No one ever said labour would be dignified – and that’s mostly because no matter how you do it you have to show your foof and your hairy unkempt lady garden (which you haven’t been able to reach or see yourself for months) to a bunch of strangers. But there’s so much more to it than that…
I never thought of myself as uncomfortable in my own skin before. I mean there were bits i didn’t like, but generally i was body confident. But I never understood those women (my mother being one of them) who were so confident they didn’t go in cubicles at the gym or swimming pool to get changed – they just whipped it all out in the communal changing room. But I get it now, once you’ve had 11 people see your vajay at once, 2 midwives and a health visitor milk you, had a bed bath because you have bled through your ‘puppy pad’ and maternity towel and had a pain killer up your bum, all in under 24 hours there’s not much left you can be bashful about.
Let’s start with the examination. So I got to hospital thinking I was in labour, it turns out I was! Thank god or that would have been an embarrassing waste of petrol. When the doctor came to see how dilated i was she was accompanied by a trainee doctor about to sit his exams. She asked if he could observe and I naively said yes. I wasn’t sure what an examination involved…. stupid I know, but I didn’t know how they checked if you were in labour…maybe they just felt your tummy? Turns out it’s a bit like a smear test. Anyway as the doctor gloved up and got me into position I started to twig what was about to happen, but I still wasn’t sure what the role of the trainee doctor was in this scenario. Turns out his job was to aim the light up my foof for the doctor, and just stare directly up there!
Firstly the baby is coming out of ‘the sun roof’ right? So why the fuck has someone left the boot open?
Yep that’s right considering they get the baby out through an incision near your knicker line, why is it that you don’t have any pants on for the procedure. I mean surely someone could have invented some super sterile low rise ones so that the 11 people in the operating theatre don’t all have to see my goods.
Also to make matters worse the midwife asked if I minded if a trainee paramedic observing – I felt generous and obviously still hadn’t learnt my lesson from earlier so said yes. Sadly when I agreed this i didn’t know he was going to be an overly keen creepy young guy…making me immediately regret my choice. (Person number 12 to see my foof and grin at me a lot in the process – I don’t think he’d ever seen one before).
So there’s 12 people in the room right – nurses, doctors, anaesthetist, midwife, trainee paramedic etc etc – and they shaved me! Yep! With an electric razor! My overgrown maternity bush was too much. I laid their with my husband next to me mortified with nothing left to do but laugh, I was numb from the waist down at this point and couldn’t see what was happening so could just hear the hum of the razor going to town on my unruly lady garden.
Towards the end of the csection as they were sewing me back up the anaesthetist asked if I would like a suppository painkiller. Now I know suppository means a pill that goes inside you (up the bum) but I figured because this whole giving birth thing was related to my foof it would be like a pessary, and that bit had already been exposed to 12 people. So I said yes. Well as I was numb from the waist down I had no idea – until I read some leaflets a few weeks later that they had in fact put it up my bum!
It started with the anaesthetist checking where I was numb up to and applying heart monitors – lots of awkward spraying me with something cold and prodding me in the tit area.
Then it was followed with some skin to skin and my attempt to breastfeed while we waited in recovery. Which was lovely may I add. However Barney wasn’t that hungry (because of the hirschsprungs so he latched but wouldn’t really feed). Anyway they wheeled me into the room and it wasn’t long before my parents arrived. I was laying there quite obviously topless cuddling my little man with a blanket covering my goods and his bottom half. However when my in laws arrived the first thing my mother in law did was lift the blanket off exposing me to the whole room….I wasn’t prepared for that. She wanted to see Barney of course…she could see his head and arms laying gently on my naked top half but for some reason she had to whip the blanket off!
So because Barney was unwell (with a condition we didn’t realise he had at this point) he wouldn’t feed. When we realised he had Hirschsprungs it made sense….I mean who would want to feed when they were backed up to the point of overflowing with 9 months worth of whatever it is babies eat in the womb. Anyway because he wouldn’t feed from me the midwives said I needed to hand express my colostrum for him and feed him from a spoon. I couldn’t get the hang of it though. The whole manually milking yourself thing just wasn’t happening. So over the course of my first night in hospital three midwives came and milked me! Yep milked me! And do you know what I literally couldn’t care less about my dignity – because all I cared about was making sure my boy got what he needed. I kept crying thinking I was some sort of breastfeeding failure because he wouldn’t latch, and the midwives were saying I should give him formula.
The bloody bed bath:
By midnight I had started to slowly get the feeling back in my legs. And I felt damp – very damp around the crotch area. (So after you give birth you bleed and it’s like the worst most heavy fucking period of your life. It looked like a Tarantino film!)
When I felt the dampness it occurred to me that it had been hours and I still didn’t have pants on so I definitely didn’t have a pad on. Turns out after you give birth they put you on a giant puppy pad type thing and just shove a load of maternity towels between your legs. So the very kind health care assistant who has milked me earlier that evening gave me a bed bath. But that wasn’t the most awkward bit, no that came the next morning. I needed a shower, the nurses told me where it was etc. But considering I was pantless and bleeding heavily and wearing one of those hideous backless gowns – how on earth was I going to get there?! So yep… the midwives told me to shove the puppy pad between my legs and waddle to the toilet whilst in my backless surgical gown.
Conclusion: giving birth is a pretty undignified process however you do it, but who needs dignity when you are getting a baby! Plus Barney doesn’t care about my dignity he just wants milk and cuddles most days.
P.s you can say no to the trainees!!! Especially if they look like weirdos!