Top 5 Scary Moments – #1

April 18, 2007 at 9:39 am | Posted in childbirth, family, scary, scary moments | 50 Comments

When you’re going to have a baby, even if your first reaction is “how the hell did that happen?”, you do your best to prepare for it. You buy the pram, the cot, the changing unit, steriliser, bottles – all the trappings of early parenthood. You paint the room lemon, if you’re a pragmatist, pink or blue if you’re an optimist. You’re tiptoeing on eggshells in the weeks before the due date. You swoop to the phone like a hawk, adrenaline-high; sometimes, it might even be ringing. You read and read and read some more because you want to be the best parent the world has ever seen.

You’re left confused and fearful for your ability to cope, and no matter how much preparation you do, it’s all irrelevant and useless when it’s suddenly real. Still, you muddle on.

Linzi was two weeks past due with Erin. On the big night, she woke me at 1.30am to say she thought her contractions had started, and I, considerate chap that I am, turned over in bed, gave her bump a wee pat and said, ah sure you’ll be grand for a while yet.

I was just settling back to sleep when she administered me a vigorous beating about the face, chest, breast, neck and head area. Snapping alert, seeing her flushed face, I realised that she may have been on to something. I grabbed her stuff and guided her to the car.

3am. I pulled up to the hospital, the hot copper taste of excitement and fear bubbling in my throat, fizzing my tongue as though I’d just had a good lick of a 9-volt battery.

We had to go via the Accident & Emergency room because it was after hours. The sensation of the warm air breezing as I sprinted Linzi down the corridor in a wheelchair while toting her enormous overnight bag will stay with me always. Linzi remembers quite different sensations, ones I’m glad I never had to experience.

We got a bed around 3.10am. Erin was born at 3.39. So much happened in between.

When Linzi tells this story, invariably the reaction is “God, you were LUCKY to have her so quickly, weren’t you?”. It’s all relative, I suppose. However, having been through it with her, I think the idea that a speedier delivery makes a woman more fortunate has dubious merit.

Childbirth’s one of the few occasions where it’s socially acceptable for a man to cry. That, and maybe when your dog dies. I never understood why I would cry until I went through it; I never expected it. Linzi asked me one time if I thought I would cry at the birth. Why would I cry? I wondered. Sure I’d be happy, like.

It’s an emotional bungee jump, is why. Frozen panic masked as calm, driving with jittery, awkward limbs. The rush of the brief heroics when you’re playing the rescuer, flying it down the corridor with a wheelchair containing your bellowing wife and your soon-to-be first-born. The feeling of being absolutely useless to her while she goes through this.

There is nothing you can do, so you mask your uselessness with words of support, while the midwives calmly go through the motions for the tenth time that night. You choke back a fat lump of joy as it tries to fill your throat when you hear the steady thumpthumpthump of baby’s heartbeat fast and clear on their monitor. You are hypersensitive to something going wrong, and so you swallow down the acrid tang of panic, copper simmering in battery acid, as you realise that the baby’s heart rate is slowing, slowing, and almost stopping every time there’s a contraction. You bite back a scream of frustration as you notice the midwives’ nervous glances. You try to remember that this is no time to lose the rag, stay calm, be there for her, but for fuck’s sake, stop looking so worried nurse, and DO SOMETHING!.

Try not to freak out while you watch the nurse pick up the phone and why is she urgently whispering for Doctor Whatshisname to come down here right now? Mustn’t get hysterical but what the fuck is going on? You hear a piercing cry as a contraction wrenches your lover from the inside out and baby’s thumpthumpthump becomes thump…thump…thump and you think oh god please let my baby be okay and then the doctor arrives and they lose the heartbeat completely as he takes over and why is that nurse suddenly so pale and FUCKING DO SOMETHING please please help my baby and four, five, six, seven excruciating clueless minutes later you hear a shout as you grip your wife’s hands and cease your worthless assurances to splutter out oh it’s a girl, god, she’s perfect and you say this even though you can see that she is blue and not just a tinge of blue, but blue like evening summer skies just after sunset and inside you’re desperate to know that she’s okay and the relief you feel when you hear those tiny little lungs take their first breath, the relief as she screams with a ferocity that foretells of a temper like her daddy, it’s like nothing you’ve ever felt and suddenly all the strength is gone from your body and your eyes flood and spill over and yet you’re laughing as you watch the two most important people in your life lying warm and still together as they meet for the first time and all you can think is god we made this, we made this perfect little thing and you blab and snot, just like a child yourself, and you don’t really care who sees.

Four hours later, little baby sleeping serenely, and you’re crying again, tears of agony this time, because your wife has just kicked you in the bollocks with all the force she can muster. Looking back on it, it probably was rather insensitive to complain to your freshly-stitched partner that your arse is killing you from sitting on these uncomfortable feckin chairs.

