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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pinky's Experiences of Childbirth- not for the squeamish.

#1 Son- Thaddeus-The Philosopher

“I think I need an epidural," I hissed at the midwife. 

“But you’ve only been in labour for one hour,” she replied in a bored manner.
It was true. The doctor had put in the Oxycontin drip at nine- thirty and for the love of God it was only ten-thirty. 

It was my first baby and I knew from antenatal classes that a first labour can go on for a very long time. Seriously though... the pain was unbearable. If anyone had told me that it hurt this much I would never have allowed myself to get in this situation. 
“You’ll be alright, Pinky,” suggested my then husband, “Don’t be a sook.”

The next contraction ripped through me, 
“No, please. I need an epidural.”

The midwife looked at me disparagingly and went off to call the anesthetist.  It took him about twenty long minutes to arrive and by that stage I really wanted to call the whole birth thing off. 

“Just curl up in the foetal position so I can get the needle in your back,” he calmly requested whilst watching the tennis on the overhead telly. 

As I managed to twist my pain- racked body around I felt a bizarre sensation.
“I… um, think I have to push,” I gasped. The midwife gaped at me incredulously. She put on her rubber glove and proceeded to inspect my cervix. 

There was no need for the epidural. After three pushes my first born son was born. 

I cried for joy for three days.

#2 Son- Jonah-The Policeman

I was a private drama teacher with a studio in the back room of my house and I was in the middle of an afternoon lesson with a group of students. I felt a sharp pain shoot through my pelvis. Number two baby was actually due today.

Two hours later there had been no more pain. 
Even though with impending labour you shouldn’t really eat, I was starving hungry so I created a spectacularly large chicken salad and proceeded to scoff the lot. 

It was February in the tropics and the only food a heavily pregnant woman could cope with in the humidity was cold chicken and salad.

Twenty minutes later I felt the first intense contraction... and four minutes later there was another.

 It was time to ring the hospital. I wasn’t taking any chances after my first born had taken a mere hour and a half of labour. 

It was nine-thirty when we arrived at the hospital. By ten-thirty I knew it was time to push. But something was wrong. I felt an overwhelming urge to push, but I knew if I did… something else was about to come out too. 
“What’s the matter?” asked the midwife in concern. 
With the pain of childbirth all sense of humiliation and modesty flies out the window. 

“I think I need to do a poo.” I responded.
The midwife rolled her eyes.
“I’m sorry,” I continued, “But I had a really big meal just before I came.”
“Just do it on the table.” she sighed. “You’ll never be able to push the baby out if you don’t get rid of it.”

At the next push I dutifully obeyed her orders. 
The room was filled with the easily distinguishable bouquet of excrement. I saw the intepid nurse collect the stinky parcel with a paper towel and carry it off. 

Hopefully, to somewhere very far away...

“Well,” acknowledged my then husband, “that was the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen.”
It took one more strenuous push for my second son to enter the world. He arrived just on time for his due date. This punctual characteristic would follow him for the rest of his life.
He had a bruised and purple face and screamed like a banshee. I think his vocal chords had been bruised during the rapid journey down the birth canal because his crying was raspy and grating. 

Even the nurses couldn’t stand it. He was supposed to spend the first night up at the station with them, but they wheeled him down and left him in my room all night.
After his bruising went down we could see his prominent dimples. I could see at once that this little soul had been here before.
When I had arrived at the hospital the Gulf War was in full swing. On the day I left the headlines read that it was all over. I took that as a very good omen.

#3 Son- Hagar-The Agitator

It was three weeks before my third baby was due and I was at the obstetrician. The baby was in the breech position which apparently wasn’t good for a natural birth. 

Being pregnant three times in three years had evidently stretched my womb to the point where it was still comfortable enough for the baby not to have to turn around. 
My then husband was a lawyer,(this profession tends to make doctors a bit nervous) so I suppose the legal ramifications for something going awry with attempting a natural birth were too much for Dr. C to consider. Therefore I was to check in that night for a Caesarian section to be performed the next morning.

