Thursday, July 8, 2010

Home Births Can Be Messy and Dangerous

My friend Angela came round yesterday evening. I told her anytime after 8p.m. would be fine as the kids would be safely in bed by then. So she came round at 7 p.m. instead. Well I suppose she got a taste of things to come. She is three months pregnant and full of the joys of impending motherhood. She even said she wanted a home birth.

Henry was in a particularly foul mood after several late nights and Emily could not find her beloved bear that she always takes to bed with her. It is covered in dried vomit, pee, black banana stains, orange juice, and many other unidentifiable blobs. You would think she could sniff the bear out by now as she has a very sensitive nose. She always tells everybody that Mummy has farted at a party even when she is in the bounce house on the other side of a six acre property.
Angela is a very sweet person unlike some of my friends who are bitches like me. Henry told her that her breath smelled bad and she simply replied, "Oh yes darling. I have got a craving for smoked fish at the moment." I ordered Henry to go and brush his teeth and he called me, "Fart lady." What an endearing child he is!  Angela told him how cute he is and he looked at her disdainfully and stuck his tongue out at her. He is absolutely not cute at the moment.

We all hunted for smelly bear and finally found him in the cat litter tray in the bathroom. Emily screamed that Henry had put him there and he grinned defiantly.

Eventually the screaming subsided after the pre-bedtime beasts crashed into each other and bumped heads whilst running around the table on the slippery wooden floor.

Angela offered to read Henry a story even though I had told him he did not deserve one. But he was so rude to her that she ended up in tears.

At 9 p.m. Angela and I finally sat down on the couch to chat about her pregnancy. Jimmy was working until midnight again so we had a few hours. She is a tiny woman. When she used to teach she asked the bus driver on a school field trip why he was not leaving the school parking lot. He replied that he was waiting for a member of staff to get on the bus. She had to inform him that she was the teacher.

"Do you really think a home birth is a good idea? You are very petite." I said.

I had wanted a home birth with Henry to start with but Jimmy had said that we did not want all that blood and guts all over the carpet. I am extremely thankful, in retrospect, that he was adamant about this. I proceeded to tell Angela exactly why a home birth was a crap idea.

We had booked into a very posh birthing facility that is like a hotel. They give you champagne and a slap up meal for two. The food is fantastic compared with whatever you could cook at home with half of your insides hanging around your ankles.

Two weeks before Henry was due we had a curry at home. That evening I had the worst shits ever. It was even worse than when I suffered from amoebic dysentery in India, a condition which caused me to crap my pants in smelly market places with greater regularity than a preschool child picks his nose. When traveling on a train between Delhi and Agra I had to occupy the toilet for the entire time. It was disconcerting to hover over a toilet where you could see the track between your legs. But I resisted the urge to defy the sign in the cubicle which read, "Do not stand on seat of western toilets." The accompanying picture was hilarious.  There was also a sign in a village which read, "Hurry burry spoils the curry." I repeated this to the hoard of angry locals who were bashing on the toilet door with increasing frenzy.

Anyway I assumed that my amoebic trots had returned and sat on the lavatory in agony for half the night. The pain in my back was excruciating but I could not stay off the toilet for long enough to wake Jimmy up. And so I struggled on and the privy started to look like its Indian counterpart.

Then I lay down on the floor and started screaming regularly and the cat kept running in and out in fear. In fact I think it was his wailing that woke up Jimmy. "I think I might be in labor," I said.  He called the birthing hospital and they said to wait a while before coming in.  I asked Jimmy to pack a bag for hospital, which we had of course not done yet, and not to forget the...... (aaaaaaaaaaaah another contraction that felt like an elephant was riding on my back.) ... champagne. "However much pain you are in, you never forget about the booze!" he shouted with his head inside the refrigerator.
"Well I have not been able to drink for (aaaaaaaaaaaaaah). The contractions got closer and closer and Jimmy called the hospital again. They heard me screaming as he tried to convince them that I needed to come in urgently. They agreed that it might be a good idea to start making our way carefully to the hospital.

Jimmy drove like a bat out of hell and dropped me at the hospital door. It was locked! I managed to ring the doorbell and beg them to let me in before falling to the ground. They got me a wheelchair and took me up in the elevator. I insisted that they let me get in the bath. I had been informed that no water births are allowed though and that I would have to get out before giving birth. My OBGYN arrived and told me that I was already 9cm dilated and that I needed to get out of the bath. No wonder I was in so much pain and the contractions were so close together. I resisted getting out of the bath but eventually they managed to persuade me, telling me it was for the baby's good.

It took a further ten hours of pushing, crapping everywhere (I understood now why they used to give women an enema before birth), and screaming until a more experienced doctor was called to check if the baby's head needed turning.

Well they only asked the man with the biggest fu*king hands in the whole of the USA. Despite having had horrendous pain for 20 hours, when he decided to try to insert his hand, which was also as hairy as an orangutan's, into a very small space I levitated off the table and let out the most ear piercing shriek anybody has ever heard.  It was as if the elephant that had been riding on my back had decided to try and enter its whole body into my vagina.

"That head is not coming out of there!" he confirmed.  Jimmy was relieved that another man had arrived to take charge. He had been bossed about by women for too long.

My OBGYN said that I could carry on trying to push if I wanted to. Having refused any drugs until this point I screamed, "Just give me a bloody C-Section quickly!" And added, "And lots of drugs please."

And so it took them a further hour (or fifty) to prepare for the surgery.

The anesthetist was called Mr. Anus or so I thought and at first I did not care for him at all. But then he gave me the most incredible dose of something that put me in the best humor I have ever been in. And I mean ever. After all that pain I was floating on the clouds, euphoric, laughing and joking. I invited him round for placenta and mushroom casserole and champagne. He had a great sense of humor too as if he was on the same drugs as me. Meanwhile my OBGYN and orangutan hands worked meticulously on the surgery with stony faces. Despite the size and hirsute nature of his hands the great ape was a fantastic surgeon.

Mr. Anus told me that I would have died in child birth if this had been 100 years ago.

We were very pleased with the results of the surgery - a lovely boy weighing 7 1bs 11 oz - not a very big baby, just an enormous head with a flimsy body and some limbs dangling off it. 

I had requested to keep the placenta as I thought I might fancy a snack from it when we got home. Jimmy was reprimanded by a nurse for putting it in the refrigerator in the room. I guess other guests might not want human remains mixed with their snacks and champagne. He vented his frustration by telling the nursing staff that he "didn't want the bloody thing anyway!"

I showed Angela the mature frozen placenta. I took it out of its biohazard bag and let her have a good look.

"Would you like me to make you a placenta and mushroom casserole?" I asked.

She passed out as soon as she saw the brown afterbirth on the dining table.

She has decided against a home birth now!