Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Don't worry. None of this blood is mine.

Dear Fuchsia – Part IIIa: 21/2/12

Dear Fuchsia,

As I write these words to you, it’s 1:34am on Tuesday 21st of February. Depending on which due date you prefer to believe, you’re either due yesterday, in 6 days, or in a week and a half.

I’m listening to ‘The Humbling River’ by Puscifer – which, incidentally, is fucking awesome.

Right now, I look like this:

…only less blurry in real life.

Katie (your mum; calling her that is still very weird to me) just texted me saying she was trying to sleep, but not doing too well with it. The last time I saw her was just before 1am, and she was in behind these very doors:

I just went downstairs to get some stuff ready, before I inevitably forget to do it later. Katie wanted me to bring 5 things to the hospital tomorrow – five things in addition to the three bags of Whatever that I’m already toting around.

It’s now 1:59.

I’ve remembered 4 of them: The book she was reading; The camcorder (which was a wedding present, by the way, and came with us on our honeymoon); some (more?) socks (for some reason?); and her phone charger. Whatever the fifth element in this continuum was supposed to be, I suspect it’s banished from my mind forevermore. I could text Katie and ask, but I don’t want to risk waking her up.

‘Shake It Out’, by Florence and the Machine just came on my random playlist. That’s a cool song.

Last night, literally minutes after I’d arranged to go see Bruce Springsteen in Dublin with Katie (and our friends who’re almost definitely going to be Uncle Rob and Auntie Erika to you), Katie informed me that her pee was a funny dark colour. This was rare. Dare I say it, this was exciting. I thought, for the first time in 9 months, this pregnancy was going to do something interesting. Frankly, it’s been pretty tedious past the major milestones, so you owed us some jazz hands.

Like all adults in this exciting age of reason and rhyme, we Googled symptoms. As with all Google diagnoses, it turned out to be something between Nothing At All and Total Womb Destruction – the latter of which, now that I type it out, is sort of a rad band name.

Panic wasn’t exactly setting in. As I said, you’ve been such a boring pregnancy event-wise that if I’m being completely honest with you, I’ve often forgot you existed, and stopped marvelling at the process months ago. For a long-ass time, you’ve been nothing more than a parasite that makes my beloved new bride into a swollen, waddling Sigh Factory. Weekly checkups always showed a very strong heart. You’ve been extremely active in the tummy (I call it the Fuchsia Pod) to the point where every single midwife making a note of it has become boring, too. Yes, it’s hard to find the heartbeat because she always moves so much. Yes, we’re aware she’s an active baby. Yes, we’re aware the heartbeat’s very strong once you find it. These are the things I endure for you. It’s like a shitty repeat loop of the most banal small talk. One of the most active babies you’ve seen? Wow. Woo. Yay. All that means to me is that when she’s born, she probably won’t sleep much. That’s not good. Sleep is awesome. If you don’t think that, Fuchsia, I’m not even sure you’re the blood of my blood.

So even now, when something unusual happened, I have to admit I thought it was probably going to turn out to be nothing.

“But she never does anything interesting,” I said. “It’s a boring pregnancy. We know that already.” There may have been a hint of whining in my tone, there. I won’t deny it.

We tried calling the maternity ward, six times, without getting an answer. I wanted to make a crack about the NHS being shit, but that would be the kind of thing a Tory would do. Instead, I blamed the lack of an answer on the Tories, which made me feel much better and infinitely more indignant about the whole situation.

When we eventually got through, Katie explained the situation. They said we should come in, just in case, as it might be any number of things.

We reached the hospital just before 8pm. There were several more incidents with staff that made me think things like: “Hey, shut your mouth for three seconds so my wife can explain what’s happening,” and: “You, madam, are a cunt.” But overall, it went pretty smoothly. Enter 800 tests, stage right, most of which involved me holding things to Katie’s stomach to find your heartbeat. The phrases “The baby’s fine” and “See, that’s a happy baby” joined the rest of the pregnancy’s tedious phrases that – because of their overall niceness – I can’t bring myself to say were exactly unwelcome, but were still a bit, y’know, vague and boring.