For some reason I had developed a mild case of paranoia during this pregnancy. I had become ultra- hygienic and health conscious and only bought and served organic food, had changed all our pots, pans and jugs to stainless steel and had become extremely superstitious. 

It was the thirteenth of April and I didn’t like it.

We arrived at the hospital and were immediately led to room thirteen. This did not bode well.
“Is there another room I could have?” I pleadingly asked the nurse.
“Not really, Pinky," she replied patiently, "only a room that doesn’t have a television.”

I tossed it around for a few minutes and decided to forget about the superstition and take the room with the telly.
At nine o’clock the next morning my third gorgeous son was born. 

Being a Caesarian birth his head was perfectly shaped, unlike the jaundiced and sucked mango appearance of the previous two babies, his skin was unblemished with bruising and he looked like an angel.

“The jewel in the crown,” pronounced my then husband.
He was such a pretty baby, the hospital came and took his photo for their promotional brochure.
In the early weeks of his life he slept for so long I would have to go and wake him up to make sure he was alive. We ironically gave him the nick-name, “Hazard” as he was such a quiet, sweet baby. That was probably tempting fate.

#4 Son- Padraic- The Insurgent

At five o’clock on a Sunday morning, my wispy blonde, round faced and huge eyed fourth son entered the world. Again it was a nippy, uncomplicated and natural birth. 

He grew into a cherubic baby with an unusually muscular bottom. All the other boys were skinny, scraggy little newborns but #4 was quite a burly little bruiser. 
It may have been because he was a week overdue by the time he was born. It was a badly conceived February birth again and the heat was unbearable. 

In an attempt to motivate the baby to begin its descent down the birth canal I had adhered to all the old wives tales I could drum up. I traipsed up and down steep hills for hours on end. I ate an entire pawpaw and drank a gin and tonic to hurry the contractions along, but nothing seemed to work. 
This tardy mindset has personified Padraic for the past seventeen years. Even now he finds it necessary to leave us all waiting in the car while he goes back into the house for the eighteenth time to retrieve some item he failed to remember.

My father dubbed him ‘Swee’Pea’ after the baby in Popeye. He had a massive head and gigantic round eyes, giving rise to the convincing likeness of a frightened possum. 

He was without doubt, the jolliest and giggliest baby of them all. At least, that is, until number five was born and his position was usurped.

#5 Daughter- Lulu- The Authoritarian
I knew the baby was a girl at the four month ultrasound. 
Jonah was at the obstetrician’s with me and even though he was only five years old, he managed to keep the secret with me throughout the entire pregnancy. 
Jonah is like a vault. Even to this day you know you can always trust him to keep his mouth shut. 

It would be needless to say I was euphoric, overjoyed and relieved.
I was sick and tired of buying blue and yellow sheets and nappies, toy trucks and cars, shorts and t-shirts and Thomas the Tank Engine videos. I yearned for soft pink frills, princess style bed linen and Barbies and fairy wings.

I did engage a painter to cover the walls of the nursery with a dazzling pink shade so I imagine our friends and family were making astute conjectures. Although they may have assumed I’d gone a bit peculiar and had decided to do the pink thing no matter what.
The day Lulu was born I blubbered unremittingly. 
I was elated. She was not the greatest beauty to behold I might add. In fact looking back at photographs she actually bore a striking resemblance to the character Kramer, from the Seinfeld series. 

Mercifully her facial features settled down over the next few days and she lost the monkey-face manifestation. 
My then brother-in-law had a radio travel show and he happened to mention her miraculous long-awaited birth after four boys, over the air.
Our hospital room was soon filled with pink helium balloons, pink teddy bears and rabbits, and of course pink flowers. It was a truly joyous occasion.

When I brought her home from hospital the reality of my predicament hit home. 

I was in proprietorship of a six year old, a five year old, a three year old, an eighteen month old and a newborn

Fun times ahead for Pinky!