Poetry – Where do you come from?

Where do you come from?

Where do you come from

                My brown-eyed boy?

From the Milky Way

                With its four hundred billion stars;

From a solar system,

                A planet close to Mars;

From a chemical soup

                Creating molecules that think

From a mutant chimp

                And a missing link.

That’s where I am from,

                Where I live,

                                What I call home.

Opher – 3.12.2021

I was watching The Universe on TV last night

It makes you think.

Birth – an extract from ‘Farther from the Sun’.

Henry was our last born of our four children. He is the baby of the family.

It is strange.

There is something magical about conception. Every single time we made love that resulted in a pregnancy, it was magical. I could feel that life start from that instant. Something amazing happened. I could feel it.

This was no drunken moment, no mistake or condom failure, nothing mundane or inconsequential; this was magic.

I felt this with all four of our children – something mystical. I knew we were starting a new life.

Henry was born at home.

I was watching football, not a cup final, as with Hester’s birth, but some European match, late in the evening. Liz was sitting on the settee and the first thing we knew was when her waters broke. She had to quickly put a cushion under her as the fluid poured out. Only then did she start having mild contractions. I went and called the mid-wife. We were having a home delivery and I didn’t want the sort of mess up we’d had with Barnaby’s birth (where the midwife had gone to pieces) so I’d vetted the mid-wife. She was good. She’d passed the test.

She came and examined Liz and found that she really wasn’t very dilated. As the contractions were mild it was decided that nothing much was likely to happen that night. The midwife, optimistically, thought that it was best to go to bed and try to get some sleep, or else Liz would be too tired to push Henry out the next day. The midwife assured us that the contractions would die down if she could sleep.

We went to bed. I cuddled up to Liz and put my hands on her big belly. I could feel the contractions going through her belly and making her uterus hard. They were not hurting too much and we tried to get some sleep, but we were both too excited. It was strange to think of our other three kids asleep in their beds down the corridor. I wanted to wake them up to share in the excitement.

I didn’t though. They slept and we lay awake talking and feeling the contractions. Soon we would have another baby. There would be another human being in the world.

The sad thing was that my dad was not going to be there to hold him. He was not going to be able to chase him around threatening to ‘cut off his tail’ as he had done with the others. He was not going to hear him squeal with delight as he was chased.

Far from dying down, the contractions were becoming stronger. It became obvious that we were not going to get any sleep, indeed we were not going to last until morning. Henry was coming. I eventually gave up trying to sleep and called the mid-wife back.

It was a smooth and easy delivery.

Henry was born in the early hours of the morning.

Our family was complete.

Our genes were passed on into the next gene pool.

Our purpose was all but over. All we had to do was get them to adulthood in a state where they were able to breed. We then had to sit back and wait for the grandchildren to arrive.

That was biology for you – the natural imperative.

I took Henry’s placenta into school the next morning. My 6th Form Biology group had a look at it and were all a bit horrified. We bottled it and it sits on the shelf in the Biology lab to this very day, eighteen years on.

What is maybe more important, than a bunch of genes, is to pass on to them some of the wonder of life. What is it for? What do we do with it?

As you can see I don’t have a clue!

Hey kids – it’s out there! There is a thing called life! You’re living it! Experience all you can, be fulfilled, but don’t for fuck’s sake kill yourself. There’s awe and wonder out there, don’t lead a boring life, don’t get bogged down in religion. It’s bollocks.

But then, that’s just an opinion based on my view of history and humans. People are basically good but we’re all flawed. Given half a chance we’ll mess everything up. You could do worse than spending your life trying to put it right or doing something purposeful or creative.

What do I know?

I am your father. I love you. I am proud of you.

My father was proud of me for some unfathomable reason. I guess that goes with the territory. My father is dead. I will die. That is natural. I hope I die before you. But I’d love to meet the grandchildren first. We’ll see.

Remember me.

I spent my life trying to make sense of what to do with the life I was given. I didn’t do so bad! I could have done a lot worse.

11.11.01

 

Could any of us have done it any better? Who’s to judge? In the final end, I suppose we all have to judge ourselves!

26.10.01

Blame The Vagina For Our Ignorance.

The problems associated with birth are just one of many problems associated with the human body. This was a great post.

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Intelligence has a limit, much like a cup of tea. It can be filled to the brim but pass that and it will spill its delicious contents on the table. It can only hold so much. You cannot make the cup larger, so you are stuck with that capacity.  You are born with this “cup”.

The brain is composed of approximately 100 billion neurons but weighs only 3 pounds. A lot is crammed into this small organ. Your entire ability to emerge from consciousness stems from the matter that is compressed within the confines of your skull.  Everything that is you, minus your interactions with reality is comprised of that very organ.

Earlier I stated, “You’re born with this cup”.  That is not entirely accurate.  You were created with that cup, your cranium.  The extremities of your skull are the limits of your mind.  The intelligence you have does, in…

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Anecdote – The trauma of a first birth

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The trauma of a first birth

Having a child is a life changing event. It is the transformation from a self-centered life to that of being a family. You have something precious that is more important than yourself.

