Thursday, 18 November 2010
Only in Italy can you find yourself in the middle of labour, writhing in agony in the delivery room, and have your husband comment on how pretty all the midwives are. The worst thing is that he was right: they were a bunch of dewy skinned, bright eyed, twenty-something, SKINNY bitches. For those of you who've not had the experience of giving birth, you don't exactly feel at your best. You're naked for all the world to see and smeared in just about every bodily fluid you can possibly imagine. Quentin Tarantino eat your heart out, it's real-life splatter with added number ones and twos just for fun. And they say it's natural.
Also, in Italy, pain relief during labour is for pansies. They like you to sweat it out for a few hours/days/felt like weeks, before taking a look and saying,
'Opps, it seems that you're too far along for the epidural now Signora, time to start pushing!'
I was hoping to be sucking on air and gas as I had heard about back home but alas, Italian pain relief is all or nothing. Epidural, or controlled breathing. Controlled breathing. Count to five breathing in, count to five breathing out. Now, I was all in favour of doing it the natural way, but that was because I have never been trampled by a herd of stampeeding elephants and so I had absolutely no idea of how painful it was going to be. Controlled breathing only just about covers it if you stub your toe. During the last four or five hours, I would have accecpted ANY drug on offer. Sod going natural, sod potential side effects and to be perfectly frank, sod what it'll do to the baby. I even tried to secretly convince my other half to bash me on a head with a chair while the sexy nurses turned the other way with a swish of their glossy hair.
We did manage one little English interlude during the early stages: just before things started to get really serious, we had some cheese sandwiches and a cup of strong tea which we'd prepared at home and brought with us in a thermos flask. It was the oddest picnic I've ever had, but that cup of tea may have been the only thing that kept me from gorging my own eyes out later on.
In the end, she came flying out after a night and a day of contractions and five horrifically long hours of pushing in every position except hanging from the light fittings. Little Isabel just didn't want to leave. To be honest, if someone told me I had to squeeze through a cat-flap in order to get a drink then I'd probably just tell them to hold the milk, thank you very much.
My other half managed to survive this whole experience WITHOUT ONE CIGARETTE which is nothing short of a miracle. He probaby suffered as much as me. Even more impressive, he also cut the umbilical cord. This is the man who has to sit down and put his head between his knees if I accidently show him the little plaster where I've had a blood test. Now he's become a very modern father, changing nappies and fully tolerant of my baby poo obsession.
So there you go, a very Italian beginning. There's so much more to say, but for now I'd better go before I get started on baby poo...