Bitch on the Blog

September 14, 2012

There is pain and there is pain

Filed under: Happiness — bitchontheblog @ 21:00
Tags: , , ,

Members of a blogging consortium (they write on the same subject every Friday) have been expounding on the subject of “Pain” today. The funniest that of Paul, yes, of Blackwatertown fame, who took his ‘pain’ to Paris. And devoured it.

I don’t do pain. I never ever even have so much as a headache. Though had three mind crushing migraines (apparently of the male varierty – cluster front brain) when in my twenties. Obviously there is toothache. Yes, toothache. Toothache is amazing. I remember the first time: I must have been about 11. Naturally, it was Saturday morning when it flared up. Never was I more grateful to my father than when he found me a dentist two hours later who relieved me of my first molar. Even him pulling it, hearing the crunch of the roots reluctant to let go was utter bliss. Then I bled. But all was good again. I adore dentists.

Another useless pain when, a couple of years ago, they tried to reset my broken arm manually. Dear dog in heaven. I fucking hit the roof. It was something else. Then they decided it wasn’t going to work. And they needed to operate next morning. So they put me to bed and gave me morphine. Oh the bliss, Sweethearts. If ever I am going to be given a choice of drug addiction – morphine it will be. The Angel phoned the ward every so often throughout the night to see how I was and one of his observations, in wonderment: “The sister kept saying: Your mother is very content. Content?? How can you have been content?” I was. Content. Very. Blissed out. Even more if they hadn’t come round every half hour to take my blood pressure. I am in love with morphine. And that’s that. Anyone and anything I am in love with: Please do stay away from me. I don’t want to know. It’s all too complicated.

However, there is one pain which I wouldn’t have wanted to miss for the world. Childbirth. You can’t beat it for entertainment value. The Angel gave me false alarm on a Tuesday. Thursday morning I drove to Heathrow Airport to pick up my sister. No sooner had I set off across the New Forest labour kicked in for real. I timed it. Every five minutes. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Still, remember we are on the subject of ‘pain’, as long as you have a steering wheel to cling to every wave of a contraction will be easily managed. And yes, I did make it to the airport and back home. I even cooked my sister an English Breakfast in between doubling up before I took myself off to hospital. Naturally, and who can blame him, the Angel was in no hurry to face his mother so we had a long drawn out night. Till, Friday morning, his father had an argument with the doctor and the midwife told me: “This baby has to come out”. Indeed. State the obvious. Once I was threatened with the prospect of forceful intervention the Angel had the decency to emerge before I was wheeled into theater.

My point? My point is that birthing pain is the one and only pain which is most wonderful. Why? Because at the end of it you do have a result. A true result. A miracle. Worth every pain you never thought possible. Yes, a miracle. And that is is how I look at him. A miracle. Coming up to twenty one years.




  1. I’ve never had a toothache tho’ have lots of fillings. (Novocain shots hurt.) Don’t remember ever having a headache. Don’t remember labour (your spelling?). Such a l-o-n-g time ago. Remember the last childbirth tho’.

    I was visiting at my old home (parent’s one) 1,600 miles away when baby was almost due. Mother had me stay; had the baby there. My father drove me to hospital, middle of night. Nobody out in small town but he stopped for the long red light. Had baby 15 minutes later. Don’t remember any pain because I was busy screaming my head off. Doctor/Anesthetist, husband/wife, friends of my parents. I tried to pull the thingy down over my nose for put-you-out-stuff. Anesthetist held my hand back ’cause she knew best. Like I said, no pain, just screaming.

    Comment by bikehikebabe66 — September 14, 2012 @ 22:27 | Reply

    • That’s probably one of the best child birth stories I have ever heard: “No pain, just screaming”.


      Comment by Ursula — September 15, 2012 @ 14:04 | Reply

    • Is there any truth in the myth that women forget the pain of childbirth? I remember reading about it in English Lit in school. I was quite brave about my pains, but I do remember them.

      Comment by Maria Perry Mohan — September 15, 2012 @ 16:44 | Reply

      • I don’t know, Maria. You had four, one of my sisters five and the one who resembles you also four. In the end, apparently, it was like shelling peas. I wouldn’t know. All I do know that that pain did not matter one bit. I was shot to bits at the end of it but I was so very very very happy. Couldn’t bloody believe it when my son emerged. It was pure magic.

        And that’s my point: There is pointless pain (when you are back where you started minus a tooth) and there is that one pain with a result. When they took me to my room with the Angel in his cot at the bottom of my bed and finally left me alone: Sleep? You’ve got to be joking. I stood over that cradle, looking at him in awe, in wonderment. Few composers’ violins would have made a good sound track to how I felt.

