How Leonard was born is a story that begins two days before his birth date on the 30th of April. It was a Thursday and my last planned appointment with my obstetrician: I was 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant, and thus rapidly approaching the date when they do not let a diabetic pregnancy continue (because the placenta ages and ceases to do its job).
I was scheduled for induction on the Friday night, but the baby's head still hadn't moved down anywhere into my pelvis, which we'd been waiting anxiously for him to do for several weeks. A baby with a high and mobile head - not 'engaged' - can't be delivered by induction as there is a strong risk of the umbilical cord prolapsing. So my obstetrician sent me up the street for a pelvic x-ray to see what might be happening to keep him from engaging. What the x-ray showed her was that the bottom of my pelvis was was small and the baby might not fit through, so taking a risk on the placenta and waiting another week for engagement might not be worth it in the end - but it did produce this image - that arc in front of the spine is Leonard's skull:
So she left the decision to me and I decided a c-section would be safest, all things considered. The induction was cancelled and I was booked in for the following Friday, which was the earliest date the hospital could take me. But a plan was also formed, which I need to be a bit vague about the details of, for the birth to take place sooner, on the coming Saturday. So we went home with the knowledge and expectation that Leonard would be born on 30 April, though we didn't know exactly when.
The next day, Friday 29 April, I pottered around the house rearranging the baby's room and planting radish and snow pea seeds; I was eagerly looking forward to watching the Royal Wedding on TV that night to take my mind off the next day. And I did watch it, which turned out to be a good thing as you will learn later on. But it didn't really distract me as much as I'd hoped, and I didn't get a lot of sleep. The next morning we were on the road for the hospital before seven, cat fed and house spotlessly clean, all our bags packed and ready, I was feeling almost crazed with fear, nervousness and excitement, I asked Dorian if he felt nervous at all and he said he just felt excited. So that was good. The sun shone as we drove into the city through the early morning. I didn't know it at the time, but this was effectively the end of a glorious Autumn for me, as I would not leave the hospital building for five days and when I came out the season had changed to bitterly cold Winter.
We arrived at the delivery suite and I was hooked up to a foetal monitor, I had a bung put into my arm for a saline drip and for IV anti-nausea and pain medications. My blood was tested to ensure that if I needed a transfusion, there would be blood of the right type ready for use. My stomach was shaved - not very neatly, as I saw later - that part of my stomach hadn't been visible to me for months. I met and talked to the anethsetist and the obstetrician who would be assisting my own OB. I was put into a gown and cap and laid down on a trolley. After doing these things and waiting around for a couple of hours I was wheeled out and into the lift and taken up to the floor with the operating theatres, still feeling in a state of dazed wonder that this was all really happening.
I should say at this point that the next post will have illustrations, so just be prepared for a bit of gore.....