|My little family leaving the hospital|
OTHER PEOPLE WOULD BE GIVING BIRTH When they propped me up in my delivery bed all I could hear was the sound of a woman screaming. Maybe she performing some sort of meditative ritual, maybe she was mourning the loss of her youth but I'm pretty sure she was giving birth. Needless to say it wasn't reassuring.
PEOPLE KEEP GOING IN THERE Not long after my husband and I had got the Netflix and snacks set up two lovely midwives rolled in. Did they want to let me know the dinner menu or formally welcome me to the wing? No they wanted to see what was going on up there but, uhm, manually. That happened at what seemed like four minute intervals for the rest of my stay. I couldn't believe, in a world with 3D printing, we haven't worked out a more convenient way to do this but apparently it was a necessary but very bizarre evil.
YOU DON'T KNOW IF IT'S HAPPENING I was induced. I kid you not my doctor told me that I would be induced at 10am and have the baby by lunchtime. What actually happened was 24 hours of people asking me if I was having contractions. It was my first baby, I wanted someone to ask me something easy like how many shots of vodka make a perfect cosmopolitan. After a while I convinced myself I was totally in labour, I was just the strongest woman that ever lived.
YOU KNOW WHEN ITS HAPPENING Of course then I did go into labour and it hit me like the first day of the Next sales. When I tried to tell the midwife I was actually having contractions it was like I was the woman who cried wolf and she refused to believe me until I told her I was absolutely, categorically going to have the baby, with or without her help.
PEOPLE TALK ABOUT YOU LIKE YOU'RE NOT THERE At one point during the labour I decided the safest place for me would be in the toilet, so I locked myself in (smooth I know). It was kind of beautiful really. I guess I had gone all primal and was trying to find some corner to have my baby like a feral cat. I could hear the midwife and my husband bickering outside the door - her insisting he had to find a way to talk me out and him trying to convince her he was doing his very best. They had this conversation as if I couldn't hear every word they were saying, which would have been amusing if I wasn't in just a lick of pain.
LAUGHING GAS MAKES YOU LAUGH Seriously, it's a riot.
SHIFTS END So 'get her out the toilet' nurse's shift ended at 9:30am and my baby was born at 10:30am. Yes, a woman I had never met held my hand and saw me through the final stages of birth. I loved her. It was a wonderful lesson in how much you can do for someone in a very short amount of time.
YOU HAVE TO MAKE DECISIONS In the middle of the night I had to sign something. Apparently it was a form consenting to a c-section, should one be necessary. For all I know it was a contract binding me to the adoption of 58 Madagascan lemurs to be delivered to my home on my son's second birthday.
THEY LEAVE YOU TO IT I don't know what I thought would happen that first night with my new baby - that the staff would sit with me, watch movies and braid my hair? It pretty much went - here's your kid, good luck.
NOBODY CARES WHEN YOU GO When we 'checked out' that was it - no red carpet, no party bag. The members of my delivery team were probably at home eating wotsits and chillin' with their Tivo. My baby was just one of thousands of babies and he really wasn't very special. Except he was to us. And that's what counts.