Open Your Legs My Dear

Waters broken, contractions less than two minutes apart and the urge to push are three big warning signs for an inevitable birth.  If just two out of those three are presented to us with a pregnant patient then we are indicated to “stay and play” – and get ready to catch!

A couple of days ago I was driving as part of a training crew.  This meant there were three of us as opposed to the normal two and the student was attending.

We had just parked in the hospital bay with a very heavily pregnant woman.  It was decided that because she had all three of the above, we were going to stay put and see what was going on – for the time being at least.  The mentor paramenace was frantically trying to arrange for a midwife to come down to us . . . but was not having much success.

So there we stood, myself and the student, staring at the woman’s private parts as she lay on our trolley bed.  Her husband stood at her head stroking her hand.

Student:     Nope.  Doesn’t look like there’s any crowning.
Binder:       Wait for the contraction first

Cue contraction . . .

Student:     Ah yes . . . right.

Baby was starting to [tippy title=”crown” URL=””] For those of you who don’t know what crowning is – or have an inbuilt denial button that gets pressed in your brain when certain baby words like this are uttered – crowning is quite simply when the baby’s head starts to protrude from the mother’s vagina . . . nice. [/tippy].

With each contraction the mother screamed the place down and baby’s head would almost poke through.  But when the contraction stopped it would disappear again.  So, to help, I held the mother’s legs right back and motioned the student to hold a pad against the her anus.  It took a few explanations for him to fully understand what it was I was trying to get him to do.

       You’re effectively just trying to reduce the amount she poos as baby comes out.  But because your hand’s there, you’re ready to catch too.
Student:     . . . right . . .
Student:     Won’t mum mind that I’m doing this though?
Binder:       Dunno, lets ask  **turns to patient**
Binder:       **turns back to student**  I think she’ll be fine with it mate.

Baby’s head eventually ‘sprung loose’ and we calmed the mother to a normal breathing pattern again.  But within seconds she was off again . . .

Binder:       Open your legs my dear
Student:     Here we go . . .

. . . And then baby came out into his waiting hands.  The student quickly and calmly unwrapped the chord from around baby’s neck and body and with the help of the other paramenace started to clear all the body fluids from them.  It was a boy – and as they cleaned him his lungs burst into song and the distinctive wail of a new born child was heard everywhere.

Both mother and father were jubilant and emotional.  As births go this was by far the cleanest I’d ever seen – no vaginal tearing, no follow on bleeding and practically no poo!  This bode well for when we had to clean the ambulance afterwards.

I handed the student the chord clamps and then turned to the father with the special chord cutting scissors and beamed.

Binder:       Here you go dad – would you like to do the honours?

With a horrified expression he backed away.  But, with lots of persuasion we ushered him forward and helped him cut the chord.  He then quickly retreated back to behind the mother’s head.  Baby was wrapped up in clean towels and handed to mother and they had their first bonding hugs.

At that moment an A&E Doctor knocked at the door and gingerly poked his head in.  No one had been able to get hold of any midwives so Control had got us a doctor instead.  He looked as terrified as the Father did cutting the chord and didn’t hide his relief to see that it was all over.

Still, giving him his due, he followed us all up to the Maternity ward where the student handed mother and baby over to the midwives.

Back at the ambulance we quickly cleaned up and congratulated the student for his calm temperament throughout the delivery.  And as we sipped our cups of tea other crews gathered in and laughed as they told us how the mother’s screams could be heard right down the street.

This was a good day.