Katie’s water had broken, but it was one of the slower, subtler ones rather than a brilliant piss-yourself-downpour, which she’d been dreading and I was totally looking forward to finding hilarious, like an insensitive jackass. And the reason her pee was a funny colour was because it wasn’t just pee. It was, in fact, mostly amniotic fluid.

In what may be the most grotesque thing ever to be amusingly common in pregnancy, you’d triggered one of the signs of foetal distress by, uh, making meconium in the amniotic fluid. While I appreciate that means I don’t need to clean it up (seriously, the horror stories of that stuff have been my Number 1 Terror), and while I know it’s not exactly rare, it does tick a few danger boxes. I’ll be 100% honest: Katie wasn’t scared, she was disgusted. Being told by the nurse that it happens a lot didn’t help her get over it. I wasn’t scared, either. I thought it was gross and high-larious. “Good, strong heart,” they kept saying. “She’s a happy baby.” And all I could think was “Why is she happy? There might still be some poo on her skin. I wouldn’t be happy if I was her. Goddamn, babies are gross.”

So Katie’s staying tonight for observation. After about 5 hours, they kicked me out and told me to phone at 9am tomorrow morning to see if there was (in their words) “anything happening”. Nice. Nice and blase’. Not even “Come back in visiting hours.” It’s “Call first, about mid-morning, or whatever.”

This probably sounds scarier than it is. To explain it better, I’ve just spent those 6 hours listening to your heartbeat and movements, and – perhaps more reassuringly – listening to nurses bang on about how good your heart sounds and how your movements are fine. Katie’s being induced, with proceedings aiming to kick off tomorrow morning. If everything goes wrong at the last minute, she goes in for a C-section. Right now, with her water broken, she’s in the teeny-tiny contractions (and less tiny cramps) of early labour. I was fine to crash in a chair by her bedside, but no dice.

So now I’m here, home, at almost 3am and listening to ‘Fuckin’ Perfect’ by P!ink on my playlist melting into ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’ by Amon Amarth. I can’t sleep. I should probably try. The nurses kept telling me to. Katie kept telling me to. I can tell it’s not going to happen.

So. Thanks for finally doing something interesting. Something not exactly unique, but gross enough to be notable. We’ll call that phenomenon “grotable”.

See you tomorrow.

February 21, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,


  1. Good luck, poppa… and congratulations

    Comment by Bobby Carney | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  2. Exciting! Best of luck!

    Comment by Nate | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  3. I’m excited for your Aaron, you get to meet your daughter soon and see the most amazing thing (in my opinion) a human can make! I wish you and Katie the best of luck in parenthood and I’m sure you’ll make a fantastic if not hilarious Father for her.

    Comment by Gareth Bradshaw | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  4. The 9 month waiting would be too long for me. Good luck to you and your wife and future child!

    Comment by osmandias | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  5. Hilarious take on pregnancy! Sounds like she will be here tomorrow! Good luck wont be boring from now on 😛 Also hope you are in the ulster hospital or City hospital. Hope to fuck you arent in rvh or even worse antrim :/

    anyway good luck and enjoy!

    Comment by r.sandy | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  6. All the best for Katie and Fuchsia…….

    Comment by nioveratus | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  7. +++ Whatever the fifth element in this continuum was supposed to be+++

    Milla Jovovich, from memory.

    All the very best to all three of you. (Four, counting Milla.)

    Comment by Matthew Farrer | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  8. I became a father in late October last year. I really hope all goes well, and that you enjoy the whole experience. Heads up:
    – baby poo does not smell unless/until you feed them formula or solids. Our boy is fully breastfed, nappies are messy but not smelly.
    – it is tough, but you can raise a baby and still fit in a few hours of borderlands/dead island/bulletstorm every few days. Headphones are essential, as apparently babies may get distressed by the sounds of bandits being electrocuted. Given your posts, you may substitute ‘Pranking the Rim’: http://chainsawsuit.com/2012/02/16/pranking-the-rim/
    – I had a boy (so all his toys are also mine – winning) – however a mate had a baby girl. He is sure that with minimum conversion efforts, My Pretty Ponies may be repurposed into Imperial Guard Rough Riders.

