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Jan 10

Ten things they don’t warn you about before you get pregnant… #4

Posted on Sunday, January 10, 2010 in Little known facts, Strange and Unusual

(#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7)


It’s the one question that everyone asks; when the subject of babies crops up, the look of fear on their faces is unmistakable.  They wonder why I’d willingly offer up my body to excruciating hell like that, and tell me they’d go the ‘too posh to push’ way if it came down to them.  I can see why they’d say that, but I can also see how vastly misled they are.  It’s the film industry… they love the gushing bloodiness, the portrayal of  the sweaty monster screaming and cursing at its husband… they make the whole ordeal seem so vulgar and hellish, it’s no wonder so many women opt for the cesarean section.


In truth, childbirth is not the most painful thing that can happen to a body.  Childbirth is about endurance, not about pain.  Pain is what happens when you break your leg, or suffer from an abscess.  It’s something that involves destruction or infection, something that happens to let your brain know that there’s something wrong.  Childbirth is entirely different, so it’s really not fair to taint it with the same brush.

Childbirth is all about creation, and as such it feels different.  Yes, the pressure hurts a lot, but it comes and goes, that’s the beauty of it.  You get a two-minute rest in between contractions, even in the thick of it, and these two minutes are pure bliss because the void is so beautifully apparent.  And, what’s even more amazing, is that once the whole ordeal is over, the pain is over, completely forgotten in the blink of an eye.  There are no splints, no metal plates to be inserted, no antibiotics (unless there are complications of course), the pain just… goes away.

One woman I spoke to even told me that she had a pretty amazing orgasm while giving birth once.  She has four children with another on the way, and there’s not a chance you’d entice her into a cesarean section if she had a choice.  Nor is she particularly masochistic I might add, as I noticed once when she caught her finger in the car door.  A bigger whiner you wouldn’t find – yet the concept of labour excites her no end!  Go figure.

Of course, there’s the part where one is required to squeeze something the size of a large bag of spuds out of an opening the size of a postage-stamp… surely that’s got to hurt just a tad?  It does, no kidding, but here’s where Mother Nature shows her infinite kindness.  When… um… things are stretched beyond a certain point, the nerve endings in the area shut down so that in reality, you only have about ten seconds worth of screaming agony.  Okay, so it’s a pretty long ten seconds, but it’s not the five hours they portray on television, not by a long shot.

Me?  I’ve never had an orgasm while giving birth, I chose the way of the epidural, the drug that is so amazing, you really don’t care that it takes a syringe the size of the Empire State Building to administer it.  I would have happily stabbed my spinal cord repetitively with the syringe myself, if there hadn’t been an anaesthesiologist around to do it for me.  It makes you want to vomit, it makes your thighs itch uncontrollably, but it gives you a clear enough brain to enjoy the experience.  I too was a woman who swore she’d be able to give birth without pain relief, but as a midwife once asked me in the throes of things; “Do you think you’re getting a feckin’ medal for this or something?”  She was right.  There are no medals for martyrs, that’s the whole point.


Pethidine is the Devil’s drug.  It hurts.  It doesn’t stop labour from hurting.  It leaves a numb-spot on your ass for months afterwards and leaves your baby more stoned than Woody Harrelson.  Don’t be fooled.

Nitrous Oxide is great craic, especially when the midwife leaves the room and your birth partner gets to have a go and the midwife returns to find everyone gasping in hysterics because there’s a crack in one of the ceiling tiles.  It’s that much fun, it should be illegal.  Its only downfall is that after a while it feels like you’re swimming in mercury and you end up in the horrors, so less is most definitely more, but very very very funny with it.

Tens machines are only good for the people who get to watch you jump every ten seconds from the electric jolt.  They find it hilarious, but you won’t.  Yes, it distracts you from the pain a little bit, but frankly what is far more entertaining, is placing one charge on each one of the testicles of your loved one, and then zapping him while he sleeps.  Laughter is an excellent pain reliever, especially the evil type.

Last but not least; Yes, you will most likely crap yourself while in labour.  As foul as that sounds, it’s the last thing that’ll be on your mind at the time, so why give a shit*?

Bizarro jewellery… you know you want it.

*Did you come all the way down here to see if that was an intended pun?  Don’t you know me by now!?!?

Bring on the comments

  1. Granny says:

    Try pushin out an eleven pounder, they don’t ask you nicely if you would fancy a c.section.
    All hell breaks out and they whip you off to the theatre and terrify the bejasus out of the poor man who got you up the pole. Tis a mighty contraception.

  2. Baino says:

    I had one of each. One epidural which slowed everything down so took longer and one natural . . . Adam was in a hurry and there wasn’t any time. You’re right though, it’s over in a blink and forgotten as soon as they put that baby into your arms. I can’t even remember feeling stitches I was so besotted.

