As I press publish on my blog this morning, my bleep goes haywire.
I press the phone to my ear
‘Midwife. Labour ward. Can you come and cannulate room c. She’s going for section.’
I push my feet wearily into my clogs and stagger down the corridor.
8am and I haven’t slept a wink. I cannulate, draw some bloods and wait for the results to come back while the anaesthetist puts in the spinal. I swallow a couple of painkillers to dull my throbbing head, and follow the reg into theatre to scrub. On the way I catch sight of my reflection in a window. I’m greyer than John Major’s Spitting Image puppet.
‘You ok, love? You look awful,’ one of the midwives peers concernedly at me.
‘No sleep,’ I attempt a rueful grin.
Scrubbed and ready. Incision made. Blood blooms forth. Suction.
The woman has had a previous section, so it’s tricky to get through the layers of her abdomen, as adhesions have formed in response to the other operation.
The reg ties them off, and snips carefully through the adhesions, ensuring they don’t bleed and obscure the field.
Finally we’re through the last layer and down to the uterus. I hold grimly onto the instrument that’s holding the bladder in the pelvis, so we don’t slice into it, and with the other hand I retract the abdominal wall. The reg makes the final incision in the uterus and blood and amniotic fluid pours out. Suction.
I push with all the strength I have left on the top of her abdomen, as the reg holds the babies head and guides it through the incision.
Baby out. Cord clamped. Time to sew up the uterus.
My vision starts to swim. I try to hold onto the thread to keep the tension as the reg stitches the wall of the uterus back together but my body is swinging between hot and cold.
‘Shit. Please don’t faint,’ I whisper to myself.
I start to sway.
‘Just two more minutes, I need to close the next layer.’ the reg says, seeing my distress.
I grit my teeth. A moan escapes.
‘Just three more stitches,’
‘Fall backward, fall backward’ I repeat over and over to myself.
‘And step away’ the reg urges, tying the final knot.
I step backward, head spinning. I peel off my scrubs and collapse against the wall of the scrub room.
A concerned midwife casts me a worried glance
‘I’m ok.’ I manage.
After a few minutes I trust myself to shuffle up the corridor, collapse in a loo cubicle and let out a few sobs.
One more night to go.