Poor Stevie

Archive of ‘awkward’ category

labour pains: the finale

Exactly a week after Snorky was due, on September 21, this is what happened:

4.37am – I wake to painful cramps that pulse through my belly at regular intervals. I wait a moment before I wake J-man because this whole fake labour shiz has been going on for weeks. This could just be Thai take-out, I think. Like that scene in The Madness of King George when Helen Mirren tells Nigel Hawthorne to “try a fart”, I do just that to no avail. I wake J-man and tell him it’s on like Donkey Kong.

6am – The contractions are consistently coming every couple of minutes. In the book they give you at baby classes, it says this means the baby is imminent and get in the car now or you will have the kid in the toilet. I am thrilled at how quickly it all seems to be going and I imagine gazing at my baby over lunch.

8am – I have peanut butter on toast for breakfast, as the contractions pick up. J-man rings the hospital and they tell us amateurs to stay at home because this baby is not coming anytime soon. Hey lady, take some Panadol, have a hot shower and chew on some cement, they tell us.

9am – I set up a pain station in the lounge room, where I kneel on a pillow and put my head on another pillow placed on a chair. I cry, I scream, and I grunt. This baby is coming! J-man talks about calling the hospital again. I say if they ask whether the pain is manageable to tell them yes it is, I have a high pain threshold, and I could just as easily have this baby at home. I hear him say these words, words that will come to haunt me.

11am – Everything comes to a grinding halt. I feel like an idiot.

Noon – Oh, hang on. Here we go, something is happening. I want to keep things moving, so I get the broom and use it as a walking stick for my dicky hip and do laps of the courtyard under the hot sun. The contractions continue to come frequently and I moan and groan while our neighbours discreetly usher their visitors indoors.

2pm – Finally, I rate the pain as unmanageable and we hop in our little hire car and go to the hospital. Ouch, ouch, ouch. I distinctly remember sitting at a red light on Victoria Road wishing for death. Or birth. Whichever.

2.15pm – The midwives obviously care not about my views on life and death and send me to a waiting room in the delivery ward. Another couple – a heavily pregnant woman who is not in labour and her dude – sit across from us watching some kind of car race on the TV. I am contracting in front of strangers and it is the height of totes awkward. I squeeze J-man’s hand until it looks like a rubber chicken.

2.20pm – A lovely young midwife named Emily with a nose stud examines me and finds I am measuring – cough – three centimetres. Three. And I have to get to ten. How embarrassing is this? I can’t even take contracting to a three. She tells us to head back home, rest, have something to eat and come back at about 6pm.

3pm – This part is kind of a daze. I don’t remember being in heaps and heaps of pain, but I do remember telling J-man he should get in some nap time and a Red Dead Redemption session before things get real. I eat coconut bread with honey and an orange icy pole. Things amp up about 5.30pm and red hot, raging cramps race around my belly and back.

6.45pm – We go back to the hospital. The short trip to RPA is horrific. I cry and moan and have hand-to-hand combat with my seatbelt, which I’m convinced is making everything worse.

7pm – A kindly middle-aged midwife ushers me in to a delivery suite and shows me how to use the gas. The gas, my friends, is a con. It does nothing. But it does feel surprisingly good to just pretend. I get into a night shirt and ask the midwife whether I should take off my underpants. She laughs and says I can keep my dignity a little longer.

7.20pm – A lovely young midwife named Tori comes in and takes over. She says I now measure four. Fucking FOUR!? Will I still be in labour when they hand me a gold timepiece at my retirement party? She suggests we all get in the shower together. Me, her, J-man and the gas bottle. The shower is (obviously) huge. Tori and J-man chit-chat and discover we all went to the same uni. It’s weird. Here I am, totally naked, having a shower while my husband watches with another woman and there’s drugs in the room. This is not something I would usually be into.

9pm – The feeling of hot water on my body starts to annoy me. And this is about the time that I lose my mind. It is, I believe, the part the books and Satan himself call “transition”. At first I lean up against the bed growling and grunting like a wild animal, sucking in gas and chewing ice chips. Tori tells me to let her know when I am not coping and she will give me morphine. Soon after, I yell at J-man “I AM NOT COPING” in between hitting him on the chest as the contractions start to become just one big, awful contraction. I get the morphine. It does nothing for the pain, only makes me really sleepy in between contractions. With each one, Tori tells me “You can. You can”.