    Again, best of luck to you, your wife and Fuchsia.

    Comment by Darkkt | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  9. Aaron, I’ve only met you twice and Katie once, but nevertheless this post made me giddy with empathetic excitement 🙂

    I hope it all goes fantastically!

    Comment by Vinnie | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  10. Best of luck to you both!

    Comment by John | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  11. Exciting times! Best of luck to you, your wife, and your baby!

    Comment by northernhomesteader | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  12. Good luck to your whole family!

    Comment by ratmeatcuisine | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  13. Congratulations, and good luck!

    Comment by Midgard | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  14. Boring pregnancies are better than “exciting” ones. Our 2nd was an “exciting” one, and involved a C-section oat 36 months and 2 weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Rather not have to go through that again! Good news is that the subject of that little adventure is extremely happy, almost 3, and very active…

    Comment by Damon Agretto | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  15. All the very best of luck and love to you both. Can’t wait to meet Fuschia.

    All of us xxx

    Comment by Sarah Cawkwell | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  16. Funny as hell. No doubt the sproglet will read the paternal concern inherent in those sentences like I did, rather than seeing you complaining about its poo before its even had a chance to go down its first waterslide.

    I just want tell you both: good luck. We’re all counting on you

    Comment by Mark Grudgings | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  17. Fun times. Glad all’s going well. Take a ton of food and Coca-Cola for Katie when a baby starts coming out, as well. These things can go on for a day, and apparently hospitals rarely feed you as well as you’d like. In France, anyway; probably in Ireland too.

    Yeah, the magic of pregnancy sure ebbs fast. The first time I heard my daughter’s heartbeat brought tears to my eyes. Now, at scans, I just watch the midwife flick between all the cool image filters on the echography machine, and I think of Predator 2.

    We’ll be where you are in about three and half months, bub.


    Comment by PW Gresty | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  18. Good luck Aaron and Katie. I wont lie to you Aaron… the baby comming out bit.. its scary sh*t my friend. But hey.. it’s got to happen. Plus you get a new baby out of it 🙂

    Anyway good luck and take it easy.

    Comment by Crispin Ozz (@Skilledhandz) | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  19. Good luck to you and Katie, fine sir. I’m sure she will be a much more interesting baby once she has introduced herself to you.

    Comment by Jon Beer | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  20. I kinda feel bad at the fact that while this was going on, I was sat at home playing Mass Effect 2 and trying to start a romance with Garrus.

    God damn you prespective!

    Comment by Xhalax | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  21. Good luck matey, beat wishes to the three of you!

    Comment by Phil 'Phoenix' Thorogood | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  22. Congratulations, AD-B.

    Comment by David Swanick | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  23. Congratulations to the Bowden’s

    Comment by Bigwill | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  24. What’s her midichlorian count?

    Comment by noodlerocker | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  25. Best wishes to you and your wife and daughter!

    Comment by Noobhammer Jason | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  26. This has got to be the most words per minute you’ve written in years…

    Good night and good luck!

    Comment by G | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  27. Congratulations and best of luck to you and your family!

    Comment by Ross (@Olaf_NetLegend) | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  28. An Amon Amarth listener aye?

    You recieve 5 awesome points.
    You recieve 20 more if you are abandoning your wife to go to download in the summer and hear James Hetfield try and re-gain his former glory in the Black Album all the way through.

    Comment by T | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  29. Best of luck with everything. I’m sure it’ll all go swimmingly.

    Comment by First and Only | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  30. all i have to say to say is humbiong river is indeed a most awsoem song…..and congrats

    Comment by J.Sibley | March 21, 2012 | Reply

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