By Contributor Ash Pritchard (@the.sitch)

Shit you guys… I did it. I didn’t think I could do it – BUT I DID IT! I made a human.  And, for the record – he is absolutely perfect. Just sayin’.

Like really, the concept of making a child still perplexes me. You could be bleaching your mo’ and your body is just doin' it’s thang and growing a baby toe. You could be filling up petrol meanwhile a penis sprouts from the gonads. Crazy stuff.

People tell you being a parent is going to be tough. Right from the get-go you announce you’re pregnant and you hear stories of sleepless newborns, waves of vulnerability and every other calamity about being a first time parent.

They were right. It’s tough AF. You are constantly being pushed to your absolute limits, functioning on two hours of sleep a night with tits so veiny they look like directions on Google Maps.

You’re fragile. You’re irritable. You’re constipated. You’ve let yourself go a little bit and the tiny chin hair you forgot to pluck has progressed into a full-blown Conchita Wurst. BUT, I assure you, you will be so head over heels in love with your offspring none of that shit (figurative shit that is) even matters. Not even for a minute.

Alas, before you welcome your new babe into the world you must endure a monumental feat. And as fate would have it - it has to come out the same way it went in.

HOW do I know I’m going into labour? Probably the most common question for first time mums. Truth is – there is no certainty of the pain associated with the onset of labour. For me personally, they came under the guise of poo pains. I may have eaten some out of date bacon earlier that afternoon. Naturally, I came to the assumption the cramps were fecal related. I braced myself for a Category 10 shit storm and then it dawned on me…

You’re having a contraction – ya noob.

Ash in hospital

Ash in hospital

Trying to get through contractions is a losing battle. Your body has the artillery of a Spartan army with swords and machetes and goddamn horses and you’re armed with a pea-shooter and a gerkin. At first they might be anywhere from 6-7 minutes apart. Soon enough they will be 2-3 minutes apart causing you to experience what one can only call bone-shattering, body-convulsing, lawd-Jesus-it’s-a-fire, diabolical rips to your uterus. As they get more intense and you teeter on point of blacking out you think “how the fuck did I get myself into this?” and suddenly the irony of the question dawns on you.

Oh. Riiiiiiiight. Awks.

You enter the birthing suite with a quiet confidence and unbridled determination to get this over with as quickly as possible. You heard once that a woman had a baby 8 minutes. YOU could be that woman! However for me that determination quickly turned to deflation when I was advised I was only 1cm dilated.

Let me repeat that. One. Uno. Singular. A lonely, stinkin ten millimeters. I was averaging 0.25mm an hour. I was experiencing some serious cervical condemnation, and, as it turned out the pain was going to ramp up even more. The friendly midwife gave me the gas, which tbh is like the Nickelback of the drugs family. A few hits, but doesn’t really do much for you. Bottom line – it kinda sucks.

I was gonna need some big girl drugs. Drugs in the form of a huge fuck-off needle inserted into my spine. It was time to call in the big guns – enter epidural and catheter.

My main gal Eppy came to my rescue right when I needed her the most. She’s the kind of friend you like to have around. She’s sharp and straight to the point. She’s literally always got your back. Then old mate Cath arrived. She’s a laugh, a bit of a smartass and will literally take the piss out of you. #squadgoals

After that, pure, unadulterated bliss. You literally cannot feel a damn thing. Nada. Fast forward 9 hours and I’m FINALLY 10cms. Cheers, cervix. You finally came to the party. About fuckin’ time. NOW things are about to turn up a notch. Contrarily, the epidural is turned down. You. Feel. Everything.

If your spouse has a weak stomach, I would suggest they avert their eyes for the next part. Cause shit is about to get realer than real.

To quote the great Queen Bey, Matt was NOT ready for dis jelly. He innocently peered down to watch the action unfold. Ever wondered what a baby crowning looks like? Matt put it ever so eloquently “like a quivering rockmelon”. I banished him out of view of my poor ol clam.

*insert quivering motions*

Fortunately, my saviour, the very person who gave birth to me was there for moral support and assistance in head fanning/sweat wiping/scream muffling. She was amazing – I swear that woman deserves a medal (Matt on the other hand wouldn’t even get a fucking participation sash).

It took 58 minutes. An arduous, exhausting 3,480 seconds.

Ash, Matt and their baby boy Harley

Ash, Matt and their baby boy Harley

And then - there he was. A baby boy. MY baby boy. An abundance of rolls. A bundle of pink, fleshy perfection. For 10 months he grew inside of me. He was a part of me. And now he was here. He was placed my chest and I was overcome with absolute adulation. There was my son, all 34 seconds old, wincing at me through his little blue eyes. Breathing his first breaths and taking in the world outside of the womb. I scooped him up and held him close, whispering to him as he cried out of his tiny little lungs.

That feeling is one I can’t begin to try and explain. I don’t think a word exists to really encapsulate what it is like to hold your baby for the first time.

You’re so gushy and loved up that you don’t even notice that you also just delivered a placenta. I’m sure we all know what one of them looks like or have some idea so I won’t elaborate on the visuals *dry heave *.

An excited Matt shakily cuts the umbilical cord and we both sit there in silence with our eyes glued to our little boy, Harley Paul. It’s official. We’re parents. We glance at each other and we don’t utter a single word. And in that moment the world stopped and the hands of time stood still – because at that moment I was holding the world in my hands.