Francesca Baird: Blogging about Autism – Childbirth

oscar born and me

The following is a short extract from my book:  ‘Label Me: My Journey Towards an Autism Diagnosis’

More Than Me. Autism and Labour

The next couple of hours were reasonably calm ‒ Rich was trying to sleep in a chair in the corner of the room while I tried to doze off, but my body would not allow that. There was calming music being played that created some ambience and enhanced our chilled mood. 10:00am: No changes. 1:00pm: Third midwife on shift and still no baby. 5.00pm: A nurse checked up on me and accidentally knocked the epidural stand, which led to a subsequent interruption of the flow of medicine into my body. I was none the wiser until… arggghh, the pain had returned. This time I was too weak to fight it. My entire body was shaking and my temperature was rising. My midwife, who was all for natural births, suggested I battle on through without medication. Now I am all for taking the natural approach where possible, and I did consider rising to the challenge… but… my body and mind were screaming at me in parallel… EPIDURAL, EPIDURAL, TAKE THE FUCKING EPIDURAL. I felt like I was going to die, my baby would die, we would both die. ‘’Whatever you think, I trust your judgement’’. So, she left me to it, to endure the most unbearable pain I had ever experienced.

Dare I say it, the physical ramifications of being in labour possibly trumped the acute mental pain of feeling anxious. 8pm: Get this fucking baby out of me! This is much worse than anything I have seen on One Born Every Fucking Minute. 24 hours in labour with zero sleep – my mind was too far gone to feel anxious, but my body was failing me. 8:10pm: Two doctors and several nurses crowded around my bed. “She has developed a fever. For goodness sake, someone fix the epidural back onto the wall”. I was relieved when the assertive doctor took control of the situation. Then he turned to me ‘‘We need to check the baby is okay. I am going to scrape the baby’s head if that is alright with you’’. The feeling of embarrassment from farting in the doctor’s face was quickly replaced by fear and panic when he announced: “Your baby is really ill; we need to get it out now”. 8:30pm: The doctor considered carrying out a C-section but, as the epidural was working again and my temperature had reduced, he was prepared to wait an hour or so to see if I could deliver the baby naturally. I was at this point 9 cm dilated and almost ready to push. 10pm: Almost a full day and a half since my first contraction. ‘Okay Francesca it’s time to push this baby out’.

Pushing was by far the easiest part of being in labour; my lower body was numb, and I had little feeling down below – thank goodness for small mercies. The exit point was not big enough for the baby’s great big head to escape, so the midwife carefully (or not so carefully, but I was none the wiser) made an incision to widen the exit. At this point, she could have ripped out my insides and I would not have cared. Whatever it took to get the baby out. I continued to push for ten minutes or so until, “come on Francesca, one last push” … and… “is he here”, I asked? I couldn’t see past the bloodbath. But I had a baby boy! Born at 11pm on Sunday the 14th March 2011. We didn’t know the sex beforehand, but I had just known I was having a boy. Mother’s instinct? Nah, not really. It was the rash that gave it away. I had read somewhere that polymorphic eruption is caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy and is more common when carrying males. Whether this is true or not I do not know. It is however, my rationalisation for having predicted the sex of my son, Oscar.

Francesca Baird: Blogging about Autism – Embracing Normal Life
Francesca Baird - blogging about Autism and straight talking

This section: Label Me: Francesca Baird blogging about autism

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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