Birth of Alice, Monday, 24th of December 2012

Monday, December 24th, noon. We were in the maternity at Orsay since 4 am this morning. Leeloo was lying down in the monitoring room, the pain was harder and harder to bear and she was seriously thinking about asking for an epidural. This was especially difficult because the monitoring needed her to be on the bed, strapped with monitor belts checking the heart rate of Alice and the contraction level of Leeloo. She was suffering a lot, this position was terrible for her as she was unable to find some relief contrary to when she could stand up and move to control her pain.

We stayed in this room up to 1 pm, when her cervical dilation was up to 6 and a half. So we started to wander again in the corridors of the hospital… Leeloo’s contractions were getting closer and closer, immobilizing her every 3 minutes.

We climbed the stairs, walked a bit outside when we were blocked in a dead-end. Leeloo kept  drinking some orange juice on a regular basis for will and strength, and ate some hazelnuts.

10 hours after our arrival at the hospital, things started to be really hard for Leeloo. She was then asking for an epidural on a regular basis. I tried to give her as many courage as I could, as well as Marine, the midwife who was helping us. We managed to handle the pain for one more hour, but at 3 pm she was completely exhausted, and we moved to the room where it was possible to get this local anesthesia.

Epidural is not trivial. It drops blood pressure (because of the morphine), as a consequence it is necessary to compensate with an extra drip of water. When the epidural is active, the soon-to-be mum must stay laid down in bed, because she has limited control over her legs and the epidural device is not mobile. Only the hospital of Antony close to Paris has a mobile epidural device, which allows to move, even with the anesthesia.

Leeloo was sad and really disappointed to fail to handle the pain of the contractions naturally, but when the epidural finally kicked in, around 5 pm, 13 hours after our arrival, she got some rest at last and tried to recover some strengths. I came out to see my parents who were a bit preoccupied, but I also took the opportunity to take a nap. We were really exhausted after our two short nights and our entire day of battle against the pain with so little food. The pain from the contraction is a signal from the body to warn the future mum about the imminent arrival of her baby. Those contractions also help take the best position for the baby to go down. But when the epidural is active most of those sensations disappear, removing those important signals from the body. As a consequence, without those indications, the mother must change her position on a regular basis to ease the descent of the fetus, and every 20 minutes she must change position: on her back, on the right side, on the left one, etc.

At 6:10 pm the midwife told us that the opening of the cervix was complete, that is to say 10 centimeters. That meant the baby was now ready to slip down into the vagina to go out! That was a good news but the epidural was not working anymore, the relief had been short because the contraction were painful again. More anesthesia didn’t help, that could happen to some women, and there are no other option that to bear the pain… So we started again our process to handle the pain of the contractions every two minutes, except that now Leeloo was not authorized to walk because of the epidural, so that was twice as difficult as before. She had to endure the pain laid down on the bed, the best she could. She hung at the top of the bed to pull and pushed with her legs on me, located at the bottom of the bed. From time to time, I went beside the bed, grabbing her with the hands and pulling strongly during the contractions to stretch her.

- 1, 2, 3, 4…

I counted every seconds during the contraction to help her realize the time passing by and the end of the pain after about one minute. And every two of three minutes, we started again.

That was so long, as if time had stopped, and a few minutes past 7 pm, 15 hours after our arrival, my parents were more and more preoccupied by not having any news of the birth of little Alice. She made everybody wait for her!

That was the time when Leeloo, exhausted, started to push during the contractions. However a midwife told her, half an hour later, that she should not, that she had to keep all her strength and push at the right time, when the baby was completely engaged in the vagina and ready to go out. After a failed last try to help Leeloo with some more anesthetic, a midwife decided it was time to deliver the baby, and she prepared the bed for delivery. Leeloo was initially thinking of giving birth with a lateral position, because she was more comfortable during the birth classes with that position, but she finally opted for a standard delivering position, too exhausted to handle a position more complicated for the midwife, and not so current nowadays.

An urinary catheter was used, because the feeling are blurred by the epidural, the bladder must be emptied out regularly to prevent a breakdown. A small pipe is slipped inside the urethra into the bladder to drain all the urine. This operation has to be done several times because during the epidural, the water drip fill the bladder.

Two midwifes were helping us during the delivery. They installed the stirrups where Leeloo could set her legs. One midwife was checking the vagina and the arrival of the baby while the other one was helping Leeloo push.  I tried to help as much as I could and told Leeloo never to block her breath while pushing. With every contractions, she pushed, pushed, pushed as much as she could, always breathing out not to damage too much her perineum, and to prevent any retinal detachment!

The midwifes explained her how to push best, swelling her stomach and pushing down with her belly. One long hour later, she was still pushing, pushing, pushing every two minutes, and by then we could see some little black hair of Alice!

It was really hurting, and the feeling of the baby engaged in the vagina was really unpleasant, moreover the pain became more and more difficult to bear, but knowing that the little head of Alice was so close gave her some courage! 30 minutes later, Leeloo was literally crying out loud of pain, the midwifes tried to make her push even more, longer and longer. During each inspiration the baby is a bit sucked up, so the push has to be really strong and long to be efficient.

- I can’t push anymore! This is too hard, was crying my little wife.
That was so hard to see her in such a pain.

- Push, Push, Push! was shouting the midwife.
- I can’t! I can’t! I can’t! It is too painful! screamed Leeloo, crying.
- Ouiinnnn !!!
- You don’t have to anymore! suddenly rejoiced the midwife, here is your baby, she said laying Alice on Leeloo’s belly.

Our little baby!

As a matter of fact, as soon as the head was out enough, the midwife could grab her and with some twists she managed to slip Alice out and put her on Leeloo in a few seconds. Alice was crying, she was warming up on her mum. She was nearly clean with just some taints of blood. Oh, you are so beautiful, my daughter.

The midwife then helped the placenta go out, pulling gently on the ombilical cord. She checked that it was complete, then she stitched a little tear in Leeloo’s vagina, but nothing serious. I cut the cord and then we spent two hours, the three of us, in the delivery room.

We were happy.

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