Labor Day, to the rest of our lives (sighs with tired eyes and baby sick on shoulder)
Name – Frankie Thomas Culshaw
Weight at birth – 7lb 7oz
Current age – 4 months
Mood of significant other – Hates me with all her heart but we’re now stuck together, forever.
This may be long overdue, and my little lad may not be so little anymore but I thought I’d do a spot of writing while he’s asleep and not screaming in my face. Just today he laughed properly for the first time, tried a concoction of fruits and vegetables (big boy food) and took a dump far from the scent-free yellow puree of newborn. So, it dawned on me, he’s growing up fast.
The last four months have taught me many things. Number one, sleep is overrated. Please note, I type this yawning wildly with the absolute maximum amount of sarcasm. Babies don’t give a shit whether you’ve just worked a 16-hour shift or if you’re hungover to the point of death, they merely carry on with their daily routine of eating, crying, shitting, crying, crying, sleeping and crying some more. Occasionally they then do something that instantly makes your heart melt and you forget that the last time you were this sleep deprived it was your first time in Ibiza.
The epic journey from womb to earth really didn’t disappoint. I sought lots of advice prior to the finale’ however no one truly prepared me for the emotionally altering scene that took place. I will try and express my take on the events with many adjectives and as little swearing as possible (sorry Mum).
27 fucking hours it took in total, 27. I happily followed the labor of April the Giraffe on Facebook and it was over in a jiffy. I was also free from the subjection of insensitive name calling and passive aggressive commenting. Anyway, I’ll begin the tale from the start of labor when ‘our lives changed forever’…
Contractions were reading about two minutes apart and we were still in the apartment. I ran around blindly squawking ‘stay calm, stay calm’ knocking over various items of furniture and basically making things much worst. We managed to get into the car, all the while praying that Robyn didn’t ruin the 35 euro valet we’d had just days before. In the hospital we were very kindly rushed into monitoring, where everything slowly calmed down. Next door to us was where the main event took place. Screams of horror and panic echoed throughout, followed by the first cry of a newborn. Luckily, there was an amusing picture on the wall of a group of babies made to look like a bunch of flowers. This kept me occupied for some time throughout Robyn’s growing discomfort.
Finally, after hours of monitoring the nurse confirmed Robyn was in fact pregnant and our bundle of sleepless joy was likely to embark upon us very soon. We then went upstairs to relax and I took the chance to nip into the cafeteria for a sandwich. The sandwich I decided to buy was a cream cheese and chorizo based snack on white bread. Initially I thought that this was a safe option, however I couldn’t have been more wrong. Whether it had been in the fridge for too long or not long enough, the cheese had sweated into the bread and it was extremely difficult to bring myself to eat it. Luckily for me, I had enough change to buy a packet of chili Dorito’s and a kinder Bueno so it wasn’t all doom and gloom from there. The waiter was very pleasant also, so I tipped him generously and we chatted about interesting events like the football. Manuel I think he was called, cool guy.
I polished off my snacks in the lift tactically as Robyn had turned into a chocolate fiend by the end, and returned to the hospital suite. Just like the last 9+ months, she was snoring like a wilder-beast and I honestly questioned if it was really that bad? This naivety was however short lived when she awoke panting and sweating. Show time…
We went back into the labor ward and straight into the ‘room of horrors’. Our midwife-man came in to speak to us and although I had no idea what he was saying, he seemed very pleasant. As the contractions grew stronger and closer together, Robyn was understandably tired of translating to me and expressed this by calling me a ‘lazy English dick head’. To our amazement, the midwife-man then popped his head around the corner and spoke (in the most traditional English accent since the age of William Shakespeare) ‘would you like me to speak in English? I resided in Oxford for 12 years’. I thought this was hilarious, my better half though struggled to see the funny side.
Time was taking its toll and the hours dragged on physically and emotionally. Discomfort was also progressing at a rate of knots as I got cramp twice in my left leg and my boxers were proving rather itchy. Despite this, we carried on until the nurse floated in like an angelic Goddess of Egypt, bearing gifts from the heavens. ‘Drugs Robyn?’… ‘Oh yes!’ We both replied.
I’d been looking forward to trying the gas and air for some time so this was definitely a highlight. We were knee deep in the thick of it now, and Robyn was whisked off to take an epidural which gave me a good amount of time to ‘hit the tube’, until an unimpressed glare from one of the staff quickly made me see the error of my ways. Upon her return, the ladies epidural next door had not worked and it was too late for another one so all available staff flooded to her aid. At this very time, Robyn turned to me and said; ‘I don’t feel right, I feel like I need to push’. Trying to hide the sheer panic consuming my soul I managed to calmly answer ‘let’s do it then chuck’. One of the nurses then flew into the room, propped Robyn’s leg on my shoulder and basically told us to crack on, so we did. For twenty minutes I literally screamed over and over ‘Push through your fanny! Push through your fanny!’ (much to the dismay of my angry partner). You see, no one tells you what to say and I hadn’t envisaged staring into the eye of the tiger at the catcher’s end.
Sweating profusely and overwhelmed, at one point I nearly folded Robyn into a pretzel by pushing her legs so far back she stopped screaming in agony and asked me what on earth I thought I was doing. The pushing developed and soon I was staring at the crown of my first born as he hung out of the end zone like an overweight tabby in a cat flap. Robyn soldiered on, chin on her chest, driving through the pain. Only stopping from pushing to occasionally ask whether she had shit herself or not. Of course, I said no and reassured her that she is a thing of beauty and that I was unbelievably proud of her. However due to lack of experience, I had overlooked the fact that my shirt was pulled over my nose and she began to swear at me once more.
Blood, so much blood. I was instantly transported to the beaches of Normandy. The room was a battlefield of screams, emotions and pain, and that was just me. Our midwife was now a woman and upon reflection she was rather tasty. During the thick of it though I overlooked this completely as my eyes were firmly set on the prize. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Frankie Thomas Culshaw erupted from Robyn’s vagina and instantly I could feel the overwhelming sensation of responsibility. He honestly shot out like Michael McIntyre arriving on stage announcing ‘Good evening Wembley!’ His sheer head of hair was obscene, he looked like a cross between Liam Gallagher and a Macaroni Penguin. We believe the reason for so much hair was Robyn’s obsession with shouting at me and calling me inadequate throughout the pregnancy.
From the second he was born, I wailed hysterically like a little girl. After an hour or so the midwives finally told me to stop being a pussy. I can’t describe the sheer elation and fear I felt but it was honestly the best experience of my life. After phoning around the family, and mistakenly sending people pictures of Robyn’s boobs, we took Frankie up to the suite. Gently closing the door with the little man asleep, the three of us were all alone for the first time. I will never forget that moment, as I gazed into Robyn’s weary eyes, smiled, and said… ‘Shit what do we do now!’
In truth though, happiest we’ve ever been and the little man is doing great.
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