Marlborough Mid-Week : September 30th 2015
stuff.co.nz SEPTEMBER 30, 2015, MARLBOROUGH MIDWEEK 9 This series follows the agony to the ecstasy of childbirth. PHOTOS: SARNIM DEAN Giving birth – a bloke’s perspective Stay at home dad Sarnim Dean talks about his experience during the birth of his second child. My wife Katia reckons the pain is forgotten immediately upon holding the precious newborn, which is just as well, she says, as it is considerable. If our memories were greater, maybe our numbers would be less. However, I had not forgotten the pain. It had been three years since our boy clawed his way into the world at the conclusion of a harrowing 26 hours. It seems petty to talk of my discomforts when compared to the mother, yet they do exist. Being helplessly embroiled in the suffering of a loved one is no fun. But, though the memory was dim, we’d been through it all before. We knew what to expect, and dared even to hope for better. Tales of subsequent newborns sliding out scarcely noticed whilst the Mum went about her daily business seemed far-fetched. But there was no doubt that the trend was for a less laborious baby two. As with our firstborn, baby two chose a most inconvenient time to start his home run. The fireworks started at 2am. A friend arrived not long after to baby sit, and we were at the hospital by 5am. To arrive at the maternity ward was a relief. I felt like we had successfully negotiated stage one, and were now surrounded by people who knew what they were doing. After another paralysing con- traction in the corridor, we were shown into a clean and orderly birthing suite. This little room would be our (short-lived I hoped) home until our child entered the world. We assumed the positions – Katia on the bed and me seated impotently alongside. Memories from three years earlier began to Katia Dean with her new born son. flood back. Various switches, gauges and vials at the bed head. A gas cannister on the floor. Noises of immense discomfort. And a growing tenseness as the hours dragged by. Frustrated at the perceived lack of progress, we tried various different body positions. Nothing however seemed to expedite proceedings; we just had to tough it out. My wife was clearly exhausted and I found myself full of admiration at her fortitude. After what seemed an eternity, things suddenly began to hot up. Contractions were coming more rapidly than ever. Indeed, events had accelerated to such a degree that it was now too late for the nirvana-inducing epidural. I dampened a flannel once more and held it to my exhausted wife’s forehead. Please let it come soon and for all to be well, I prayed. A few minutes later, at 8am, the midwife made the announcement we were hoping for: ‘‘I can see the head!’’ Adrenaline surged and my tiredness was forgotten. ‘‘Go Katia, go, go, go,’’ I muttered (and other such inane encouragement). I checked the settings on my camera, determined to capture the upcoming ‘‘My wifewas clearly exhausted and I found myself full of admiration at her fortitude. amazing moment. The instant when you see your child for the first time really is something special. There’s no need for details, but it was with awe that I watched the milkyblack head appear. For some inappropriate reason I was reminded of the movie Alien. The long drawn out trial now culminated in a flurry of activity. Our long surprise as to baby’s sex was a surprise no more. There was a cord that needed to be cut, which felt a most unnatural action to me – akin to using scissors to lop off a limb. With unsteady hands I had to take care not to remove the genitalia. Finally there was the joyous crescendo of passing the child to his mother, and announcing that she had a baby boy. The trial was all forgotten, and, for just that moment alone, it was all so very worthwhile. – For more of Sarnim’s stories and photography, visit sarnim.com.
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