They say you forget the pain of childbirth. Ha! Who are they kidding? Sure, time passes, and like everything that passes, it feels less traumatic. But I’m not going to forget the pain of childbirth any more than I forget the chronic back pain I had to navigate through to get to that point.
But I can reflect back on the experience and choose to put away the worst parts. That I don’t think I can do this feeling, knowing it was all on me. And the expressions on the doctor and nurses faces toward the end when I could well see they were concerned but didn’t want to show how much. I can remember how from all this experience, I got something out of it (apart from a healthy child) – I learnt a new German word.
There I was, five days out from my due date, feeling pretty damn pleased with myself. I wasn’t overly uncomfortable, I was sleeping relatively well… basically I was the picture of pregnancy perfection. My back pain was gone. Hell, I was still swimming close to 3km every day, albeit a bit slower than normal, but come on. I was strong and ready for whatever the world could throw at me. I was pretty sure I was going to go over my due date because he was showing no signs of wanting to move, and I was happy for things to stay the way they were a while longer.
So I was calm in the hospital at my scheduled check-up. Hubby couldn’t join me due to Covid regulations, but that was no biggie. I could handle this one, in German and all. He’d dropped me off, and would pick me up in an hour or so and I’d head to the pool to swim another 3km. It was a gorgeous hot day. Later we’d head to our favourite restaurant for Friday night dinner.
Oh how wrong I was.
I didn’t blink when the doctor mentioned the amount of amniotic fluid seemed a little low. I’d literally had no problems throughout the pregnancy. There had never been an elevated figure – everything was normal. And while I’d spent the entire pregnancy expecting something to go wrong, , by this point I’d decided I was going to continue my streak.
And then the doctor sat me down and reiterated that the fluid level was low, in a serious tone. I nodded. Ok, sure, fine. And then she said something else. A word I wasn’t familiar with – einleiten.
I frowned and asked for her to explain it. And that’s when she told me, in very basic German – there’s not enough fluid – it has to come out. It’s time for einleiten. As in… induction.
I only half heard the rest of what she said, and then I trotted obediently off. And when I got into the hallways of the hospital I burst out into laughter. Yep, cause shock manifests itself in many different ways. I was almost crying I was laughing so hard.
I called hubby in a daze. I think they are inducing me, I told him. You think? By this point I was doubting my German understanding. Yes, I think. I think it’s happening today.
When I went upstairs to maternity they had to call down to ask the doctor why I was there, because I couldn’t explain. My words were all jumbled up.
But I was right. Turns out that instead of my water breaking in a traditional, all in one go fashion, it had been leaking out gradually, over a period of days… while I was swimming my 3ks and taking long walks and loving life. Luckily the situation wasn’t dire – baby had to be induced, but it was a process that took two days and two different methods.
And at 2am on the second night it was finally who time. And while it didn’t go as smoothly as it could have, we got through.
But yeah, I remember the pain.
I didn’t feel that rush of love they all talk about when they put him on my chest the first time. I felt relief mostly, mixed in with disbelief. But when I asked ‘what is it’ since we didn’t know the sex, and they tried to remove him from me to check, I refused to let them lift him away. So I guess that was my motherly instinct kicking in.
And he’s perfect. He poos and farts like a champion (takes after his mum), and he’s hitting all the milestones he should be. He’s exactly the ‘staring into my soul like he knows the meaning of the universe but has no way to express himself’ creature I thought he would be. He’s small, and all-knowing and annoying in the way he can’t take care of himself, and his head is like one of those wobble toys you see on people’s dashboards.
And I’m sure it’s only the start of a whole new vocabulary of German words I’m going to be learning!