My husband and I went to the Birth Centre today to check out the location for our peanut’s arrival. It doesn’t look too bad if you forget what it is you’re meant to be doing in there. Double bed with side tables, huge bathtub and shower. Couch, exercise mat, (that’s a bit ambitious I would have thought) outdoor private verandah, (with a wall too high for my husband to climb and escape) but no music player. I will have to bring my own, as I suspect I’m going to need Eye Of The Tiger on repeat to get me through this experience.
No mini-bar, no decorations and no carpet. It looked like the cheap, Spartan motel you might stay in to break a long drive, and if I’m not too distracted when I go back, I’ll be sure to check the nightstand for a Gideon’s copy of the bible.
I was concerned at how quiet the centre was, until another mum-to-be (who was only a few seconds pregnant but had already done an embarrassing amount of research) told me that the walls are deliberately sound proofed. Sure enough, when I listened closely, I could hear the dull, but unmistakable anguished cry of a woman in a considerable amount of pain. I don’t know which is worse, muffling it so you don’t know the full extent of their misery, or just letting us mums-on-the-way hear it like it is, since it’s too late for us to back out now anyway.
The midwife who gave us the tour was a nice, no-nonsense German lass who hid her disapproval of assisted births behind her thick, formal accent. She didn’t outright condemn them, she just said things like “of course, we can’t stop you having an epidural, you just won’t be given one here. For that, you are moved into the labour ward,” she says.
I do love the idea of a so called natural birth, but I am also aware that this birthing gig really hurts and just like I intended to run a marathon this year, sometimes the best laid plans are better rechecked by someone who is a lot smarter than you.
“We offer hot showers to help with your pain,” the midwife says as if we’re just dealing with a bump on our head, “and some women find walking and breathing helps,” she adds, but trails off when she sees our faces.
Walking and breathing? Is she serious? That’s what she wants me to use to get this thing out of me?
The good part is, there is always an out and I ain’t too proud to use it. I can, at any point, raise the white flag and tell them I want the big drugs. The midwives will leave the room in a huff of unrefined organic disdain and I’ll be left to pack up my high-energy ice cubes and heat packs all by myself, and do the walk of shame past the reception, across the lobby, through the swinging doors, (which could, I imagine, resemble the pearly gates of heaven) and into the hallowed, drug providing labour ward where I can get stuffed with as many and any things that might help me reach my end goal.
I take a glance at my husband, my birth partner, the man to bring me through this ordeal. “Where’s the tv?” he asks, looking around the room, “didn’t she say this labour thing can last for hours?”