When I was pregnant I remember having quite a big argument with my husband about why I didn't want him calling his mother the second I knew I was in labour. I didn't want him to call my mother either. I didn't want him to call anyone apart from the midwife. My labour and childbirth was something I wanted to be just for us, private and unfettered by feeling like I was was worrying people. My ideal scenario was to be calling close family from my hospital bed to let them know that our child had been born several hours previously, to have had a few wonderful hours with just us - our new family; to take in the wonder of it all and then let people know. I remember that my husband really couldn't get his head round why I wouldn't want people to know and that our argument was quite heated and tearful. His mother lives abroad and he thought she should know as soon as the first twinges began. I didn't see why since she was going to be flying over on my due date and staying for three weeks anyway, so the chances were that she would be in the country by then. Eventually he understood that the potential lack of privacy was causing me quite a lot of upset and it was better for him to back-off and let me try to have the labour I wanted which was to potter quietly at home and then travel to the hospital when I felt the baby was near.
What actually happened was quite different to what I imagined. His mother flew in and had been in the country for a week before I felt the first twinges. When I went into hospital I found out I was only one cm dilated but they let me stay as it was snowing very heavily. After an uncomfortable night we decided to return home, me complete with urine infectrion and anti-biotics, where the pain continued through another night which I spent either propped up on cushions or jumping off the bed. The next day, severely sleep deprived and unable to work out how far apart my contractions were, we traveled back to the hospital where I was told I was now 2 cm dilated. I was so disappointed. We decided to stay t hospital because the snow was falling thicker. For a whole day and evening I continued to walk through my contractions in a lonely, sterile hospital room at the midwife led unit while my husband fiddled with his iPhone. By this point I am pretty sure that everyone knew I was in labour and while I was worried that they were worried I had other things to focus on like marching round the room in repetitive circles and gripping the sink on the wall so hard that I thought I might break it off. At around 10.30 pm more that 2 days after I first went to the hospital I was rushed up to the consultant led unit and finally given gas an air. I was 6 cm dilated, my waters hadn't broken, my urine infection meant that I was in several different types of pain. When they drained the urine they got half a litre, when they broke my waters they found Meconium. When I got to 10 cm they prepped me for a C-section and gave me an epidural. Our son was born almost 3 days after I first went into hospital and rushed into special care for ten days while I recovered from the episiotomy and pumped my breasts furiously.
So - this is why I find the whole media circus surrounding the birth of Prince William's child so disgusting. The BBC has a man from PaddyPower discussing the odds on the baby name, the man standing outside the hospital just keeps repeating that there is still no news and the radio tells me again and again that the labour is 'progressing normally' because that is the ONLY statement on the labour that has been made today.
Progressing normally can mean that Kate Middleton will give birth to her firstborn child in two days time or in two hours time. For her sake and 'the public's' sake I hope it is two hours. Are the BBC and Sky and all the other news outlets going to stand outside the hospital for two days repeating the same phrases again and again? Sadly the answer is probably yes. I don't give too shits about the whole royal thing, I am neither for or against royalty but I am a woman who had a long and difficult labour and who wanted things to go according to some plan. In hindsight that might seem ridiculous but every first time mother has an idea of what they would like in a perfect world, even those of us who want a hospital birth. I am pretty sure that, princess or no princess, Kate and William didn't want a bank of photographers outside every possible birth location, helicopters flying overhead and minute by minute reportage of every imagined push. It also makes me wonder did anyone at all think to step in during the planning and say 'hang on a minute, isn't this a bit much, shouldn't we step back and think about the woman at the centre of this? By that I mean a BBC producer or a SKY presenter, maybe a female one? Yes of course this is the media I am talking about but if I were that producer or presenter I know damn well I would be voicing my objection and considering the privacy and feelings of this soon to be new mum who is going through one of the most arduous experiences of her life so far. I hope that while they stand there repeating 'and still there is no news on the birth of the royal baby' a little bit of them is crumbling inside.