Every mum has their own vivid memories of childbirth; some which bring little shivers of joy when we think of them; others which deserve to be put into a secret box and never brayed of tongue again.
For me, the arrival of my wee angel and the shock that she was not after all, a he, are obviously my favourite memories of the experience. But there is one other moment that I often think of. It makes me laugh out loud every time.
I still feel a trickle of mortification creep onto my cheeks when I think of it. Because, that moment, just before my little one arrived, was the moment when I finally had to admit to myself, that I was not in charge…of anything.
I had to have a c-section. I was ready and prepared.
Everything was calm and organized and exactly how I’d imagined it would be. (I grew up on a farm, so have witnessed dozens of MamaCows go through this procedure, so I was stupidly sure that I knew the basic concept of what would happen!) The doctors would perform surgery and Mini-Me would come out the sunroof, as opposed to out the door.
I’d never had surgery before, so of course I was nervous. As I lay there, looking up at the bright spaceship lights on the ceiling, listening to the murmurs of the surgeons and anesthetist and nurses, aware of the beeping machines around me, I had a sudden recollection of the story of a woman who felt everything as the anesthetic hadn’t worked.
In my obviously, absolutely calm, reasonable and logical mind, I realized that this would OBVIOUSLY be what would happen to me.
I felt cold substance on my leg, which jerked me back from my reverie.
“On a scale of 1-10, how cold is this?”
Cripes, where the heck was my husband?
Ok, so now my fears were becoming a reality.
“8, I suppose”
Who should I tell that the anesthetic isn’t working?
What if I needed some sort of horse tranquilizer to knock my nerve endings out of action. I need to get my husband in so he can sort this…Hang on! Who owns those legs?!
Two huge, gleaming, white tree-trunk legs are floating in front of me, just above the blue divide that Mr. Surgeon has placed above my belly. Two very strong women are holding one each and I’m suddenly aware that the legs are indeed, mine. There’s a serious amount of maneuvering being done beyond the blue, but the top half of my torso is happily oblivious.
And so I began to laugh. Not a subtle giggle of course. A proper crazy woman, high on a cocktail of all of the anesthetic and other drugs that I assumed weren’t going to work.
And hence, my poor husband re-entered the room, just in time for the arrival of the Boss, to find his wife laughing like a bloody hyena.
Of course, the laughing turned quickly to tears of joy and all was right with the world again very soon afterwards.
I’d had my first ever surgery. I’d had my first baby. And I’d learned for the first time, that even though I thought I was in charge of things, I really and truly wasn’t.
I genuinely believe it was one of those precious moments of clarity and insight, It taught me one of the most important lessons I need to be a Mammy.
You might think you’re in charge. You can pretend you’re in charge. You might even convince others that you are in charge, but really, we never know when someone’s going to take control of your big white legs.
And when they do, be glad that they’re there to take control… and don’t forget to laugh.