Posted by: Louise | May 13, 2010

Laura’s birth story (ii)

“There is a dead baby inside me. Get it out. Cut it out. Do whatever you have to do.”

Apologies were offered. I’m afraid you will have to deliver your baby. We do not perform c-sections in these circumstances. More apologies offered. Take whatever pain medication you need. Don’t feel like you deserve the pain somehow. Nobody suggested that labouring with Laura could be a positive experience (in as much as any experience that involved delivering a dead baby could be positive).

I started keeping a journal when I found out Laura had died – not a daily journal, more a documentation of Laura’s life in our midst. It seems right that I should excerpt Laura’s birth story directly from my journal……..

I want to remember you, Laura Grace Elizabeth, all that I can about you. Your tiny, tiny ears, your blonde, blonde hair, the smallest button nose we ever saw. I want to remember you passing through me on your journey to meet us. I guessed you’d be eager and , sure enough, as soon as they gave me the drugs to induce labour contractions began. We were both working this one together – our last great physical journey – and I know I certainly wanted the journey to be a good one for us both.

Contractions were strong, but not so painful. The side effects from the drugs had me shaking uncontrollably. Your Dad and I watched the giant shadows of airplanes, sweeping over the hospital and across the land up hill to the airport, as I moved my hips round and round and round through the increasing contractions. 3.30pm. 4.00pm. Time to go downstairs and Dad is frantically looking for my i-pod, in case I need music! Eventually we have it and it’s time to travel along the corridors round the back of the hospital and down the lift.

Ellen, the midwife who has been minding me/mothering me on the ward, brings us to a quiet room, half a living room, half a delivery room, and goes off to find a midwife to stay with us. Contractions still working away, but not overwhelming.

I had watched a strange dvd a few months ago about women giving birth in the Black Sea in Russia. One woman gave birth in what looked like a giant fish tank. She seemed so in tune with herself, so lost in her concentration on the labour. I felt like that woman in the fish tank, lost in my own space, in our little living room/delivery room. Just K and I – a midwife more absent than present as she busied herself preparing for my labour. It was a wonderfully quiet time. Just you and me and Dad working on our most special project ever. Daddy rubbing my back, me lost in my breathing and you journeying away to me meet us.

I needed to go to the loo – a rapid emptying of bowel and bladder and I felt like running, getting away from everything. In my semi-trance, semi-conscious state I thought ‘Ah! Transition!’ I was restless. The pains were stronger. I was beginning to moan. “I’m going to be sick,” I spluttered out, but no vomit. It was the beginning of that overwhelming urge to expell.

“Take my pyjamas off, K!” in a panic as I had visions of you arriving cradled in a tangle of night wear. Our midwife, Sarah, had gone in search of pethidine, birthing ball forgotten. I was scanning the room, looking for pillows, anything. I was standing and didn’t want your head to crash down onto the floor.

Between pants I gasped at Dad to put the bedspread between my legs – all we could find in the room with just us.

pant – pant – pant

pant – pant – pant

“K. Will you catch her? Don’t let her fall. NO your hands don’t need to be so close. She’ll need space to come out.”
(It should be noted that in K’s version of Laura’s birth, the above was entirely in my head. What was heard was – “NNNrghh. Uhhhhhhh. Nnnrghhh.”)

pant – pant – pant

I can feel you surging down the final path. Where is the midwife?

A flurry of activity as Sarah returned. Some floor covering found. A whoosh. An explosion of fluid spraying everywhere (it seemed). Daddy’s suede shoes have seen better days. I could feel your head resting between my legs waiting for the final push to expel you out into the world…….

……and then there you were. Here you are.

Unmoving. Uncrying. Unbreathing, but perfect.
Perfect in your stillness. Perfect in the quiet that has surrounded for the last few days.

Perfect little eyes.
Perfect little nose.
Perfect little crumply baby ears.
Perfect tiny hands.
Perfect tiny feet.
Perfect little gilly – our perfect baby girl.

You already in your perfect place. Us wrenched with sorrow and grief – devastated by our loss – wanting to hold onto you.

And even from that first glimpse of you, we knew you were already gone – up there somewhere, watching us, loving you, grieving you, still now 36 hours later wondering have I missed a breath. You are gone, but still so close.

Our hearts are broken, little Laura. Thank you for this final journey together – for the peace and togetherness that surrounds it. Thank you for the perfect love that still lingers in you and the love that will forever linger in your Daddy and I for you.

Night night Sweetheart.

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Responses

  1. thank you for sharing Laura’s birth story. A beautiful description of your journey with Laura. A year ago. I’m sorry.

    I wonder I you are just around the corner from here. And if you are I wonder where you were this day a year ago? I know where I was exactly a year ago, and it overwhelms me that you were giving birth to Laura while I was doing something else completely and how life goes on around us while our own world shrinks down to pin point size and is galaxy size large and and all absorbing at the same time.

    Much love to you
    xx

  2. Thank you for your lovely words. I am so sorry you little Fionn isn’t here distracting you from sad stories.

    My little boy racer says he is really sorry Laura isn’t here because he wanted to teach her how to tumble… xx


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