Saturday afternoon. Husband miles away watching a bunch of blokes I don’t know bashing ten bells out of each other on a muddy field for the first rugby match of the season (in fairness, he is the coach!) Kitchen is covered with the detritus of an earlier ‘rainbow biscuit’ making session with my three and four year old, the dishwasher, dryer and washing machine are chugging furiously away yet again and the carpenter is sawing noisily upstairs. In other words, a totally normal scene.
Totally normal too that my third trimester baby brain has entirely forgotten that two community midwives are about to arrive to discuss details for a home birth should baby number three come out in as much as a rush as baby number two (we’re 20 miles from Addenbrookes Hospital and I’m living in fear of giving birth midway up the M11!)
They come in, I make coffee, try and find my notes, sit down, jump up again as I impale my bottom on a small lurking Lego fire engine, sit down again, jump up again to administer sympathy to a small boy with a bumped knee, sit down again, jump up again when the dvd that’s been put on to give me the chance to have 10 minutes of adult conversation (ha ha!) suddenly freezes…. you get the general picture.
Finally sit down, and hear ‘so, you’re 35 weeks now’.
I actually feel shocked!
‘Gosh, am I?’ I think, ‘How the heck did that happen?!’
Rewind five years and the picture could not be more different. I was 35 weeks pregnant (yes, we are heading for double-headed birthdays!) with my first son, living in trendy nappy valley style in Richmond, west London and filling my time cruising around leisurely choosing merino wool blankets from the Little White Company and going to ante-natal yoga. The nursery had been finished by the end of the second trimester, the hospital bag perfectly packed and the car continually full of petrol. (Ultimately the birth didn’t go to plan unfortunately – but I wasn’t to know that then!) I talked, and thought and even dreamed babies and, just like every other first time mum, could tell you how far along I was to the nearest five minutes.
What’s strange though is that, although we took (as advised) a ‘baby moon’ (last couple’s holiday) and tried to go to the cinema as much as I could (lucky really, because I’ve been only once since!), having never had any restrictions on my time, I just didn’t appreciate those incredibly special last few weeks where I could sleep when I wanted, read a book if I fancied it and wallow in the bath for uninterrupted hours. Hell, I could even finish a sentence! I was, instead, willing the time to pass – desperate to reach the finish line and start the next chapter as a mummy.
I remember passing my due date (Rory was eventually induced five days late as I had high blood pressure – little wonder!) and feeling low, low, low! It’s Monday! Today should be the day! Of course I knew that the due date was just a guide – in fact, many years ago you were just given a month rather than a date! – but I was still utterly focussed on that day.
The only answer was sugar of course (strange because I hadn’t fancied any sweet stuff throughout the whole nine months – in fact my appetite was decreasing as the baby took up more and more space!). Undeterred, I walked down to the local M&S and bought a family-sized Key Lime Pie – oh I wasn’t messing around! Returning home ten minutes later, I walked straight into the kitchen and, without even taking off my coat or sitting down, ate the whole thing, straight out of the packet, standing at the counter. Bleurggh
Next day – STILL no baby! Time for another sugar hit. Hilariously I felt just too embarrassed to return to M&S for a repeat in case they somehow knew what a pig I was being – so this time I alternated with a similar trip to Waitrose – lovely. The next night, back to M&S… Actually it’s lucky I didn’t go the full 14 days overdue – imagine!
It makes me laugh now but the truth is that those last few weeks of luxuriating in your first pregnancy are special and you don’t get them again. I urge my lovely friend at work who is three weeks behind me with her first baby (a useful marker for working out how far along I am – why can I remember her week number and not mine?!) to really appreciate this amazing time. The fact is that, after that first baby arrives, you don’t really have time to notice being pregnant – you just have to get on with it.
So, as my due date approaches and still with a few more days at work before I can bid my commute farewell for a few months, yoga or no yoga, I’m trying to finally get everything ready to welcome this precious new person that we are now so excited to meet.
First though, where are my car keys…? I suddenly really fancy some Key Lime Pie!