“It was the best day of my life”
Any man that says the above, or anything similar regarding child birth is a liar. Either that or their experience was so terrible, their subconscious has blocked out all of the horrors, replacing them with a romanticised view of events. That makes these said men rose-tinted mind liars, which in a way, is much worse.
Women can say it was the best day of their life, and there’s a chance they’ll be telling you the truth. After all, they’ve just spent 9 months growing and bonding with the baby, and couple that with the relief of the debilitating pregnancy coming to an abrupt, yet euphoric end, it gives fair argument that they might be telling the truth. I’d imagine a women’s experience of childbirth would be truely incomprehensible to the male mind. Although from the outside looking in, it looks fairly shit for them too.
But this blog isn’t about the female perspective, its about me, my experiences, and my fears that I’ll probably have to do it all again in a couple of years. Any mothers that are reading this and thinking “oh poor you” in a sarcastic tone can step back.
Thankfully, the majority of my mates in our WhatsApp group are already fathers, so they were able to tell me about all the dreadful things to look out for, and offer key pieces of advise such as ‘stay away from the business end’ and ‘get on the gas and air’. There was even a suggestion that I should “fuck it off” completely. Thankfully they were also able to break it down a little bit for me, and having the knowledge about which shitty stage you’re at is calming in events like this. God knows there’s enough to be anxious about, so you can do without the great unknown being one of them.
“I think my waters have broken”
Shit! Really?! This can’t be, not today, I’m not ready (despite the baby being 8 days overdue). The urge to run off and start a new life in Panama was almost overwhelming.
These fears would soon be made worse, as our calming candle lit home birth, complete with pool and Sky Sports News on in the background, was cancelled due to a midwife staff shortage. So off we trundled to the local hospital.
Upon arrival, you get ushered into a chamber of pain, which is now your world for the next few hours. In here, you get to witness the women you love, and would do anything to protect, endure so much agony that she will literally beg for a foot long injection directly into her spinal cord just to take the edge off. Brilliant. Minutes pass like days, and hours disappear in seconds, as you struggle through in your new fluorescent lit time capsule. We were joined by a midwife that seemed against telling us about anything that was going on, or the instruments she was attaching, so that just added to feeling that we had been captured by rebels on foreign soil.
Meanwhile as the man, you get relgated to the position of ‘Gas and Air Dispenser’. An important role that you won’t be any good at, and a function which could essentially be better carried out by some kind of strap or a rubber band.
It’s also important to be supportive – “you’re doing so well” as your Mrs shits herself in a sumo-sized bath tub.
Just when you think things couldn’t get any less fun, the Doctor (who was absolutely brilliant to be fair) informed us that no amount of pushing in the world would deliver our baby because she is bloody massive. So we were off to surgery, the next stage of our adventure had the feeling of knowing you’re about to meet the Final Boss on a video game.
No one at any point will tell you everything is fine, and I assume that’s intentional so that they can’t be sued if things aren’t ok. I’d of happily signed a waiver if it meant someone could of popped in and offered assurance at this point, even if it was a lie.
As Aims was carted off to the theatre to be pumped full of drugs, I was ushered into a room so I could scrub up. As I stood there alone, my arse fluttering like a strobe light, you start to wonder about every single negative outcome. My decision to avoid the gas and air was one I regretted at this point. It was time to man up, push the chest out and strut into theatre on a confident wave of fake calm.
Only 8 hours ago we were sat at home watching telly. Now we are here – sat in an operating theatre, Aims with her legs a kimbo, surrounded by an army of people armed with tools devised to cut through human flesh. Time moves differently here. One comfort is Aims is now entirely off’ her face, and doesn’t seem to be in any pain for the first time in months.
The surgeon is chatty, as she stands in an ever increasing pool of blood. Then in one of the most surreal moments of my life, a lifeless purple sack is thrown over the screen that’s been put in place to shield our view. Aims had no idea our baby was out due to the drugs, and seemed to find the whole affair fairly amusing. I’m greeted with a new terror, as our daughter is quickly whipped off to a different machine without explanation (this time it’s fair enough because there’s no time). An eternity passed until she cried, and I think on another day I might of cried as well, but trauma had me now.
I then managed to go against the one piece of actual sound advice I’d received and I looked directly into the ‘Business end’. That is now an image that will be engraved on my retina for the rest of my life.
And that was that. Baby Dahlia got carted off to a special unit, Aims gets carted off to the maternity ward, and I find myself stood in the hospital car park at 5am with my mother in-law, surveying the damage on her (soon to be written off) car that someone had ploughed into whilst we were inside. By 6am, I was at home – alone and shell shocked.
For clarity, it’s only the event that is terrible. The end result (a baby) is easily the best thing that’ll ever happen, so maybe people confuse their emotions between the process and result. But as I said at the beginning, any bloke that claims to have enjoyed the event probably has all kinda secrets and shouldn’t be trusted.
Was it worth it? Yes.
Would I do it again? Hopefully.
Will I enjoy it? F*ck, no.
Until next time,