Jessica's Arrival

  1. When Jessica wanted to be born it was as if she were trying to tear her way out as quickly as possible. I woke up in the night feeling very sick and strange. I'd never felt anything like it before — as if something was trying to turn me inside out. Sort of like retching — couldn't be denied — an involuntary thing I had no control over.
  2. All I could think was "thank goodness it's happening at last". I'd been staying at Joanna's for two and a half weeks now, and we were beginning to get seriously on one another's nerves. The whole agreement might have been in jeopardy except that I just wanted to be rid of this burden. I'd had enough of the heartburn, the dashing to the loo, being unable to get off a sofa on my own, the permanent cough of pregnancy — and Joanna's endless fussing.
  3. The labour started mild but within half an hour the pain had intensified to the point where I was begging desperately for a hammer to hit myself on the head with for blissful unconsciousness. Joanna was frantic. Anyone would think she was the one having the baby. She was convinced something was going wrong.
  4. Desperately phoning the hospital emergency phone number, the agony forced me to my knees. Blood soaked my jeans: I was panting with the effort of combating the pain. It just isn't supposed to happen that fast. Thank God the hospital was only 5 minutes away!
  5. I didn't bother changing for the hospital — my jeans were ruined anyway, why ruin other clothes? Joanna insisted on coming in the car with me, and made Tim drive his own car — in case we needed two... It was more than I could stand!
  6. There was one solitary black sister in charge of the clinical room I was shown to. Leo went to move the car; even outside the labour unit they wheel-clamp cars parked illegally. Tim hadn't arrived yet.
  7. "Just get undressed, I'll be back in a minute!" she said.
  8. No way was I going to be left alone with a panicky Joanna. This baby was nearly here. I grabbed her arm.
    "No, don't dare leave me!" I yelled, sinking to the floor by the bed, knees giving way as another searing contraction took me over and I felt more blood trickling — no, more like gushing — on to the linoleum
    Joanna was gagging. Some birth partner!
  9. When another nurse came to help, I screamed and tried to bite her hand. "Oh, no, you don't!" she said and let go of me. How could she!!!
  10. "This baby is desperate to be born!" I told them. They didn't take any notice of me.
    "Stop screaming and push!" someone said.
    "Put your chin down on your chest, it'll be easier to push," said the midwife.
  11. I put my chin on my drenched chest and pushed until I thought I'd burst something. And with a tremendous groan, after a total labour of just 3 hours, and 20 minutes in the hospital, Jessica was born.
  12. Joanna was being sick at the time, and Tim rushed in from the distant car park five minutes too late to see the birth of his daughter.

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Last amended on 9th August 1998 / copyright H. M. Whitehead