Wednesday 22 August 2012

Ready to pop

(Based on diary extract from 22/01/2011). 

It's my official due date today. I don't expect he or she to turn up on time. In fact, I half expect the baby to never turn up at all because this whole thing seems very surreal. Me, a mother? What a joke, I can barely fend for myself.
I have my hospital bag packed which, to be honest, is more of a bag of snacks than anything practical. Admittedly, I don't think I'll be screaming out for a double decker in the final pangs of labour but you never know, I might be one of those women who gives birth in ten pushes with just a paracetamol whilst managing to knit a matching hat and gloves in time for the delivery. Maybe that's where all those knitted boobs came from in my antenatal class.
I tell people I don't care if I have an epidural, that I'll take anything I can get but I secretly hope I'm one of the lucky ones. Maybe it's not even about that, maybe I just have something to prove - as though it makes me a more valuable member of society to have gone through childbirth without medical intervention. Why is that? It's not like I'd put it on my CV.
My midwife asked me to write a birthing plan, and I told her I didn't want one because I wanted to take it as it comes. So she decided to write one for me by spontaneously firing at me a series of multiple choice questions 'vitamin k injection for the baby on delivery...or not, and risk the baby having blood clots?' Erm, can I come back to you on that?! How ridiculous. So I've somehow signed up for a water birth. God help me.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

The gamble

(Based on diary extract from 18/01/2011). 

So I’ve come this far by just being me... well,  so to speak. The so called ‘ball and chain’ of marriage  (for me anyway) never turned out to be so and the day I married Neil I felt more myself than I ever have. Since then I feel like my life has been richer, more supported, more full of bear hugs and private jokes, stinky football kits and general lack of hygeine. I’ve become more accustomed to picking pants off the floor and organising someone else’s diary.
It’s funny how someone else can make you feel more complete, simply by making you more aware of who you really are. That’s when you realise that you need other people around you, to bring out your best. And no matter how many spanners they throw in the works, the challenges they provide make you a better mechanic at working out the cogs of life.
Then the unspoken question starts to emerge. Would we be better as a three? We’ve been perfectly happy for 5 years as a 2. Why spoil it? So we carry on living life, every now and again dropping the odd hint to figure out where the other stands on the matter. ‘Im thinking of turning the spare room into an art studio... I mean, it’s not like we’ll need it for a nursery or anything is it?!”... a quick glance reveals he’s totally not bothered by the comment. Not sure if I’m delighted or saddened (or whether he’s even heard what I said in the first place with the delights of Sky Sports transfixing him).
Then comes the point when you wonder if you’ll even be able to have kids, and people try to worry you with comments like ‘well, body clocks ticking, you don’t want to leave it too late’. You start to treat it as a gamble; “Maybe we should just try because it might take us years”. And then you start to resent the fact that people think it’s a given that you’ll procreate, despite the fact that these very people are the ones who will tell you what matyrs they are for doing so themselves, as though it somehow happened to them like an unexpected natural disaster. These people seem shocked after their repetoirs of ‘woe is me’ to hear me say I never want children. Well really, what did you expect?
But life seems, well, a little samey. I mean, there comes a point where you’re ready for the next challenge to come along. You’re happy but you’re ‘content’, and there’s something about ‘content’ that makes me uneasy. I could carry on like this forever but I’m not evolving. I think about what I want to acheive in life and, after years of trying to gain people’s approval and be a success, I’ve realised that the only thing I want to acheive is happiness. And once I have it I want to share it.
Now don’t get me wrong, my marriage isn’t all bliss. I mean, there are only so many football matches you can take in a week, and only so many farts you can stand in the middle of the night. But there’s something about making a commitment to someone or something that seems, well, somehow sacred. Despite everything, you’re in this together and you’re grateful for a friend to stick by you in it, and to remind you that you’re not perfect either (that yes, I too fart in my sleep). There’s something raw when you agree you’ll take each other on, all the fun and intimacy, followed by the risk of inevitably letting each other down and dealing with things you never hoped you would have to. And I’m grateful. Grateful enough that I want to do something amazing for him. Grateful enough that I want to seal a part of what we have into eternity.
So we decided to have a baby. Well, we decided to not try not to. We took a gamble. We figured we’d be laid back and maybe in a few years something might happen, or we might change our mind and decide the whole idea was stupid. Which I did... a few days before I found out I was pregnant. And before I know it, I’m 39 weeks pregnant anticipating what life will be like for us in a few weeks or even days. Wondering if my life will be a little more raw, a little more challenging, a little happier.