This post is dedicated to all fathers, whose contribution to child birth has gone unnoticed and unrewarded.
If you have been reading Ouchmytoe for a while now, you probably remember than on 29th March 2007 our daughter Rhea was born in a hospital in Kannur, Kerala. If you remember reading this post on Rhea`s birth you would remember that she decided to NOT take the door and come out of the window instead (meaning it was a C-section or Caesarian, as they call it).
Well, this blog post isn`t about Caesarian births…instead it is difficult of the two options – Natural Child Birth.
Some months back, I was part of a discussion with two of my 29-something-girl-colleagues. Both of them wanted to have babies but were scared of the pain. Being a man, I told them they should face it like a man and deliver when it really counted.
“Come on, you have no idea. Even to think of it scares the shit out of me,” Colleague A said.
“I totally second you. So much so that…I am planning to adopt a baby.” Colleague B said.
I stood there dumb-folded.
“Why don`t you have the first baby, and adopt the second baby?” I spoke like a true man.
The two girls looked at me like they would look at a goat chewing grass and walked away. I didn`t bring up the topic after that.
Yesterday, I met a friend whose wife delivered a baby boy last Saturday. He used to be a bundle of energy…not the baby…my friend….but when I met him, he looked like a bag of old clothes. For those of you who have never seen a bag of old clothes…well, he looked like a new bride just back from a 15-day honeymoon in Mauritius.
“What happened?” I asked. And I guess that was my mistake, for he started his story. Here I present his narration as is…with no ‘Expert` comments of mine.
“Jammy…didn`t women give birth in caves when the men went out to hunt for food? Why is it that now-a-days they need our support? If back then somebody had said that men have to be holding the lady`s hands while the baby was being delivered, they would have just laughed, scratched their bums, picked their nose, spit out a seed and walked away. Pity we men can`t do it now-a-days.”
“I understand.” I managed to utter.
“You know… I didn`t mind holding my wife`s head while she puked her way to glory in our washbasin. I didn`t mind sitting at the gynecologist, reading the magazine WOMAN`S HEALTH. I didn`t mind being asked to leave the doctor`s room when the male doctor wanted to run some tests on my female wife. I really didn`t mind when I had to hold my wife`s hand and walk at a snail`s pace every evening. I didn`t mind when people stared at my wife`s belly and gave a smile. In fact, I had started to love it.”
“I remember the belly-stares.” I thought my smile would comfort him.
“Man…but when my wife was in the fifth month of her pregnancy, I got the shock of my life. She asked if I could stay in the delivery room while she delivered. I nodded my head unwillingly. How could I hurt her by saying I might end up puking and perhaps even falling unconscious.”
I thanked my stars that Rekha`s was a Caesarian and the doctors asked me to stay outside. But I didn`t show my happiness on my face.
“And then our classes began. In spite of shelling Rs 10,000 for the classes I was forced to attend them. My wife and I would end up every day at the Poly Clinic with two colorful pillows. If you thought carrying two colorful pillows and walking on the road wasn`t punishment enough…factor this…in the first week of our classes we spent time studying the Uterus. As if that wasn`t enough, they told me about the Fallopian tubes and the Ovum…like I wanted to know all that. I agree I had a keen interest in all these when I was in class ten…but that was then. There was curiosity back then. Not anymore!”
“What is a Fallopian Tube?” I enquired. But he didn`t seem to bother.
“I thought the discussions would ease after the first week, but before the end of the second week they had shown us two movies of mothers giving birth to babies. I watched it for real…just that I went out for the washroom 18 times and for water 13 times during the 15 minute movies.”
“Who was the Director?” I asked. But again, he didn`t seem to bother.
“Surprisingly my wife was loving it. In fact, she would want to discuss it on the way back in the car. As if that wasn`t scary enough, they forced me to see a 20 minute movie on how the fetus grows within the womb. Because my wife had caught on my escape tricks…I couldn`t even go to the washroom.”
“Who was the child artist? Was it Haley Joel Osment of Artificial Intelligence? Macaulay Culkin of Home Alone? Or Michael Oliver of Problem Child?” I was curious to know but somehow my friend just didn`t seem concerned.
“If I thought my ordeal would end with just watching scary videos of babies & mothers, I was highly mistaken. For we soon began the breathing exercises. Apparently, around the time of birth pregnant women develop contractions – a pain so painful that you start wondering why you had sex in the first place and got pregnant in the second place.”
“What are breathing exercises? I thought doctors prescribed them for asthmatic patients!” It was me again. Why am I even interrupting? I am anyway not getting any answers.
“It seems while inside the delivery room I have to hold my wife`s hand and ask her to breathe in and out forcefully so that she doesn`t feel as much pain and contractions are effective. The day I came to know of this….I lost all my sleep.”
And then on the D-day…that would be Delivery-day…I was in the delivery room holding my wife`s hand. I didn`t know she had such a strong grip. When I said “Keep breathing sweetheart” she just gave me a stare and muttered “It is easy for you to say asshole!”. I never said anything after that (all that money given for the classes was a waste after all), and I think I fell unconscious when I heard a baby shriek.”
“Which baby? I inquired. Again, he never heeded to my curiosity and continued on his story telling.
“One would have thought they would give me Glucose and let me rest in peace till I came about. But no, the doctors had other plans. They brought a really dirty and ugly baby close to my face and suggested I kiss him. I didn`t. Just when I was getting up and walking towards my wife the doctor shouted across the room “Want to see your son`s placenta?”. As if we were in Madam Tussaud`s wax museum and he was asking me to see Amitabh Bachchan`s wax statue. I just nodded my head and walked out of the room.”
I didn`t know Madam Tussaud`s wax museum had Amitabh Bachchan`s wax statue! I exclaimed. Then realized my folly and asked him: “But what is the issue…you now have a new member in your family and should be looking forward to it.”
“That`s true. But it has only been four days and my wife says her first child birth experience has been so satisfying that she now wants to have a baby girl as well.”
Some how, “God Bless” escaped my lips.
Post Script 1: Some day I intend to tell my friend that he should suggest adoption to his wife. The selling point…in adoption, she can be sure of a girl.
Post Script 2: Who says only women suffer & sacrifice in pregnancy?