“Oh, you’re in labour. I just thought you were having really loud sex,” says our upstairs neighbour inviting herself into our living room where I was dressed only in undies and a singlet, bent over the couch and moaning my way through a ‘this is happening WAY faster than the baby school said it would’ contraction.
“Here. I brought you borscht,” she says, heading for the fridge. “It’s beetroot soup. I don’t suppose you want it now though do you?” I manage – just – to shake my head.
Am I in a farce? Did I just get offered traditional eastern-european soup while in the throes of a labour moving so quickly there is some doubt that with peak-hour traffic we will even make it to the hospital on time?
“We’re heading to the hospital,” Gregory informs our neighbour calmly as he comes in from packing the car with a birth bag filled with ‘essential items’ that we didn’t even bother to take in with us. So much for comfy shoes, jellybeans and yoga breathing to get me through this endurance event. No one mentioned it could possibly be a sprint.
“Yes, that’s probably a good idea isn’t it,” she says patting me on the back. “Off you go then. Good luck. We’ll see you later.”
And less than two hours later, we became parents. And that’s all I’m going to say about that birthing biz, because now I too am part of the club that keeps the covenant. None of you ladies told me the truth about evicting a human through your nether regions, so apart from saying that my darling child came out like superman with her fist alongside her head, and that had she consulted me first I would have politely asked her not to do that as there wasn’t much room for her head as it was, my lips are sealed. Although I did appreciate the ingenuity of the midwives who afterwards handed me an ice filled condom – no, not as a metaphor for me to put a freeze on my sex life – but rather to shove between my legs to help with the swelling. My friend (who beat me to the finish line and gave birth the day before) asked her husband to go out and buy her some so they could continue the treatment once they were home. Diligently he did just that, returning with the only variety they had…flavoured condoms. Can you imagine your hoo-ha smelling like a tropical fruit ice block?
The peanut came out very nice and clean and smelling like a salami. But a nice salami – one that had been aged forty weeks and one day. Cleverly, she had managed to grow all the correct parts of her body in all the correct quantities and I am pleased to report that so far her nose looks great…ie not mine, at least not yet. But that’s not to say it won’t morph into the honker I have, because you see, mother nature designs baby’s noses so that they are the perfect shape to fit over the mother’s nipple and boob while still allowing them to breathe when they’re breast feeding. Good thing too, or I wouldn’t have made it past day one if I’d been born with what I eventually grew. It hinders me even now – drinking champagne for example, (which I quite like to do when I’m not growing or breastfeeding a human) is almost an anatomical impossibility for me – my nose is so big it gets stuck on the opposite rim from my lips making it nigh on impossible for me to get any liquid from the glass. Drinking champagne out of a red wine glass is just fine at home, but no one really understands that request when you’re out in public.
So, a day later we brought our little human home and discovered she’s not really a human after all. She’s really more part marsupial part pterodactyl. She certainly defies the statistic that babies her age are only awake 10% of the time, and sleeping with her is like camping in Jurassic park. She screeches and squawks so loudly she startles herself out of sleep thereby forcing us to start the settling process all over again. Still doesn’t manage to wake her father though, and his snores don’t seem to bother her, so it’s just me, sandwiched between my very own family orchestra – percussion, brass and a fair bit of wind. Thing is, as tired as I am, it’s still music to my ears.