A Psychological Epidural

I have a feeling our gynae (whom we adore) may not be understanding us…

A few weeks ago Dr M was explaining the birth process. When she got to the part about "cutting the cord" she explained that at that point, she would turn to The Husband, offer him the clamps and allow him the honour of cutting the umbilical cord. I told her that wouldn't be necessary.

"No, no," she said, "you say that now, but I promise you, during that magical moment, he may feel differently." I had to explain that he'd feel so differently to how she was imagining he'd feel, that he'd either be vomiting in the dustbin or he'd be passed out cold on the floor.

Dr M still looked dubious but last week, I had some evidence to support my theory on The Husband's reaction to cord cutting. I'd just received "The Box". "The Box" is dispensed to couples once they have coughed up a term's worth of private school tuition to a stem cells company. The best part is that, despite the exhorbitant fees involved, everything about the harvesting of stem cells at birth is "your responsibility" – in the words of the stem cells consultant when she hands you The Box. If you don't zip up the little temperature control bag properly with all the stem cells goodies inside, then "poof!" – your stem cells and your money both go up in smoke. And it's all your fault! As a result, I was trying to relay the many instructions that the consultant had given to me, to The Husband. For example, Step 1: seal blood bag. Step 2: I can't remember but luckily I'll have just given birth so the responsibility is lies firmly with The Husband. Phew.

I think I may have got to Step 3, when The Husband's eyes started to roll back and he begged me to stop because he was feeling bilious. And we're talking empty blood bags, empty cord bags… all in clean and pristine, medical condition.

This all took place in Dr M's waiting rooms, so when we went in to see her, The Husband asked for her help with "The Box", explaining that he may well pass out if it's left up to him. Dr M was fabulously obliging and I think began to understand The Husband for the first time, because we then had the "fainting chat": where to look, where not to look, what to do, what not to do. She took great pleasure in relaying the story of the CEO of a multinational who "wanted to be boss", even in theatre. Knowing nothing about surgery, he apparently still tried to assume the leadership role during his wife's c-section and ignored all requests to sit down when Dr M and her team thought he was starting to looking queasy. Finally, he fainted. Not once, but twice. Once from his territorial standing position and the second time he hit the floor from the chair he'd been forced into. Anyway, that shut him up for the rest of the procedure. At least Dr M seems sympathetic to The Husband's plight because he's totally willing, nay, begging to take a complete back seat in a room where there's blood involved. He may even accept a blind-fold if it comes down to it.

Dr M may have come around to understanding The Husband, but I fear she's still not quite understanding me. Even yesterday – the day AFTER my due date – she was saying mental things like "IF you have an epidural". I've heard this kind of crazy talk from her before and I'm pretty sure I laughed out loud. Yesterday, however, I decided to set the record straight.

"Look," I said. "You keep talking about an epidural as though it's a remote possibility. Let me tell you now: I am HAVING an epidural."

She still didn't look convinced but finally she said, "Fine. But just don't have a psychological epidural. One of my patients had a psychological epidural the other day." (Eyes rolled).

WTF? A psychological epidural? The kind of child-birth experience where it's actually, really not that sore but some hypochondriacs insist on get the pain numbed anyway?

Whatever! If I wanted to feel the pain – psychological or other, I'd have bought a blow-up baby pool, have it installed in my garden and I'd have invited Dharma's mother from Dharma and Greg to come and chant hypnotic tunes in my ear while I pushed this kid out.

So any day now, I'll be getting that psychological needle in my spine. Still no sign of the little princess, who is now two days overdue, but I'm thinking I like the sound of the 25th as a number so I'm holding thumbs for Friday. Madame, of course, may have other plans…

1 comment

  1. I hope you will be able to read this before the Princess makes her arrival.  My husband was offered the opportunity to cut Mpumuzo's cord and you can clearly hear him on the video say "No".  I had asked him before if he would be willing but he was not keen and it didn't bother me.  Moreover, while he was videotaping the whole thing, you can clearly hear him saying he is not going to record the "cutting part" and the video promptly moves to mommy's face.  I suppose he didn't faint so its a plus for him.  So if The Husband don't want to cut the cord, then so be it 🙂 there are more important things in life