Monday, 9 September 2013

The Birth

Howdy all!

So... I am a daddy! Wooo! Albert Kenneth Bishop (previously Albump Bumperson McWriggleyboy) was born at 1.32pm on Thursday 22nd August and weighed 8 pounds 1.5. He is finally here! 9 whole months of baking in that oven and out pops the most brilliant amazing little baby I have ever seen (I’m not even being biased, he is). Never has a man been so proud of his wife and son! I already love him so much, I can’t imagine him not being in my life. 

And so straight to the good stuff, here is the little chap!

So I thought I would write a post about the whole birth experience and what got us to this point in all its emotional glory, as what an experience it was! Pretty similar to what I was expecting HERE, but writing something down and actually experiencing it is quite different. You can look at a picture of a double quarter pounder with cheese but you just don’t appreciate it until you’ve eaten 2 of them. It was one hell of a rollercoaster. It was way better than Nemesis at Alton Towers! Becoming a father for the first time has completely changed how I view the world, and what I am feeling, and there are so many emotions going on it’s hard to even begin to write them down. But I’ll go through the birth bit by bit and try and describe how I was feeling at each point.

Disclaimer: I have asked Lucy if there is anything I couldn’t say and she said I could say whatever I wanted, so here we go! I have to say throughout the whole process it seemed really serious, and I didn’t even have time to be silly or get my thoughts in order. But now 2 weeks later I have had time to think about it retrospectively, I have retconned the sillyness in.

The birth process began on Weds morning at 6am. I first knew about it when I woke up at 6.42am (exact timing going on, I know this because this is when my alarm is set for) and Lucy said she thought she was having contractions. What a way to wake up, way better than a bucket of cold water in the face. I literally jumped out of bed and started jiggling about like I had ants in my pants, I had all this energy suddenly, like I’d drank 10 red bulls and was instantly alert. HOLY SHIT THE BABY IS COMING! Lucy actually calmed me down somewhat, I was a bit of a wreck. All of a sudden the shit got real, we actually had to do this NOW and there was no more waiting and quite frankly I couldn’t have cared less that I hadn’t done a second coat of paint on the garden furniture (All the Nesting I had been feeling like doing HERE was suddenly stopped dead).

The contractions were pretty frequent, about 5-10 mins apart already, but weren’t painful, and I knew this part of labour took ages. They may have even been Branston Pickle false contractions, we didn't know, so we decided I would go to work and see how it went, and I could nip home whenever I needed to. So I actually calmed down a bit here and went off to work (I didn’t do much though, sorry Laura if your reading this). I had a doctor’s appointment that morning as somehow I had been bitten by a zombie fly and contracted the T-Virus from Resident Evil and my leg had got all infected and swollen and hurt like hell. I dropped by home on the way back to work after the appointment and the contractions were getting pretty painful then. Lucy was still pretty calm but I was freaking out a bit thinking the baby was going to drop out on the carpet there and then so I wanted to go to the hospital and get it checked out, STAT!

My T-Virus Leg

So we drove to the hospital all ready to be seen, and thus.. the waiting began. This was a pretty common theme throughout the whole hospital trip. I felt like I aged 10 years in that place just sitting there being bored with Lucy having contractions what seemed like every 6 seconds and me expecting to see a baby sticking his head out and waving at me any minute. The only fun we had when waiting to be seen at this point was wearing a unused cardboard wee pot as a hat, and looking like some tramp version of Stan Laurel. I did this while Lucy was in the toilet though so she wouldn’t get annoyed with me. Me being silly and her in pain, I didn’t think she would appreciate it.

Eventually a doctor came in and Lucy was only 1-2cm dilated but her back was really painful and she had high blood pressure. He started whacking her on the legs with a hammer like Kathy Bates out of Misery and then they decided to send us up to the ward to wait it out a bit rather than go home. So more waiting, always waiting. I had my kindle with me, but I couldn’t read more than 2 lines without getting distracted so it was deemed pretty useless at the time. I spent most of my time trying to be supportive by not fidgeting or saying something stupid.

Reaction tests with the hammer in the hospital:

Eventually Lucy was 5-6cm dilated and we went up to the Delivery Suite (the word Suite being the height of optimism). Lucy was plugged into the Matrix with a Cannelloni Line into her hand and they started adding in all sorts of stuff through a drip, with more people coming in and out what felt like a revolving door into our room. They set up to do an Epidural straight away due to Lucy’s back, and it was a pretty calm procedure considering they are jamming a needle into your spine and inserting a tube right into it. They said not to clench or tense up during the procedure, but I couldn't help it and clenched like mad, but thankfully it went ahead ok and Lucy was brilliant.

