‘Squeeze My Head’, and other gems you hear on the maternity ward…

So I ended up on the maternity ward today with swollen feet and headaches – thankfully not pre-eclampsia, just back to the headaches from before with the addition of lovely swollen feet and hands now too! – where I was treated to some corkers from the only other occupants of the ward. Now then, to set the scene, they were probably in their late thirties, very conservatively dressed – I was surprised she wasn’t wearing a floor-length nightie, to be honest – and wanted everyone to know everything about their lives, from the way they were speaking. For your reading pleasure, I present some of the gems they came out with –

“I don’t understand why they say midwifery is so challenging. All they do is smile at women and sit around drinking tea. I suppose it’s like being a nurse, but without even cutting people open”.

Someone clearly hasn’t had the concept of an episiotomy explained to them. Also, people who criticise midwives/suggest they don’t work hard piss me right off. Possibly because I invested so much for a while into my hopes of being one (and still have some hope that I’ll be able to retrain as a midwife one day!) So after hearing this I was already glancing at D wondering what exactly we’d let ourselves in for…

“She had children so young that her brothers actually wanted to look after the babies for her!”

Followed by some snide comment about younger mothers. She hadn’t seen me at this point; her face when I went to the toilet was a picture – I’ve got a bit of a babyish face, so I tend to look even younger than 19 without make-up on, and there’s me in my fresh-faced glory, interrupting her snarking about teenage mothers.

HER: ‘Have you told your mum what we’re up to?’

HIM: ‘Yes. She told me to call her later’.

HER: ‘What? She should be on tenter hooks, waiting for news!’

Give up, love. No-one likes an attention seeker. Having a baby is the most important thing happening in mine and D’s lives at the minute, but I’m certainly not obnoxious or self-centred enough to imagine that it’s the most important thing to anyone else. If people care and are interested, that’s lovely, but I’m not about to strop because someone isn’t biting their nails to pieces waiting to hear how dilated I am.

“Well, if baby arrives according to our schedule, she’ll be here at 10pm”

No-one told me we could schedule when our baby arrives. That’s great, where do I stick the wall calendar showing it how long it has until the eviction notice is served? This was on the maternity unit at half past 6, and despite some of the more interesting noises she was making, I wouldn’t have described her as about to pop a baby out in three and a half hours time.

‘Here’s another contraction… ouch, squeeze my head!’

Yeah… I was a little surprised by this one. I’ve not heard of people recommending having your head squeezed as a way of getting through a contraction. By this point D and I were in fits of laughter and very grateful that our curtain was closed, so I didn’t hear her husband’s reply, but I can only assume he obliged.

At this point they’d started doing a crossword really loudly (presumably to show us how cultured we were, as we were sitting/lying there comparing funny pictures from Facebook and trying not to laugh too loudly at Obnoxious Couple’s ramblings).

HIM: “Appeared out of nowhere… 3, 2, 4, 3… hmm….”

HER: “That’s a tough one…”

ME: (quietly) “It’s ‘out of thin air’…”

HER: “Nope, don’t know that one”

ME: “It’s ‘out of thin air’. How difficult is that?”

HIM: “If it was 3, 2, 4, 4 it would be ‘out of thin air’, but…”

By this point I gave up and started wondering since when ‘air’ was a four letter word. Sure enough, five minutes later…

HIM: “Oh! It IS ‘out of thin air’!”.

It gets worse.

HIM: “Raccoon-like creature… 5 letters…. begins with ‘C'”

HER: (without a trace of irony) “Badger?”

I could’ve cried at this point. Ok, it’s silly of me to assume that everyone knows what a civet is, but that wasn’t even my issue with it. If you don’t know… don’t answer. But please, show me on what planet does the word ‘badger’ have five letters and begin with a ‘c’? And it doesn’t even look that much like a raccoon. I wondered if maybe my inner snob was showing but I’ve come to the conclusion that no; it isn’t unreasonable to assume that most people understand that ‘badger’ doesn’t have five letters, and it DEFINITELY doesn’t start with a ‘C’.

After this point D and I had no qualms about laughing at her contractions – or rather, her reactions to them. She actually seemed to be quite enjoying it… that or she was reliving the conception (something else she was very vocal about, encouraging her husband to “Think back to that warm day in June”… ugh). The visit was…. let’s say “interesting”, to say the least.

For now I’m at home with very swollen fingers and feet. It’s sore and uncomfortable and making me feel very uncharitable, so if you think I’ve been needlessly rude about this couple, please bear this in mind (and also it wasn’t needless, they were rude about young mothers and midwives – red rag to a bull in my eyes!).

It did make D and I wonder what ‘sort’ of couple we’ll be when I’m in labour. I asked D, and he said “I don’t know about me, but you’ll cry because you’re a wimp”. Thanks, honey. In fairness, I did retaliate by saying he wouldn’t even be there because he’s so wimpy, he’d rather be delivering pizzas than seeing the delivery of his baby. We’re just as bad as each other.

I think in a way, that’s good. Labour will be more bearable if we’re (jokingly…mostly) verbally attacking each other relentlessly – we’ll be starting our family as we mean to go on.


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