In blog 58: Birth Pain – does it have a physiological role, or just plain uncivilised? Although Zani is anything but thrilled at Sky’s unusual take on birth pain, she realises she should give the matter some thought while Brandon is slowly but surely getting ready for life on Earth.
Sky seems to be deep in thought, but repeats Marais’ phrase slowly so I can jot it down.
I can’t help crying out, “But, Sky, everywhere I read the word ‘civilised’, ‘pain control during birth’ seems to be in the same sentence. Pain seems to be the enemy that you need to avoid at all costs! Some even call it barbaric not to have some form of pain control, or rather to numb all pain!”
“Sorry to have to leave now, because this is a very important conversation, but my staff need to go. Please, there’s no rush. You two stay as long as you want to,” and with that Vee is off to lock up.
Sky looks far away before she continues, “I know, Zani, I know. Pain gets a lot of bad press, but people who study people and creatures in their natural habitat all know that pain is an integral part of life. Pain seems to be at one end and joy on the other, but it is not an either/or … either pain or joy. Life is a continuous ebb and flow of joy and pain. But let me not ramble on. I majored in philosophy, so I can get quite carried away at times – as you very well know!”
“Sky, I honestly find this conversation mindboggling! I can’t pretend I’m thrilled about what I’m hearing, but I must admit you’ve given me food for thought. I can’t wait to talk to Jake about it. But I have to go now too – as Jake always says, ‘A man with food is good,’ and when he gets back from cycling, as he is about to do, he’s always ready to refuel big time! It was really nice to get to know you.” I reach over and embrace her. “See you at Tina’s next week!”
Vee has a paper bag in her hand for her boy Jake (as she now calls him) which will save my butt when he walks in and sees there is something more substantial than a tuna sandwich waiting for him. She waves off my offer to pay for the tea and muffins like an unwanted fly. And that is that.
From Miriam’s notes and the antenatal classes, I know that between weeks 28 and 31 Brandon’s brain has started to wrinkle more to form clever grey matter, while his skin is wrinkling less due to the layers of fat that are piling up under the skin; that the fat, plus his maturing nervous system, is preparing him to be able to regulate his own body temperature; that 70–80% of the time he is in a dreamlike sleep and that this may be why his movements now feel more like rolls and stretches than sharp kicks.
I also know that red blood cells are now forming in Brandon’s bone marrow and that his ears and eyes are developing rapidly and responding more to natural stimulation inside the uterus, which adds to an increase in his intelligence; his eyes are learning to open and close, and his bones are fully developed, but still soft and pliable enough to navigate the journey down the birth canal without injury. And yet, even though I know that all this amazing bio-engineering is unfolding naturally in my womb, all I can think about now is birth pain.