‘Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a beach with the waves weaving in’ said the instructor at the Lamaze class but all that I could hear was the suppressed laughter of my husband. The room was dark and there was circle of scented candles in the middle and around it sat us pregnant women with our husbands.
What’s the point of all this was the question that I could see flashing in his face though he did not voice it (which is just as well). So we held hands while the instructor droned on… “Life is a beautiful dance… and now your life is going to change in many ways…. You are going to give birth to a beautiful child who will be dependent on you at all times…”
While she went on about the beautiful dance or life, I could see many husbands checking their phones, while one was trying to upload something remotely through hushed instructions, one of them was drinking coke with a bored look holding his wife’s hand.
“With a child in hand, you cannot have a schedule because the child will decide it henceforth.’ I remember nodding politely to this statement without realizing the importance of the lesson that she was trying to teach us.
She was wrong. I did have a schedule after two months which read like this – Giving milk, putting to sleep, massage, giving bath, milk, sleep, food for me, milk, potty, nappy hunt, vaccine, milk, putting to sleep, trying to put to sleep, trying to sleep unsuccessfully, while the baby is crying her lungs out in my mom’s arms, milk again, potty…
Yeah right what was it that she told, ‘You cannot have a schedule because the child will decide it henceforth’. That’s a lesson and situation that you will have to wrap your head around for a very long time.
“You can stay in control while you give birth if you learn to manage the pain.” She said and then immediately contradicted herself saying, “Actually you will not feel any pain. Just pressure. It’s will be just like period pain.”
“Period pain multiplied a thousand times.” Said an expectant mother who was a mother to a 2-year-old toddler with an incredulous look.
Well at least I was prepared on that front so I religiously followed all the advice and lessons and practiced breathing lessons in front of the mirror while my husband calculated the distance it will take to drive from my mother’s home to the hospital (just like in the movies!)
But life doesn’t turn out as you expect. While my due date came and went without any incident, I waddled around like a whale waiting for those elusive labour pains. Nothing came. Not even a fake pain. I could feel the eyes of my grandmother, mother, sister, husband, neighbour trying to predict and preparing endlessly for that one moment when I would say, “the baby is coming…”
Nope. No labour pains for me. Only C-section informed the doctor. So we set the date, time and hour and went to the hospital in a very un-dramatic fashion much to the disappointment of my husband who had envisioned the scene pretty much like a French Connection car chase.
Now its time for those lessons that were learnt very hard indeed –
- Do not wear nail polish. If you do, remove the polish at home with a remover unless you fancy the staff nurse filing and scraping bits of nail polish from your toes and hands as early as 4 AM in the morning.
- Nothing is private anymore – those un-waxed legs, weird tattoos (reads sexy), your bowel movements, the size of your breasts, that navel pierce (a moment of insanity by all means)…
- You will have stretch marks no matter what that cream says. (I have a good mind to sue that cocoa butter and shea butter cream company! They promised me smooth lines L)
- C-section or normal, trust me, the minute they bring that bundle of joy into the room you would make a memory here that would be permanently imprinted in your brains and like a PPT slide, it would play itself at many other moments in life – like when your precious baby says, ‘Mummy! Chill I can take bath on my own’, ‘Mummy! Don’t call me gugu. You are embarrassing me.’
- Smiling Jhonson & Jhonson babies looking up at the mother with a divine smile. Oh yeah very nice ad. But in real life, your baby might look at you like ATM (Any time milk). Baby is crying – give milk. Baby is crying – enough milk. Baby is crying – put her to sleep. Baby is crying – Do not sleep. Baby is crying – milk again.
- THE BABY IS SLEEPING! Hurray! Let me go to the parlour and wax those poor legs of mine, let me do some quick shopping for something that fits me. How about that new movie? And even while you are planning a quick trip somewhere really close, that dud of a husband will bang the door BHAM and the baby wakes up and refuses to sleep again. Yes. It happens all the time.
Hold on I am not done here yet. Lessons learned from Childbirth Part 2 to come soon…