Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Above: I wouldn't sit there, if I were you, kid...
As has been something of a tradition here at RFYP, the time is now right to share the finer details of the arrival of Princess Mountjoy into the world. I’m sure this stuff is the perfect contraception for those single ladies out there, and guys, well, let’s just say, I consider it a public service to inform you how many lies Hollywood spins about the birth process.
The 29th November started off normally. I had a meeting that took up a lot of the morning and was crunching through paperwork till just before noon. I slipped out to buy lunch – unusual, as I normally bring it, but with Lady Mountjoy 8¾ months gone, I wasn’t too worried that my domestic support had a well earned sleep in.
I was on the second bite of my roll when the phone rang. “It’s started. My water broke. Not as bad as last time”. You cannot describe the feelings you get on hearing that. Nine months of anticipation, all bottled up, and then BANG! It is show time. My head was spinning, but the boring engineer’s logic kicked in before the call was done. No point rushing home – and hours drive – as this was just the first reel. I told Lady M I would finish lunch, close up shop at work, and be down in 90 mins or so. She was fine with that. The Countess, on the other hand, went ape shit: why isn’t he coming straight away? He should get here as soon as he can! (I think The Countess caused Lady M more stress than the water breaking).
It was fun making my way around the office to let a few key people know what was happening – one of those moments in your life that is just like the movies: “I’ve gotta head off, Lady M’s water has just broken”. And the broad grins that statement elicits.
When I got home, all was calm. We even debated if we should swing by and collected Heir from school, as it was approaching 3pm. Common sense prevailed, and we slipped down to the hospital while one of the Mums dropped Heir off. No sign of contractions and it was 4:30 before the midwife smacked on the latex glove to determine just what was (or wasn’t going on). At 5pm, the printout was showing the tiniest of contractions and Lady M was given the choice – go home and come back when things are getting stronger, or admit herself now. I pushed for the latter, knowing Heir, Spare and Countess would not make the waiting very relaxing – a move that proved fortuitous. Settled in her room, and with nothing of note going on, I left Lady M at 5.30pm and went home to feed the kids.
I slipped back in at 7pm, a spring in my step as I rounded the corner to Lady M’s room, only to be greeted with a sight that mirrored her plight when Spare arrived: doubled up in agony, in tears and acute pain. All this 90 mins after I had left!
I went back and grabbed a midwife, and Lady M was ushered into the “birthing suite” (how posh!). The midwife had just come on deck, and so she prepared all the bits and pieces to be used in extracting baby from womb (not very exciting, really – lot is of sterile cloths and containers, a shot of vitamin K).
One of the things we had talked about was how we didn’t get any footage of Lady M while she was in labour, so I was under tacit instructions to film as much of the process as I dared. The admission and contraction monitor stuff was covered, but I soon realised why I never filmed the last two times – tis neither a dignified nor attractive sight, and not one anyone needs to remember. There was no way I could bring myself to film it.
With the process progressed, but stalled around the issue of getting something the size of a grapefruit out something as wide as a plum, it was suggested Lady M may want to try standing through a few contractions (by this point, she was on the Laughing Gas, and the contractions were turning my knuckles white as she cut off the blood supply to my palm). So she stood up, and the midwife reached for a vinyl covered bean bag… it was a very WTF? moment. All became clear when she sat the bag between Lady M’s legs – ahh, it’s there to catch the baby if it should drop right out. Ewwwwww!
Standing up didn’t do it, but back on her back, and a few good shoves, The Princess arrived safe and sound at 8.45pm. The camera went back on, and plenty of footage of 30 second old Princess M resulted, much to the delight of The Countess, whom I was able to share a coffee and a Tim Tam with, while watching the pictures at 10.30pm that night.
For those of you yet to experience parenthood, it is without doubt one of the most satisfying moments of your life. Savour the event, and celebrate it generously.