Monday, January 09, 2012
One Born Every Minute
My first son was born 18 years ago, delivered by a gentle midwife who fed me ice cream and listened uncomplainingly for 19 hours to my tape of whale song. My first husband was absent for much of the time. Tired out, he slept while I laboured.
Then life does its heartbreaking thing and unravels, but marvellously nine years later I am with The (new) Husband and ready to go again. The midwife is funny - we laugh together as The Husband sleeps. He wakes for the birth of a little boy, perfect but black and blue where I had shot him out across the bed. "You shouted," said The Husband, disapprovingly. "And the window was open." He snores for what is left of the night, while I lie beside him, stroking the bruises on his son's face.
The following morning I get up, leaving them both asleep under the warm covers, while I see to the oldest - feed him breakfast, get him ready for school. I make myself a cup of tea and wish my mother would come. When I go back to our room, the baby is crying. The Husband has rolled over and is spread-eagled, still asleep, across the bed. There is no room for me to get in. I take up the baby and go into the sitting room and sit bleeding on the sofa.
There is no commemorative piece of jewellery, no bouquet of flowers, instead The Husband invites his parents to stay for a fortnight.
My third son is born fast and furious. I do not shout and I know not to expect anything.
Number Four is late. Very late. After three weeks five days and counting, my mother and The Husband decide something must be done. They tell the midwife that something must be done - I must be made to deliver this baby immediately. They shout. The midwife is calm and gentle - the baby is healthy and happy - just late. They shout. It is no longer 'convenient' for them to wait. I do not sleep. In the morning the baby decides it is time. I wake The Husband and deliver another son on the bed. "At last," he says.
The last of our children should have been an easy birth, but the baby becomes stuck. The midwife has to manually push my anterior cervical lip over the baby's head internally with her hands. I reach down between my legs and guide the little body out. "A text-book birth!" The Husband announces. The midwife looks at him witheringly. I am past caring. I have a daughter.
This post is part of the Netmums 'One Born Every Minute/Channel 4 linky.
One Born Every Minute is on Wednesday nights from 4th Jan, 9pm, Channel 4 and available online at www.lifebegins.channel4.com