Beads of sweat trickle from my forehead and over my nose. I open my mouth slightly. Only slightly mind because if I open it too much I might exert energy from the wrong part of my body. And the other end needs all the energy I have left. I taste the salt from the beads of sweat and this keeps me going. Oh god, here it comes…
My eyes are forced shut as another part of my body is forced open, wider than it ever has been before, straining out more of last night’s dinner than I could possibly have eaten. Surely. Surely there can be no more? My stomach cramps and I get a head rush. I can’t see. I’ve gone blind. Oh. God.
No, I’m fine. It’s over. That push wasn’t too long. I pant, smiling with the relief of a woman who’s managed to give birth after just a couple of minor pushes. But for her the ordeal is over… I know that in just a minute mine will start all over again.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the result of eating nothing but Indian food for a month.
I don’t seem to have your good old fashioned Delhi belly though. Every day for the last week I’ve woken up to this, I force through (and sometimes I really do have to force) my first toilet stint and then I’m fine for the rest of the day. Imagine if you will – morning sickness of the arse.
Ten minutes later and I’m holding the walls. It’s getting less painful as any solid has long passed giving way to the flow of the sweet mother Ganges. The current is strong, the smell potent, but at least she flows with little to no pain. Truly a healer.
I know that Gemma can hear every squeak and grunt from the next room, I do my best to stifle a gasp for air but it does no good. The room is hot, moist and potent. I can get no fresh air from here and Gemma’s fully aware of everything that’s going on. I picture her disgusted face as I become aware of the disheartening fact that each inward breath I take is probably leading me further to genuine illness. So I do my best not to inhale the air which the other end of my body has just exhaled.
And then I let out a tiny yelp. Although I’m distinctly aware it’s not come from my mouth, I’m relieved. It’s over.
There she is, my new baby. A water birth if ever there was one.
Pass me a towel, let me mop my brow.
Until tomorrow morning, it’s over.