I have given birth to a tiny human. Twice. And while my birth stories are different, it is more than fair to say that my experience of giving birth was like nothing that I had ever seen in the movies. Neither was pregnancy. Here’s how.
Being comfortable when nine months pregnant
Movies: A pregnant woman is lying on her back in bed without the weight of the baby crushing her lungs. She has slept all night without needing to pee every 45 minutes. There is just her and her partner in bed, both look sexy and she still fits in her cute little pyjama shorts. There is not a pregnancy pillow in sight.
Real life: Comfortable? Fat Chance. If your partner isn’t sleeping in the spare room by now it’s nothing short of a miracle. The sexiest thing in the bed is the picture of Ryan Gosling’s face that you stuck to your maternity pillow. You can only lay on your side and switching to the other side requires a winch and a lot of grunting. Possibly some farting.
Movies: Rush to the hospital straight away in a mad panic. The first contraction normally coincides with the waters breaking in a spectacular fashion.
Real Life: Was that a contraction? Maybe it was just Braxton Hicks. Oh, another one. Maybe this is it? Let’s use the app to time them.
*Several hours later*
Oh, these are quite strong now. Maybe it’s time to phone the hospital? The hospital have to me to hand on at home for as long as possible.
*A few more hours pass*
Get me to the hospital now.
There are still no signs of waters.
The journey to the hospital
Movies: Normally involves some kind of police chase drama, high speed near miss, amid lots of panting from the pregnant woman.
Real life: No added drama required. You turn from cool and calm ‘I’ve got this under control’ to something from The Exorcist the moment the car door closes.
“Oww, avoid the bumps, avoid the bumps. Hurry up, go faster!”
“Arrgghhh stop, stop the car I’m having another one. Don’t stop, you f***ing idiot, get me to the f***ing hospital.”
“Mind the f***ing bumps you f***wit. Holy f***ing crap. Give me the f***ing drugs.”
Movies: The pregnant woman is greeted by a friendly doctor whom she knows well and a gown is placed strategically over the business end. A few pants and pushes later and a very clean baby approximately the size of a three-month-old is handed to the doting parents. He can already hold his own head up and smile adoringly at his parents. The new mum has not a hair out of place. No one shits themselves.
Real Life: You are butt naked in a room full of strangers giving death stares to anyone who tries to remove the gas and air from your mouth. Your dignity has left the building. You are making noises not dissimilar to that normally heard on a farm, and your waters are broken with what looks like a giant knitting needle. You are not sure if it’s your waters leaking or if you’ve peed yourself, but you don’t really care.
At some point you begin to push and wonder if your partner will ever find you attractive again as you are vaguely aware of our face contorting in ways to make a gurner proud.
Eventually you push out a baby covered in blood, some weird waxy stuff, and a bit of their own poo – although to be fair, it could be your poo, who knows. You feel relieved. You feel knackered. You feel sore. You look like hell. You cuddle your new born baby in a rush of awe and overwhelming love and wonder how to stop them crying.
Who am I kidding, placentas don’t exist in the movies.
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