Forceps Delivery

Peggy shares the story of Gabriel’s birth


First time pregnancy and 7 days overdue. I have been having pains over the last 24 hours and have spent the day blobbed out on the couch waiting for things to start happening.

As the day passes and we start into the evening my contractions are gaining in momentum and intensity and only then do I decide to change out of my pjs and get dressed for the hospital, which is not what I’d recommend as it can be difficult to decide what to wear in between contractions!

We make the 20 minute ride into the hospital and I feel like this baby is so close to being born so to say I was disappointed when the midwife tells me I am only 4 cm dilated is an understatement. Bugger I still have ages to go and will probably be best to go back home but the decision is made to send me to Waikato as every time I have a contraction wee Gabriel’s heartbeat drops.

My memories of the 3 hour journey in the back of the ambulance is of extreme discomfort, I have been given gas but I think its broken cause it doesn’t seem to make the slightest difference.

I am so relieved to finally arrive in Hamilton and we are greeted by a very calm and reassuring midwife but I don’t think she knows how to measure properly because after a quick examination she tells me I am only 5 cm dilated. No no no no no I think, I must be more, I have been having contractions every couple of minutes I must be more. I’m not, so I get put on a drip to help increase my contractions, monitors for myself and Gabriel and the only position available for me to labour in is lying on my back.

I don’t want to be on my back, my instinct is telling me to get up and walk around but I can’t so after a couple of hours of this I ask for an epidural.

Thankfully this is administered almost immediately and the relief is instant. I feel like I can actually take stock of the situation and I happily chat to the midwives as we seem to have 3 in the room.

I tidy my hair and am a bit unsure about the fact that I am wearing only a singlet and a pair of very dirty socks.

All of the pain of the contractions has been taking away and instead all I feel is pressure in the base of my spine.

The senior midwife is concerned about Gabriel’s progress as his heartbeat is still showing signs of distress and she makes the decision to have him delivered by forceps.

We have a total of 7 medical staff in the room which concerns me, the look on my partner Jacques face concerns me, the fact that the man with the forceps looks like he is only about 17 concerns me, and the fact that this man is now pulling my baby from me with extreme force concerns me. And then it is done, and he is here.

My baby is handed to me and for what feels like a long time but in reality was only a few moments we looked at him and he looked at us, and we fell in love.

To this day the most wonderful moment in my whole life is that moment when I held my son for the first time and felt the gentle shake of my partner sobbing behind me.