Northern Ireland

Ow! Ouch! Ooo! Listen to a man having a baby

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Media captionHenry McKean has released a video of his "labour" online

Ooo! Ouch! Ow: is that the hysteric shriek of a demented cow or a man going through labour?

Irishman Henry McKean has first-hand experience of what it is like to have a baby.

He put himself through the birth pangs of a woman's labour and lasted two hours and 15 minutes before he had had enough.

Henry McKean, a reporter for Newstalk radio in Dublin, flew to a private maternity suite in Amsterdam.

But the only canal that interested him in the Dutch capital was the birth one.

Medics hooked him up to electrodes and filmed him in simulated labour.

The result was like a sick cow meeting a scene from The Exorcist.

After two hours of dire agony, Henry ended his ordeal, but not before the red mist descended and he swore at his birthing partner over the hell he was going through.

"I swore at her and told her where to go," he confessed.

"It has been absolutely exhausting.

"The pain was something else. They strapped me to six electrodes.

"It was a bit like having 100 electric toothbrushes going inside your belly with lots of little Lego men kicking you at the same time. If you've ever stood on Lego, it is very sharp."

But he said that he did not cry.

"A bookie gave odds that I would cry within half an hour, but I didn't," he said proudly.


At the end of his labour, staff at the Dutch maternity suite presented him with a plastic doll - his very own baby.

But it was small consolation, he told BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster programme on Friday.

"Women around the world are having a go at me. Everybody is watching the video from Northern Ireland to India. I think the reason why they are ganging up on me is because it is their pain and they do not want to share it."

But Henry feels he is closer now to women.

"I feel your pain," he said, "and it is excruciating.

"I broke my leg in three places when I was younger. It was absolute agony and this, too, was such a surge of pain."

Meanwhile, texters and tweeters to the radio programme had fun trying to work out what was happening when they were treated to Henry's labour groans.

"He's having his legs waxed," said one.

"It's dental treatment," said another.

While another guessed: "He's trying on his girlfriend's high heels."

Meanwhile, mothers of the world would remind Henry that active labour lasts on average eight hours... ouch.