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Baby Samourai made-in-India – 5. Landing at the hospital

Finally, one evening, five days after term, at midnight sharp, I shook my favorite Indian who was asleep: the contractions seemed to have started! Two hours later, he making our midwife taste his juices while I writhed in pain...

At 2:45 AM, while people were blasting disco music in the street (don’t ask, it's Mumbai), we finally set for the hospital where we were received by a perspicacious nurse “you are pregnant? And what are you here for?”


At 3:00, an employee of the hospital tied me to a wheelchair – I did think of protesting, for the form, and the absurdity of the situation, and because I had the right (after all I was pregnant and about to give birth, they could have entertained a little whim), and go on foot, or at least not strapped. India, land of contrasts and contradictions, is a country where everything is true, and the opposite too... Thus, if most Indians live in the greatest contempt for the rules (driving, waiting in lines, etc.), some of them whose job boils down to a few simple and repetitive tasks would rather lose an arm than disobeying their instructions. I gave in and left the ground floor properly harnessed on my chair.


At 3:05, we were in the room.

At 3:07, I had removed the battery from the clock whose ticking irritated me.

At 3:10, I watched, utterly bemused, the intern measuring the duration of my contractions with eyes riveted to the clock. It took her a good minute to realize that the hands were not moving! I will give her the excuse of the undue hour...


At 3:18, my wheelchair friend started to remove my beautiful pink-orange nail polish. So much for the mani-pedi! There again I thought of protesting. But then I remembered the recent comment from my mother about her own surgery: nail polish is forbidden because the medical staff can ‘see’ the blood pressure from the nail color.


I spent the next two hours on the exercise ball that my midwife had managed to smuggle, writhing in pain at the whim of contractions. I was managing pretty well until my Gynec arrived. Still in a joyful mood, I wanted to tell her the joke the radiologist had told me the same morning: “If you manage to get this big baby (1) out naturally, I will come to shake hands with you at the hospital”. Except that I completely missed my effect: a contraction shook me violently in the middle of my sentence and I had to finish it in tears. I understood that the Gynec believed I had taken the radiologist seriously when she told me when leaving “come on, let’s prove this idiot wrong!” Incidentally I learned later that this little jokester of radiologist was a recidivist: he had shocked my friend with this same comment, and with her Yugoslav sense of humor, she refused to go back to his lab!


(1) The average birth weight of a French baby is estimated at 3.6 kilos – which I was unaware of – which is 900 grams above the average Indian (3.5 vs 2.7 kgs, source:; )


(To be continued...)


Baby Samourai made-in-India – 4. Final preparations

IIndia, birth,water birth,pregnancy,baby,infant,newborn,delivery,midwife,swaddling,swaddle,diaper,breastfeeding,hospital,fertility,contraception,sterilization started my maternity leave a couple of weeks before due date. I had an exhaustive to-do list before becoming a parent: buy a decent fridge and washing machine (we already had the crib!), make peanut butter, finish watching Orange Is the New Black and treat myself with a haircut / manicure-pedicure. Because I thought I wouldn't have too much time to do it with the newborn and (it is very trivial and unlike me (put it on the hormones) but) I wanted to look decent on the photo where they put the baby on your chest. With the arrival of my parents and my mother-in-law, it took me a good full week to complete these operations...


I surprised my Indian relatives by going out alone (i.e. to have breakfast with a girlfriend) at D+1, then running the stairs up and down like a maniac at D+2. And I myself got my share of surprises, for example when my mother-in-law predicted me the delivery date indicated by the stars. Or when she told me that in Kerala, the new mother must spend the first ten days bedridden, to recover (cf Babies made-in-India - 3). At the end, I delivered in a complete astral chaos (or at least in the greatest contempt for astral predictions), and two days after I got back home, I was perched on a stool to reorganize the kitchen cupboards... Lets not see here any provocation ;)


(To be continued...)


Baby Samourai made-in-India - 3. Choosing the delivery method

india,birth,water birth,pregnancy,baby,infant,newborn,delivery,midwife,swaddling,swaddle,diaper,breastfeeding,hospital,fertility,contraception,sterilizationPregnancy is fine but well, the time of giving birth did come at some point. Not that I was in a hurry but, as I read somewhere, we never saw a 24-month pregnant woman!


Determined to follow Mother Nature’s ways as much as possible (i.e. to avoid caesarean delivery), I let the British midwife to convince me to try to aquatic experience... She had nice arguments, like the relaxing effect of hot water which is a natural painkiller.


Them, to support her theory, she found nothing better than showing me, like that, completely out of the blue, a video of a water birth at home. It was very, very hard for me not to burst into tears. And not of emotion before this miracle of nature, no. Of terror. I am still traumatized by this video, and the image of the huge woman with huge boobs giving birth in her living room, with her eldest daughter, husband, mother, dog around.


Giving life to a child is supposedly the most beautiful thing in the world. But then why so much suffering huh?? The midwife, wanting to be reassuring, commented on the video: "you see, sometimes, she even smiles between two contractions”. Fantastic!

Well, anyway, this pain I couldn't start to imagine it, so I focused on a detail that may seem trivial: the heavy breasts of this mother. Already, being myself very reserved, I was really worried about having my parts exposed to the entire human race during childbirth. And I had started seriously considering delivering all alone in my bathroom when the midwife added, as if she had read my mind: 'don’t worry, you can keep a spaghetti top or a sports bra. And to close the deal with this argument: “water birth is definitely the most intimate way to deliver a baby, because you are all alone in your pool, nobody to stare between your legs". Sold!


A few weeks before the D-day, I went to the pool of a hotel to test the waters... I was indeed curious to see if it would have the desired effect: everyone recommended me immersion to get relief, to feel lighter. I did not feel any lighter when entering the water... On the other hand I did feel heavier when getting out of it! But anyway, since I had no problems with gravity, I decided to not renew this experience...


(To be continued...)