While we were waiting for this to kick in, they supplied us with Gas and Air (G&T), which really helped Lucy with the pain. Obviously as soon as the midwife went out I was right over there to try some as they basically implied to me it was fine to do so. I had 7-8 deep breaths of it and HOLY COW, this is good stuff! I sat down and after a few seconds it kicked in and I immediately felt like I wanted to open my mouth really wide and swallow my own head. So I sat there with my mouth wide open with Lucy and her mum laughing at me. When I spoke my voice was really really deep (like Barry White) but they said it sounded the same to them. When I tried to tell them why my mouth was wide open, I tried to say ‘I feel like I want to swallow my own head’ but I couldn’t pronounce the F sound for Feel, so I just kept saying ‘I, I, I, I’ while wriggling my lips about and opening my mouth wide. After about 15 seconds, I just felt completely normal (maybe my Death-Leg felt a bit better). This stuff is great! I will look out for it on eBay.

Anyway, by the time the epidural kicked in, the pain for Lucy went right down which was really great. They have something called a Bolus which is like a drug top up when you need it, they just press a button and more Epidural liquid gets credited to your drip bag account, like mobile phone credit. It just reminded me of a Bolas whenever they said it, which is a an old-fashioned throwing weapon HERE, and is not suitable for hospitals, schools or other public places.

Man using a Bolas on a bird, not to be confused with a Bolus, which is medicine related.

At this point it was late and we still had a few hours to go until Lucy was fully dilated, so we had a bit of a snooze and a rest with the lights down. It was said beforehand that snacks were important, but by this time I had eaten Cadbury’s brunch bars, chewy granola bars, McCoys, multi-grain bars and turkish delight and so was feeling a bit sick of snacks and just wanted some pie and mash. Helped keep up energy though! I would recommend taking a sandwich next time, not just things that come in boxes and are made out of cereal.

By the time the morning came and the sun came up, we were 24 hours in and it felt like not even Jack Bauer has ever had a more tiring 24 hours, I really felt for Lucy here, and wanted it to crack on asap! But we were almost at a point where Lucy could push. She had loads more drips and they broke her waters for her, basically by shoving a crochet hook up her whatsit. By this point the epidural was only working on one side on her body and not on the other, so her back was really painful. Not something the hospital ever mentioned could happen, so that was a nice surprise. 

We had a brand-new bed in the ‘Suite’ which was full of motors and all sorts. Then move in all directions like some sort of Transformer (the shittest Transformer ever, fighting Decepticons by changing into a hospital bed), and of course none of the midwives could use it properly as there was a million buttons on it. So they sort of worked it out and moved it into shape by raising it up higher, then higher, then higher. Eventually they stopped and lowered it down because it was about 6 feet high at that point and I was worried Lucy would be crushed against the ceiling, like some sort of reverse Indiana Jones trap. It was pretty cool though, I want to get one for the house.

Bumblebee, working undercover as a Hospital bed:

So now we are at the pushing stage. After 9 months and all the waiting, we are finally here. Excitement was bubbling up in me and I couldn’t wait to see my boy! I was up at the Holiday End rather than the Business End, and was holding Lucy’s hand and ready to give support.

It’s a bit of blur at this point, so I am not really sure how long pushing lasted, I think it was around 45 minutes. I was so so proud of Lucy, she did so well. It looked bloody painful. You see it happening on TV on One Born Every Minute, but I didn’t realise how much they cut out, there is loads more pushing in real life than what they show on the TV so I have even more respect for women who have been through child birth now! I held her hand the whole time, standing on one leg as my Death-Leg was killing me. I had some lovely fingernail marks engraved on my hand afterwards but I didn’t care, I would do whatever I needed to help Lucy through it.

The midwife said we were really close to him coming out at this point, only a few more pushes. Then all of a sudden there was a splatter sound and I looked down and saw some blood dropping out down the other end. Within 5 seconds the midwife had called out ‘We’ve lost the fetal heartbeat’ and the emergency button was pulled. I have to admit I just froze at this point holding Lucy’s hand and I genuinely felt like my stomach dropped out my arse and my heart stopped. I just couldn’t do anything except stand there holding Lucy’s hand, I was like a rabbit in headlights, hurtling towards the baby’s birth and not being able to move and then BANG, the rabbit is splattered across the road into pulp. That’s about 1% of the intensity of how I felt.

