Debs and I took a trip to the hospital this morning. Usually a tense experience this one had a happy side to it as we were going to see the consultant about a delivery date for the birth.
I’ve gotten to know Bath Royal United Hospital like the back of my hand recently. First there was Ethan’s birth which was shocking experience for all concerned as he was rushed into intensive care within minutes of being born. We’re still not clear about the actual cause of the problems, but the symptoms were difficulty breathing, an infection, internal bleeding, and his blood wasn’t clotting. It was actually ten minutes before we knew whether we had a boy or a girl: he was immediately surrounded by a team of nurses and doctors. He was in the Neo-natal Intensive Care for about a week before being released to come home. We used to joke that he seemed like a fraud because at birth he was 8lb 11oz, which is a veritable hulk compared to the premature babies who were the other occupants of the unit. Despite this there was no lasting damage and he’s brought a lot of joy and happiness into our lives over the last couple of years.
Debs fell ill several months after the birth (I’m not convinced the two incidents are entirely unrelated) resulting in a complicated appendectomy. This gave me further chance to get to know the hospital as I spent many a long day by her side, when not fussing around the baby at home (thank goodness for grandparents).
So returning to the hospital today was treading familiar territory (of course we’ve been several times over the past few months, notably for the ultrasound scans).
Whilst having a drink in the coffee shop before the appointment I was leafing through Debbie’s notes letting the geek in me read through various medical documents to see what tidbits I could learn. I was slightly surprised that the hospital/midwifes expect the mother to look after her own notes, especially if they’d get lost. I can’t help wondering why it’s not all stored in a database somewhere; but there goes that geek again.
I commented to Debs that there was just so much detail involved in having a child, remarking that around the world there must be thousands of women having children without the benefits of modern health care. I wondered whether all these notes and records were entirely necessary. She pointed out that without all that our little boy probably wouldn’t be here today, and neither would several of our friends babies. Certainly put me in my place. I’m not sure about anyone elses experience but I hear lots of tales of fraut and difficult births. But then maybe these are just the ones that stick in your mind.
It was choosing a method of delivery which brought us to the hospital today. We’d been advised by Ethan’s consultant to consider a caesarean section as he attributed much of Ethan’s early troubles to “complications at birth” — a vague phrase that doesn’t instill confidence that these “complications” won’t happen again. After much discussion and consultation with the midwives we’ve decided to have a caesarean. It’s going to be tough on Debs (3-5 days in hospital initially, 6 weeks to fully recover) but neither of us want to go through a difficult birth again, and we think it’s best for the baby. In situations like this, when the doctors and midwives are at pains to make sure you understand all the implications and possible consequences of your choices that you (or me anyway) feel like a rabbit caught in the headlights. You’ve got a difficult decision to make and either way could have repercussions. Makes you want to revert back to being a child yourself; scary shit.
This is a long rambly, and probably depressing, way to impart some good news. I still feel I’ve got a lot to say about what we went through with Ethan’s birth — there are some very vivid memories, which today brought back once more — but I’ll save those for another time.
The good news is, is that we’ve got a delivery date. And with a caesarean it really is a delivery date. We’re booked in and just have to turn up on the day. Debs and the doctors do all the hard work and I try not to get in the way.
The date is 5 weeks from today. Wednesday 1st October. Wish us luck.