The Platform Lovers – Hard Labour?
The labour unit was not decorated in the pleasant pastel colours of the maternity ward two floors above.
The harsh green walls and stark fluorescent lighting gave a sense of practicality, of purposefulness, that they had seen their share of action over the years.
John, knew exactly why the walls and the surgeons uniforms were the same dull green colour. it showed the blood as a dull stain but muted the scarily glaring redness.
No point in scaring the clientele off when they were nervous enough anyway.
Hopefully it wouldn’t come to that.
This was the first child for both John and Aileen, they were naturally anxious as expected. Even the confidence from the nurses did little to help. The conversation in the lift down to the unit with the nurses had been jocular, but forced. Nervous laughter from John and Aileen and reassurances that everything would be fine from the staff.
It was stilted and false,, like when you try to build rapport with someone that you don’t really know, but need to spend time together for other reasons. Some humour can help keep it light, but the practicalities were bubbling under making both parties aware that the clock was ticking on the serious business ahead.
John looked around the private ward as the nurses helped Aileen into the bed. He had no idea what the majority of the equipment was that surrounded him, a defibulator, a heart monitor, but the rest was a mysterious collection of tubes, screens and a few gas bottles which he expected were for pain control.
Pain control, they had called it in the Pre-Natal classes.
There you have it, it’s not pain relief. There is no relief. But let’s see what we can do to control it.
The canisters wouldn’t be needed today as Aileen had elected for a natural birth. She was determined that she would take whatever pain may come and that nothing would affect the birth of her child before it had even left her womb.
They had discussed all of the practical options at the classes gas and air, epidurals and the possibility of an emergency caesarean.
The caesarean didn’t sound as simple an operation as described on tv by some of the ladies who claimed to be “too posh to push”. Even if the scars could be hidden beneath the bikini line, the risks associated with having your intestines removed and placed beside your body on the operating table while the surgeons removed the baby were too frightening to imagine. Then there was the post-operation complications, infection, bruising, it just wasn’t worth avoiding what nature would take care of naturally.
Lying in bed at night, feeling the baby kick, knowing that the birth would happen anytime, all of the risks were there at the back of their minds, but remained unspoken, closed off as they silently feared the worst but hoped for the best.
Now sitting in the Labour ward, Aileen squeezing his hand, her face grimacing with pain as the contractions became closer. John looked at the equipment surrounding the bed and the reality hit him that for all that they were doing this together, there was only one person at risk, only one person here was guaranteed to go home safe.
That’s a thought, you have you fun, romance, hope for a bright future together. But when it comes right down to it, the woman who is having your child puts herself at significant personal risk, even if everything goes well her body is changed for ever, her priorities are no longer her own and the child comes first.
John asked himself was it worth it would he take that risk if the roles were reversed?
He couldn’t really answer, but one thing he did know was this was happening and he had better be there for Aileen and their child.
It might not be perfect, it might have its down-side and the future would bring all sorts of trials and tribulations, but they’d overcome them together.
Aileen’s stopped squeezing his hand as the contraction relented., they were coming every few moments now. She looked at him, tired, but determined, her face red and puffy and her eyes glazed with a tear.
He leaned over to hold her, wrapping his arms around her then “You know I love you don’t you?”
it was the first time that he had said the words.
She smiled at him, wiping the tear from her eye “You had better after this”
The next contraction cam sharp and suddenly, Aileen letting go of john, holding on to the arms at the side of the bed, pushing back on the bed and trying to tighten her stomach muscles.
“You’re doing well, you’re doing well, I can see the baby’s head, keep pushing, just a little more”
The contraction relented, the mid-wife took a moment to attach a sensor to the top of the baby’s head.
“What’s that for?” Asked John.
It’s so that we can the babies heartbeat and breathing.
The next contraction was starting and Aileen pushed again, screaming, holding Johns arm, digging her nails in.
She pushed, but nothing changed, the baby’s head was in position but the opening seemed too small.
Aileen looked exhausted. John wiped her brow with his hand, feeling helpless as the nurses looked at the monitor and each other.
“Can I have some of that gas and air now please, just a little?”
Loving the new tune by JD McPherson – It’s All Over Bar The Shouting .. kinda fits!