Monday, 15 September 2014 Filed in: Snugglepunk
Historically, there has never been a single documented case of a woman remaining pregnant forever. All babies come out eventually and, four days after his expected due date, our second son was forcibly ejected from his water bath by the power of modern medicine (which is evidently not all that powerful because it took three days to coax him out).
I’m not going to go into the details of his birth - partly because birth stories make people uncomfortable and partly because I’ve forgotten.
Summary of my thoughts at various stages surrounding the birth of my second child:
Before labour: I would like a natural birth with bubbles and flower fairies and tiny cherubs singing in my head as I calmly guide my baby into the world.
During labour: Oh my God - this is horrific. I am clearly going to die. Can someone get me a c-section? This is not physically possible. I am NEVER doing this again. Remember not to forget that later…if I survive…never again. Mr Oh…remind me…NEVER AGAIN! (Mr Oh didn’t hear me because he had quietly fainted in a far corner of the room).
Seconds after birth of child: Holy Jesus - I’m not dead. I might be permanently incapacitated though. Doctor…am I ok? I don’t feel ok. Oh, look, baby. Nice baby.
Minutes after birth of child: He’s lovely, and so soft. Don’t get distracted by the lovely baby. NEVER AGAIN.
Day after birth of child: Never again. Never again. Never again. Never again. I can’t even sit up. Never again.
Two days after birth of child: Maybe it wasn’t that bad.
Three days after birth of child (when someone asks me how the labour went): It was just magical.
So, Snugglepunk is now three weeks old. We don’t leave the apartment too often with him. In China, newborns and their mothers spend the first month after birth in confinement - no leaving the home at all. Chinese old people also have no sense of personal space and/or boundaries so they get very, very close and very loudly vocalise their suspicions that your child might not yet be one month old and that you are therefore engaged in forbidden activity by exposing him to the outside world. I think if the old Chinese people of China had themselves a catchphrase, it would be “If it’s out in public, it’s public property”. In their defense, outside in China is no place for newborns - there’s bad air, toxic construction fumes, falling debris, illegal pavement traffic, bicycles with 20 ft long metal rods attached (perfect for skewering unsuspecting pedestrians) and Chinese grandmothers trying to poke your newborn in the face for unknown reasons.
Little A is reacting well to Snugglepunk’s arrival. We’ve been trying to teach him to be gentle with the new baby and he gets it as far as his hands and face are concerned i.e. lots of gentle kisses and hugs. His legs, however, he seems unwilling to take responsibility for and if he kneels on the baby while trying to gently kiss him or inadvertently kicks the baby while on his way to bestow gentle hugs, he cannot be held liable (at least, he refuses to be held liable). There’s no jealousy so far. The first thing Little A says every morning is “I want to see baby”. Baby has to be kissed at least a dozen times before Little A leaves for school. There seem to be bonus points for the amount of honey, yoghurt and other un-newborn friendly food Little A can transfer from his own face to the baby’s via these kisses. He seems to genuinely like the baby though and when Snugglepunk cries, Little A pats his back and says “No worries, baby”.
There’s still a little voice inside my head going ‘neveragainneveragainneveragainneveragain’ but it’s getting dimmer and harder to hear over the noise of two small screaming children.