It’s funny the situations life throws at you.
Just like the time I was standing in the middle of the bathroom, at 36 weeks pregnant; my waters broken, debating whether or not I should shave my legs before going to the hospital.
Or should I say before driving myself to the hospital.
As far as birth stories go, mine is pretty ridiculous. Keep reading, I promise I’ll keep it SFW and skip the gory bits.
But back to the bathroom, after discovering my waters had broken at 2 a.m. one frosty August morning I did what any sane pregnant woman would do if their husband was 7,000 miles away; call him and ask him what I should do.
Helpfully, he told me I should call the hospital. ‘But I’m really tired I just want to go to sleep,’ I protested.
I (eventually) rang the hospital and told the midwife of my predicament; broken waters, 36 weeks up the duff, no pain, no contractions, no husband.
Nurse: It’s best to come in and we’ll just check you over, there’s a good chance you’ll be sent home. Are you able to drive yourself in?
Me: Well, er, I guess so. I don’t feel any different.
Nurse: Good, just park in the doctor’s spot outside the main entrance. Is your hospital bag packed? No? Well, bring some magazines or anything to keep you occupied.
After walking around my apartment randomly packing useless things, I paused and wondered if I should shave my legs. I figured at some point I’d have my pants off and I hadn’t gotten around to shaving them for the best part of two months. But, best not to delay it I thought since I’d already spent 30 minutes dawdling in a state of delirium.
What I packed: three magazines, two pairs of black undies (I’d heard this was very important), a pair of harem pants and a two sizes too small t-shirt.
Crucial items I missed: a toothbrush, a jumper, BABY CLOTHES, clothes that actually fit, those giant maternity pads. Oh, and something to razor off the trees growing on my legs.
Arriving at the hospital, the front entrance was locked I caught the eye of a security guard –who eyed me suspiciously before asking if I needed help. “If you could just point me in the direction of the maternity ward, that’d be great,” I said with way more confidence than I felt.
As for what happened next: a midwife examined me and said, nothing is going to happen tonight so best just to try to sleep. I tried, but roughly two hours later woke up in intense pain and buzzed the nurses.
After checking me over, a delivery bed was rolled in. And I could tell they were panicked. “You’re going to have this baby NOW,” one said. I was in a great deal of pain but still managed to weakly ask, ‘Can I have an epidural now?’
Nurse lady: No, there’s no time.
Me: Like um, how much time?
Other nurse lady: You’re going to have this baby in less than 40 minutes.
Me: Oh, fuc…
It was such whirlwind that after my daughter was born, a nurse turned to me and said, ‘Thanks so much for letting me be a part of your birthing experience.’
I must have looked completely bewildered, because another nurse piped up and said she was a student nurse and I’d consented for her to be in the room.
In fact it seems like I’d consented to having about seven people in the room…
As I was caught off guard with this whole baby thing, I had intended to make a waxing appointment closer to my due date. You know, so I’d look my best for the labour ward.
But that was not the plan the birth gods had for me. I do remember one moment rather clearly: my obstetrician casually patted my leg in a ‘there, there’ gesture – I think he felt sorry for me sans husband and all – except he recoiled slightly at the forest growing on my legs. Never mind what else was happening down south, it’s the hairy legs I remember.
And I’m not alone on this, the Mail Online reports there’s a growing number of women undergoing pre-birth makeovers to ensure they look great for the first post-birth photograph with their newborn babies.
In the lead up to D-Day (that’s Delivery Day) women are booking pre-birth beauty packages, including spray-tans, haircuts, bikini waxes, blow-dry, manicures and pedicures.
One mother in the article, Kate, 32, knew she was having a Caesarean section on a Tuesday, so the Saturday before booked a full day of pampering and beauty treatments.
“I had a haircut and my roots done, a St Tropez spray tan, a French manicure and a pedicure, a bikini and leg wax, an eyebrow shape and my eyelashes tinted,’ she says. “I was really pleased with the results and how I looked in the photographs after William was born.”
I totally get this. And it’s not because I’m vain or think that women should doll themselves up before giving birth because it’s what society expects (see the gallery below for the most incredible images from our readers). I think it’s actually about gaining some control over a situation where you have absolutely none of it.
In the end my baby was in the special care nursery for 10 days. I asked my husband (he eventually turned up) to bring in my makeup bag, not because I wanted to look beautiful. But because it helped me feel better being amongst all the other mothers who had perfectly healthy babies and the comfort of being able to pick up/feed/ cuddle them whenever they wanted. My theory was that if I was put together on the outside, I’d feel better on the inside.
It worked. Well, for a little while anyway.
Here are some photos of our readers at their happiest moments (sans perfect hair and make up). Here are our favourite ‘happy’ photos…
Did you book any pre-birth beauty treatments before you gave birth?
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