On March, 18th, at 1am Leeloo felt the first contractions announcing the start of the labor to deliver our first son, Simon. We arrived at the Orsay maternity at 4am. Alice, Simon’s big sister, is at a gentle neighbor’s, waiting for her great-grandmother to pick her up. Leeloo, sick, was dazed to learn that she couldn’t have an epidural because of her fever.
Tuesday, March, 18th, 8am
We arrived at the maternity at 4am in the morning, same time we arrived for Alice, 15 months earlier. Leeloo could not have an epidural because she had temperature, so we started the same old routine we had for Alice’s birth, from one contraction to another. However we do not wander in the corridors as we did for Alice, we stay in the delivery room and Leeloo uses the big ball to help her handle the pain. When she has a contraction, I place myself behind her, grab her under the arms and raise her a little to ease the pain and allow her to move her pelvis on the ball to accelerate labor and ease the baby going down.
Once the contraction is finished, we have about three minutes to rest. We talk a little, we sleep for one or two minutes, eat something or go to the bathroom… As astonishing as it may seem, we are so exhausted that we can micro-sleep between two contractions, likely because we only slept for a few ours the night before. Leeloo gets a shot of antibiotics because of her fever. Usually, the antibiotics are only given 12 hours after the waters broke. Leeloo’s waters have not broken yet, and her cervix is opened at 7, this is less than one centimeter per hour, but this is twice as fast as for Alice, because then, Leeloo was at 7 only a 2pm, and the labor started at the same time as for Simon, 2am.
Tuesday, March, 18th, 10.30am
Leeloo still has temperature, about 38 ⁰C (100.4 ⁰F). It is sad to see her like that, with sorrow on her face and her big scarf around her neck to prevent cough. From 9am, contractions accelerate a bit, one every 3 or 4 minutes. They last longer, from 40s up to 1 minute and 15 s. While in labor, the hospital staff must monitor Leeloo and the baby’s cardiac rhythm once every two hours. Monitoring is really painful, because Leeloo is stuck on the bed and can not move freely, even if the midwives, trying to help us, managed to set up the monitoring with Leeloo sitting on the balloon. But this is far from ideal because if this is a far better position for Leeloo to handle the pain, because she can move, this is also the reason why the monitoring has to be restarted several times because the probes are not staying in place and the log gets jammed, mixing Leeloo’s heartbeat with the baby’s. The midwives really insist to have 30 minutes of pure baby monitoring, without a single drop of the baby heartbeat… As a consequence a “30-minute monitoring” usually requires more than one hour… Contractions are now lasting 70 s every 10 minutes, 10.03am, 10.06am, 10.08am, 10.11am, 10.15am, 10.19am, 10.23am, 10.26am, 10.29am… I am conscientiously writing every event on a little notebook to be able to evaluate the cadence.
Tuesday, March, 18th, 10.40am
10.40am, cervix opening is reaching 9. The waters have not broken yet. The midwife is asking us if we want to open the amniotic sac manually. If we do, the labor will accelerate. Our opinion is that breaking the waters would finish the delivery faster. The midwife agrees and the waters are broken at 10.50am. The midwife then leaves the room, and ask us to call her again once Leeloo gets the urge to push. 10 seconds later, Leeloo shouts at me to call the midwife because she wants to push already! I run to call them back and 5 minutes later Leeloo is on her side, lying curled. This is the position she favored during her delivery training.
The pushes are violent. I am behind Leeloo, I grab her hands. She is pushing twice during one contraction, and I remind her to keep her lungs opened all the time; she is also pushing against my hands to help her balance the pressure. The midwife handling the delivery is a bit taken aback because she is not really experienced with delivering in that position, on the side. As a consequence she does not really know where to sit, but she jokes that Leeloo is pushing so efficiently that she is not really needed anyway. Little Simon arrives 15 minutes later, confirming that the pushes were, indeed, efficient. Only 5 contractions, 10 pushes to get him out. Leeloo is exhausted, so exhausted that she is afraid she will not be able to take the child on her, because she will not be able to keep him, that he would fell. But the midwives are really comforting and once on her back, Leeloo welcomes her little son on her chest, Simon, still blue from the delivery…
Simon, date of birth March, 18th, 11.10am
After Simon’s birth, we enjoyed two hours of rest with our son. Simon gave his first try at suckling. We took the first videos and pictures to remember his birth. We were tired but not as exhausted as for Alice’s birth. And in the end, Simon is not especially big: 3.475 kg (7 lbs 10 oz 9 dr) for 50 cm (1 feet and 7.7 inches), an average little baby boy…