood actors!
They tried the breech delivery, but couldn’t be certain it would be safe. A consultant then appeared and apologised for taking the decision out of our hands, but said that a C-section was the safest option. I don’t think he realised he was actually giving us what we’d asked for in the first place. I could have hugged him in that moment.
A screen was put up and they got to work. Three minutes later, Amelie was born. The reassuring sound of her cries filled the room, she was cleaned up and presented to us and the drama was over. Our little girl had arrived, safe and sound.
The staff were all, without exception, excellent – including the chap who wanted to try a risky breech birth at first. Even though it wasn’t the birth we had planned, the fact that we now have a beautiful daughter is all that matters and it’s going to be a pleasure getting to know her.