Well within around 15 seconds of that alarm going off, I have never seen anything like it, it was like an episode of ER, around 15 people ran into the room and everyone was running around and bringing in big machines and going back and forth and shouting at each other. The consultant came in and all I can say is how professional and brilliant she was, she deserved a medal. She came right in and started giving out instructions and completely took over the whole thing and managed it amazingly well. She was calm and described everything she was doing to us clearly. About 3 midwifes pretty much dismantled the Transformer bed faster than any Decepticon could. She said they would deliver the baby by Forceps and Lucy would help her push it out, and that they would deliver him together as a team. Well before I knew it I was balling my eyes out, it had happened so fast I felt like I had literally come up against a glass wall and every part of my body and mind and emotions was being squashed up against it, and the wall was suddenly a bottle and I was being squashed down inside it and I was being crushed from all sides, and 9 months of waiting for this moment was being funnelled into my brain and all I could do was cry and kiss Lucy’s head and say it would be ok. It was all so hazy but someone said he was coming out and I was man-handled down to the Business end, and then I saw my son’s head being pushed out and him entering the world. He was ok!! He was crying and covered in blood but he was absolutely perfect. It is a moment I will never ever forget my whole life, and even now writing this I am genuinely getting choked up with emotion and am finding it hard to speak. They asked me if I wanted to cut the cord which I said previously I would, so they handed me the scissors and I snipped straight through that lifeline on the first snip and released him, I am glad I had my own little part in the drama of delivering my son into the world. He was wrapped up quickly and placed on Lucy’s chest, and I was back up that end for a quick look at him before he was bundled into the heat machine. There was no sillyness at this time, it was just pure emotion. I just felt my senses were heightened to oblivion and this almost physical wave of love came over me, and this urge to protect him from anything and anyone and knowing I would do whatever I could for him, and love him completely and unconditionally for the rest of my life. That feeling stays with me, always there underneath me, and it’s the best feeling ever. I have never loved my wife as much as at that moment either, I just couldn't believe what we had made together.

After a few moments of him being there, probably seconds but it felt like hours, he was bundled into this big machine and was griddled like some sort of kebab to keep him warm.

But at this point Lucy had to deliver the placenta. Retrospectively we think the placenta was ruptured, which is where the bleed came from. Which is actually pretty badass, a friend told me afterwards that she basically pushed so hard she exploded the placenta. After about a minute of Albert coming out there was an almightly splashing sound, like someone had poured a bucket of water on the floor, and at this point I was crying so much I could barely see or understand what was happening, but the placenta came right out and everyone jumped back as to avoid getting blood splashes on their shoes. Lucy had a tear down there and there wasn’t time to do a Hippopotamus cut or whatever it’s called, so she needed some stitches. While she was having that done she told me to go and see Albert and see how he was and I was torn between being at my wife’s side going through this all, and seeing my boy again. But she asked me to go see him so I had to walk round Lucy to get there, and got an accidental glance of what the scene was down there. The less said about that the better, it looked like something out of a Rambo film with all the gore. Lucy lost a litre of blood in the end and I am sure most of that was on the floor. And being fully honest, at some point I had a smudge on my glasses I had to clean off later. We remember at this point the consultant speaking to a student about the stitches, saying you had to match the bits up first before stitching them, like the most macarbe jigsaw puzzle you could think of.

Anyhow, I went round and got to see my son, little Albert again, under the kebab machine, and he was being cleaned off and wrapped up and he looked at me and held my finger with his hand and I just cried and thanked everyone and kept yelling at Lucy that he was ok. He looked like Gollum but he was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, and my heart just swelled with pride and love. I am not too sure what happened then really, it's all in a haze. They cleaned up and almost everyone left and they put the bed back together, and he was all wrapped up and with Lucy and I just hugged her and him and it was a perfect moment, no sillyness in sight or mind.

So here is the little chap again!

Once Albert was finally delivered ok I was so relieved that he was working properly and had a head and all his limbs, and Lucy was going to be ok and was in loads less pain, I relaxed and felt a whole lot better. Time to get on with being a daddy! But first, more waiting! It took a few hours to get up to the ward so we could have visitors and Albert could meet the rest of his family. I didn't mind this rest though as everyone was bloody knackered so we all needed a rest, especially Lucy. I was glad I could put my leg up as well as it was about to drop off.

During that time I got to put on his first nappy! It wasn’t that hard to do really, the midwife helped. Since then I have become more experienced with nappies and I’m really not sure how they work. They seem to have some sort of magical Velcro glue on them that isn’t sticky until it touches another part of the nappy, then it sticks fast. There’s some science going on there, either that or magic as it doesn't seem to stick to anything else. A baby’s first poo is basically black tar. It’s called Meconium (not sure how to spell it, but I’m not googling it, I’ve seen enough of it!) and not Semi-Colon poo which I first though. Meconium sounds like some sort of weird element like Kryptonite, that weakens superheroes. Really it just weakens the sidewalls of your nostrils and loosens your stomach.

