last week’s column

In early 2008, a heavily pregnant me found myself visiting a friend and her six-month-old son. I hadn’t seen my friend in over five years and was looking forward to catching up with her. After the de rigueur cooing at her gorgeous baby, I asked rather casually if hers had been a natural delivery or a caesarean section, expecting the answer to be a one or at the most two word affair. Boy, was I wrong.
Over the next two hours, I was privy to every detail of my friend’s labour experience. From the very first twinge of a contraction at 3 am while watching FRIENDS on DVD to a graphic account of having an injection to break her
water, the personal lives and favourite colours of the assistant doctors, her ‘epidural no epidural’ vacillations (a segment punctuated with simulated labour pain screeches and begging) to finally, FINALLY her son arriving; I got it all. I could almost smell the amniotic fluid.
Naturally, my friend’s story freaked me out. And as she sat back and exhaled, exhausted from her retelling I quickly excused myself and ran home as fast as I could, wondering how to convince my doctor to prescribe me a bottle of
Absolut and an Anxit before my delivery.
A friend recently told me how he had a similar experience at a party. There he was at the buffet table pondering over a second helping of baingan bharta, when he sensed a presence at his elbow. Looking up, he saw a woman standing next to him, and gentleman that he was he offered to serve her some.
The woman launched into lengthy monologue on why she couldn’t eat baingan bharta post her pregnancy; and then proceeded to enlighten him on every moment of her 18-hour labour that ended with an emergency c-section. He’s yet to recover. “I just can’t bring myself to eat eggplant anymore,” he says.
Read any parenting blog these days and you’re sure to get a blow-by-blow account of how junior/princess slipped through mommy’s legs bloodied and screaming. What beats me is the total attention to detail.
The fact that someone can remember what happened at 1 am, 2:10 am and 4 am, the names of the nurses on duty and what they ate for lunch on the fateful day. All I can remember is begging the doctor for an epidural and an
intense desire to impart bodily harm upon my husband. Something I would have done if my legs hadn’t been in stirrups.
Why would any one want to remember all that pain, screaming and shouting? But, at least with blogs you have the option of not reading and hitting the ‘x’ button on the top of the window. It’s pretty impossible to shut up someone who’s retelling ‘live deliveries’ once they’ve gotten past the 6cm dilated stage.
I’ve been asked a number of times about my own birth story and have always skipped the details. This is because I fell asleep after my epidural and woke up five hours later. However, when pressed I usually offer the abridged version. I lay. I pushed. I delivered.


5 thoughts on “last week’s column

  1. did i not tell you that at 4 am the mallu nurse shaving me you know where asked- so which village does your husband come from…

    clearly you got the abridged story. lets sit over a plate of some baingan bharta( which i do cook very well, by the way)some day.

  2. Shoefiend,
    Awesome. I’m not yet in the pregnancy mode but the stories I hear scare the hell out of me! As you said the detailing!
    When I get pregnant I know whom to talk to!:-) Thanks!

  3. Uh! To think I never told you mine. I sobbed. I wept. I wept. I sobbed. Sometime in between they got the C-sections done.

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