10pm – It’s time to start pushing. I won’t go into graphic detail, only to say that while it stung like a giant bee with fangs, claws, and Swiss Army knife in its pocket, it was such a feeling of relief. I look back now, imagining being naked, on all fours and grunting, as two midwives look up my clacker, and the only way I can explain it is this: I was not there for my own labour. The real me was at home watching Breaking Bad and eating cheese on the couch, waiting for Labour Steph – the unashamed and naked one – to come home with the baby.

11.37 – A little, blue being drops between my legs and starts to cry. J-man cuts the cord. I call my parents. We cry, we laugh, we freak out. We name her Cordelia.

Delia1

 

 

labour pains II

The sign on the physiotherapist’s door said: “Knock ONCE and wait PATIENTLY”. The physio ushered us into her office, while still treating a pregnant woman for problems she probably didn’t want to share with J-man and me. The physio was nudging 60, wearing a white zip-up coat and sneakers, and had a Carmela Soprano hairstyle. The open-plan surgery was very old school, with 1980s-style posters on the wall, baring slogans like “PELVIC FLOOR: USE IT OR LOSE IT”. Her writing was scrawled and heavily underlined on a couple of whiteboards: “TURN OFF YOUR MOBILE PHONE DURING CONSULTATIONS!”. We winced when J-man’s phone buzzed.

Over the next 30 minutes, these are some of the things she said while diagnosing me with something called Pelvic Girdle Pain (it sounds so benign and Victorian) and showing J-man how to massage me:

– “This is probably labour. You’ve been in labour since Friday.”

– “You want the pain to go away? Get that kid out.”

– “Take off all your clothes. But not there – anyone could just walk in and see you naked.”

– “I’m going to use a permanent marker on your buttocks.”

– “Joel, put your finger there. Ask if it hurts. Wait until she says yes and then press down hard.”

– “That’s good, Joel. See how she’s crying? Sometimes you’ve got to make them cry.”

– “Is that your pubis? Good! I’m pleased with your pubis.”

– “Now. Go home and have sex. I’m not joking – that’s the best way to get this kid out.”

Monday came and went, and Snorky did not arrive. At this rate she’ll be celebrating her 18th birthday in utero.

let’s get physical

The woman running the antenatal class was totally obsessed with pelvic floor exercises.  A physiotherapist, she even had an ultrasound machine set up in her home and subjected her teenage daughter to tests to see if she had been doing her exercises.

She told us French and Scandinavian women have the strongest pelvic floor muscles in the world because they are taught to do the exercises from a very young age. Without daily squeezes, our future would be filled with embarrassing moments and early entry into a nursing home, she warned.

She even had an anecdote to go with her message.

“I knew a woman who didn’t do her exercises during two pregnancies – she had two boys. Eventually her urge to wee would be so bad that she couldn’t even wait to unlock the door when she came home. She would wee in the garden. Now, that might be OK when your sons are two and four, but when they’re 16 and 18? No teenage boy wants to see his mother wee in the garden.”

Stony-faced and silent, she gave an ominous look to every single rounded woman sitting in the semi-circle.

I don’t underestimate the importance of pelvic floor muscle exercises. I don’t want to end up in a home, having to endure visits from awful singing schoolchildren. But holy crap, this class was full of doom and gloom. There were warnings of haemorrhoids, weird nipple happenings and, not surprisingly, paranoia. There were charts showing the “ideal stool” and demonstrations of how to sit on the toilet properly. Also, DON’T LIE ON YOUR BACK!

I know there are a lot of women out there who have truly awful pregnancies – that totally sucks – and it made me realise just how lucky I’ve been so far.

It’s something I am most definitely not taking for granted, so herewith a list of positive things about pregnancy.

A list of positive things about pregnancy:

– Strangers are very, very kind. I was warned about wacky strangers who want to touch you, but I haven’t had that happen yet. It’s been all about handsome businessmen giving me their seats on the bus, a lady at the coffee shop telling me “I’m holding well”, a little old lady wishing me the best for my “bambino” and – the greatest – a young guy offering to lend me his umbrella if I left it in a secret place for him to retrieve. “I can’t just let you, like that, walk in this rain, ” he said. I mean, wow.

– Colleagues are very, very kind. I’ve had people buy me sweets, cups of tea, friands and de-caf coffees. One woman bought our baby a pair of hand-knitted booties. The other day I shared a particularly wild taxi ride with a woman I work with, who yelled at the driver to slow down and continually checked on me.