The effect Meconium-Kryptonite has on humans:

Eventually we got onto the ward, which wasn’t too pleasant to be honest. What seemed like every hour a different midwife came in and we had to explain everything to them over and over again. It was like 30 degrees so I slow cooked like a Kleftiko for the next day and sweated my way through 3 t-shirts, especially when holding Albert as I didn’t realise before how much heat a baby generates. They are little heat machines, it’s like holding hot water bottle that moves, or a burrito wrapped in foil that cries. No wonder the machines in the Matrix used them as batteries.

We had tried to breast feed him but every midwife told us a different way, and 2 midwifes even had an argument in front of us about the best way to do it, yanking Lucy’s boobs around left, right and centre. Eventually someone actually thought to check Albert’s mouth and the poor chap had a tongue tie. This made me think of the tongue-tie song from Red Dwarf (watch it HERE), but it’s actually quite common in babies and means it can stop them feeding off the boob. It means that little bit of skin that joins your tongue to the bottom of your mouth is too far along. A specialist saw him and said she could do a little procedure on his tongue and sort it out right away. So I went with him, and he was basically wrapped up and a lady cut his tongue up with some scissors. It sounds well grim but he only cried twice then feel asleep pretty much straight away and there was 2 drops of blood, so respect to Albert on that one. If someone tried to cut up my tongue with scissors I would tell them to f*ck off.

Tongue Tied:

Back on the ward someone had forgotten to put an electronic tag on him, so it’s a good job he can’t walk or he could have just wandered off without anyone noticing. Eventually they put one on his ankle and he looked like he had an ASBO and was on day release from prison. The cord was still attached at this point and it looked like a Twiglet sticking out of his belly button. It’s come off now and all looks normal which is awesome! I think he has an innie brewing. 

Lucy had 1 overnight stay in that oven, and eventually it got so much that we decided to discharge herself and come home. The nurses didn’t really want this as he hadn’t fed off the boob, but we have just been bottle feeding him since then and he is absolutely fine. He has had several checks since at home and his weight is fine and he is all ok and is a perfect baby!

Overall the birth was one hell of a ride. I made my predictions HERE and to be honest, most of them were what I thought, but the actual birth was so much more real and intense, no amount of thinking about it beforehand prepared me adequately, and no amount of writing can describe my emotions at the time and exactly what it was like, it was like ‘Nam, you had to be there.

Predictions of the birth beforehand:

-          Emotions. Love, Excitement, Fear, Hope, Relief.

Plenty of these, complete overload of them! 1 point.

-          Not to be like anything on TV.

The shouting bits were the same, TV doesn’t get across all the waiting around, the emotions, the bloody mess and the temperature of the ward however. ½ point.

-          It be a long process.

100% correct on this! 31 and a half hours in total. * YAWN * 1 point.

-          Epidural (just for Lucy)

There was an epidural for Lucy, but it only half worked half the time. I opted out of one. ¾ point.

-          Free gas and air.

Oh yeah there was G&A, and it was free! 1 point for the G&A, bonus point for trying to swallow my own head.

-          A normal 'push and plop' delivery.

It was normal up until the end, then it all went tits up.  Sound the alarm! ½ point.

-          To cut the cord.

I cut it and I didn’t injure anyone. 1 point.

-          A life changing moment

Yes, consider my life suitably changed for the better! 1 point.

So in total that is 7 ¾ points on the prediction scale. Pretty good going! Albert looks impressed!

And that is about it for the birth post! It’s now been 2 and a half weeks since the birth and everything is going amazingly. Being a dad is even more special than I thought, and I love spending time just holding him and looking at him, he is such a brilliant boy, he has already changed so much and got his own personality. Plus people are saying he looks like me! Probably because he is bald and has chubby cheeks. I don’t feel changed as such, I feel like the same person I was before, but like I’ve just had all these extra bits added on to me to make me even more awesome, just like Iron Man. I will always remember when he came out like it was yesterday, what a moment. I love you Albert, welcome to the Family Bishop!


  1. Thanks so much for this post - I was a tad terrified as having first baby in
    February, and though it sounds fairy traumatic at least I'm now aware of the drama and chopping and changing etc etc, there are some things people just don't tell you! Hope you and your wee family are all well, and your leg is much better!

  2. Thanks for the comment Scarlet, glad you like the post. Congratulations to you and good luck for February! I am sure everything will be fine. There is lots people don't really mention about the birth, but the end result is so amazing it doesn't really matter! :)