Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Umbilical cord

The most bizarre thing that a newborn baby comes with is an umbilical cord.
For some reason it’s currently vogue for the father to cut this cord when the baby arrives and I have no idea why they think this is in any way a good idea. If you are expecting to spend a great deal of your later life ceremoniously opening shopping malls, then fair do’s, you might gain some valid work experience chopping your way through an umbilical cord, but aside from that I can’t think of a positive. That all said, everyone else at the birth thought it was a great idea so I meekly went along with it.
Cutting the cord itself is like using a pair of scissors to slice through a particularly gristle ridden steak; it’s not exactly pleasant but it’s hardly a horrendous experience. What was a let-down was the complete lack of flash photography and the fact that the massed hordes of Paparazzi were noticeable only by their absence. Shame really as it was the sort of occasion that seemed to warrant an explosion of flash lights and a tumultuous round of applause at the very least.
So, having made the cut that proclaims your child as an independent entity, they hand him back to you. By now the purple tinges are fading away and he’s actually starting to look vaguely human, except that he has what seems to be a large slug attached to his stomach. And, just in case you missed the slug, they fit a huge yellow clip to it. 
I asked the midwife why they fitted such a huge clip to the umbilical cord and the answer she gave was that ‘umbilical cords differ in size’. This didn’t seem to explain why the clip was almost the size of the baby and only really made any sense if the Maternity unit occasionally delivered young pachyderms and stocked up on umbilical clips accordingly. Anyway, at least the enormous bright-yellow clip made it easy to find the baby again if you did occasionally misplace him.
By day three the slug like umbilical had withered away and was starting to look a bit like a vanilla pod, yet smell like a 6 day corpse. All this time you have to try to fit nappies ‘hipster’ fashion as you need to let this cord dry out, and little or nothing is going to stay dry if it’s anywhere near a nappy. This is all a little awkward, especially when you haven’t a great deal of experience in nappy fitting but, fortunately, by day 5 Marty’s cord disappeared - only to be found later that day, hidden in the leg of his baby-gro. We were a bit worried at first as his belly-button bled a little, but apparently that was entirely normal and sure enough it stopped completely after about a week.
Kilroy woz ere
I’m still not sure what to do with this old withered umbilical and its gigantic clip. It seems a bit macabre to store it as a keepsake, yet it doesn’t seem right to just throw it away. On a bright note at least the nappy changing is easier now we’re cord-free, in fact Marty has taken the opportunity to start sporting them “Simon Cowell” stylie... which is surely a good thing.

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