The real midwives of maternity

His name was Chris.
He had grey hair, a beard and kind eyes.
He was my midwife.
Besides Learner Dad, he was the most important person around when Li’l Fatty was born.
I’m not talking about labour.
I went straight from induction to caesarean so the doctor was the only person I really remembered from that experience.
I’m talking about recovery.
Some women can’t get out of hospital fast enough after having a baby.
Others are literally sent packing, dragging their dummies and diapers behind them.
Me?
I was kind of in between.
I quite liked being taken care of yet, having been a patient only in the public system (with its shared rooms and average food), I went home a bit sooner than I needed to.
One of my reasons for almost staying was Chris.
You think of midwives, you think of babies.
But, when it comes down to it, the midwife is really there for you.
Baby’s out, baby’s breathing, baby’s fine.
In my experience, the midwife is all about mummy.
When your room is full of visitors, all eyes on bub as he or she is passed around the room, it’s the midwife who is all eyes on you.
He’s the one who can tell you’re in pain.
Or tired.
Or needing to be left alone.
It’s an intimacy unlike any you’ve experienced: not even your own hubby will regularly poke around the pads in your undies checking for blood loss; or help wash your naked, war-torn body in the shower; or regularly remind you you really need to poo.
Then there are the nightingales.
They’re the midwives who glide around your hospital bed at night, gently checking your vital signs while you peek at them through the slits in your eyes.
They lower your bed, slip you painkillers and gently take bub from the crook of your arm to pop back in his crib.
And then, sorry to break the spell here, there’s the early morning midwife bitch.
She’s the one who strolls in and moves the crib (with baby inside) up against the wall, as far away from you as possible.
She’s the one wanting you to get out of bed to get him.
The bitch who’s trying to stop you getting a blood clot.
You’ve heard of the baby blues?
The floods of tears that come three or four days after you’ve delivered your baby?
Mine came the moment I left the hospital.
The moment I stopped being nursed so I could go home and nurse someone else.
Admittedly the tears only lasted the short ride home, whereupon I happily and eagerly re-entered the real world.
A world that now included Li’l Fatty.
But although mine was one of the dozens of tired and teary new mum faces Chris must see every day, I’m not sure I’ll ever forget his.

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Childbirth… delivering a NOT GUILTY verdict

Did I bring my boys into the world the right way? I used every kind of pain relief available in delivering Master Seven. Could I have managed without? Li’l Fatty was an emergency caesarean. Did he really need to be? Both were induced – one late, the other early. Should I have waited?
There are so many opinions on the right way to give birth. Often it’s not others, but us casting judgment on ourselves.
After the chaos and panic that was Master Seven’s birth, I was hoping for what many women experience the second time round – quicker, easier, more ‘natural’. So I felt a bit disappointed after the chaos and panic surrounding Li’l Fatty’s entry.
Then I read this article by Mia Freedman and gained a fresh and welcome perspective:

http://www.mamamia.com.au/parenting/birthzillas-its-about-the-birth-not-the-baby/

It’s not a long read but if you don’t have time to read it all, here are a few snippets:

“One of the most confronting things about pregnancy and birth is the unpredictability of it and women often believe they can regain control by planning. Babies, however, like to raise their middle finger at your plans. They come early, they come late, they get stuck, they get suddenly distressed or tired or tangled. I know you’ve made three playlists for the different stages of your labour but your baby doesn’t care.”

“It’s just not that interesting to them [men]. I don’t mean the part where they saw their baby for the first time. That’s mind-blowing. But the bits before that? Utterly insignificant compared to the lifetime of parenting that comes afterwards.”

“I recently heard a woman on the radio waxing lyrical about how her two homebirths ‘were the most incredible experiences of my life and I don’t know anyone who had a hospital birth and could say the same thing’. Me. I could. Three hospital births. Loved them all.”

“The game of My Birth Was Better Than Yours is an ugly, destructive one. And hugely risky if it puts anything above the physical welfare of a baby. So yes, I could bang on and on about my birth experiences. But I’d prefer to tell you about my kids.”

There’s really no better way to end this post than with that!