        Probably the best compliment ever paid to me, in my hospital notes it said: “She is a natural.” And so we left 30 hours later – to go home. Yes, happiness …


        Comment by Ursula — September 15, 2012 @ 17:13 | Reply

  2. This is one experience that is denied to men and so they really would not know what the fuss is all about. Ranjan was born through a Caesarean section when it was not fashionable, so Urmeela did not have a bad time. I had known Urmeela for eight years before we got married and we were married for forty plus years before she had had enough of me. During all those forty eight years, she never complained even once about any kind of pain. I am not exaggerating. And, she always thought that the head ache jokes about women were not really funny.

    Comment by rummuser — September 15, 2012 @ 00:54 | Reply

    • Indeed, Ramana, it is an experience denied to men.Why do you think men go out there and paint, write and compose masterpieces?

      I don’t envy Urmeela her Caesarean section. At eight months my obstetrician told me that the placenta blocked my son’s exist. Excellent. So they scheduled (ahead of his estimated birth date – early October) a Caesarean for 19 9 1991. A most wonderful date because – as the Old Fossil will confirm – dates like that are hard to come by. To explain: if you read the date backwards it amounts to the same 19 9 1991. Have forgotten now what it’s called. Ask Con. Enter the land of Ursula. I was having none of it. Placenta or not – I was going to be awake at my child’s arrival in this world. Even my sister, who is a tough boot if ever there was one, thought I was stark raving mad to have a Caesarean under an epidural as my only pain relief, meaning I’d be fully awake during the procedure. Still, the Angel and I – to this day – work well together so that joker of a placenta moved sidewise just in time and we did it – to quote your beloved Frank Sinatra – “My way”. No shortcuts for me. Not that I belittle anyone who opts for relief of any kind.

      Birth stories are difficult to relate to a man. That’s were female friends come in. You never tire of any of it.

      As to ‘headaches’: Yes, Urmeela and I would have got on really well with each other. She sounds a formidable woman – in the best sense of the expression.


      Comment by Ursula — September 15, 2012 @ 14:33 | Reply

  3. I broke my collar bone as a young lad playing football (American variety) in a vacant field owned by a neighbor. I was tackled into a stack of firewood. Of course the neighbor had always chased us out of the field, telling us we couldn’t play there. I thought that hurt a lot, but when we returned from the hospital and my father made sure all was well with me, he grabbed me by the ear and dragged me over to our neighbor to make me apologize for being a dunce who wouldn’t heed his warnings not to play there. I think my ear hurt a lot more than my collar bone. Or maybe it was just my pride that was hurting.

    As for childbirth, well, we had three beautiful children and quite frankly, I didn’t feel a thing. I’m beginning to think labor pains are a myth…

    Oh my! Look at the time! I best be leaving! (Lest I learn what pain might actually feel like)

    Comment by Phil — September 15, 2012 @ 12:32 | Reply

    • Thank god you are not a NEW man. The one who “feels” the pain. FOS never attended any prenatal classes and the only one he wanted to (where they explain to the ‘expectant’ father how to breathe) was on the evening I was already breathing ‘heavily’. Whilst I was grateful to him that at one point, a blip, I could hang off his neck sobbing “I can’t do this” on the whole I believe men should not be allowed in the delivery room. It’s too distracting trying to keep them calm whilst bringing a new life into the world.


      Comment by Ursula — September 15, 2012 @ 18:45 | Reply

      • Tom called the hospital to report I’d started labour & they said to come. (This was my 1st baby.) I told Tom I didn’t want to… He said he’d call back & say I’d changed my mind (about having a baby).

        Comment by bikehikebabe66 — September 15, 2012 @ 20:14 | Reply

      • Ah yes, those Lamaze classes where my wife and I were taught all about breathing exercises to ameliorate the pain. Not too bad, up until her water broke. I remember when the very next contraction came right after her water breaking; I calmly said, “OK, let’s remember to breathe…” whereupon she shrieked out in genuine pain and screamed at the top of her lungs, “Shut the fuck up!!!” Yes, I was scared out of my wits perceptive enough to leave her alone after that.

        Comment by Phil — September 16, 2012 @ 01:05 | Reply

        • Perceptive indeed. Let us record for posterity:I didn’t swear once. I didn’t shout. I was most dignified. I am not joking. It’s true.

