A Stitch In Time Saves Bugger All
A short story for all you women who survived labor.
For you men who wondered why the woman you loved turned into a banshee when having a baby.
And for all you contemplating a baby-maybe, you’ll think twice.
“I hear you’re a bellydancer.” Said the Consultant. “Been doing it long?’
“Ten years.” I muttered closing my legs.
He covered me up with a tap on my knee, “that explains it.”
“You got the hips that expand like a snake’s jaw,” he laughed “you could swallow a car.”
The doctor chuckled, as I glared at him with my best is that so supposed to be funny? Look.
My fanny had had more viewings than a house action-with instrument that would scare a masochist and I was supposed to enjoy a stupid joke?
“Car,” I said with an angry tug at my sheet, “and what size are we talking of-mini-four wheel drive-limo?”
The doctor flicked his gloves from his hand and tossed them in the bin, “Sense of humor very good,” he smiled humor muttering something about my ability to close like a clam.
I was in the middle of a large birth room with a door that swung open at a whisper of wind with fog-horn voice doctor shouting out the size of my pelvis that I sure even the cafe across the road could hear.
I glared as the consultant lather his hands under the tap, pulled a towel from the holder and without looking at me continued on about dilations and the like. The two nurses nodded while the teenage looking students took notes. They didn’t look old enough to watch a porn film let alone, handle a dilator.
According to the nurse, he-the consultant was eccentric and I was to take any so-called joke with a pinch of ‘whatever’. It was one of the first things she said when I arrived along with “get undress”; “put this on” and “we need a specimen”.
“A while yet,” he muttered to the older nurse.
I watched him leave his white coat flowing like a cape crusader, his porn virgins following.
“Snake jaw,” I said, “what sort of friggin bedside manner is that?”
“He’s Polish,” said the older nurse, like somehow that explained something.
“Polish?” I muttered. “What that got to do with car parking?”
“He always talks about cars” muttered the younger nurse.
The older nurse smoothed down my sheet. “But he is the best, honestly if I was having a baby he’s the man I’d want.”
She looked at the younger nurse. “His episiotomy’s are talked about for months.”
“Seamless.” Said the younger nurse.
I gulped “cuts… down there?”
“But don’t panic,” the older nurse patted my arm. “He hardly does them.”
“He’s more a cesarian guy, very safe.” Said the younger nurse.
I looked at Steven who had just entered “caesarian?” I yelped. ‘But I did yoga and breathing.”
“Honey you have the best, he’s very good, parking cars is just his way of lightening the mood.”
“Parking cars?” Steven looked at me confused.
“Mood lightening?” I turned Steven. “Apparently talking about my bits like it’s a garage will have me laughing though my labor.”
“It’s to take your mind off things.” Said Steven with an “is she ok” look at the nurse.
“Take my mind off things? That’s like saying hit your head against the wall and you won’t feel any the pain when they cut your pera-fucking-neum.”
“Let's just leave the perineum out of it.” Muttered Steven.
I let out a manic laugh that even I didn’t recognize, my moods were see-sawing perineum all over the place.
“My mother’s been going on about my perineum for months in fact ever since I told her I was pregnant.” I joked.
Steven rolled his eyes. “She mentioned it a few times.”
“ ‘Olive oil and rubbing’ she says, “will keep you like a virgin.”
Steven threw a look at the older nurse. “She never said that, your mum doesn’t believe in virgins.”
“Steven hasn’t fried anything for weeks.” I laughed again and then burst into tears. ‘My mother’s put him off olive oil for life.’
Steven looked from one nurse to another mumbling something about medication.
“Medication? That’s your answer to everything.” I snapped.
“Well…it might help, the breathing certainly isn’t.”
“Well you're not trying to push out a toe truck though a pinhole are you?” I snapped.
“Perhaps it's time for some more medication.” Muttered the older nurse.
Hours ago, excited, happy and enthusiastic for a deliciously simple natural birth I had been whipped into a labour room and given a gown the size of a napkin which hardly covered my breast.
‘Is this for nose blowing,” I laughed.
The nurse, a young woman who was bustling in the corner with instruments laughed out loud, “no dignity in this place.” She said.
“It like a dolls dress,” I said, causing more giggles, until the older nurse entered.
“Having babies is no laughing matter,” she said to me “it’s serious.”
She eyed me, perched on a bedpan like a buoy in the water. “You done anything in that pan yet?”
I mention something about waiting for everyone to leave, sending a series of tuts from the older nurse.
Apparently I had the consultant of all consultants and should be poised for inspection like a cow waiting for insemination.
“You lucky he’s on tonight.” She added before leaving.
The door swung open I stared into the corridor grateful it was empty, perched on a bedpan is not something you want anyone to see.
When I discovered I was pregnant I was so excited, so happy. Steven had brought a pregnancy test, and as we looked at the blue marker he cried. We had wanted a baby for so long.
I prepared myself for my birth with yoga moves, Bellydancing and birth classes rubbing oil on bits and pieces while visualizing me glowing, with a baby in my arms, Steven beside me, and whale music in the background.
Nothing is funny when you are having a baby, no one tells you how scared you become, how despite the whole world and its' dog is in the room with you, you are on your own. And no matter how many hold you hand, rub your back and tell you “you’re doing great” you are scared, petrified that along with the baby, all you innards are going to burst out onto the table, the floor and even the walls and you’ll never able to shit on your own again.
When my daughter arrived Steven punched the air like a football player kissed me a thousand times and then punched the air again.
I felt nothing but a huge desire to sleep and was just in the process of doing so when I felt a burning poker sear into the flesh somewhere down below.
My legs were spread out like a dissected frog, the consultant was playing cross stitch with my bits below while my daughter was being attended to under a chorus of “she’s lovely”, “she’s beautiful”, and “so like her dad”.
“Keep still.” Snapped a male voice.
I did my best gritting my teeth with each tug as Steven told the world and my mother that our baby girl was apparently the image of him.
“Yes all fingers and toes,” he laughed, “And Sheryl? Yes she fine, waiting for her tea and toast.”
When it was over I, sipping the best tea I had ever taste in my life cracked a joke about tapestry and how my husband would appreciate the artistic display next time he was “down there.”
The consultant flicked off his gloves and moved to the sink. I was just about to sink my teeth into my toast when he without looking up said “Don’t I know you?”
I looked at nurses then Steven, Know me? I mouthed The only thing he’s seen is my fanny.
“Don’t worry,” said the young nurse. ‘He says that to all the girls.”
“His Polish,” added the older nurse.