    I didn’t like the gas. Smelled funny and made me feel nauseous. What on earth is a Tens machine? Sounds awful.

    And I managed to retain my dignity in the crap stakes. It pays to stay home as long as you can!

    As for the jewellery . .so that’s what it looks like? Often wondered.

  3. You lie like a rug, woman.

    The first one was 36 hours of labor, only made bearable by the last 24 hours being with epidural. I had a really excellent doctor and insurance.

    The second one I was on the dole, and gave birth on a major holiday, in a shite hospital with really crap staff. You get what you pay for. 24 hours of labor, and they only got the anesthesiologist in to give me the epidural less than an hour before I delivered. 6 tries to get it into my spine in between body-wracking contractions and to this day I can tell you where each and every needle attempt went in. Needless to say, the epidural did not take. I spent hours thrashing around in fucking agony and yelling at anyone who would listen “GET IT OUT OF ME!” and they gave me something to attempt to sedate me which made me go batshit and try to pull out all of my IV’s and find a knife to slice open my abdomen, all of this while the Spouse Sparrow was sitting next to me telling me to shut the hell up, as he was watching “Con Air.” Which, I might add, he had on DVD at home, and has seen elebenty billion times, the fucker.

    I apparently have the smallest snatch on the planet, even after already having one child and an episiotomy, and the doctor who delivered the Nestling Sparrow was like, 13 years old and fucking well chatting away on her cell while she hacked me open like a Thanksgiving turkey for my second episiotomy. I had told the Spouse Sparrow not to go down to that end, but oh no, he thought he was brave, and the doctor had told him to hold my leg as I had already tried to kick the head off the nurse. The Spouse Sparrow’s panic face is much like Mulder’s panic face, but he did blanch visibly at the going ons. The doc sliced the cord inches from the Spouse’s nose, blood sprayed all over his T-shirt, the sprog shot out and then he promptly peed, a massive arc that shot across the room as everyone ducked. I guess he had been holding it for a while, which was very polite of him and all, as I was already quite a mess down there.

    So I hate to tell you, but those depictions that you see on the telly? Yeah, they’re true. Just be glad it didn’t happen to you.

    I will say that after they got that baby out of there (all 5 lbs. of him) I did feel much better.

    The nurse still wouldn’t come anywhere near me, though, and I only know about most of it because the Spouse Sparrow tells me about it, repeatedly, when I mention how my eggs are getting all expire-y and I might like another sprog.

    Plus the hospital food was shite.

  4. Mother Nature isn’t *that* kind. Childbirth isn’t as painful for any other creatures. But since we’ve started walking on two legs, we’ve forfeited child-bearing hips. Evolution has been unkind in that dept. That’s why it’s as painful as it is and That’s why I find it a bit mad when women want to go 100% natural. Nature’s a bitch, stick her with a needle already!

  5. K8 says:

    Granny; It does seem slightly unfair that I was a disproportionately large baby… what on earth did you eat while you were preggers?

    Baino; Yes, this time ’round I’m staying home until the last second… those flourescent lights and the panicky hospital atmosphere tend to interrupt the natural flow of things. A Tens Machine is a wee box which generates an electric current which you can dial up or down. It’s attatched to two wires with sticky pads on their ends which you stick to whatever’s ailing you. It’s funnier than it is useful, really.

    Fat Sparrow; Ha! Sorry to laugh but that’s such a funny story :) Our birth experiences have a lot in common! I did the 36 hour thing too, the kid wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry. They gave me that horrible oxytocin stuff which made the contractions more violent but didn’t speed anything up at all. I distinctly remember wanting somebody to kill me, several times. We went public too, stuffed into a room with 14 other mothers and their babies, where the mothers screamed louder than the kids! It’s the hospital I think, it’s the most awful place to give birth, it puts things in reverse and panicks the mother into self-defense mode. Having said that, there’s no way that nine-pounder would have made it out safely at home. It’s a nasty situation, but makes for interesting stories, hey.

    JB; Okay so we’ve lost the wide hips, but isn’t it wonderful how they dislocate themselves during (and sometimes even in the weeks before) birth?!?! Like a snake’s jaw, only snakes don’t have to carry groceries and drive to swimming lessons. *sigh*

  6. Granny says:

    Kate, I ate everything that was not nailed down. Every day at work I stood at the r.t.e canteen door at 12pm, first in I laced into fih chips and peas. It was the fish that gave you all the brains and genius.

  7. Granny says:

    Fat Sparrow, 5 pounds!!!I could have had two five pounders for the price of one. we were private and spoiled rotten, lovely memories!

