Flashback: I have been lying awake for two hours. Rather considerably bigger and fatter yet rather considerably less the woman I am today (in more ways than one). 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant. The size of an average sized whale (which I don’t know the dimensions of for sure but I imagine is rather large). No longer able to put on my own socks without assistance, or roll over in bed without making unattractive grunting noises and taking ten minutes to rearrange my huge nest of various shaped pillows. I have probably just hauled myself back in bed from taking my 32nd trip to the toilet of the night. I am lying here wondering if this squeezing sensation in my pelvis is the real deal and not another cruel bout of false contractions. Well they’ve been every 15 minutes like clockwork and if I had to describe the pain I would probably be using the word ‘wave’. Ooomph there’s another one. No, this is definitely different. Ow. Maybe I should wake Ant…
Flashforward: I sit and watch Kai smearing his hair with banana and laughing hysterically at the ceiling. I love you my odd child. How incredibly blissfully restful boring and empty my life must have been before you.
Flashback:I wake up Ant and tell him that, although I don’t want him to panic, I think this may be it. He jumps up gleefully to phone work and tell them he’s not coming in today. Dosser – any excuse for a day off is a cause for celebration in Ant’s eyes. Haha enjoy it my dear, it’s the last ‘day off’ you’re going to get for a while. Say about 18 years.
Flashforward:I emerge from the shower to find Ant holding Kai like an unexploded bomb. “He smells”, declares Ant when asked what is wrong. Yes I imagine he probably does smell since he has just evacuated about a week’s worth of poo from his behind. Thank you for bringing this to my attention honey. Here, you pin him down/distract him by putting things on your head and and I’ll try and clean him up quick before he crawls off and covers himself/the bed/me in excrement. I suddenly fear I may have got the short end of the straw, or the messy end anyway. Do you remember when we used to have romantic long lie-ins and DIDN”T know what it felt like to be up to your arms in crap? No, neither do I.
Flashback:Contractions coming good and regular now, 5-6 minutes apart and strong enough to take my full attention. It hurts but weirdly I find myself quite enjoying it all! When not breathing and rolling about on my birthing ball (which, I’ve decided is just a space hopper without the handles and the weird face – could have saved some money there, we have one in the loft), I dutifully consult the LABOUR section of my Pregnancy File, a self-compiled recepticle of knoweldge, complete with different coloured index tabs headed in my best writing. I had been pregnant for nine long months and I had been determined to be prepared. Notes had been made, checklists written. In different coloured pens and with drawings and everything.
Breathing. Check. Moving About and Staying Upright. Check.
In between contractions I also unpack and repack my hospital bag that has been sat ready for at least a month so is slightly dusty, checking on the essential items carefully planned and packed in advance.
Cooling face spray. Check. MP3 player with pre-prepared playlist of labour songs. Check. Snacks for Ant. Massage Oil. Check Check.
I phone the labour ward and they tell me I’m doing great, that that if I feel ok to keep going at home to do so, and phone again when I get to 4-5 minutes contractions. No problem Midwife lady! I’m fine! Ok it hurts a bit but I’ve been waiting for this moment for nine long months and god dammit I’m going to do it well – all is under control. I have my file!! Over-achiever? Me? Nooo…. but if I was then I would DEFINITELY get an A+.
Flashforward: Me and my best friend Helen buy the biggest chocolate cake we can find to take to our Breastfeeding Support Group to celebrate the birthday of our boys (who were born on the same day) and a whole year of successful breastfeeding despite many difficulties along the way. We feel this is extra symbolic in that chocolate is probably the only thing to have kept us both alive this last year and able to keep up with the demands of our respective milk monsters.
Flashback:Ok, this is REALLY hurting now. Ow. I lie bent over my footstool with a hot water balanced on my back and watch Bill Bailey DVDs to take my mind of things but it’s getting kind of hard to stay serene and calm. My breathing is getting kind of huffy. I may be starting to moan a little. I dutifully make a note of every contraction and am getting a bit discouraged to see that they’re STILL 5-6 minutes apart, shouldn’t they be getting closer together by now?
We take a walk, pausing every 5-6 minutes for my to clutch Ant and sway and do my moany sound. Poor neighbours, I must be quite a sight. It rains and we get completely drenched and decide to go home.
I’m a bit fed up now. And I think Ant is getting bored. Look he’s given up rubbing my back to go play Football Manager…
Flashforward: Me and Kai snuggle up for nap. His head is pushed as far into my armpit as he can make it go. I look at the size of that head. Bloody hell that’s a big head. I try not to think about where that head forcibly appeared a bit later, exactly one year ago. It certainly wasn’t my armpit.
Flashback: I don’t believe this. My contractions have stopped. I haven’t had anything for half and hour now. No. No No NO NO NOOOOO THIS IS NOT HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO GO!!! Surely this couldn’y have all been false labour? I had endured 12 hours of pretty intense contractions. Was it all for nothing? Was I going to have to do it all again in another few days? DAMMIT I HAD MOVED ABOUT AND BREATHED AND BEEN SERENE (mostly) AND EVERYTHING!!! Sobbing, I phone the Labour ward again, exhausted and defeated, and demand to know what the hell is going on and why why why have they stopped. A kind but slightly patronising midwife tells me I’m probably just experiencing mild (mild?? MILD???!) practise contractions and that this wasn’t established labour yet. Go take some paracetamol and have an early night she tells me.
I sob and sob. My whole world has fallen apart. I am officially going to be pregnant forever. But, oh, OWW! that was another contraction, sob sob, god dammit stop playing with me baby!!!! Are you coming out or not?? Pretty soon the contractions are back to every 5 minutes but after the midwife’s assessment I have lost all confidence in them now and figure we might well be here for days yet.
That’s it. I want my mum.
Flashforward: Nothing particularly interesting happened…. sorry. Kai whinged. I think I ate some Orios?