‘Oww – not agaainnn…’ I moaned.
‘Breath through the contraction my love. It will pass soon.’ The midwifes voice came from behind me and the wheelchair.
I didn’t have the energy to explain that it wasn’t a contraction, but her whacking my knees against the doors for the 18th time that had hurt. But what the hell – I’ll let it go. I was a little preoccupied. Who needs kneecaps when there is a bowling ball slowly rolling through their pelvis and in to their birth canal? Not me.
What I did need however was somebody to get this baby out of my arse- because that’s where it felt like it was going to come out of.
A contraction came as I got on to the bed.
The bowling ball was on the move again.
It was like a snowball that was tumbling down a hill gathering more snow – that’s what it was doing – the only difference was it wasn’t a hill. It was my body, and it wasn’t gathering snow, but my internal organs. And they were all headed for the exit.
Apparently this is called ‘dilating’. They could just shorten it and call it ‘die-ing’.
Mummies to be- I’m going to say this right here.
Once in this room, leave your dignity at the door. Throw it away or donate it to the hospital as you’ll never need it again. I know you’re worrying right now about:
1. Keeping it all trim and proper ‘down there.’
2. Strangers seeing your ‘down there’.
3. The pain.
Know right now that nobody, especially the doctors and midwifes, care one jot about how recently you’ve vajazzled your landing strip. Remember that these crazy folk chose to specialise in vaginas – and specifically, ones stretching to squeeze out babies so your fluffy ‘I missed my waxing appointment’ noo-noo is not going to give them nightmares.
And you genuinely won’t care who sees what. If someone said to you that your baby would be out with the next push but only if you bent over the bed and farted the alphabet, you would already be at k doing your damnedest to get to z by the time they finished their sentence.
Remember what I didn’t – you’re not their priority anymore. This actually was never about you. You are just a vessel, out of which they will decide how best to pull a wrinkly baldie that looks a little like someone you know.
You cannot get away from the pain my darlings. It is going to hurt. And yes, it is as bad as everyone says. But remember why you’re doing it. Remember why you are a woman and that you, like all of those women you’ve spoken to, can do it! Your body is designed to do this and you will be proud of it afterwards. You can show off and everything – have your Lion King moment at the end.
You will probably poo. Get over it. I did. Thrice. Luckily for me my mother has no sense of smell and my other half was too polite to hold his nose but you will do it. And ironically, you won’t give a shit. Because if you poo, it actually means you are doing what you’re supposed to do. You’re pushing things out. Maybe not what you wanted to push out, but you are pushing.
‘Tuck your chin in to your chest and push down in to your bum like you’re having a really big poo.’
Oh god – not this again.
‘I’ve already done three poos!’
‘No you haven’t…’ My mum cooed reassuringly, suspecting I was embarrassed.
‘Yes I have – you cant smell!’
My legs were in stirrups, I was sitting upright, my lady garden was being stared at by two teenage midwives I had met five minutes ago, and I was being force fed haribo minions by my boyfriend who had convinced himself his job was to feed and water me, rewarding me with sugar when I did well. Like a horse…
I hadn’t had pain relief. The conversation had gone something like this with every contraction:
Me: I want an epidural. Please help me- I need an epidural . I’m begging you.
Midwife: Do you actually really want one?
I just said it because I was delirious. I was actually determined not to have one. I didn’t even want gas and air initially, desperate to be as ‘with it’ as possible throughout, but my mum pretty much stuck it in my mouth to stop my ramblings. Charming.
Because I hadn’t had any sleep, it went straight to my head and I very quickly sounded the most drunk I had ever been. I was holding the puffer like a microphone, swinging my head like Carlton out of Fresh Prince of Belair, but unable to open my eyes, so I just looked like I was trying to do a very inappropriate impression of Stevie Wonder. I kept falling asleep in the 15 second breaks I got between contractions, and would go In to a deep sleep each time. So much so that I would wake up and try and continue the dream in real life.
I still don’t know quite what happened to the 200 royal guards and soldiers I imagined were in the room with us. But my mum told me it was ok so it must be. My mum also had four children so at this point, I was convinced she was far more mental than me anyway.
After two and a half hours of pushing and me arguing that I couldn’t do it because the baby/watermelon was stuck, with the midwives yawning at me that I could, things started to change. The midwives started to worry about the baby being in there too long, and my contractions were tailing off. Apparently my body was quite happy to have a baby just sitting in the middle of my vagina for the rest of my life. Maybe as a reminder never to have sex again. I wouldn’t need reminding. I would never go near a man now unless they had genitals the same as a ken doll’s.
My brain had shut me down for the evening and would rather we were back having the soldier dream than pooing this huge thing out.
They went to get a doctor.
Except he wasn’t a doctor. He was half giant, half rhino. With a little bit of skyscraper mixed in. He was so tall I never actually saw his face, and so huge that I took one look at his hands and wanted to shove the baby back in myself so that we were no longer having a baby here and he didn’t need to worry bye bye thanks so much for coming….
They huddled together by the door like they’d all been sent to the naughty corner.
He spoke – and suddenly darth vader was delivering my son.
‘So your baby has been in there for some time now. I think you need a bit of help to get him round the last corner.’
‘Corner?! Has he taken a wrong f*#king turn and ended up trying to come out of my urethra?! Is that why this hurts so much?!’ I screeched.
