A few days ago, I read with great interest a story in the U.K. Mail about Kate Middleton, aka the Duchess of Cambridge, considering using “hypno-birthing” (not to be confused with “hippo-birthing”) for the upcoming arrival of the royal bundle in July. The article inspired me to write on the relatively unfunny subject of childbirth.
My reasons for writing an article on childbirth at this time are four-fold:
1. If the Queen reads a funny column about the Duchess of Cambridge she might start following me on Twitter. (Or, at the very least, her security detail might start following me.)
2. Father’s Day is this month, and I’m in the mood to write something fatherishy.
3. I know a few young men who will soon experience childbirth with their wives, and I want them to know what really happens.
4. A recent poll found that “enraged women in pain” were the demographic group least likely to have a sense of humor, and don’t we, deep down, hope that we can make them laugh just a little bit?
Anyway, back to the Duchess. According to the article: Advocates of the [hypno-birth] technique say that it helps women use their mind to seize control of the birthing process and learn techniques that allow the production of oxytocin, a pain relieving hormone which stimulates the uterus. This is a really big deal because the royal family is a really big deal, and if the royal family starts hypno-birthing out the wazoo, then the entire world will start hypno-birthing out the wazoo, and you will start seeing hypno-birthers on Wheaties boxes. To illustrate just how big a deal that the royal family really is, one need look no further than the naming of their babies. No mere first, middle, and last name like the common folk. No, the royals have seven or eight first names strung together like a run-on sentence in a third grader’s book report. Kate and William apparently don’t know the sex of the baby, but the rumored boy name is William Aloysius Fauntleroy John Jangle Jingleheimer Schmidt, and the rumored girl name is Diana Rihanna Rondelle Beyonce Houston Supreme.
In addition to hypno-birthing techniques, the Duchess is looking into giving birth in a swimming pool at the same place that her husband, Prince William, was born, which is a nice touch, as long as they cleaned the pool out after William was birthed in there. Prince William will also be present for the birth of his own child in the pool, because, as the Hypnobirth Association states: the father acts as an ‘anchor’ throughout the birth. Which means that he is a “dead weight” that the mother will dunk underwater when she “seizes control of the birthing process”. Really, for hypno-birthing to be truly effective, it is the husband that needs to be hypnotized. A hypnotized husband is an insulated husband, who sees no baby, hears no baby, and therefore, speaks no stupid.
HYPNOTIST: Are you relaxed now?
HUSBAND: Yes, but I could swear that I hear my wife screaming.
HYPNOTIST: Those are expressions of joy. Get back to your happy place.
HUSBAND: But shouldn’t I be doing something?
HYPNOTIST: By not doing anything, you are doing a lot.
HUSBAND: Can I hold her hand?
HYPNOTIST: That would not be a good idea. She is transitioning, and there is a good chance that she may seize control of your process.
HUSBAND: Oh, anything else to report?
HYPNOTIST: Yes, the Miami Heat just repeated as NBA champions.
Ok, snap out of it. We all know that hypnotism is just a pipe dream and that you, as a husband, will be fully immersed in the whole process, kind of like being tied to a deck chair during a hurricane. So, you better learn some terminology before you go in there – and not from so-called doctors and nurses and “award-winning” book authors. No, you need your information from other husbands who have been there too, and will give you the unvarnished truth.
BIRTHING CLASSES: At some point during your wife’s first pregnancy, you will experience birthing classes together. This will involve looking at some diagrams of various birthing positions and participating in “breathing” exercises, which sound remarkably similar to hyperventilating chimpanzees: HEE HEE HOO HOO HAR HAR HA HEE HEE HO HO or something like that. Of course, these are useless exercises, as are the diagrams, because once the pain really hits in the delivery room, all the cutesy stuff will soon be forgotten. What will be heard is HEE HEE WILL WILL NEVER EVER TOUCH MEE MEE AGAIN GAIN. The main problem with the diagrams in the birthing classes is that they are not in color, but, alas, the movie that you will see at the end of the class is in color and 3D. Birthing classes are mainly designed as comic relief for nurses on break. They view the classes from a one-way mirror and imitate the all HEE HEE HOOS and the HOO HA HEES. They also take bets on which father will pass out first.
HEART MONITOR. This is a queer little machine beside the birthing mother that emits a constant thumping sound, kind of like a squirrel trying to escape from a sock drawer. The machine will thump the entire time you, as the expectant father, are waiting for the real childbirth to begin, building into such an unbearable crescendo that a loud sneeze will make you jump ten feet into the air.
DOCTOR. This is a birthing professional who will come into the delivery room periodically to look at the birthing monitor. He will then disappear to some remote location but promise to come back in time for the actual moment of birth. Of course, we all know that the nurses actually deliver the baby.
NURSE: No, doctor, she is not dilated four.
DOCTOR: Not four, fore. I was trying to alert that group about my approach shot on the eighth green.
DILATION: The opening of the birth canal, which gets larger as the birth gets closer. The First Law of Childbirth states –
The size of the dilation is directly proportional to the nail marks on the husband’s arm.
And similarly, the Second Law of Childbirth states –
The size of the dilation should be inversely proportional to the volume of the husband’s speech. (Speak no stupid.)
IN YOUR FACE. Doctors would tell you that the correct term is “percent effaced”, but they would be wrong. The correct term is “percent in your face”, as in – “she’s dilated 7 centimeters, and 90 percent in your face”.
MUCUS PLUG. We’ll skip this one. Suffice to say, it is not a stuffy nose.
TRANSITION. This is the point where the birthing mother actually believes that the baby will not come out. (You already thought this 9 months ago.) At this point, she has the strength of ten men, and the mouth of a sailor.
PLACENTA. Your wife will give birth a second time on that fateful day, but this one will definitely not be included in the family portraits. Just focus on that wiggling little new life in front of you and don’t look back. Trust me, don’t look back.
Will that little wiggling life rock your world? Of course, it will. But, you need your life rocked. After all, you need to quit thinking about sports and video games all the time. After a while, you won’t want to look back.