If you needed me, I'd be there for you ..Oct 12, 2016
When Leon was born, it was a perfect home water birth delivery. After several strenuous hours, he just popped out underwater! (At least that’s how it seemed to me, Susan assures me it was rather different)
I was sitting at the side and I could see his head under the water, in the midwife’s hands.
‘Just wait for the next contraction’ she said to Susan, with supreme confidence. Beryl had delivered Leon’s two older sisters with us, both in the very same room, so we knew her well and trusted her implicitly.
But there is something about your baby coming out underwater and staying there for another 30 seconds that just frightened me! It seemed wrong.
Sure enough though, on the next contraction he slid out and Beryl held up this perfect little baby for Susan to hold in her arms as she slumped, exhausted in the pool.
It was a truly magical moment.
After about an hour, Beryl said ‘Unfortunately Susan, I think part of the placenta had been retained.’
‘What does that mean, should I be worried?’ Susan said.
‘It means you’re going to have to be admitted to hospital now’
Twenty five minutes later, we were in a bright, loud, clinical room at the hospital and the gruesome process to remove the retained placenta was explained. I won’t go into details here, but sufficient to say, a big injection in the spine was necessary for pain control!
‘I’m just going to put the needle in’ the anaesthetist said to Susan.
‘Ok!’ she said. But the moment the needle went in, she turned and vomited on his face! On his FACE! Good job he had glasses on!
Eventually, after many more tries, they managed to complete the anaesthetic and then the operation.
It wasn’t long though, before it became apparent that Susan had lost significant amounts of blood in the process. Added to the blood that she lost in childbirth, she was now in serious risk of bleeding out there and then.
Everything quickly went from perfect to panicky. Very panicky indeed.
‘You are going to need an immediate blood transfusion because you have lost so much blood’ one of the doctors said.
‘I don’t want to have a blood transfusion’ said Susan, ‘my parents don’t believe in blood transfusions and although I don’t mind, I don’t want to upset them.’
‘You could die if you don’t have blood now’ he said, totally bewildered.
But Susan was adamant that she didn’t want to upset them. After several more discussions and finally getting her to sign some papers, she was given more drugs to help her sleep and I was told I had to leave for a few hours, so she could rest.
When I went back to the hospital a few hours later, Susan was sitting up in bed.
‘Your Mum said to have the blood transfusion if you wanted to’ I said.
‘I’ve already decided to have it’ she said.
‘Oh! What happened to change your mind?’ I said, exhaling all the tension I didn't realise I had been holding.
‘This big doctor came in and said you NEED to have a transfusion! Your blood count is 4 .. that’s serious. I told him I felt fine, and he said that’s because you’re full of drugs. When they wear off you’ll feel terrible. You will struggle with no energy, like you’ve got the flu, for weeks on end. Your children need you and you will be no use to them .. for MONTHS. Is that really what you want? And that’s the best case scenario. The alternative is your children might not have a Mum.’
‘Oh!’ I said.
‘I need to be well for the children.’ Susan mumbled.
Susan had several transfusions and was allowed to leave hospital a few days later. We weren’t allowed a home birth for our fourth child born a few years later, and so Louis is the only one who wasn’t born at home.
It’s interesting to think about our motivations, isn’t it? Very often we’ll do things for other people that we wouldn’t do for ourselves. It’s like, if you need me, I’ll be there, but I won’t be there for myself. And I can’t make up my mind if that’s altruistic .. or lack of self-worth. Why don’t we value ourselves as much as other people? If someone else is worth it, surely we are? Don't you think God thinks we are?
I love the thought:
Be kind to all life, in all its forms .. including yourself!
You’re worth it too.
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