Parenting, I recommend it. You’ll never be guilt-free again!


Please note: If you’re a guy, don’t ever use the wanky phrase “we’re pregnant”. You’re not pregnant, you impregnated her. You hang around while she has to do the work. Give her credit where it’s due.



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  1. FMC just wrote a thing in her bloggy this morning about reading things that make us cry – THIS made me cry ya bastid.

    God that’s lovely. I love it.

  2. Sweet, Kav, just bloomin’ sweet.

  3. I didnt cry when i read that. I cried with no sleep, no money, no sex, no going out. I balled like a wee girl when her ma was round all the time. And i cried hardest when she fucked off taking my wee man with her. Cunt.

  4. Kav that was lovely and it was more or less the same for us – though we got a little fellah Joseph. No idea how he came out of such a small space but gor bless em all the same.

  5. Aw… great post Kav! You’re just an oul softie! 😉 I always felt bad because I was the mother and didn’t cry at either birth… I guess I’m a bad person. The husband cried both times though, the second time possible because he had to assist with the delivery… being a former hippy I decided I didn’t want any nurses, doctors or drugs (apart from the gas), in the room, so the husband was the midwife’s assistant… good thing I was stoned… probably wouldn’t have felt too good about him seeing some of what he saw! LOL!

  6. Bloody hell. I’m sure it’s amazing and everything, but myself and SLF have discussed the old baby thing… And as she already has The Daughter, I’d say we’re sorted on that front. The screaming, the pain…
    I always figured if I love someone enough to want a baby with them, I love them too much to put them through pregnancy.

  7. Pinkie: This made you cry? That is so gay, heh.

    FMC: Like candy. Mmmm….candy.

    manuel: I take it the break-up was quite acrimonious then?

    Sid: Holy crap, you have kids? I think the worst bit is knowing that you’re of no use at all in that situation. I like to fix stuff, not stand by and watch other people do it.

    Deborah: Linzi said it was me crying that set her off, rather than anything else. The female has plenty to go through without worrying about how she shoudl be reacting. I reckon I would’ve passed out if I’d been in your man’s shoes. I was firmly placed at the top half, and didn’t dare peek below decks.

    badgerdaddy: Ours was a complete surprise. We had just got back from spending new year in New York, and it was the last thing on our minds. Now we look back and we’re glad we didn’t have to agonise over the decision – it was made for us.

  8. Okay, do you really write these things first thing when you get up? It’s great … but again, once you started swearing you lost me. Try harder next time to curb your filthy fucking mouth. 🙂

  9. Most of them I write off the cuff when I come in to work. I had this one half-written for a while, and I finished it this morning. There’s swearing in it because that’s exactly what was going through my head. None of it was said aloud. That would just have been rude.

  10. Ah, I’m only teasing ya. But it’s a great diary. It’ll be so cool for your daughter to read stories like this when she’s all growed up.

  11. Thanks. She’ll probably hate me for it though!

  12. “acrimonious” only the bit were it hurt and I cried. She left me for our next door neighbour and old friend. I miss him

  13. Not a chance. Kids loving hearing about the night they were born. I nearly died the night of my birth. I was born by Ceasarian (siq) in a panic when I was suffocating and then my mother nearly died as the Ceasarian had to be preformed before the painkilling injection had taken affect. Nasty night. Dad almost died from the fright of it all.

  14. I should never write comments I can’t spell check. *groan*

  15. Kav, that is the nicest thing I’ve read in a while and credible too, especially the bit about the chairs because after 72 hours of labor, ending up with a C section,poisoned by magnesium for preeclampsia etc etc my husband too was complaining about the bloody chair…He cried too, maybe the ass-numbing brings out the emotions in the dads.
    I have two mucksavages in training now. The second guy stayed sky blue and needed heart surgery so that set off another level of bawling altogether. It is a rollercoaster this birth thing. When anyone is pregnant and asks me questions I politely refuse to answer. I would scare the bejaysus out of them.
    PS I think your cunt average has now gone down by virtue of this post

  16. You just can’t write lovely blogs like this and expect to be treated like any other cunt!

  17. lmao @ Flirty

  18. Just over 2 years ago, our young fella was born.

    He didn’t exit thru the opening i normally frequent, Angie had a c-section.
    Anyway, they had some trouble getting Liam out, his head was stuck somehow. For the longest 60 seconds of my life i did not know if my son was alive or not. I lied to Angie that everything was cool ,shut off the video camera and feared for the worst.
    When they finally got him all the way out, he looked lifeless and did not make a sound.

    After 20 or 30 seconds on a table with all kinds of tubes and shite, i thought i heard a little cry. Then it got louder.

    ……’s great, innit.