– Neighbours are very, very kind. Our neighbours invited us over for morning tea and gave us enough clothes for our daughter (have I mentioned that? It’s a little lady!) to wear for the rest of her life.

– The nesting instinct is awesome. Suddenly I want to dry the dishes, make the bed hotel-style, bake, de-clutter and just generally outnest Big Bird.

– You crave cinnamon donuts. Your baby wants them, so you dang well eat them.

– Your hair gets shiny and your nails get strong. I’ve also lost my milk moustache! A miracle far greater than any pot of Nad’s could perform.

There are other things I could add, but I need to wee.

 

Free burrito

J-man likes to tell people he never gets hit on anymore because he “reeks of marriage”. I wouldn’t say he reeks of marriage: he is a dude who regularly stays out late without me (I like bed better than people), drinks and brews a lot of beer, and is a member of a naughty rap group that performs a song mentioning something called a “panty tsunami”.

On Saturday night, J-man offered to shout me dinner, dragged me from the couch and took me to see a band and get a burrito. He had been wanting to get a burrito since his birthday, when he went to a Mexican place in Surry Hills that helped him celebrate with a silly sombrero and a voucher for a free burrito. He was SUPER EXCITED about the free burrito and had mentioned it at least once everyday since Wednesday.

At the Mexi place, we had an exceptionally awkward encounter with the server.

Observe:

Joel: Hi. Could I have a chicken burrito, please?

Man: (Typing)

Me: Could I have a bean burrito please?

Man: Hang on please (Typing). Okay, a chicken burrito and a beef burrito.

Joel: Could I please have that weird green drink?

Me: Sorry, I said a bean burrito. Thanks.

Man: Yep, a bean burrito. You guys want hot or mild salsa?

Joel: I’ll have hot, please.

Me: Could I just have mild, please?

Man: Yes, the beef burrito comes with mild.

Me: Sorry, I asked for a bean burrito.

Man: The bean burrito comes with hot salsa.

Me: Could I just have mild, please?

Man: (Typing) Hang on … yes.

Joel: Could I please have that weird green drink?

Me: And could I get a Coke?

Man: Sorry, hang on (typing) … yes.

But this is where things got GREAT, and J-man handed over his voucher. As he pulled it from his wallet and unfolded it, it looked suspicious – it was just one of the shop’s flyers with a scribble of black texta on it.

Joel: I’ve got a free burrito!

Man: A free burrito?

Joel: A free burrito!

Man: (Looking at the flyer) This is not a free burrito. This is just a girl’s name with “FB” written on it, as in Facebook.

Joel: (Looking at the flyer) So it’s not FB as in free burrito? Ooooh … Facebook! Haha!

Turns out a sombrero must look really good on J-man, and the waitress wanted to get a little of that hot salsa. We sat down at a table where J-man declared “I’VE STILL GOT IT!” And flexed his muscles.

Man: Hey, man. You forgot your weird green drink.

four walls

Recently recounting getting our nephew to sleep while he stayed over.

Me: I don’t mind cuddling him during the tantrums. Because crying actually makes you really exhausted. You know, like when you cry yourself to sleep?

Him: I’ve never done that.

Me … Me neither.

elephant

Reasons you could mistake me for a huge conservative:

– The first time I could vote, at a local council election, I voted for Family First because I thought their name sounded sweet.

– I can recite the lord’s prayer, both Anglican and Catholic versions.

– I have two royal wedding cups and a Buckingham Palace tea caddy.

– I met my first real boyfriend when I was 17. I married him when I was 24.

– Babies, please ASAP.

– Last night J-man came home at 4am, exactly eight hours after I returned from having tea and scones and a Bento Box and peach tea with my friend Liam. We also shopped for bananas and washing up liquid.

archaeology

I don’t have any grey hairs, an unexpected beard or a cat named Boots, but I have definitely become an old woman.

A series of first world problems broke into my life in May and swiped motivation, creativity and contentment right off my mantelpiece (sitting next to my Year 10 writing award and J-man’s homemade Most Improved Player NBA trophy) and replaced them with tears and Cheezels. I’m keeping the dang Cheezels.

I am coming out of the funk now, but this has been my life for the last three months:

I sent this photo of our new lampshade to J-man. He didn’t reply because he was at Splendour in the Grass with his shirt off. He told me later that it would kill his “rock ‘n’ roll” if he replied to a message about home furnishings while he was partying.

