By BERN MORLEY
It’s fair to say I knew pretty much nothing when I had my first baby. I knew exactly nought about what to expect as a pregnant person, what it would be like to go through childbirth and at the time, I couldn’t even fathom what it would be like to hold a baby in my arms. I certainly had no concept of the responsibility that was about to become mine.
I was 24.
It wasn’t like I was walking around oblivious or trying NOT to understand what was about to happen. I had a supportive family, a loving husband. I’d read the books. I’d watched THOSE videos (yes ACTUAL videos – DVDs were still a thing of the future).
I even remember giggling along with my Lamaze classmates when the lady screamed and swore in German at her partner whilst giving birth in an old school spa bath. The 38 year old me, now wants to go back in time and whack the 24 year old me, on the back of the head.
Not once did I associate myself with that lady on the television. And maybe that was for the best. Because maybe if I’d accepted my soon to be reality, I wouldn’t have been as calm as I was going into battle.
We’ve all got one. A birth story I mean. Whether people had their babies vaginally or via a C-Section, there was a story leading up to that very point. And after I had given birth, I found I became obsessed with other people’s stories. I wanted all of the gory details. It was inexplicable.
When I first had Maddie, now nearly 14 years ago, there wasn’t the kind of online community, help or content that there is today. There were only parenting magazines. And within those overpriced glossy mags, there was ALWAYS a section where women, like you and I, could and would send in and share their birth stories. The good, the bad, the gory, the infinitely sad and the shockingly terrible. I just could…not…get….enough.
So today I’m going to share mine with you. Well one of them. Because I remember how terribly important and cathartic it was to share. To write it down – to say it aloud. Here goes.
It was a Tuesday night, my husband was about to take off to his usual Tuesday night Tennis match but I knew, I just KNEW that this was it. Baby time.
I told him I was in labour. I was a week out from my due date and my bag was packed and ready in the next room.
That’s when he turned to me and said “Have I got enough time to go to Tennis?” He is very lucky he didn’t lose one of his body parts at that stage.
I assured him that the guys and gals at Tennis would be completely fine without his backhand that evening and that yes, I would appreciate if he could you know, stay home with me and experience the wonder of birthing HIS child, alongside of me.
I stayed home for a bit, rang the hospital and they said that you know, maybe I should come on in. I was at this stage, let it be known, in no reasonable pain, had a look of exhilaration on my face and could easily walk down the stairs, jump in the car and probably drive myself. Those of you in the know, know that I wasn’t anywhere NEAR having a baby at that stage.
We arrived, were taken on through to the labour ward and hooked up to the machine. My husband stood beside me and we both smiled and marvelled as the machine busily drew the peak of each contraction onto graph paper. I was 3cms dilated. It was time to go home.