08 April 2011

And so it begins...

*WARNING: Gratuitous photos of baby ahead.

Diaper changed. Check. Milk drank. Check. Gas removed. Check. No milky crusty shit stuck in the chin folds. Check. Possibility that child will sleep long enough for me to get out a proper post. Undetermined. Possibility that midwife will show up right when I’m in the middle of a thought. Almost certain. Possibility that I’ll get distracted by the utter cuteness that is a small sleeping newborn that I get to call my own. Guilty.

So it’s 3 days later or perhaps 4 days, since the birth. Actually, what day is it? I have no idea. I think its Friday. The Grand National is on tomorrow so it must be. I’ve managed to get showered before 9 AM and I just realized that my normal jeans already fit me again so fucking hell, it’s already a good day in my book. Not to mention, there’s a bottle of whiskey in the kitchen and a Friday night to justify cracking into it. It might ease the pain of the 20 some boxes and various unassembled furniture littering the house at the moment.

Not sure how he managed to get his coat up there, or where he might be going at night.

To get the details out of the way (for those of you who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about baby things especially labor and delivery, I would recommend just reading ahead to the end where I will put a picture of badger for your amusement), Henry’s arrival this week started off by my water breaking at 4 AM on Monday morning. Just as an FYI, in the UK they consider this process as your waters breaking (note the ‘S’). This is just a further example of the Brits shifting their S’s all over the shop and lands in the same pile of wonder as “reading the Sport page” (note the lack of ‘S’). I was actually prepared to give you more examples of this ‘S’ phenomenon but I’m fucking tired and can’t remember another one at this time. Anyhow, my water broke at 4 AM but nothing else was really happening so I just stuck it out at home. By 4 PM, I was getting random contractions but nothing more. We called the hospital (in the UK, you would say that you’re going to hospital – no ‘the’ – yeah, I know) and they told us to come in to check things out. Since we were just in the hospital 2 days earlier for the same thing and were sent home, I didn’t bother to bring all my things with me the 2nd time around. This was a huge mistake on my part as we didn’t get sent home the 2nd time and by the time we left 16 hours later, I had my hair pulled back using a surgical rubber glove. I’m nothing if not resourceful.

Because I wasn’t in what anyone was considering “active labor”, I was sent to the midwife unit for assessment. I had been weary about going to the midwife unit because I wanted an epidural and the midwives are not allowed to give them. I went anyways because I really didn’t have a choice at that point. This would appear to be the theme of the evening. Now before I begin, I would like to say that I really have no issues with the NHS (National Health Service) in this country. I’ve had numerous doctors’ visits in the two months I’ve lived here and besides one time with an extremely long wait, I’ve had no complaints. Everyone has been both very nice and knowledgeable in their profession. So when I say that the midwives at Liverpool Women’s Hospital were awesome and complete bitches at the same time, take it with a grain of salt.

He brings home the bacon and cooks it up in a...bottle.

About a month before giving birth, I was watching one of the morning news shows and they had a piece on how epidurals aren’t readily given in this country and in fact, there are midwives who flat out refuse to send a patient for one. At the time I scoffed at the piece, turning to my mother in law and stating matter of factly, “I’m getting an epidural. I will make sure of it.” Oh, how na├»ve I was! Because I didn’t get one. I asked for one. I pleaded for one. I begged for one. I whined for one. At one point I turned to the midwife and said, “I WANT A FUCKING EPIDURAL. WHY CAN’T I GET AN EPIDURAL? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU FUCKING PEOPLE?!” I would like to state for the record that I did do a lot of apologizing after the fact to any of the midwives I might have offended.

You may be wondering why I was refused an epidural. To be quite honest, I really have no idea. I was told from the get go that the delivery ward – where there are real doctors who give real epidurals – were too busy to take me. Too many emergencies, not enough beds….or some bullshit. I refuse to believe that and instead think that because the only thing that was wrong was me was my pain and my trucker mouth, there was no real reason for me to go up to use the resources of a real doctor. So yes, the NHS, you get what you pay for. Which is nothing, which is what I got in terms of pain relief.

First day out on the town.  He looks like he's going to an NFL game in Green Bay.

I am exaggerating a bit, because it’s my blog and I can. I did get morphine twice – which worked for an hour at the very beginning and fuck all at the end – and I got laughing gas which made me sick to my stomach – very pleasant when you are in that much pain and also feel like puking. In my eyes, besides that hour at the very beginning, I did this birth naturally, something I would highly recommend to anyone I hated or who might cut me off in traffic. For the 6 hours I endured the worst pain in my life, these were the only words\phrases in my vocabulary: Fuck. Fucking Shit. Fucker Fuck Me. Jesus Fuck Shit Fuck I WANT AN EPIDURAL Fuck Me Christ. These words\phrases were accompanied by banshee screams and various body flings into the walls. What I find amusing (now) is that the windows to my room not only looked over the main entrance, but were also wide open allowing any and all visitors, patients and staff to get the full extent of my soon to be Harvard speech that I was giving.

