At this time of year, it’s a good idea for all of us to have some sort of First Aid training. We – and not just the government – are a disaster-prone people and you never know when you might be called upon to deliver a baby or sew someone’s face back on.
Let’s stick with babies for now.
Say a virgin walking along Durban’s beachfront unexpectedly starts giving birth to Jesus II on Christmas Day. You would want to be able to help, right? Don’t laugh. It’s not impossible to still find a virgin in Durban.
Anyway. If you do see a pregnant woman’s waters break, the first thing you need to do is panic. This is a big moment for her and the last thing she wants is for people to act nonchalant. She will probably want you to take a photograph. First make sure she is comfortable (put your shoes under her head) and then take the photograph. Do it tastefully. You have not been commissioned by Hustler.
Some people say that childbirth is the most natural thing in the world. Of course it is. What could be more natural than having a tiny human growing inside your body for months on end and then, once it has reached the size of a watermelon, squeezing through an aperture designed to accommodate nothing more robust than a cucumber?
It is inadvisable to rely too heavily on nature for a hand with the delivery. If it were such a wonderfully natural thing, you and her could share a couple of beers and chat about your favourite books while she popped it out right there in the bar.
When confronted with an emergency delivery, you will find yourself in the unique position of having a woman hoik up her skirt and open her legs without you having to beg or pay for it. Don’t make a big thing of it. However, the entire process is fairly personal so you might want to get her phone number before getting down to business. If it turns out that she doesn’t know who the father is, forget the phone number. You don’t want to end up a surrogate dad for some little bastard born on a pavement.
When it comes to the birth, follow these pointers and everything should be fine:
- Refrain from commenting on her vagina, no matter how complimentary you mean to be.
- Tell her to push.
- Tell her that she has dilated by, say, half a metre. That will encourage her to push even more.
- When you see the baby’s head appear, resist the impulse to shout, “Alien spawn!” and run away.
- If the baby is taking its time to come out, stick your hand in there and give it a good tug.
- If you don’t have a knife or pair of scissors, chew through the umbilical cord and tie a knot in it. Close your eyes and pretend you are on Fear Factor.
- If the baby is not breathing, this means he has already started with his nonsense and should be reprimanded with a gentle smack.
- He will then start crying. So will his mother. It is best that you cry, too. If a crowd has gathered, ask them to join in.
- Wait a few minutes for the afterbirth to appear. I don’t know why it doesn’t just come out with the rest of the carnage.
- Put the afterbirth in some sort of container. A lot of mothers like to take it home and use it as a conversation piece.
- Give the mother gin, cigarettes, drugs – whatever you have in your pockets. She deserves it.