We’d had a rough night the night before. For a while lovely wife had been uncomfortable, sore from internal bumping, bloated, with a constantly upset tummy, etc. She’d had even more trouble sleeping than usual though: we think she’d started going into labour, so even though it was technically still a week early her C-Section was timed perfectly.
At our prelim. they’d told us to be there for 730 but that they didn’t know when the op. would start. We got there fashionably late. We were expecting the usual long NHS wait: I’d brought several books, food, drinks, a tent, a moonshine still & my guitar. (Some of those might be made up: Ed.). When we got there though it was all go: lovely wife was whisked straight into pre-op. Before we knew it she was off somewhere being poked, prodded & injected & I was dressed in scrubs grabbing some shut-eye outside the operating theatre.
We eventually got going at around 930. We were amazed to see a small army in the theatre: 3 anaesthetists, at least 2 paediatricians, 2 Ob & Gynae consultant/ surgeons + ‘assistants’ , a DJ, ushers, parking attendants, a PR co-ordinator, a photographer from ‘Heat’ & a man selling ice-creams. (See previous note: Ed.). Seriously: I counted at least 12 staff there.
She had a local anaesthetic: a spinal (like an epidural), so was conscious but groggy. I was protected from the gory details by a big screen, which is just as well as I’m a little squeamish; I can never eat dinner while watching House or CSI. There were paediatric carts with all sorts of machines attached off to the left, & a very friendly anaesthetist on hand letting us know what was happening & checking if we needed anything. He’d brought his MP3 player & was taking requests, although for artists A-H only. I wasn’t lying about having a DJ! We requested Beyonce, & luckily he had her entire last album there: which we both love.
We were told that the first baby would emerge at around 10. When the time came & went it was clear things weren’t going smoothly. Without going into detail, there was a recurrence of problems for which she had had previous surgery, & both babies were awkwardly positioned; 1 in particular was down very low.
After a few minutes we heard “I have a leg”. At 1012 we had a baby boy! (I’m pretty sure ‘Halo‘ was playing at the time).
We had been told that they would lower the screen & hold them up for us to see when they came out.
He was whisked straight onto the cart with great speed & immedaitely surrounded by a swarm of people who seemed to emerge from nowhere, working frantically.
He wasn’t crying.
There was just a surreal silence. I can’t tell you what I was feeling: I was elated that after so long we finally had a baby delivered, but scared to death that there was something wrong. To say I was worried would be the world’s greatest understatement, although I always stayed positive; I was confident that these wonderful professionals would get the job done.
His airways were blocked with fluid, not uncommon in C-Sections but made worse with the complications of the surgery. He was put straight onto suction & possibly ventilation, I don’t know & didn’t care: ‘cos after what seemed like forever he was being picked up, crying his little heart out & being given to me to hold.
Lovely wife was still being operated on while this going on so I got to ‘skin-to-skin’ bond with him. He was put on me under my scrubs, the warmth & body smells comforting him & my heartbeat reminding him of where he’d just come from, easing the shock of the big bad confusing world he’s just entered. After only seconds he had stopped crying & was sleeping peacefully on my chest. In his excitement he managed to wee on me, as his way of saying “hello”.
Happiest moment of my life.
In the meantime the surgeons were working hard to deliver twin no. 2, & while I was bonding with my son she had been brought out, treated on the 2nd cart & given to my very groggy but very happy wife for skin-to-skinning.
They then had to stitch her up – usually the most time-consuming part of a C-Section – so I got to hold them both, first our girl:
then both of them together:
In the meantime, unknown to me, the surgeons were continuing to have problems. Because of its awkward postion they’d had to cut through a placenta; as that acts as conduit between baby & mother my wife had a lost a lot of blood & had to have a big transfusion.
I’m sitting there holding my beautiful new twin babies feeling like the luckiest man alive, & I’m becoming aware that there’s a problem with their mother, my lovely wife.
Babies in my arms, I watched her lose consciousness, while noticing that the floor had become very red.
I never lost hope, but for a second I was thinking “Oh my god: I’ve gained 2 gorgeous babies & I’m going to lose my wife!” This may sound melodramatic, but it was serious: the head consultant told me afterwards it was “touch & go”.
The team was incredible: they fixed her up & she pulled through. The NHS has its problems, & I’ve been critical myself at times, but these people are heroes & we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
While she was being patched up, we were ushered out of the way into a side room, where I made the most of the time getting to know my new family.
More later: I’m heading back off to the hospital to be with them all.
Welcome to the world Jacob & Eleanor! You are adorable & adored.