  8. Jo says:

    Well now. Twisting my ankle was far worse than any contraction pain I had. And my first baby was not big, but sizeable at 8lbs12, with no pain relief, at home.

    I liked the tens for the early stages, it was good, but not once you started turning it up, then it just felt nasty. But I liked the physical boundary of flicking the switch as the contractions started, and off after… right, you can talk again now!

    I enjoyed my first labour, up to 7cms, it felt great – my own bed, walking, the birth ball. Then it went off the boil all night and the next morning the contractions startedup weird and pinchy. Yes, there was poo the first time, but not the second.

    I’m more scared of the effects of the epi – and the needle! than I am of pushing out a baby. In fact, the saddest thing for me about being finished is that I won’t get to do it again!

    After no 1 I swore there would be no more! But no 2 popped out like a cork from a bottle, and there are times when I’m suddenly struck with a craving for that very birthing feeling. Strange,eh?

  9. well i have to say that was an intesresting blog regarding child birth. I remember when i was a wee pup doing waitressing in the royle when one girl told he that she how you say got ripped down there. I still cross my legs and sqwirm just thinking about it. But i have always believed if you going to get me drugs eben for the simplest of things including child birth well than go for it. I hope you have a happy and healthy and more importatnly safe delivery when the little one comes. My mum actaully cracks me up when she tells me about the 3 of our births. One was a forcypes job the other one came a bit early and well the other one was a wee bit lazy and came a bit late and mum was past her due date so that had to induce her. Mind you i am always late ha ha

  10. K8, that’s the story of my life, dead funny after years of pondering, and I would undoubtedly be thinking it even funnier if it had happened to someone else. Even on the dole my room was private; I think they were afraid to put anyone else in with me. I don’t know what they put in my chart but the nurses would only come in to my room in groups of twos and they sent a social worker ’round my gaff after, too, the bastards. I guess I was convincing with my threats whilst in labor, oops.

    Granny — I ate enough for two 5 pounders!

  11. Martin says:

    ‘like the cork from a bottle….’

  12. Voodoolady says:

    To be honest, the thoughts of having to own my own child scares me more than pregnancy or childbirth.

    Oh, maternal instinct where are thou?

  13. K8 says:

    Thanks for sticking a comment in, Jo – there just aren’t enough positive stories out there… not that being prepared for the bad isn’t useful, but being scared of it makes it a scary experience. It just doesn’t have to be that way! (Must remember to research birthing balls…)

    Vicky; I have lazy chisellers too – I wouldn’t blame you or them, it’s a scary (and breezy!) world outside that womb. The tearing (ouch) can be minimized… rubbing Vitamin E oil into that spot for a few weeks before hand solves most of that problem. Also handy for gymnastics accidents.

    Fat Sparrow; There are people out there who take the words of a birthing woman literally?? Whoa. That’s asking for trouble.

    Martin; Speaking of xbox…

    Voodooladay; But when they turn three, you can technically send them out to work to keep the shoe fund buoyant… they are also an excellent excuse to buy games consoles, if you can put up with the smell.

  14. It was a County hospital. Half the people the treat are attached to the bed with handcuffs. Maybe they thought I ate my armed guard; I did put out some rather dire threats when no one would let me eat while in labor.

  15. Annie says:

    Oh sweet Jebus, I’m afraid, so very afraid.

    When – or if – my time comes to have a babby, I don’t know how I’ll cope. When I broke my arm (albeit fairly badly, with crushed nerves and all of that horrible stuff) I kept passing out from the pain and I still wince at the thought of it. I’m a giant wuss.

    One of my work colleagues once described labour to me by gesturing towards a particularly pointy table and saying – ” I just gave birth to that”. Ouch.

  16. K8 says:

    Annie; But don’t you love the release of passing out?! The only time that happened to me was when they gave me the wrong injection in a Maternity hospital once. Whatever they put in there by mistake stung like a hundred demons so I fainted and freaked them out.

    I probably shouldn’t have said that though, hey.

  17. K8 says:

    @ fat sparrow; They wouldn’t let me eat either! I guess they don’t like people spewing on their seizmographs…

  18. Kate, they told me that, too, and also “in case we have to do a C-section, anesthetic, yada yada yada,” but personally I think they just like to lord it over people.

    Besides, I know my own tolerances, and no longer being a goth teenager I am not gonna boke up perfectly good chow. With the first sprog I didn’t get to eat for 36 hours and so all the pictures right after are of everyone holding the Fledgling Sparrow while I shove food down my gob. The second time, my family wised up and brought me in food, they have pictures of me sneakily eating while another family member stood guard to keep the nurses out. I may have been an utter bitch but I didn’t boke, ha!

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