I have a perfectly logical question to ask. When a woman gives birth to a baby why isn't there more fan fare? And I'm not referring to an over-priced bouquet from the hospital gift store or a congratulatory casserole. I mean, why isn't there a spot light that bursts from the hospital roof that reads - "Holy Lord Almighty A Human Just Came Out Of That Woman's Body?!!" or a release of 10,000 balloons from the CN Tower? These thoughts plagued me after the 36 hours of labour I endured from my first child. I know, I know...so what do I want a medal?
Um, yeah, kind of.
I decided to go for a home birth the first time around. The combination of my midwives, pre-natal yoga and hypno-birthing classes convinced me that I had a Giant Vagina. Not really. I just liked telling people that - it made me laugh and them feel really uncomfortable. I don't have a Giant Vagina. If I did I would've given birth like in that scene from Big Fish where the baby is catapulted down the hall in a matter of seconds instead of working it for a day and half. But I was sure I could have a baby at home. Why not? The pioneers did it! Why not me? And I'm sure if the pioneers lived as close to every single hospital in the city as I did they would still choose a home birth. Yeah, right. Besides, I had already toured the hospital and didn't want to give "magical" birth to my new child while listening to some woman wailing in the next room. (little did I know)
But a little about hypno-birthing: If you've never heard of hypno-birthing it's basically a way to put yourself in a trance. This being an alternative to any type of drug. My husband and I were the worst students ever. We made fun of each other the entire time. We basically paid $350 to quote "Little Britain" (Look into my eyes, not around my eyes, but directly in my eyes...one, two, three...you're under...now you will go directly to Baskin Robbins and by me a large milkshake). What was interesting, though, was when it came time to use it for labour we were champs. It worked. It was like a Mike Mandel miracle. I slept through early labour - I imagined myself lying on a beach in Tulum and drinking cocktails. Then active labour hit...for 16 additional hours - and I suddenly found myself on my hands and knees listening to a midwife chopping ice in the kitchen - and believe me - those cubes weren't for a gin and tonic. You can only imagine.
Midwives are angels of birth. They have so much respect for women and labour that I am astounded by their patience. By the time they slowly broke it to me that we had to go to the hospital I was already dressed and wailing on the front lawn. I would have driven myself if I could've found the keys. This was not in my "birth plan". Neither were drugs. So when the anesthetist warned me that the epidural may "sting a bit" I think they were all a bit shocked when I told him he could use a rusty switchblade covered with heroine and jam it in my back if that's what would work. Fortunately he did not follow my advice. Apparently they do not teach this technique in medical school.
Giving birth was insane - And not just because the front desk called through to ask us if we wanted to take a call from my mother-in-law at the exact same moment (a moment lasting 2 hours) of pushing out the baby - but because a human was coming out of my body. Plus, how could I possibly take a phone call with all that wailing I had to do? And I wasn't the only one. The floor was lousy with birthing ladies. Humans everywhere! 5 pound humans, 6 pound humans, 7 pound humans and more! Mine was a little girl tipping the scales at an almost 10 pounds. And she was fantastic. I was fantastic. Isn't everyone fantastic?!
So I suppose the reward is more of a personal party. No fan-fare. Just the two of you looking at each other: Once we were one and now we are two. And of course the power that comes from looking at another woman who has gone through this and knowing she deserves to have 10.000 balloons released from the CN in her name. That, I know for sure. Every mother does. Have I mentioned how much I love women?
But just as a foot note - I'm generally pretty hungry. So I'll take the casserole. Always. If you're offering.