You know you’ve given birth in the NT when…
Your obstetrician comes in to break your waters in what looks like his pyjamas and a pair of crocs.
Another local mum-to-be solicits on Facebook: “Wanted: stripper for baby shower…who is willing to dress in a nappy…only needed for 10 minutes. Will pay in beer.”
You find yourself on a plane heading Down South five weeks after birth and your child starts screaming when you put a jumpsuit on him. You realise this is the first time he has worn clothes.
You emerge from childbirth to the news that another NT politician has resigned.
One of the midwives tells you about how she took her two-week-old on a prawn trawler from Cairns to the Torres Strait (ie: you should toughen up and stop crying about breastfeeding already).
A fellow in-patient offers to do a Maccas run for everyone on the ward.
There are lengthy conversations with your significant other about how close you can get to the due date before all fishing/sailing/boating/camping/4WD expeditions must cease.
At some point in your third trimester, you find yourself bogged, on a dubiously small charter plane, in the middle of flood waters or in a boat without a back up fuel tank.
The hospital car park features multiple examples of bush mechanic mastery.
On the tour of the hospital prior to giving birth, partners are offered the chance to try out the nitrous oxide. One of the younger dads volunteers eagerly. “You feeling that yet?” asks the midwife in charge. He shakes his head, shakes his head, shakes his head and then lets out a big sigh. “Woah,” he says. “Yeah. That’s good. Kinda like being stoned.” He looks up with a start. “I mean, if you’ve ever done that.”
The anaesthetist gives you an epidural and turns around to your partner and says, “You much of a fisherman?” When Mr Tea looks bemused and says yes, he is gifted the one-use only medical pliers “for his tackle box”.
The hospital birth classes include the gentle suggestion that Dads might want to “wet the baby’s head” with fifty of their closest friends OUTSIDE of the maternity ward.
You spend a good part of your last childless day watching the epic kitchen bench battle between a cockroach and a plucky bunch of green ants.
The first 24 hours is a blur of morphine and birth hormones and it takes until 9pm on day 2 before you realise you don’t know how to change a nappy. One of the midwives kindly offers to give you a little clinic. The nappy pins dispensed by the hospital are a little blunt, so she runs one through her hair to grease it up.
You can hear a string of expletives from the next birthing suite, followed by a shriek: “Get THIS BABY out of ME!” You start to get anxious and the midwife tries to comfort you, “Don’t worry. Her baby’s twice the size of yours and she’s had no pain relief.”
The arguments begin about when you might start attaching a baby capsule to a tinny. (For the record – Me: Never. Mr Tea: Yesterday.)
Your newborn family pictures are interspersed with screen shots of the BOM radar (because yours aren’t the only waters that have broken).
There’s a bag of mangoes in the patient kitchen.
While you get a blood transfusion, one of the nurses makes small talk about how dogs are less likely to attack after it rains.
The baby pages of the NT News are slightly less funny now that you realise that Quinoa, Kale, Sailor and Shazeeequala will be at your kid’s birthday parties for the next 18 years.
“The backyard pool: How soon is too soon?” is a popular topic of conversation with other new mums.
One of the best presents you receive is a battery-operated fan for the pram.
At a BBQ, comparing birth stories with some other recent mums, one of the partners pipes up. “Childbirth….pfffft…I don’t even know why I had to be there. What did I do, except pat you on the back and say there, there? You’re just a spare prick at a wedding. I’ll tell you the real pain. Getting your kid’s name tattooed on your ribs the next day. Worst 15 minutes of my life.”