Saturday 2 November 2002

Sean Michael Wallace

Those of a squeamish disposition or who about to undergo childbirth themselves may wish to skip the rest of the page and instead just look at the photos!

Olivia had come over in anticipation of the arrival of her first niece or nephew but she was made to wait and nearly had to go home before the birth! Olivia spent most of the trip out at St. John's Hospital in Livingston as Sharon was admitted on the Thursday (Halloween) to be induced. Nothing was happening after the application of the prostoglandin gel so Sharon was kept in overnight. Ian and Olivia headed out on the Friday morning only to find there had been little progress. Sharon was in hesitant labour in that she was dilated to about one centimetre and was experiencing some pretty painful contractions as we traipsed round the endless corridors of the hospital, but things were not moving quickly.

As the afternoon wore on the pains became more intense, precluding the application of any more gel and by 8pm, midwife Siobhan thought Sharon was dilated enough to attempt to rupture her waters. This she achieved, but only just. From then on the external signs of labour picked up. Sharon was experiencing stronger contractions and moved on to the Entonox and went into the pool for an hour, where Olivia's gentle brushing of hair from Sharon's eyes was much appreciated. Not only was Sharon vomiting quite a bit (despite an anti-emetic jab) but the pain was really ramping up so she opted for an epidural which Kenny, the anaesthetist, fired in at midnight. By then we were on to midwife Jean but by then it was apparent that epidural No.1 hadn't hit the mark. Before calling Edinburgh zoo for some tranquiliser darts, Kenny had a second go and fortunately hit the mark. This was probably the most nerve-wracking part of the labour since the need to keep still during a contraction whilst someone puts a catheter in your spine is rather important!

By 0130 the epidural had taken effect and Sharon became quite chatty in comparison to Ian and Olivia who were visibly flagging! It was like one of those B-movies where the passing of time is conveyed by interspersing shots of the clock on the wall with those of L.E.D. read-outs on monitors and the faces of the surrounding cast. OK, so it's a bit melodramatic but time passed slowly during the night!

By 0700 Sharon was deemed to be dilated enough to push but the effects of the epidural were such that it was difficult for her to tell where exactly she was pushing towards. A head (with hair!) was within touching distace but didn't seem to be getting any closer to emerging as Wee W clung on tenaciously. Despite the returning midwife Siobhan (on her next shift) and the midwifery sister Karen exhorting Sharon to great efforts in time to the rising contraction counter on the monitor, the registrar Sarah decided that, since things were not progressing, a trip to the theatre was in order.

A final 45 minutes of gargantuan straining by Sharon only confirmed the fact that the baby was stuck, although showing no signs of distress, so once the theatre was ready and all relevant personnel assembled, Sharon was wheeled along from the delivery room. Olivia and Ian were dressed up in theatre blues and accompanied the throng surrounding Sharon. Between midwves, orderlies, Sarah and Charlotte (the junior of the two doctors), the anaesthetist and sundry other nurses you'd think they'd been selling tickets! And, when the forceps didn't prove fruitful after a last push by Sharon which left her spent, we had a cameo from a passing consultant who confirmed that things had gone far enough and that a Caeserean section was the only option left.

Olivia had to depart at that point but Ian stayed and had the dubious privilege of seeing Sharon cut open! There was a lot of blood at this point as the doctors tried to wrench the firmly wedged baby back up the birth canal. I'm sure there were at least two pairs of hands and a lot of ironmongery in Sharon's abdomen! The forceps were used to try to pull the baby back up and eventually, with much sweating on Sarah's part (Sharon winced once or twice behind the chest-level screen but was only aware of a feeling of her internals being rearranged), Sean came free and was lifted into the world at 1113 on Saturday, 2nd November 2002.

With my viewpoint the first thing I noticed were his testicles, like an overripe strawberry! The second thing to catch my eye were his big grey hands!

Sean Michael Wallace was given a quick wipe to clean him up and then presented to his parents wrapped in a towel. Well, handed to Ian, since Sharon was somewhat incapacitated! As Sarah set to stitching Sharon up, Ian cradled his new-born son who was struggling to open his left eye. There were a few tears from the new Mammy and Daddy then Ian went in search of Olivia who had already done a runner and was on the phone spreading the news.

The doctors finished stitching Sharon up (she lost 800ml of blood) and she was wheeled into the recovery room where she got the first close look at her wee boy. He was worth the wait and the effort! Sean had emerged remarkably unscathed from his push-pull delivery and was by now squinting through both of his dark-blue eyes and puckering his full lips as he took his first photo-call.

Ian and Olivia finally called "Time!" as the euphoria wore off and the tiredness took over and left Sharon to be taken up to the labour ward. Leaving the hospital at 1300, some 28 hours after arriving, the disorientated pair drove home and slept the afternoon away before returning in the evening to marvel at the new-born lad. As the photos show, Sean was quite something to behold on the day of his birth!

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