This story now
IN Health & Fitness ON 18 Jun, 2015
One fine day Tom Mitchelson spoke the wrong words. Words so wrong, he had to challenge himself to go through the labour pain of pregnancy. It all started when Tom and his wife Jenny were having a talk about the hospital experience of the day their son Leo was born. When the topic came to labor, Tom said, 'The worst thing was having to stay in a hospital for 24 hours after he was born.' remembering his sleepless night sitting on a plastic chair. Jenny wasn't happy at all with his statement. She asked, 'You think that was the worst thing about the experience?' He knew she was offended.
Suddenly, an idea came to his mind. Why not go through the pain once rather than being told that women are just better at enduring pain. According to him, why should men be challenged on a topic they'll never have yo go through. The British couple searched for a clinic in Amsterdam and took an appointment for the same. Thus began a man's journey towards getting the experience of distress and physical agony of labor pains.
The appointment was made in a Birth Hotel in Amsterdam, which basically is a private birthing center, designed to give women the most natural birth possible.
Tom had seen his wife go through immense physical pain during pregnancy and during labor as well. According to him, she had pushed her best to bring Leo in this world, and that was indeed painful.
'If you really believe you could cope, then give it a go,' Jenny said. So, Tom prepared himself for the upcoming challenge. Many of his female friends 'cruelly' laughed and wished him luck when he introduced his idea to them. Juliet, a friend of Tom said, 'It won't be the same. You won't have been pregnant for nine months. Labor is like climbing Everest after running a marathon.'
He was also appointed a 'midwife' Ilona, who had delivered about 2000 babies.
The birth room was airy, light colored and had a double bed with comfortable mattresses. There was also a huge tub meant for water births, but due to current electrodes attached to his body, Tom couldn't opt for the less painful birth option.
Kim steadily raised the frequency of electricity to simulate contractions. The intensity, length and time are varied in between in the same fashion as it happens with labor.
In Holland, doctors deliver a baby following three stages of labor, known as the 'birth' phases. These are the first, second and third phases, based on the duration, intensity and time gap of current waves sent to the body.
It's when Kim sent the electricity hurtling down the wires and into Tom's stomach. According to Tom, it was very uncomfortable and lasted about 30 seconds. It was a stinging feel.
Tom graded it two, but honestly thought it to be three. After seven minutes, there was another contraction. He wasn't feeling quite good but the mood in the room was jovial.
Now, the contractions repeated after every five minutes and lasted for forty-five seconds each. The room started getting dull for Tom and he yelled out in pain. Leo was so shocked to see his father in pain, he burst into tears.
During labor, Jenny had to go through straight 20 hours of contractions as the umbilical cord had wrapped through Leo's neck and things were getting worse. Cervix has to open up to bring the fetus out of mother's body, and the opening must be about 10 cm wide. With those contractions, Tom was equivalent of about 2 cm.
The contractions now come every three minutes and last for a minute. The intensity is tremendously increased to 500 pulsations a second. The pain was so aggressive, Tom started to cry. When Jenny held his hand and asked him to breathe, he yelled 'You breathe through it!'
He was exhausted because of shouting and crying like the women he had seen in the TV. He told Kim he didn't like her anymore. He kept shifting his position throughout the process but nothing reduced the pain. The contractions were so quick it was getting hard for him to breathe. Till then he was 8 cm dilated and the process would soon be over.
Tom says that this experience has made him appreciate all what women go through when giving birth to their babies. He was also glad to know how the human body looks after you in extraordinary ways.
He wasn't happy as women get to have a baby after going through this much of pain but all what he got was red marks on his skin at places where the electrodes were attached. But he also understood why women go through all this pain over and over. For Leo, he too would have bore the agony a thousand times over. Respect.