What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
The Telegraph recently ran a poll (via Bounty – a big old mothering/baby based organisation) asking women to pinpoint their greatest fears before starting a family.
They asked 900 women, and according to their results, 35% of mums said giving birth and another 35% specified the health of their child as things that really worried them.
I reckon it goes without saying that you’re going to worry about your child’s health. What kind of mum would you be if it didn’t concern you? It’s a completely natural to worry. You’ve got this little tiny person who can’t tell you anything except by crying in a variety of different ways, damn right ladies, it’s shit scary and the norm.
And to be fair, if you’ve never given birth before, the thought and prospect of it is freaking horrific. You’ve got to get a melon out of your fou fou. HOW THE FUCK DOES THAT WORK? But from someone who’s done it (that’d be me), fear not. I feel a birthing story coming on.
Let me start by saying, it truly isn’t the worst thing in the world. Not by a long shot, otherwise why the hell would we keep doing it? Plus, there’s a load of drugs you can take to help with pain, which, for me, wasn’t all that bad. I didn’t even know I was in labour for two days…
My girl was ten days overdue and I was due to go into hospital and be induced that day. I woke up in the night at about 3am and sat on the loo, stuck a pessary up my bum cause I really felt like I needed to do a poo.
Little did I know my waters had broken two days earlier. It wasn’t like you see on TV, I just thought I’d let a little wee out in my knickers. Apparently not. I’d been in labour for days and didn’t even know.
So I did a tiny poo, got back into bed, when my husband asked if I was alright. I told him to go back to sleep. A while later he asked if I was ok again, as I was apparently panting and puffing out air. I was unaware I was doing this.
I went to the loo again and nothing came out, (that’s cause a baby was trying to escape you fool, not a fricking poo) so I went back into our bedroom.
It was at the point when I was hanging off the cot, arse in the air, huffing and puffing like I was trying to blow a fairy tale house down, that we realised it was actually happening.
First I had the gas and air, which made me feel woozy. Then I had diamorphine which made me shiver continuously (which really panicked my husband and mum, ‘Why is she shivering? WHY OH WHY?’), which I can only say was very much like taking magic mushrooms. Then I had the epidural which goes in via a giant motherfucking needle INTO YOUR SPINE.
My mother-in-law told me something which made stayed with me, and helped me breeze through the Pulp Fiction-style hell. She said when she’s been in hospital having really heavy and invasive procedures, she just told herself it has to happen, and to just go somewhere else.
I vividly remember the look on my husbands face when he saw the needle, but I didn’t feel a thing. I went somewhere else.
And then we had to wait for me to dilate. I lay on this hospital bed for hours and hours repeating a mantra out loud like a woman possessed. I kept saying, ‘Open up, open up, open up’ and to everyone’s surprise, within 12 hours of entering the hospital I hit the all important 10-centimeter dilation. It was time to push.
A friend of mine had told me that while giving birth, something very primal came over her. Your body is made to do this. It’s your bodies mission to deliver that baby, so go with it, and breathe. If you hold your breath, it won’t let your body work.
They stopped my epidural an hour or so before it came time to push. I’m not sure why, but the midwife told me it was going to burn when the baby comes out. My mum, who was watching everything from the end of the hospital bed, helpfully shouted out ‘I can see the babies hair poking out your fan.’
Once the head was out, one big push and the body slid out like a greased monkey. And holy fucking shit, did my fanny feel like someone had swiped a red chili up and down it. In total, it took 30minutes to get her out, all 7lb 4oz of hairy baby girl.
The burning split fanny was prob the worst of it. Soon enough, there was a doc buried between my legs, stitching up my poor butchered fan fan. That was none too pleasant.
Later on it felt like there were two giant sausages in my knickers. I asked my mum to have look at the state of my fanjita. She did, popping her gray face back up and shaking her head urgently, ‘Dan, don’t look, don’t look!’
I didn’t look for weeks. I could feel it though. If I’m honest, it’s never been the same since.
But you know what? As hideous as this all might sound, it wasn’t that bad! I truly overcame my fear of giving birth and dare I say it, found it fine. I know everyone’s experience is different, and I feel like I got off lightly, but you don’t win shit all for refusing the drugs. Take them. Let them help you.
And the reward of having that amazing baby wipes out any pain. So yeah, giving birth is fucking terrifying, but in all honesty, it really isn’t that bad. Just go primal, let your body do what it has to.
And remember; if that dozy writer on xojane can eject a baby, you can certainly do it too.
PS Fancy a laugh? Have a look at these two foolish men hooked up to machines which simulate labour. Skip through a few minutes and watch them break. WUSSES!