ROTUNDA Hospital & Becoming Mother


Although there are many trial marriages… there is no such thing as a trial child. (Gail Sheehy)

Giving birth is compared to running a full marathon. Maybe, as I have never heard this before by anybody, but could it not be said that, the baby who is trying to be born also is running her/his own mini-marathon! I really do think that it is so. It does require so very much energy and stamina to bring it about for both the mother and the child. It was in the antenatal classes in Ireland that this fact about the marathon for the mother was told to us by our trainer, who was a midwife and a mother of six. Here is a link to the Baby University.com. Yes, there is such a thing! The baby with the mortar board on his head looks absolutely cute & clever.

The one thing that the newly-baked mama herself is in great need of more than nearly anything else is one’s own mum in fact. This is the time that she needs the most assurance and advice – that she is doing the right thing with this little totally helpless creature. Things like: what to do in times of crisis – yes, one needs one’s own mama more than any other time in one’s life! My Mum died very young, just three months before my first daughter was born, actually. My paternal Granny had died ten days before my mum, so there was a double funeral for them in Finland which I could not make because I had had the risk of miscarriage for the entire nine months and was not allowed to fly. Then the obstetrician gave me permission a week later after the funeral had been to fly over to Finland. The year after my Mom and Granny had died while I was expecting my second daughter, my younger brother was killed in a traffic accident in Finland which made it all so much tougher. I associate giving new life with death, in fact because of this.

I do not take having the girls in any way for granted because the ‘road’ to have them was paved with unbelievable obstacles all the way; even at the delivery there were never the guarantee that they and I would come out of it all in tact and alive! Not once. I gave birth to a dead baby and that ranks as the saddest of the saddest things that have happened to me, ever. I would have loved to have sons as well, but them I lost in miscarriages.

It is a funny as odd thing that one gets these repeated false labour alarms and then they reverse in the last minute and stop completely, but then when the real thing comes, it comes with a bang and there is no turning back. So when the birth got really going, I had to make my way to the Rotunda Hospital because the waters had broken – the oldest maternity hospital in the world for it was founded in 1745. Such an apt name for a maternity hospital, methinks. One goes in rather rotund and comes out lean. The delivery itself would not get going the right way so I was put into an annex in the hospital where there was a whole bunch of all the social classes in a jumbled mix and I was attached to a drip with hormone Oxytocin* – that is supposed to speed up the delivery. Sounds snobbish to talk about the ‘classes’ but it is so. Yes indeed, the class division system in Ireland is very well and alive, in every way: hospitals, housing, education – you name it!!

The mixture was a colourful circus as anything: the one mum that I do remember very clearly is this one who was just about to give birth – finally – and to be rolled into the delivery room, when her sister and mother came in with the ‘glinkety-glinkety’ sounding bags into the ward at the non-visiting hours of the day and said to the poor thing while giving a hefty slap on the back of her, even though she was already doubled-up with the sheer agony and pain:

“Have you produced anything yet? We came to celebrate!!”

She could not reply them at all. Don’t remember what the nurses said to them but out they eventually were ushered out by the staff.

When my agony finally came to an end after a day and a half – I said to himself straight after the delivery that:

‘Funny, that the music has just been put on?!’

‘Oh no’, said he, ‘it has been on the whole time!’

I had not heard a thing until the very end of the end! So – the music is not there to soothe the nerves of the mamas but the papas & the staff!

“Now the thing about having a baby –
and I can’t be the first person to have noticed this –
is that thereafter you have it.”

(Jean Kerr)

Tis for now. Riihele – in the reminiscing mode. xx

* the word ‘oxytocin’ is from the Greek word ‘oxutokia’ meaning ‘sudden delivery’ (as oxy- =sharpness and tokos = ‘childbirth’) Well, it sure caused the birthing to be sharp, don’t know so much about the ‘sudden’ as it was an age before the Baby finally popped out!!

Picture is off the net.

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