On Thursday J-man had free tickets to a gig, where free booze and free sandwiches were on offer. Free. Sandwiches. I stayed home to do the housework. Afterwards I rewarded myself with an old fashioned stout and dressing gown session. This is my favourite beer. Our bottle shop doesn’t even display it in the fridge.

This has been my Saturday night view. That blanket was 50 per cent off at the Red Cross shop’s closing sale.

I’ve been making boob jokes with Jam Drop cookies.

My flapjack’s name is Amelia.

On our way to the ferry a few weekends ago, I excitedly snapped this old folk’s home. With its pansies and pink walls, this is where I want to spend my final days. J-man asked: “Do you think they would let us share a room?” Sounds perfect.

 

we talk

If I’m left to my own devices for too long, I end up making bum jokes and losing friends.

This week I was chatting to a very glamorous girl – there she was in her stilettos, her red, flattering Carla Zampatti skirt, teamed with a sweet striped top and vintage gold beads. I stood next to her in my beat-up shoes with my clubbed toes hanging out the end, a pair of ill-fitting black pants that have faded to Dire Straits stonewash grey and a stripy cropped jacket that makes me look like I’m a volunteer at an old folks’ home. To top it off, I had the worst hayfever I’ve had this season – eyes watering, nose pouring, loud scream-inducing sneezes at every turn.

It was probably the salt water and mucus combination pouring from my nostrils that took our conversation from awesome eBay finds (her skirt) to illnesses (my allergies/social retardation). She asked me something about getting shots.

Me:  Yeah, I don’t get them because I’d probably have to have them in my butt cheeks.

Her: What?

Me: ….. Ah ha ha? I don’t get them because I’d probably have to have them in my butt chee-.

Her: -So what’s up this weekend?

I’m sure my face turned the same colour as my candy striper jacket, but I battled on anyway and managed to tell her about my awesome plans for the weekend  – making a fort, growing a beard, wearing a rope belt, catching insects for food and staying there for the rest of my life so I never, ever have to socially interact again.

I’m actually pretty used to this kind of thing happening. I’m no good at small talk and it takes a really, really long time for me to feel comfortable enough to show you I have a sense of humour. So I think 80 per cent of people who meet me think I’m a dirty mute, in the style of Steve Buscemi as The Marietta Mangler.

It’s seriously the small talk thing that gets me the most – I’m fascinated by how it works.

Observe:

SMALL TALK WITH REGULAR, SELF-ASSURED PEOPLE:

1: Oh god, I hate soft apples.

2: Me too. I once got such a soft apple that I swear it could have taken out the softest apple of all soft apples in the soft apples competition at the 1997 Granny Smith fair.

1: Oh my god, is that girl wearing track pants to work?

2: Woah. She so is. I like to wear trackpants only on the weekends.

1: Me too. Or when I’m hungover and going to Maccas for some food.

2: How good is Maccas for a hangover?

1: Oh, so good.

2: Actually, let’s go eat now.

1: Totally!

See what happened there? From their mutual dislike for soft apples and trackpants at work, 1 and 2 made an everlasting connection and have gone to lunch, where they will probably meet cute guys, who will buy them matching pug puppies.

SMALL TALK BETWEEN A NORMAL, SELF-ASSURED PERSON AND A CLUBBED TOED, DIRTY MUTED ME.

1:  Oh god, I hate soft apples.

Me: Same.

1: Oh my god, is that girl wearing track pants to work?

Me: Umm, yeah it looks like it?

1: Holy shit, is that mucus AND salt water coming out of your nose at the same time.

Me: Ah, yeah.

1: You should really get some shots or something.

Me: Yeah, I don’t get them because I’d probably have to have them in my butt cheeks.

1: What?

Me: … Ah ha ha? I don’t get them because I’d probably have to have them in my butt cheeks.

1: So what’s up this weekend?

I’m seriously considering quitting my current job and taking up a position as a rapper. I think I’d be great, I have the ‘tude, the slammin’ body and my very own lingo.

I neeeeeeed to be Snoop Dogg. I’d be Snoop Kitten.

In other news, my sister got married, I realised I can’t wear high heels, I got us all lost with the help of Google maps and my hair is rapidly heading towards mullet-express.

I’ll post pictures at some other point…

Love Steve