Contrary to any rumours you may have heard, there are only two ways to give birth. Caesarean section or drugged to the point where you resemble Amy Winehouse moments before rigor mortis set in. You may have come across the mythical term ‘natural birth’ – discount it instantly, skip the entire chapter. There is nothing remotely ‘natural’ about it.
Imagine a whale stranded on the A3, a Juggernaut on either side and three lanes merging into one after the underpass at Tibbet’s Corner.
You are the whale. It’s morning rush hour and the traffic is moving very slowly. Every time the traffic lights change on West Hill, you move forward. The juggernauts start to squeeze. You lose your breakfast. You stop. The lights change again, You move forward. The Juggernauts squeeze again. You lose the remaining contents of your stomach. Many, many hours and squeezes later, what is left of you reaches the Wandsworth one way system. The final assault is like clapping two bricks on a scrotum sac and seeing only one ball pop out – and you call that natural?
Arriving at the hospital and having convinced the doctor that your needs are more pressing than your partner’s vindaloo induced gastro-enteritis, you are bullied into the labour ward. Not ‘wheeled’ or, ‘gently and reassuringly led’. No – bullied. For some strange reason a high percentage of gynaecologists are men and, as few of them have had their scrotums brick bashed, they all believe that giving birth is no more troublesome or painful than changing a tyre or missing the rugby semi finals. Note I say ‘semi’ finals.
‘Come along, you’ve got hours to go yet. Don’t make such a fuss’. This as you clutch the nearest stationary object, knowing that any second your intestines are going to redecorate the floor.
‘Women give birth every day. In China they drop them in the paddy fields and go straight back to work.’
You clench your teeth, praying for two building bricks and unrestricted access to his scrotum.
It’s time for the pre med. You lie back on the bed. There is no way you can actually see what the nurse is doing, Moby Dick rules out any chance of that. Your partner holds your hand and smiles weakly – well you assume he’s smiling behind that ridiculous patch of green material stretched under his nose, under his nose? and hooked around his ears. The rest of his face is a similar colour to the patch. Don’t be fooled it isn’t sympathy; it’s just the death throes of his stomach and the sight of your complete sexual organs under the glare of a Brute.
He will never ever make that documentary on the wonders of reproduction.
At this point the full horror of what is about to occur finally sinks in. Ayres Rock is going to go through Marble Arch. You start sweating – profusely.
Sweating during childbirth has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of energy expended, and absolutely everything to do with blind terror and total panic… Ayres Rock won’t go through Marble Arch.
Just as the doctor says, ‘Push’, you clench every working muscle in your lower abdomen.
“Get back you b*****d, you’re not coming out that way!”
You will also discover that you know several Anglo-Saxon swear words and are quite capable of using them all – a lot – loudly.
Realising at last that a natural birth is like pulling your top lip over your head, you beg for an alternative.
It’s a toss up between a Caesar and the whole drug trip. On the plus side for the Caesar, a tiny scar below the bikini line and the reassurance that you’re most fundamental orifice won’t end up looking like the Channel tunnel. On the minus side – you do get to see most of it and what’s left of your stomach muscles may never recover.
The epidural, pethadene, morphine, and ‘any other drug you might happen to have available’ route, is quite tempting. One of the few chances in you and your child’s life for serious legal drug abuse.
‘Can you feel anything?’
This to the voodoo doll with needles poking out from everywhere, the one in your back totally numbing all sensation below the waist, and your head is well on its way to San Francisco.
A good moment to spare a thought for your son/daughter. This is his/her first ‘cosmic’ experience – beg for a little more gas and air oh, and does that prick of a doctor have an IPod handy?
You know of course that you will get a Channel Tunnel, but if you have a word with the houseman in charge of the mopping (and stitching) up, you could end up with a tighter model than the one you went in with.
Unfortunately both options are now out of the question as Moby Dick is about to make his/her appearance.
The primeval scream, the sinking into unconsciousness.
Men are so wet.
He slides to the floor – no one takes any notice.
Could it be that for the first time in your life you are going to be the sole centre of attention?
No such luck – as you split from thigh to thigh, Ayres Rock crashes through Marble Arch and Moby Dick arrives.
And you think that was bad? Let’s move on to parenting.