  19. Yeah it made me cry! It’s all full of sweet panicky moments that make me go mushy inside and … fuck off with yer laughing!

    Really nice though – makes me want to go have babies.

  20. […] scary moment #1 was the birth of his daughter. Our baby still hasn’t made an appearance and it looks likely […]

  21. Lovely Kav,

    Tash and I went thought it 3 times meself, and after it all I know one thing – she is as tough and hard as a bag of old hammers. And typical of her, she said it must have been worse for me, because she feels it is harder to watch someone you love being in pain than going through it yourself – not so sure about that one. Like you and Linzi, our second was born within 30 minutes of getting to the hospital, and Tash swears the no pain killers 30 minutes was way worse than our first born who took 40 hours to arrive, but for whom she eventually caved and got the epidural. I would have been quite happy for an aul epidural myself at that stage!

    In UCSF where our kids were born, the father can stay in the hospital room, (on an incredibly uncomfortable camp bed, but my complaints fell on deaf ears, sheesssh). Tash and I agree our favorite part was the 2 days after the birth when we were cocooned in the hospital with our new borns, in our own little world, getting to know each other. Before hitting the real world and the sleep deprivation kicked in!

    Aslo, I couldn’t agree with you more – any man who says “we are pregnant”, should be forced to eat and shit out a bowling ball. It’s always the Attachment Parenting idiots that say things like that. It’s so self centered.

  22. Kav, you really are something else entirely. Sweet, sweet, sweet.

  23. holy crap. The wife is due in August and now I’m really shitting myself 😉

  24. Dammit, man! Thanks to you, my mascara is running.

    Wonderful post.

  25. I’d never understood why anyone would cry when they were happy – made no sense whatsoever – you cry when you’re sad, frightened, in pain etc, not when you’re happy.

    Until my children were born. Both of them I sobbed my heart out with joy.

    That was it though. I’m back to only crying when I’m sad, frightened, in pain etc

  26. Ahhhhhh. I enjoyed that. Like John Mc’s Tash, I’ve had slow, slow and quick, quick. Can’t say I’d like the 40 hour first-born again, but the fast one left me dealing with shock as well as the pain. All in all, hours and hours without sleep and in bad pain is just the pits.

  27. Ah shit. Where was this posting when I needed it yesterday? My neighbour came running over to say his wife had just gone into labour. I could have warned the poor bugger about the upcoming kick in the bollocks.

  28. Kav, this is fantastic. Really, really great. I think you should try to get this published.

    I completely agree with the whole “we’re pregnant” thing. People glare at me when I ask to see the guy’s belly.

  29. Touching when you see your first born. I have not had that luck yet but during some labours I witnessed as an interpreter I had my eyes unusually wet… it must be a great feeling despite all pain … despite bollocks pain either 😉
    Brilliant post Kav. best of luck.

  30. The thought of not being able to just pop out for a fucking drink and a movie for the next 16 years would be enough to make me cry too. You poor poor parent-people.

  31. manuel: heh. I like your sense of humour.
    Blarneyman: holy crap, that’s a story to tell alright. Maybe she won’t mind too much.
    EGW: I’ve lumped this in as a scary moment, because it was, but it was also a mess of joy, happiness, and all that good stuff. When people ask me about it I tell them the good stuff, because all you need’s imagination to conjure up the bad.
    flirty: I’ve never heard such foul and reprehensible language 😉
    derfen: I know exactly what you mean. We discovered afterwards that the umbilical cord had been tightening around Erin’s neck, and that’s why the nurses suddenly went pale and phoned for the doc. They had to act very fast to ensure she would not have brain damage.
    Pinkie: Don’t go doing anything rash now. There’s lots of poo that I didn’t mention at all.
    John: You guys got two days in the hospital? That’s pretty generous of them. Over here you get an overnighter and then you’re out. With Jack, Linzi was out the same evening!
    andraste: Stop, will ya. Quick, someone call me a cunt before I faint.
    jmason23: Welcome along. I’m being serious here, do not be worried at all. It’s exciting and stressful, but it’s fantastic. The main thing is that you are there for her, and although you will feel useless (it’s a guy thing), you aren’t useless to her – she’s going to be relying on you to distract her from everything that’s going on. Let her pummel and verbally abuse you, if that’s what it takes. Good luck with it.
    melissa: Thanks – you should get that waterproof stuff. Linzi uses it sometimes, tis ideal for weepy moments.
    Kim: Agreed. Animals too, though, for me.
    Mairéad: Jack was even quicker than Erin. We got to the hospital at 9am, and he was delivered at 9.13am. Cutting it a bit close, really.
    MJ: You should probably head over his way with an ice pack this evening.
    Sassy: Thank you, my friend. Published where, may I ask? Is there a market for two-page novels? 😉
    nightskyspy: Thanks. As an interpreter, you say? I’m intrigued. Do elaborate.
    Kara: Heh, yeah, that did go through our heads for a while, and like I said before, if we had actually been left to decide to have kids ourselves, we probably never would have got around to it, for those kinda reasons. I’m relieved now that it just happened, and, though it’s a total fucking cliché, I would not have it any other way.

