It might have been the watermelon margaritas talking. It might have been the fact that my son was celebrating his 21st birthday without me. But whatever the reason, our table conversation at Ruby Tuesday‘s turned to childbirth, and I was the resident expert. Of the four, I was the only person who had actually given birth. Two of my companions—a man and a woman—had at least witnessed babies coming into the world, and the third—another woman—made little effort to conceal her distaste for the whole process. Over our drinks, we all agreed that the miracle of childbirth is one disgusting miracle.
Lately my blog has become the go-to website for people who want their bubbles burst, their rainbows drained of color, and their warm fuzzies strung up by their warm fuzzies. This I know. Just a few weeks ago I reduced the charm of my 29-year, happy marriage to nothing but good luck, good timing, and good science (click to read). So why not shovel around my observations on having babies?
Before I’d ever considered having a child, I’d watched the Ridley Scott film Alien, with its terrifying, unforgettable alien-exploding-from-a-man’s-body scene. If you’ve never seen it (Perhaps you were raised by wolves?), or if you just want to refresh your memory, go here:
Anyway, when I imagined childbirth, I imagined it being rather like this. At least I liked to think this is what it would be like if men gave birth. Because let’s admit it: in the battle of the sexes, childbirth is the trump card. No amount of knees in the nuts will ever top the experience of shooting an entire human being out your boy howdy. But I digress. . .
Turns out real life childbirth isn’t so much different from the scene in Alien. Of course the person writhing on the gurney would be a woman, and the baby’s off ramp wouldn’t be her stomach. And very rarely does the newborn actually bare its teeth and go skittering off the delivery table. But other than that. . .
Now, before you click on that response chastising me for sullying the most wonderful day of your life, let me just acknowledge how your own child’s birth was dreamlike and magical, with the clouds above parting for angels to herald little Junior’s arrival into a perfect world and the completion of you as a person. All I’m saying is my children’s births were loud, painful, and messy.*
It’s not like I wasn’t prepared. I’d read every single book I could get my hands on, watched all the childbirth videos, and interviewed every mother I could find. My wallet still holds the card proving my successful completion of childbirth classes just in case someone attempts to repossess my kids.
But I don’t care; nothing prepares you for a parade of strangers going in elbow deep to check things like dilation and effacement and denudement and potability. My own doctor sneezed while he was performing just such an intimate internal exam—now, there’s a moment neither of us will ever forget. Nothing prepares you for the second when some yahoo holds a mirror between your legs so you can see a crowning head the size of a bowling ball (Aw, HELL, no! were my exact words). And NOTHING prepares you for the doctor raising a scalpel and announcing that it’s time for the episiotomy (clickety click).
Then there’s the spurting goo, all that cheesy stuff that covers the new baby until someone hoses him down, and the likelihood that he’ll be all cone-headed and scrunched up when he finally makes his appearance. And don’t even get me started on the afterbirth.
Then, suddenly, it’s all over and everything’s like this:
Come on, now, did you really think this was going to have a bad ending?
Not only did I have the baby girl in the picture above, but three years later I went back for seconds and ended up with a baby boy. So it’s all good—all good in a loud, painful, messy, alien-explosion kind of way. But don’t take my word for it: click here for more info from our friends at Cracked.com. You’re welcome.
*Plain, ordinary, hospital birth with no pain meds or epidural. That’s right, I’m an amazon, and I kick ass.