At my last hospital visit, the doctor said I would be treated as a first time mother. My body will have forgotten it was ever pregnant before. I begged to differ. Almost immediately, my belly took a convex stance. It brazenly protruded forth. Changes were abreast, mine huge indecent orbs of jelly flesh, achingly tender. Each could be its own universe. I was slightly embarrassed. One of the first things I did was stock up on M&S tummy support pants and under wired contractions that hoisted and then hoisted some more. I even considered investing in a pair of proper 'Rigby and Peller' cups, as mine overfloweth'd and the forecast dictated floods.
My GP asked where I wanted to have the baby. To be honest I didn't care as long as I was in and out of that labour ward as swiftly as possible.
Giving birth is no mean feat. It is undeniably painful. There are those that surrender to the pain, those that conquer the pain and those who elect to have Caesareans.
I have a Ken Loach approach to labour and abhor the pink soft focus in which it is sometimes conveyed. You may well be immaculately groomed, but there is no prettifying the process. A woman is at her most vulnerable and animalistic. Lips pursed you wont be demurely mewling the baby forth with a coquettish glint in your eye ; think more, deep cow bellows of intense pain. There will be blood, tears, sweat, tearing, and all manner of human effluvia.
Much like the insufferable images of womanhood we are forced fed, the media friendly version of birth is diametrically opposed to the reality. Perhaps this need to give birth a feminine make over is because it takes phenomenal strength and endurance (attributes more associated with the male ) whereas we are more usually given to present ourselves in the twilight zone of girlhood, (with our shaven havens, zip lock tight vaginas and flawless skin).
Such gusty sentiments eh? A true feminist?
I may present myself as a warrior woman a lioness in the making but alas the truth is I am a complete pussy. Personally, vis a vis birth as long as it's efficient and as pain free as possible, it'll be ok.
The Glam Rocker asked if I wanted him there. My response was, 'You have to at least witness my suffering.'. I later reflected on my choice of words. I did not say that he should share in this miracle of life, or be present to welcome his first born into the world. No, I just wanted to imprint on his psyche the immense pain and trauma my body will go through to evacuate this baby from within. Unless of course, it's Caesarean but I sincerely hope it wont be.
'When,' he asked, 'Did you say it was due?'.
It turns out my delivery date clashes not only with my first son's barmitzvah, an event we have been planning since BoyWonder's birth but also a very cool forest festival gig his band is headlining. Ah, how the fates conspire.
I told GR I would do my utmost to squeeze it out on a weekday. Oblivious to my sarcasm he replied, 'Yeah, that would be great.'.
The embryo is now officially a fetus, which is Latin for 'young one' or 'offspring'. It is now around 1.6 cm long. The eyes, mouth, and nose are beginning to be more defined. The buds of milk teeth start to form as do bone cells tiny joints. Every organ is in place and unique fingerprints begin to form.