I’ve come to the conclusion that we must all be provided with rose-tinted glasses at birth… or surely the human race would cease to exist, as no one would EVER give birth again!
Yes it was tough. As the anesthetist kindly told me, “Get some rest, they don’t call it labour for nothing!” So after three days on the induction wing – aka in custody being monitored every 4-6 hours so no chance of sleep in your last days of freedom – swiftly followed by a delightful 28 hours in labour and nine – yes nine midwives who came and went on 12 hour shifts, an episiotomy and ventouse later- I finally gave birth. I was knackered to say the least. But strangely serene. I didn’t cry (And seeing as my nickname is Tiny Tears that was somewhat of a turn up for the books).
The drugs were good, (I had virtually everything) really good, apart from the pethadine which made me rave about dinosaurs running around in my tummy and being able to hear them – which was in fact me on the gas & air – the drugs were GOOD. And by God am I glad I had them? The epidural was my best friend and both me and the other half enjoyed the gas & air – we even had a sing-song to ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ and ‘Hakuna Matata’ whilst watching YouTube (the joys of modern-day childbirth).
So all-in-all it wasn’t that bad. I may actually be one of those annoying people who quite enjoyed the experience. But don’t get me wrong… it hurt like hell. A hell where dinosaurs run around in your tummy. And not something that I wanted to experience again!
Pain wasn’t new to me. I suffered extreme pain on a day-to-day basis for many years with my infamous bad back which resulted in me having surgery twice and two discs replaced in my spine – so I knew that I was tough enough. I could take it. And I did. And if I may say, I did bloody well. I didn’t get hysterical, I was calm (most of the time) and even though I was exhausted I gave it every last push I could. I was actually relieved when they offered to help me at the end with the ventouse and quite frankly didn’t give a shit when they needed to cut me. We were both knackered, her heart rate was dropping and so she had to come out. At the last-minute I heard the Doctor say, “We may need to go to theatre”. “ARE YOU F**KING KIDDING ME?” I’d been pushing for nearly an hour and in labour for 20 odd hours and now I may end up with a c-Section? I wasn’t one of those women who had to give birth naturally, I really didn’t care – but come on… after all that work, all those hours my worst fear was then having to go to theatre. The doctor whipped out a hand-held scanner, confirmed that the baby was lying the correct way and so it was all systems go again… phew. Minutes later she was born. My Mum was right… she’d told me that when you think you can’t take any more, that’s when you’re nearly there. And by God was I glad it was over. I was bloody proud of myself and Dan who, despite falling asleep at any given moments in the early inductions stages, came good and was an amazing birth partner (gush).
For the last ten years, I have marked GCSE English Literature Exams (marking hell as I affectionately call it). Marking 500 exams papers over four weeks on top of a full-time job is not for the faint-hearted and for years I have said – I can imagine that marking is like childbirth. I can hear you all scoffing and chuckling at such idiocy. My thinking was that it is horrendous at the time when you are going through it, but once the pay check arrives you suddenly forget the pain and enjoy spending the money so much on your next holiday, festival or other frivolous past-time (as you’re young, free and single and don’t need to be cautious with money) – you forget the pain and before you know it you’ve signed up for next year. Now having been through REAL childbirth – I can honestly say that I still completely agree. Somehow all that pain fades. I know it hurt. I know I was exhausted. I know that nothing will ever compare to the excruciating pain of the head crowning, being convinced it must be over, only to be told that you need to carry on. I know I endured the worst pain of my life . I had stitches, I lost a lot of blood, I well and truly earned my Mummy stripes. But, as I say – as the baby was passed to me (somewhat like a rugby ball) I found out that she was my little girl and I can only assume that at the same time I was fitted with the rose-tinted glasses as it all quickly melted away… well until the epidural wore off anyway!
I always knew the birth would be tough – it would hurt, I’d be tired… would I do it again? Yes.
But what no one prepared me for was pregnancy. Forget labour… I don’t know if I can face that again just yet.
So I have come to the conclusion that there is a conspiracy. All women are in on it. No one tells you the truth. No one tells you what it’s really like. We all know you can’t eat pate and have to give up the booze… but come on… there are far more truths that I could have done with knowing about, so that I could have at least been prepared. The nose-bleeds, the vomiting, your fanny feeling like it’s falling out, peeing 400 times a night, not being able to sleep comfortably in ANY position, nausea, backache, insomnia… I could go on.
So there must be a conspiracy… why do women not tell you what it’s really like? Perhaps, because if we knew the truth the human race would be eradicated. Why do women not tell you that even though you are so excited and happy it is quite frankly the worst nine months that you must endure whilst pretending to everyone else that you are thrilled. Then again, there are always the smug few who ‘bloom in pregnancy’ and ‘just love being pregnant’… we assume they are lying!
And so I can only assume that it is either a conspiracy; God’s will meaning that all woman will continue to be punished for Eve’s mistake for the rest of eternity (she only bit a bloody apple) or in fact, women are fitted with said rose-tinted glasses as the beautiful baby is placed in your arms and all the horrific memories of pregnancy, labour and childbirth fade gently into the back ground (especially if your hypo-birthing music is still playing – mine sadly wasn’t as the battery died – 28 hour labour – say no more).