          My overriding memory of that night that various people “knew” what was “best” for me. I was offered a back massage by my sister: DON’T TOUCH ME (only to then find myself apologizing to my sister that I refused her offer). I was given some hideous red beanbag which I did battle with till they took the damn thing away. I refused to have some ghastly mask (laughter gas) clamped to my face. I know my body. So just let me get on with it. FOS was good that way. He didn’t presume to know anything (he didn’t) and took the lead, as it were, from me. So he was there but unobtrusive. Funny thing was that we had always planned for him not to be there at all. To do the manly thing – pacing up and down the corridor. No, no, he was very good. However, he is a doer and he wants results. And he is most suspicious of the British National Health System (NHS). So I knew, every time he left the room he’d be trying to find a doctor or midwife and challenge them. To understand the system of a British hospital: They will stagger births. So you literally are in a queue. Meaning they broke my water (yes, indeed they had to break it) when they were ready and not some other birth needing immediate attention.

          Actually come to think of it all: As the Angel would say “That night was like something out of a comedy programme”. It was. And never shall I forget that most wonderful moment when the midwife took me away afterwards to have a bath and clean myself up. Just before the two of us left the room I turned round and, one of the most moving moments of my life, there was a new father holding our son. And I knew he’d be in safe hands till my return.

          Dangerous stuff, Phil, to get women talking about giving birth. You won’t hear the end of it. It’s such a momentous moment in a woman’s life. And, of course, every birth is as different as we are different as people. Sure, people think it’s all about pain and martyrdom. It isn’t. The pain is just par for the course. Otherwise, why would women, like Maria and Cynthia above, my sisters, your wife, go through it again and again? I made some very good friends in both the ante and the post natal classes. There were four or five of us. Oh, how did we bond. We’d meet at my house for long lunches – first with babes in arms, then babes crawling on the lawn, then babes walking. And yet, just as different as our children were, so was our experience of motherhood.

          How much more time have you got?


          PS Before I forget, and since you mentioned it, Phil: When they broke my waters it was the most delicious warm sensation gushing out between my legs. I can feel it now.

          Comment by Ursula — September 16, 2012 @ 07:26 | Reply

          • Phil, you can experience that same warm gushing between your legs by peeing whilst standing.

            OOOOH, that works for females but yours goes in a different direction. Sorry, you’ll never know that sensation.

            Comment by bikehikebabe66 — September 16, 2012 @ 20:29 | Reply

            • It’s OK BHB. I’m sure we men have a few sensations that women will never know as well. Vive la différence!

              Comment by Phil — September 17, 2012 @ 13:08 | Reply

          • I’ve plenty of time to reminisce about childbirth and those powerful emotions associated with it. Certainly I cannot imagine the feeling of delivering a child, though I can very much recall the flood of emotions upon seeing and holding my newborn baby girl for the very first time. I call it a flood of emotion, because that is exactly what it was. Mixed emotions – holding and seeing a baby, strange to you, yet knowing this is your flesh and blood. There is no articulate way to describe it all. No words can do justice to that emotional torrent running through your body at that precise moment in time.

            As to the water breaking – well I’ll have to take your word for it.

            Comment by Phil — September 17, 2012 @ 13:14 | Reply

  4. I’ve had lots of pain in my life. I got something worthwhile and lasting from all of it. My pain wakes me up and makes me pay attention. It teaches me something, or reminds me of something to do or not to do. So, while I don’t go seeking it out, I think pain can be your friend–or at least not your enemy. But maybe you have to be Buddhist to swallow that bit of sweet poison…

    Comment by Lorna's Voice — September 16, 2012 @ 19:04 | Reply

    • Yes, Lorna, I think you do “have to be Buddhist to swallow that bit of sweet poison”.

      The few times pain has befallen me I am incredulous. How is this shit possible, I ask myself. And, apparently, my pain threshold is very high. Lucky me. The only good thing I can say about pain that suddenly befalls you is that, like a fever, it will alert you that something is wrong.

      Chronic pain, emphasis on chronic, I can’t even begin to fathom. I know so many people who live with it. Whether it’s that back that’s killing them, headaches, chronic fatigue, depression, and worse, you name it. I don’t know how anyone does live with it on a permanent basis. They say one gets used to anything. Maybe. I wouldn’t know. And I dearly hope I never will [know].

      I have nothing but admiration for those who laugh in the face of adversity, are still happy. May I never be put to the test.


      Comment by Ursula — September 16, 2012 @ 21:12 | Reply

  5. Phil, here’s a man experiencing labour pains.

    Comment by bikehikebabe66 — September 18, 2012 @ 02:00 | Reply

    • Ouch!!! That looks rather painful. Though I still didn’t feel a thing… 😉

      Comment by Phil — September 20, 2012 @ 22:37 | Reply

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