Last Friday night I was sure I was experiencing the early signs of labour. I’d been feeling tight uncomfortable squeezes on my tummy that felt like contractions. It turns out that’s also what happens when you eat a ginormous bowl of creamy pasta covered in cheese followed by practically half a chocolate pavlova loaded with whipped cream and berries.
I was officially due on Friday, so I was thinking there was a possibility. And I was ready. My bag had been packed and I had spent all of the previous week preparing (as you do) for the arrival of my new baby.
Back the pram up and let me re-phrase that….
I have spent the last week preparing for a date with my obstetrician.
This last week I’ve been waxed, coloured, filed, cut, scrubbed, polished, and painted. I’m like a frickin used car for sale. I’ve even gone out and purchased new scented body washes, moisturisers, oils and knickers… highly anxious that physically – I might not be ready in time for this date.
So yes, my doctor and I have been seeing each other for about 7 months. Just lately we’ve really hit it off. Our time together and our conversations have been much more intense. I can see that he’s really starting to care from all the questions he’s been asking me. But last week when I was with him, the last thing he said to me was: Well, I’ll see you whenever!
Huh? Noooo! We always make a time. Oh. It’s because…. Riiiight!
This thing we have going is winding down. He only plans on seeing me a couple more times and then it will all be over and he’ll be out of my life forever. But like all relationships, he won’t officially end it until he’s seen me at my absolute worst.
On our next date, he will see me in a way he’s not yet seen me. I know because I’ve been on this kind of date with an obstetrician before. He will look at me in ways I’ve never been looked at before. He has a tendency to bring out the worst in women, turning them into ferocious scruffy beasts. So if this is how it will end…..
Shouldn’t I at least TRY to be looking my best?
I realise not every girl feels this way before she’s about to give birth. Some women don’t see the same doctor for the duration of their pregnancy and therefore, have not formed close trusting bonds of respect and admiration. Many are overwhelmed with the excitement of their pending arrival.
I’m not. I’ve done it before and I know what’s coming and it‘s not pretty.
Labour is often long, arduous and painful. It’s actually nothing like a real date. It’s uncomfortable, it’s unpleasant, and the only ‘action’ you get at the end of it is a baby biting down with its gums and quite possibly ruining forever sucking your boobies.
Essentially, child birth is icky, mucky, bloody, sweaty, pukey, and primeval. It’s ugly and it’s wild. So wouldn’t spending time and money on ‘getting pretty’ be considered a waste?
Probably but here’s my theory in romantic prose:
(WARNING: Not only is this ridiculous, it’s quite graphic in places – just like most child birth stories)
It’s early evening and the sunset outside is resembling that night on the Maldives where the sky took my breath away. Too bad I’m indoors. The midwives, the obstetrician… they have all been and gone countless times. All of them with the sole intention of taking a look beneath the velvet folds. Thank goodness I am lady-scaped.
But this time is different.
The looks have gone from interested in what they see, to intensely focussed gazes. Except for my husband who looks intrigued, excited and mildy entertained.
My legs are spread eagle, my hands are gripping the sides of the hospital bed. My teeth are clenched. My hair is a matt of sweaty bedraggled wisps framing my face, which is now screwed up so tightly that every wrinkle and imperfection is exposed. And there’s a good chance the veins are popping out of my entire body.
Did I mention, I’m wearing a sexy pale blue and white pin-striped backless number?
I pause for a moment with thoughts of tenacity before pressing my lips together. At that precise moment he; my obstetrician, readjusts his spectacles and quickly glances sideways.
He notices my perfectly manicured feet; my smooth slightly tanned moisturised legs. The expression he wears is unmistakably synonymous with enough time to pour a glass of what little he had left of the bottle of 1958 Glen Garioch.
Pleasantly surprised, his eyes glance upwards towards mine, but only to tell me to push.
Finally, after procuring what everyone is calling a head, I take a long, slow purposeful breath. He acknowledges the peppermint scent with a smile, and sees that despite the messy flock of golden chestnut locks, my hair is shiny, healthy and beautiful. I attempt to smile back; as much as one can when in this state – my white bleach enhanced smile.
Then in what only takes a moment, his eyes wander to my face with intrigue. Is that mascara? He wonders…. Her eyes are totally popping! True. I had made sure the mono-brow had been made obsolete, and had taken great care to at least open my eyes up with a little black water-resistant Lancome magic.
There was still work to do. With an oddly peaceful demeanor now, my hands grasp my kneecaps ready for the end. As I do, the midwives exchange expressions that I can only assume are loaded with respect. They have noticed the French polished gems on the end of my hands and know I’m hardcore.
The intensity (and my disheveled appearance) worsens until the moment another human being enters the room. No, not from the door. The voices in the room are filled with relief and acclamation, but my obstetricians face is nowhere to be seen. Then he turns to me, needle and thread in one bloodied glove, hemorrhoid cream in the other. This is not how I envisaged our date ending!
And then – it’s over. The room; once filled with coaxing adulation is now quiet. He’s gone now.
My obstetrician has vanished. And so has my dignity! How could either still be present after what had just happened?
But my hands and feet and face remained in top form. My legs are still silky smooth. A quick wipe of the brow followed by a much rehearsed maneuver of the hair and I would be once again perfectly coiffed and presentable.
Plus – the pants I was about to put on were superbly stylish yet comfortable.
‘Ahhh well,’ I think to myself… ‘it would never have worked out anyway.’