You may wonder what giving birth naturally feels like. I’ve been comparing it to passing a baby dragon, with all its claws and scales and breathing fire, through your love hole. I think that’s all I really need to say about it really.

Just born and already complaining.

16 hours after arriving at the midwives unit, we were sent home. Technically, if I wanted, I could have gone to the maternity unit with Henry to rest while Andy would be sent home. Since I had no desire to lounge around with a bunch of other women who may recognize my voice (the embarrassment of hearing, “Jesus Fuck Shit Fuck I WANT AN EPIDURAL Fuck Me Christ” all night), I agreed to go home when they asked if I wanted to.

Since then it’s been everything you probably expect. No sleep. Visitors coming to coo at your child. Take out dinners. Laundry (my god, the laundry!). Spit and Shit. Bottles of milk sitting next to glasses of wine. Crying (both Henry’s and mine). Burping (they call it “winding” here). Little socks. Love. Lots and lots of love for this tiny little thing that made me uncomfortable for 9 months, near death pain for 6 hours, and refuses to let me sleep ever since he arrived in the world. You rock K.I.S.S. style, my son.

 You rock even when you're farting.



  1. Sounds awful. Call me when he's 18.

  2. Holy shit. They better give me an epidural when I ask for one here or I will burn the entire building down.
    Anyway, he looks like he was worth the effort. Well done.

  3. Dude, from what I've heard those NHS midwives will do whatever it takes to avoid you getting an epidural. I was watching One Born Every Minute and this 20 year old was freaking OUT. They kept putting her off, then the doctor was backed up, then they told her she might be too far along. she finally got one in the end. I call bullshit on that. It's your body, you have the right to an epidural if you want!

  4. Liz: I seriously wish you the best of luck. Go directly to the delivery ward if you can at all manage it. I think that was my biggest mistake in the end.

    And I would have set the place on fire if I had had the proper equipment...believe me.

    Kim: That's exactly what they did to me. I can't tell you how upsetting it is to be in that position and kept being put off. It's complete bullshit.

  5. So I had my son in London, and begged and begged and begged for an epidural, and finally got one, and it didn't work. Or so I thought, until I just had my daughter on Tuesday, in the US, and it was exactly as you described it. I have never, ever screamed so much in my life. Or said she crazy things. And I did this having chosen a natural water birth, although 6 hours in I was screaming for an epidural, and they kept putting me off, and I ended up without one, and having her naturally. It was SO much more painful than my son, so it made me realize that I, in fact, did have an epidural that worked in the UK. Go figure.

    Anyway, I feel for you! But he is adorable, so well worth it :)

  6. Andrea: I'm glad I wasn't alone in pain. And it's recent pain too so it's still fresh. I never thought I would at any time crawl on the floor in front of a stranger without any pants on telling them to "GET IT OUT!" First time for everything I suppose.

    Congrats on your new addition as well!

  7. Ugh. Sounds HORRIBLE. You manage to write it with a sense of humor though. I will write you a long email as soon as life slows down a bit around here. You probably understand that sooo much better now. Henry is a cutie!!!! I am a proud Auntie and proud of YOU for enduring the whole process! Give Henry a kiss for me.


    Please email me your proper address as Thomas would like to share some of his stuff.

  8. BH!

    I've been wanting to have a good chat with you (either IM or email)...but yes, I completely understand the time factor surrounding it. I'll email you my address.

  9. Looks like you aren't alone...


  10. Anon: That article is from 3 years ago no less. I can't believe nobody has addressed the problem.

  11. Moe, it sucks but at least Andy IS wearing an Island Marine Fuel t-shirt.

    Good times. And good taste.


  12. Patrick - Andy has a 4 t-shirt rotation and Island Fuel is one of the 4. I'm sure the whole of Liverpool knows where to get their petrol needs if they ever find themselves in Balboa.

  13. it was apparently a problem 13 years ago:


    more on midwife shortages:


  14. Holy crap, that's really discouraging to read that NHS dicked you around; ladies shouldn't be made to suffer more than they already have to.
    I had an epidural last year with my son (in a US hospital), and the birth was still *excruciating*. Granted, I had already been in labor for 48 hours (I started in thinking I wanted a drug-free hippie birth. Ha.).
    My husband and I'd like to eventually move back to the UK (he's from liverpool), and though I'm not planning on having another munchkin anytime soon, I'd sure as fuck want the option of an epidural if I go int labor there.
    Also, I am very bummed that being a cursey American didn't get you anywhere at the hospital; That's basically my only super power.