I am kind of back. But not entirely. Ever since my baby was born, I have been watching the world around me from inside some bubble filled with gas and air. Slowly, I am beginning to emerge. But my brain is still very slow, affected by the lack of sleep and the trauma of childbirth.
Because, whatever those crazy masochistic natural birth fanatics tell you, giving birth SUCKS.
I have to tell you, that I am definitely not the natural birth fan. I am glad I never got lured into that midwives-led natural birthsection of the hospital I was telling you about. That would have finished me. I mean, WHY? Why would anyone in this day and age volunteer to suffer such horrendous, agonizing, all-consuming, and, most importantly, pointless pain? It is like asking your dentist to not anesthetise you before he pulls your teeth out.
As it turned out, I still suffered, even though, if you look at the way everything worked out, it was a straightforward delivery. No complications, no emergency C-sections...No scary tools to pull the baby out of me. So really, I have nothing to complain about.
I had a fantastic Nigerian midwife. She entertained me with stories about Nigerian men. Of course, not straight away, but after I finally got my epidural and sucked on gas&air pipe, which gave me hope that I might live. So, I could talk to my midwife and even make jokes. And, I enjoyed listening about Nigerian men. According to my midwife, they are culturally allowed to leave their wives or just have sex with another woman, if the wife does not produce a boy. So, as a Nigerian wife, even though she lives in the UK, my midwife had to keep producing children until, finally, the 4th one was a boy. She was very lucky, she said. Otherwise, her husband could have left her. So, not only I delivered my baby girl that day, I also learned that Nigerian men are bastards. Imagine having to go through this agony over and over again, not because you desperately want to have more kids, but because you have to give your husband a son?
The midwife kept me going. Even when the doctor, who stopped by for a minute, decided it was a good idea to stop topping up the epidural, so I could push the baby out naturally. I did not think it was a good idea, personally.
‘Tell you what would be a good idea?’ I said, ‘To keep topping up the epidural until it leaks out of my nose.’
But, the doctor thought otherwise. So, it was the midwife who was telling me I was doing great when I thought I was about to cark it. She was the one who told me to place my foot on her wide sturdy hip and push that baby out. That day, there was nobody in this world more special to me than my new baby and my Nigerian midwife.
So, in short, that is the story. I also realized that women are meant to have babies when they are young. Five years ago, I was out for a coffee morning on the day 4 after giving birth. This time, I wanted to hide in a deep dark cave with no humans around for at least that whole first week. I also realized that the 40-days- no- visitors rule back home is a fantastic idea. It would never work in the UK, but I totally understand now the benefits of such tradition.
As for me right now, my calendar is filled with visitors. We live in the neighbourhood that I can only describe as breeders’ heaven. Everyone loves babies and everyone is excited for you. Besides friends, we had a card from my older child’s teachers, and the school dinner lady; and a huge bouquet of flowers from all the mothers in her class. I had random cards and presents sent to me by people I hardly know. It is incredible, to tell you the truth, and wonderful but also tiring and overwhelming. I panic that I have not thanked people enough, I panic that I probably should write down who sent us what, so that I could later do my thank you cards...I panic that I have not responded to every kind wish on Facebook...But in reality, I have no energy or time. My brain is reduced to the size of a radish, and all I can focus on is whether my body is producing enough milk.
I promise to be back properly soon, and we can talk about ethnic identities, or the importance of the Eurovision victory for democracy in Azerbaijan, or whatever else might tickle our fancy. At the moment though, all I can think about is feeding schedules, lack of sleep and whether I can handle more than one visitor in one day.
PS: It took me three nights to finish this posting.