  32. kav,

    2 days is the law over here.

  33. I’m a late commenter Kav, because it started so well I had to stop reading and then take all day to steel myself. I don’t want want to say why.

    Given how good your posts are, can I ask you if you are backing them up? Just in case, like.

    Lovely stuff.

  34. The Spouse Sparrow still complains that he didn’t get to finish watching “Con Air” due to my screams and yelling and cursing drowning out the TV in the delivery room. And he’s seen it at least 22 times before, the cunt.

  35. Hate to be all practical when everyone else’s is being mushy, but Eolaí makes a valid point. Your stuff is too good to lose.

    WordPress is unlikely to be around in 15 years or so when Erin will want to read this.

    How many of us have stuff on floppy, but newer PC’s don’t have floppy drives? I have some spreadsheets in Wingz format. Collectors items. I can’t read them, not that I want to. I also have some BASIC programs on cassette tape.

    Paper is the only format that has survived and will survive.

  36. Oh the memories this brings back – you are so lucky with the first one. Think 17hrs of BACK LABOR! Still he was SO worth it! ( (after the above a mom can brag!)). I just hope you save this posting as has been advised by several people, mostly so you can reread it when she is, say, 16 or 17 and you can remind yourself!!! Congrats to your new family.

  37. John: I’m not sure if I think that’s very generous or just frustrating – were you not itching to get home after all that, or were you just relishing the calm before the storm of domestic bliss?

    Eolaí: Thank you. Whatever the reason, I hope it wasn’t too distressing for you. I must admit, I last backed up my blog when I was still on Blogger, so I’m overdue a backup or two at this stage. Cheers for the reminder.

    FS: That’s quality. And I’d expect nothing less from that cunt.

    Sneezy: Excellent point, and I know I really should do something about it. The thought of printing out >200 posts is a nightmare, but pales in comparison to the thought of losing it all forever.

    Liz: Thanks very much. I’ll definitely need to sort the backup situation out.

  38. Brilliant stuff, Kav.

  39. Okay all this fan worship is making me nauseous. Kav, you’re shit and you know it!


  40. Gerry: Cheers.

    blarneyman: Thank god, a voice of reason.

  41. That was some good posting out of you fella.

    We’ve been there three times ourselves and we’ve been so fortunate not to have any complications.When the contractions hit with Finn Herself though it a great idea to finally go see Lord Of The Fucking Rings.Nearly 24 hrs later Finn arrives and life began again.

    Declan came a lot faster and she nearly had him on I-495.I left the truck up on the kerb at the ER with the engine running and doors was that kind of panic.Waters broke in the lift and Double Dee was born 9 minutes after we arrived.

    We were old hands at this for Nessan’s arrival and his arrival was somewhere between the other two.All three were born in the same delivery room at Fairfax hospital and in fact the very first thing Finn ‘saw’ when I took him to the window to show him the world was a medevac helo coming in to land just outside the window.

    Herself swears I arranged that.

  42. Kav

    We would still be in the hospital if they let us – that said the first time we didn’t know what awaited when we got home, so we were eager to get out and on with it. The 2nd and 3rd times, they had to get the sheriff in to evict us from the hospital. Leave – with nice nurses looking after you, a nursery where you could leave the baby if you needed a good sleep.. No fucking way!

  43. Dead right John.That’s how it was with us too and I grew to love that recliner with the foldy out bed thingy.Those were the last quiet nights we’ll get for a loooong time.

  44. You have made this hormonal as hell six weeks pregnant woman cry with emotion and almost crap herself at the same time. Up until now I was crapping myself due to previous miscarriage, now I’m crapping myself about what happens in approx. 34 weeks, all going well! Oh it’s going to be a fun Christmas…

  45. Best of luck with it, Mammy to be. Don’t worry, I forgot to add in the bit about how it’s great fun as well. You’ll be grand.

  46. I finally come back around and catch up. What do you do? Make me cry!!!!

    How is it possible that a man so good-looking can be so sensitive?

  47. […] Kav’s Blog – Top 5 Scary Moments – #1 […]

  48. […] Kav’s Blog – Top 5 Scary Moments – #1 […]

  49. […] Kav’s Blog – Top 5 Scary Moments – #1 […]

  50. […] it, but thank you for the several queries about it. I’m honoured to be on the shortlist for Best Blog Post – obviously I should win, but in the spirit of good sportsmanship, best of luck to everyone, and […]

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