As one close friend nears her D (delivery) Day, and another pal visits me with her toddler and nine week old daughter in tow, talk of labour plans is rife, down to the smallest detail.
On the practical side of things, the endless lists you sit and create are a good way to keep your mind off the impending birth. There aren’t many operations or medical procedures where you actually gain something – I mean you lose an appendix and you certainly don’t get a spare arm when you go in to get yours fixed. Other than a boob job, where you could wake up the proud owner of a pair of double Ds, nothing beats going into hospital and coming out with a real, wriggling, snuffling baby.
So what do we do to prepare ourselves for this life-changing event? We plan; we write lists; we convince ourselves that we’ll be prepared for the unexpected. And we do it all with style, humour, and in my friend’s case – a Kaftan.
I was the second of my closest group of friends to have a baby and as I’ve said before I’m not going to go into detail about what happens in labour. I mean, at best it’s a unique, life-affirming experience, at worst, it’s just a bit grim. So when my friend showed me her hospital bag I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically at the contents.
I know when I was having my son, I spent days creating a play-list for labour. It started off with some ‘active’ tunes – oh how I laughed as I downloaded “Push It” by Salt n Pepa, how crazily ironic I was being. Needless to say, as my husband tried to encourage me to listen to my ipod, I had to be physically restrained from throwing it on the floor. Three days into labour, my humorous choices of Queen’s “Can’t stop me now…” “I’m having such a good time” “I’m having a ball,” were indeed the epitome of irony.
I spent weeks reciting my hypnotic mantra, trying to find my happy place which I can assure you was not a quarantined labour ward in Kent. I can still hear the voice of my hypnotist in my head, but it wasn’t really a patch on the spinal block easing the inducted pain.
So, as I said, my friend had packed:
- The necessary nightie for labour
- The usual baby goods
- Her labour notes and birth plan
- Her hairdryer
- Five copies of Vogue and Good Housekeeping
- A Kaftan
She said the magazines were for her to peruse in the initial stages of labour. She also thought she would get a good read of them when the baby had arrived and she was resting on the ward. And the Kaftan, well that was for when she received her visitors. So much more fashionable, and well, stylish, than a wrap-around hospital gown.
From memory, I think it’s fair to say that apart from the babygro for the beautiful newborn, nothing in that labour bag came in handy. The birth plan was ignored, the kaftan lay crumpled in the corner and unless she was sneaking to the loo to gen up, I don’t think Vogue got a look in either.
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