In Summary
  • She lay there, propped on the bed, looking larger than I have ever seen her in my life.
  • Her stomach rose up, filling half the space above her. She reminded me of a massive seal in her blue hospital gown.
  • I asked her how many centimetres she had dilated and she said she hadn’t been checked. You should see how they check for dilation of the birth canal; it’s gruesome and ugly and almost crude.
  • I had the misfortune of insisting on staying in the room the last time that happened to me because I was trying to be a hero.

I went to see my younger sister in the maternity ward of the hospital where she was about to pop a baby. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The perfect day to push, I guess. At the nurse’s station I found a young-ish looking doctor with his hands thrust deep in the pockets of his white coat, chest thrust out like the god of fertility, looking mighty proud of himself (as he should because he works for God). I said, “Hi doc, I’m here to see my sister,” and he said, “Great. Is that her full name?” And we cackled at his great witticism.

I found my sister in the general ward, her little cubicle separated from the next patient by a mere curtain. I knew she wasn’t about to push that baby out because next to her bed was a half-finished plate of rice and greens, which meant she attempted to eat. There was also an apple and I wondered if vitamin A and C is needed to push. By the way, does anyone else reading this have a bad habit of tasting patient’s food when you go to visit them like I do? I try to stop myself but it’s impossible. I always have to taste their food. Or eat their fruit. It’s my way of showing support. So I ate my sister’s apple. It’s not like she was going to eat it later; she was more likely to use it to throw at a doctor when the contractions become shorter.

THE HORROR OF LABOUR

She lay there, propped on the bed, looking larger than I have ever seen her in my life. Her stomach rose up, filling half the space above her. She reminded me of a massive seal in her blue hospital gown. I asked her how many centimeters she had dilated and she said she hadn’t been checked. You should see how they check for dilation of the birth canal; it’s gruesome and ugly and almost crude. I had the misfortune of insisting on staying in the room the last time that happened to me because I was trying to be a hero. OK, it didn’t happen to me technically because I wasn’t pregnant, but you know what I mean, surely. What they do is they stuff their hands in there, as if unclogging a drain. Women go through such horror in labour wards it’s amazing that they keep going back. As a woman I’d not even look at a man twice after the experience in a labour ward. I’d switch to girls who have zero risk of making me pregnant. Or stealing my car. Or looking at my best friend’s ass.

OLD TURBINE

Behind the curtain a voice moaned softly, like an old turbine. It was like the noise a big animal makes when it’s been caught in a trap and the hunter is yet to find it. It came occasionally, something hurting and guttural and in anguish. My sister, perhaps seeing the fear in my eyes, said, “They are preparing a private room for me.” Before I could stop him, the child in me asked, “Will you have your own TV?” She laughed. Or tried to, it’s hard to laugh when you are that size and in labour.

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