Thursday 22 July 2010


So I officially survived labor and childbirth – and am blogging 5 days later. Men, if you haven’t realized by now that we women are the superior sex by leaps and bounds, GIVE UP NOW. 

So my son was sweet enough to wait until last Friday to send the signals that he was sick and tired of being in utero – I’m sure he thought he’d give me the weekend to rest up. Such a polite child. The beginnings of labor were straight forward enough. Waters broke, at 4am (they make it seem so neat and efficient in the movies. It’s NOT), cramps began, and I thought, okay I can handle this. So I went off to the hospital with my bag in tow, practically skipping into the ward, declaring to the midwife on duty that my waters broke and I was in labor. She looked at me, started laughing and said, ‘sweetheart, you’re not in labor. You’ll KNOW when labor starts.’ I can’t say I appreciated her sarcasm at this precise moment, but was willing to play nice (and not make enemies with the hospital staff. Intuition told me this would be a bad thing).

As the hospital wants nothing to do with you until you’re about to pop, she said don’t bother coming back until I was screaming in pain and peeling the paint off the walls with my teeth. Is it too much to ask these people to be a bit more positive?? So, determined to show her that I was returning with a smile no matter what state I was in, I returned home, started my deep breathing, last minute cleaning, bathing, shaving, you know, whatever to pass the time. As the hours moved along, I was actually getting cocky. In fact, I even hoovered the entire house and went shopping with my sister and partner. Okay, fine I was the weak slow link at the back lumbering along with an occasional grunt of mild pain, but damn did I feel mighty powerful. I wasn’t just picking the perfect cantaloupe, I was about to pass one perhaps on the street!

So jump forward many hours, too many to be entertaining, and we shuttled off to the hospital refusing to leave this time. Contractions were becoming more fast and furious, my sunny disposition was quickly fading, and I couldn’t help but think that this internal rebellious coup of my insides was just rude. I thought I’d give the whole ‘hypnotherapy I’m on a beach’ thing a try just to seem flexible. Problem was, my beach was soon covered with hot molten lava, the water rife with man-eating sharks, and two African men kept trying to sell me fake Hermes bags. This was NOT going according to plan.

To digress for a moment – you know how I enjoy digression – my partner tried to tell me a few weeks before giving birth that he could imagine what labor feels like (or the pain anyway). He started jabbering on about some foot surgery he had had, and tried to tell me pain was a manageable affair and I'm sure was just trying to be empathetic; Um, yeah, unless you’re birthing a giant foot, I seriously don’t want to hear about it.

How about for the men out there, I - the WOMAN who has the pain - describes it for you….imagine your neighbor comes to the door and he’s wearing a brand new pair of steel tipped cowboy boots, I mean sharp as a razor’s edge. Okay fine, imagine you live in Texas, as I’ve never seen anyone wearing cowboy boots in our neighborhood that’s for sure. So this neighbor is angry, I mean livid cause well, he lost his gun, and you know much Texans love their guns. The thing is, he thinks you stole it, and he’s going to show you how angry he really is. So for the next hour he goes about kicking you in the groin, every few minutes or so with his steel tipped cowboy boots – that, just to make it interesting, are emanating white hot fire. He does this over and over and over, sometimes for a minute straight, till you are a whimpering quivering mess on the carpet. And he promises to do this for several more hours and to your great delight, he’s going to increase the pace. Cause that’s just the kind of nice cowboy he is. And this my friends is just the contraction part of the joy ride.

So back to the labor ward, and I’m thinking hmmm, how does one distract myself from pain like this?? I know, how about bashing in the heads of a dozen pumpkins with a hammer, that might do it; or perhaps plucking out my partner’s entire body worth of hair one by solitary one. That would make me at least feel better...cause flipping on the telly and watching Angel Lansbury solve another murder in Cabot Cove is not going to cut it.

So as life would have it, as the hours droned on and on and the pain started to become downright offensive, the nurse told me I had only made it to 2 centimeters (seriously, are you FFFFFFF****NG KIDDING ME?!)  I looked at my sister and partner (the best coaches in the world – in case one is looking) and said, screw the beach, bring on the DRUGS. This of course surprised them both as I’ve become a bit skittish in my later years when it comes to ingesting anything foreign. Well, nothing like a gut searing vice grip from hell to make you embrace the world of pharmacology. First it was gas and air, then morphine, as they had to bring on labor in a serious way and unhinge me from my cervix’s desire to stay at a pathetic 2 centimeters, (apparently I was soon talking in tongues and asking my partner how the guards at Buckingham Palace clean their hats), and then of course enough epidural to anesthetize an elephant.

So, after 32 hours of labor, which was so draining at one point I looked at my coaches for comfort and they were both passed out cold – one on a chair, one on the floor – I started to realize that this thing inside of me may be reconsidering whether or not to appear. I became the joke amongst the midwives who had changed shifts three times over. I went from the adorable midwife Hawaa who moved at the rate of happy molasses and would sit and stare at my baby’s monitor for hours on end doing not much else, to the uber (and kinda scary) Germanic nurse who I truly believe was hopped on something herself as she’d fly around the room and trip over things, and not seem to care she’d body check people as she went.

Alas at 9cm, having lost track of what time, day or city I was in, I was informed that I was going no further than this. Hence, C section time. Joy. Try telling someone who fears surgery of any kind, hospitals, death etc, who is hopped up on drugs, and hasn’t slept for over 24 hours, they’re about to get cut open by a team of people they've never met (in England you don't have a personal doctor per se). That went down a storm I tell you. Well as they say, it all worked out in the end and this little bundle of absolute adorableness was handed to me. A surreal moment in ways words cannot describe.

Of course, there is only one man I’d go through all this for, and it is him.

***** NOTE TO ALL, as much as I'd like to think I'm going to blog everyday it is pretty unlikely, at this point I can barely find the mental/physical strength to brush my teeth. So I shall do my best!!

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