This was written as a diary entry because I realised I was losing memory in chunks after the birthing- I have a very vague recollection it now (only the happy and comic parts) Now it makes sense why moms even go for baby number 2- the happy hormones make us forget the unpleasant bits and the pain!
“I was rolled into the labour room and asked if I would be able to walk to the bed. Putting a brave and strong face, I jumped off the gurney and limped into the labour room and settled into the bed. I had painted my nails, which was a problem, because the device to be attached to my finger to monitor my pulse (I think) wouldn’t do its work properly with the polish.
My doctor came and started shooting instructions. I was connected to the IV and given some more medicines. She gave me a small pep talk that bounced off me. “Husbands only” rule prevailed and N came in, slowly taking in the scene, looking all excited. Not knowing where to stand, he stood behind the doctor, and she barked at him to stand by my side. A pair of stirrups had appeared from somewhere and I was asked to lay in the most awkward position ever, ankles on the stirrups, legs spread wide, for the world to see. Normally, this position by itself would be painful, but with all the contractions, this posture and angle did not matter. My doctor kept repeating just one thing: The baby is beautifully positioned, just go for it. And when she was ready, she asked me to push while the contractions came.
I think curiosity got the better of N, who tip toed to see what was happening. The crowd on the other side kept saying “Oh, we can see the head, push, PUSH” but later N clarified that they saw nothing, those liars. There was a cylinder ENTONOX which is a mix of Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen used as a pain killer, it is a self administered gas that my doctor asked me to breathe, and this was making me sleepy. N recollected some of the conversations we had with relish.
“Gitanjali, can you hear me? I want you to push. Are you able to push?”
“Yes doctor, but I’m very, very sleeeeepy…”
“Gitanjali, you are not pushing. If you won’t co-operate, I am leaving the labour room NOW”
Sobbing, sobbing “But it is SO painful”
(Dramatically) DOCTOR PLEASE CUT ME OPEN AND TAKE THE CHILD OUT!
As a last resort:
“DOCTOR PLEASE GIVE ME AN EPIDURAL!”
My doctor actually laughed “The time for epidural is long gone, here breathe in some more gas”
The final straw was me thinking, okay let’s get this done with, and pushing with all my might. I ended up peeing on my doctor, and still, no sign of the baby. N was promptly sent back to his spot by my side, and given instructions to make sure I breathe in gas from the cylinder.
Now I got worried because all shouts of “Push” had stopped. Frantically I kept repeating, “What are you going to do, doctor, what are you going to do?!”, as I watched her tick off a list of equipment with the nurse.
Soon I felt injections down there and a feeling of numbness creep around the area. Later I came to know that the procedure followed was called an episiotomy, and my doctor figured that the umbilical cord was around the baby’s neck preventing it from exiting my body.
Now I was pushing with nobody’s urging because I figured it was going to get over soon. And with the last push, I felt a lump slither out, and relief course over my body.
I was convinced we were having a boy, and imagine my reaction when my doctor announced- “Gitanjali you have a beautiful daughter!”
I remember feebly saying “What, I thought it was a boy” and my doctor replying “Adi vaangapore!”
Unfortunately, I don’t remember them placing the baby on me, though I remember my doctor saying “Skin to Skin..” I think I must have passed out for a few seconds.
I watched them take my baby away to clean her up, and N follow the nurse holding the baby like the pug in Hutch/ Vodafone commercials, and passed out again. By now, I was breathing the gas like it was my lifeline, almost enjoying the way it was playing with my head.
I woke up to more pain, as doctors massaged my tummy (or rather, mashed it like a potato) as I delivered the placenta. N was nowhere to be found.
I happily went back to smelling the sweet-smelling gas, as I felt my doctor stitch me up. Some thoughts that flitted though my mind were-
‘Yay I can sleep on my tummy now!’
‘I can have all the sweets I want- no more gestational diabetes!’
‘I can finally SLEEP!’
Who was I kidding? Nothing has changed.
Soon, my doctor left, with some instructions about how I ought to sleep, how I could sit, what I could eat. Finally, they brought my daughter to me.
There was a spot of blood they missed wiping off her cheek, and my first thought was: “oh my god, she has a mole in the middle of her face!”
Then a nurse wiped it away and there she was, eyes shut, looking so delicate she might crumble if touched.
Did I feel overwhelming love? Did I feel any motherly instincts? Not then. At that time, I only wanted to sleep.”