The Journey to Neriah

Our newly expanded familyOn Sunday, our little family got a little bigger. The beautiful Neriah Grace Lowry came into the world at 7:30pm. Just like Joen, the journey to Neriah was hard work.

Once again, thanks to everyone who followed the blow-by-blow account on twitterread it here – including at least two people over the age of 80. Who says social media is just for young people? Anyway, enough of that, on with the story…

I’m currently working in Lincoln, around 1-2 hours from our home in Boston, and in the month preceding labour, Katherine seemed to enjoy sending me texts containing phrases like “baby’s coming!”. I would frantically call her, where she would explain that she simply meant “at some point”, so she was tidying the house in preparation. By my estimate, I had at least 4 heart attacks in January because of communication like this.

On Friday, my parents-in-law came up to help look after Joen. I have successfully not thrown milk at either of them, which is a significant improvement over last time! It was brilliant to have them around so Joen could get used to them before we disappeared to the hospital.

Before things got serious

Just like last time, we sailed past the due date (15th January), and ended up going into labour a few days before we were booked for induction. On Saturday at 4pm-ish, Katherine started to have her first sporadic contractions. By 7pm, they had become regular and painful.

12 hours later, there was very little progress. Lots of pain, but no progress.

At half 8, they were down to every 2 minutes, and rather intense. We rang the hospital, who advised us to come in. I was a little hesitant to do this, since last time she’d had similar symptoms for 10 hours+, but was only 3cm dilated when we made it in to hospital. However, deciding it was for the best, we threw everything into the car and scurried over to the labour ward.

As the tweet below shows, I was right not to be too keen:


From this point until 10:30am – about 12 hours later, there was very little progress. Lots of pain, but no progress. One midwife thought she was up to 4cm, but on re-examination 5 hours later, a different midwife felt that this couldn’t be the case.

They decided to break her waters at 11, which really kicked things off – she had 12 very painful contractions in the space of 30 minutes. She soon ran out of relief from the gas and air, and was given her first dose of morphine.

morphine & pizza

By 3, the morphine was wearing off, and Katherine decided she wanted an epidural. Unfortunately, the anaesthetists were busy in theatre, and I was going a little bit frantic in wanting to sort her pain. Given that I currently work in palliative care, where I am comfortable prescribing piles of opiates every day, it was so frustrating not being able to hurry up her analgesia.

They eventually gave her some more morphine at 5pm, just an hour and a half after I had suggested it, and she was finally able to settle down a little. The contractions had been going steadily for hours now, and she had dilated to 9.5cm!

It was at this point that a light of rage appeared in Katherine’s eyes.

Freshly washed and lovelyAt 5:50, 10cm was reached, and Katherine began to push. I will open myself up for criticism here and say that I don’t think was really pushing that hard at first. We hit an hour of pushing with no baby, and the Registrar doctor came in, and told us that she was going to have to use forceps as the pushing was going on for too long.

It was at this point that a light of rage appeared in Katherine’s eyes. Given a 15 minute reprieve, and spurred on by the midwife, “Come on Katherine, we don’t need forceps!”, Katherine began to push like a successful Sisyphus. After just 3 more contractions, there was a screaming head sticking out of my wife, and just one more later and our beautiful daughter was released into the world.

Latching on like a limpet mineAlthough disappointed not to use her shiny tongs, the doctor seemed happy enough getting to play with needles and thread, sorting out the second degree perineal tear, and even found time to quiz me on the theory of Obstetrics – I will be working under this registrar in April!

We were both fairly oblivious to this, since there was a disgusting, blood covered angel dripping on us, and looking into our eyes. Glorious!


3 thoughts on “The Journey to Neriah

  1. Thank you -I’ve very much enjoyed reading it all. Things seem to have changed somewhat since my day. Don’t they do episiotomes any more? Isn’t it rather unusual to have such a long, slow labour for a second baby?

    Anyway, well done, Katherine!

    Still thrilled with your choice of names!

    Love from Mary.

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