I was twenty two when Liz became pregnant. I do not think either of us realised what a change it would make to our lives. No regrets.

It was the most exciting experience, though a bit nerve-racking.

First you have all those months where nothing happens. Then the wonder of a swelling belly and those little kicks. The early scan. But even then it does not seem real.

By the end Liz’s belly was so big she could hardly walk or sleep. It was so uncomfortable, yet she had taken on a serenity that was surreal. Her mind was preparing for what was ahead.

Of course she made full use of her situation. She had cravings. I remember going off at one in the morning in search of a chocolate dispensing machine. These were the days prior to all-night shopping. I eventually tracked one down on an underground station.

The big day when Dylan was due came and went. She did not produce. I was a nervous wreck and Liz was still very relaxed.

I worked in the other side of London and gave her very strict instructions to ring me at the first sign that anything was about to begin. We were told to go in to hospital when contractions happened every hour.

Two weeks after the due date Liz went into labour.

She eventually rang me at about three in the afternoon. Someone came to tell me she was on the phone. They all knew what that meant. Trying to contain my excitement I asked the question.

‘How often are the contractions?’

‘About every thirty minutes,’ she replied.

She had been having contractions all day. They were building and becoming more regular. Liz had made me work an extra four hours! I had visions of her producing the baby before I managed to reach home. A wave of panic flooded through me.

I rushed out, jumped on the motorbike and headed home, weaving through traffic and opening the throttle. I managed the journey in half the normal time.

I rushed in to find Liz in her dressing gown grilling sausages.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked in a state of shock.

‘I’m feeling peckish.’

Feeling peckish. All kinds of thoughts were rushing through my head. She wasn’t dressed. We had to get to the hospital. What if she needed anaesthetic? Surely she shouldn’t be eating? She might suffocate on her own puke? We had to be there, now. Why wasn’t she ready? Why wasn’t she at least having the decency to appear agitated? Where was the urgency?

‘How far apart are the contractions?’ I asked a little breathlessly.

‘About every twenty minutes,’ she replied absently, as one came through on cue and she leaned against the wall until it had passed.

We were meant to be at the hospital when they were an hour apart. They were twenty minutes apart. This baby was imminent.

‘Come on,’ I urged. ‘We haven’t got time for this.’ Attempting to get some sense of urgency into this. She shrugged me off.

‘Stop fussing,’ Liz replied, prodding the sausages.

She calmly made herself a sandwich and ate it which I hopped from foot to foot. I couldn’t sit down.

Finally she dressed at a leisurely pace and we set off.

They took Liz off for a shave and an enema. All part of the service designed to create greater hygiene. I took the opportunity to ring my friend Pete. We’d arranged for him to bring his camera and record the event.

We soon found that the hospital had a different view. Their policy was that they only just allowed husbands in. And they had to stay up the top end well away from the action.

Pete arrived to find that he wasn’t going to be able to gain entry and we sat in the waiting room. I was a little tense and he was a bit miffed.

Eventually I was allowed in with Liz. I donned green gown, facemask and hairnet as if I was gowning up for surgery.

I needn’t have worried about rushing. The contractions took hours to build. A midwife popped in and out checking the dilation and progress. Liz refused all medication and any form of pain relief even though the contractions were agony. That was something neither of us was completely prepared for. Somehow we had imagined we would cope with the pain.

Eventually she was dilated enough to push and the pain disappeared.

The room filled with people. Everyone had to clock up so many births. All the junior midwives and doctors rushed in to bear witness and tick their boxes.

I looked up to see Pete, all gowned up, pretending to be a doctor, complete with camera. He had observed where the doctors got their gowns and walked in bold as brass, gowned up and followed everyone in. They were all too focused on the birth to worry about him. He managed some brilliant, precious shots.

Liz was superb. Within three big pushed the Head was breached. I watched as the consultant injected and cut the perineum to allow it to be born. A push later and the body of our son Dylan slithered into the world on a gush of fluid and blood, as if sliding down a toboggan run, blue and with his lifeline of an umbilical cord snaking out around him.

We had wanted a Leboyer birth with quiet, dim lights, music and warmth. The hospital could not quite manage that but they tried. The room emptied and the lights dimmed.

The midwife held him up by the ankles, expertly clamped and cut the cord and quickly whisked him off to suck mucous out of his lungs and check him over. There was no need his lungs worked. She wrapped him in a soft blanket and handed him to me. I took him like he would break and cuddled him to me. He was quiet and watchful. I held him in some ecstatic delirium and gazed down at him. He peered back at me, studying my face intently and looking contented. His little hands and tiny fingers tensing and splaying as if he was feeling the novelty of the air.

I have never felt as wonderful. I was so full of wonder I could have exploded. I handed him to Liz and watched as he studied her too and she beamed down at him with the delight of motherhood. All memories of the ordeal of birth were banished.

We had a son. We were family.