My memory of the temporal order of things surrounding the birth is not exactly brilliant so some dramatic license must be allowed for the below as a loose interpretation of events.
I think after Elphie’s checks (she now even has a blog nickname!), the next item on the agenda was an attempt at breastfeeding but I will leave a description of that for the breastfeeding post. Once that was done with, Elphie was given to Fred was some quality father-daughter time while I was seen to.
I got to have my gas and air back at this point – which was necessary given my zen-state had certainly departed from my body with the baby and pain-tolerance was now back to its usual “any pain is a disaster” level.
First on the agenda was delivery of the placenta. What to Expect When You’re Expecting refers to the midwife “either pulling the cord gently with one hand while guarding your uterus with the other or exerting downward pressure on the top of the uterus, asking you to push at the appropriate time”, but I don’t remember her pressing on anything just being told to do another push and out it popped, and revolting it looked too (although I made sure Fred got a photo for our personal collection – the following is most certainly not mine! Cath is going to regret her recommendation that our posts should have pictures…).
Next (I think) was the stitches to repair the tear I’d had during delivery. Mine was a first degree tear i.e. one just involving the skin around the vagina, these often don’t need stitches but seemingly mine did. For those interested in the degrees of tearage possible, the Mayo Clinic provides some useful diagrams to explain all the gory details. I think the midwife probably regretted even getting started on the stitches, as with my new found sense of pain I was not the most compliant of patients and probably let out more yelps of pain than throughout my whole actual labour.
After that we were left alone for a while. I had been given an IV of I guess what must have been oxytocin (Third Stage of Labour describes the possible drugs used here) to contract the uterus in order to prevent postpartum haemorrhage. The drip took about an hour and a half to administer so we had a bit of time to chillax.
It was around this time that Gwilym becomes a hero of this tale, as avid readers of the labour story may remember that Gwilym was sent to procure food for Fred when Anna was investigating emergency disposable panty options. Well given that we had had no food since lunch and I had thrown up most of that, and that the hospital food service had finished so my options were probably limited to whatever sandwiches languished in the delivery ward fridge, this food was manna from heaven. The most delicious cherries ever discovered (by M&S), a club sandwich, strawberries and a dessert – all wolfed down with great gusto. I will never forget those cherries…
Once my drip had finished, there were only a few more hurdles to pass. I had to show that I could still urinate and I was allowed a shower to remove at least some of the blood and gore from myself. The midwife insisted on helping me from the bed to the bathroom, but really I felt fine and could have gone it alone, albeit gingerly.
Having passed those tests, the time had come for me to leave the comforts of the delivery suite and venture into the unknown world of the post natal ward, and with visiting hours over and it now being past midnight that left me in my hospital bed with a clear bassinet beside me holding one baby. Then everyone left and it was just me and the baby, alone. One tiny life virtually entirely dependent on one person – me.