‘I can see his head just stuck at the entrance.’ He explained, looking down at my hoo-hah and pointing. The only way I’d be able to see what he was pointing at would be if they removed 8 of my ribs and I had a neck that stretched like E.T.’s.
‘Just get it out of me. Please- now- you have to get it out. .’
He laughed at me.
‘I’m not getting it out for you. You’re going to do this. You’re just going to push and I’m just going to pull.’
Just going to push. As easy as that.
I hoped that I was ‘just going to push’ a little too hard and poo again but this time all over his face.
He explained that he needed to put a suction cup on the baby’s head to encourage him out. This would mean going in and attaching the vontoose to the back of the skull and basically… Pulling. On my child’s head. This fragile little bean that was now face planting against my vaginal walls was going to be plungered out of there and the first person he would see was a talking tree.
One thing went through my mind when I heard all this and thought about my poor baby.
He said ‘going in’…
I contemplated what that actually meant.
Both. Of. Those. Hands. Inside. My. Poor. Vagina??
I said a silent farewell to my baby making bits and prepared to embrace the new, fanny-less me as he attached the cup to my sons head.
I felt like a human pez machine. With someone trying to shake the sweet out that was stuck in the dispenser.
I was so high on the gas by now too that I was seeing double and asking for my mummy like I was a scared 5 year old. She was just a floating head to me now – like the Cheshire Cat popping up around the bed with words of encouragement.
She and Simon were the best tag team in history. Psyching each other up, taking over each other’s duties like they had planned it all beforehand, having breaks to re-energise themselves. Whilst all the time trying to motivate me not to just shut my legs and come back another day. When I wasn’t about to split myself in half. Maybe Tuesday?
They told me to pant. I wasn’t sure I had ever done that. So I was still trying to figure that bit out and concentrate on getting through a contraction I was having when I heard a midwife whisper:
Do you not want to look at your baby?’
I couldn’t ‘look’ at him per say. Unless I had had quadruplets as there were definitely 4 of him when I tried to focus. But I eventually caught a glimpse of one small purple face looking up at me from my chest. Glaring at me actually. With one eye.
Simon and my mum were crying. But he wasn’t. He let out a really unimpressed bleat like an extremely bored goat, before they took him away and gave him some oxygen. He was in a bit of shock apparently.
So was I! Had you seen the size of that head?! My vagina was currently that big?! If you looked in it would you be able to see my tonsils now?!
At least I’d be able to hire myself out as a puppet to ventriloquists…
Offer it out as a way to smuggle in refugees trying to get past border control….
Open It up to the public as a tourist attraction for cave enthusiasts…
When he was handed back to me, it was as if the worlds aligned and even in my crazy drugged state, life made sense. He reached out a hand to hold mine and I knew I would never not hold that hand whenever he needed me to. Whatever age. Whatever he had done to my body. The stretch marks, the weight gain, the pain. So worth it.
I had had two cuts as – guess what- I couldn’t do it and he had gotten stuck . (I did try to tell them) – I was being stitched back up by the vagin-annilahator, and my coccyx felt like it had been fractured because I had been sat for so long on it- but all was forgiven as soon as he was crying and breathing and baby-ing. Things were coming out of me that made our room look like a crime scene and just to say that the placenta is as impressive as it is disgusting. I thanked it for its help in all of this and then waved it away as it was carted off to never be seen again. I was a little sad actually that this part of me- of us- the thing that kept us together for nine months had, like a salmon that had made it to the top of the river and laid its eggs, done its job and bowed out. Like the Nanny-McPhee of the uterus.
Mummies to be- you can’t imagine yet the love you will feel instantly for a complete stranger as you’ve never experienced it before. But seconds after you meet them, you will suddenly be prepared to die for them. And whether you are induced/give birth naturally, your birth plan goes out of the window, you end up having intervention or drugs you didn’t think you wanted- do not feel like a failure. Do not feel like you didn’t do it properly or that you didn’t do what you were ‘supposed’ to do. What you have done is grow a child in your body for three quarters of a year. You grew another organ to take care of that baby too. You are bringing another person in to this world, completely neglecting yourself and doing whatever is necessary to ensure their safety even if it means more pain for you – and that ladies- is you being an amazing bloody mum already!
So don’t doubt yourself. You can and will be brilliant.
The pain subsides and does go away: the love for the baby you’ll have in your arms never does.
Mummies that already be: you’re awesome. On the days when you think you’re not, know that you are. And on the days when you think you’re not giving them everything they need, know that you alone are more than enough.
Whatever day in whatever way your full time occupation suddenly changes to ‘mum’ – take a deep breath. You’re about to do the hardest and most important job in the world. You’ll invest the rest of your life in to your work, strive for perfection, give 110% every day despite no sleep some of the time.
All without an instruction manual, straight forward advice, or clear communication. People will judge you and you will judge yourself as a result.
There is no such thing as ‘the best mother’ but a ‘trying-her-best- mother’ is as close to that as you can get.
And hey…look on the bright side.Now your lady hole has been stretched to the size of the channel tunnel, the second time around has got to be way easier….
Unless of course your male doctor and your boyfriend gave each other a look and a knowing nod in the delivery room and, like some unspoken boy code… He threw in a couple of extra stitches.