Nine months. That’s how long it takes for us ‘mums to be’ to bake something up that even Paul Hollywood would be unable to criticise; a perfect little human being. As soon as you see those digital lines spring up on the pregnancy test, you embark on the best, most daunting and utterly beautiful white knuckle ride of your life. If you’re flukey like me, you even get to enjoy the ride with your hands up in the air and escape the vom that sometimes accompanies such pleasures.
My nine months went fast. Really fast. I’m pretty sure I ate my way through the first trimester and put Hoffmann’s pies out of business along the way. The tiredness came in waves but I soon got used to putting my feet up and letting the husband run around after me. What a chore.
Before we knew it, I was tucking into my leaving fuddle at work (yes, pork pies were on the menu) and waddling my way into maternity. I had hoped to plough on with work a little longer but when you’re carrying the child of a 6’4 ex rugby player, it’s time to let someone else score the tries.
Mother Nature had it all planned out. Naively, I assumed the start of my maternity would consist of nesting, drinking copious amounts of raspberry tea and going for long walks in meadows with bluebirds circling around my head. But no, mother sodding nature had other plans, in the form of a nice dose of flu that confined me to bed for what felt like an eternity. I was supposed to be getting a pedicure to impress the midwife and instead I was shrivelling up in a den of soggy tissues and self pity.
Now, you mums to be know what it’s like when you’re faced with a hacking cough in those final days of pregnancy. Let’s not pretend here. One wee cough and, well, wee is precisely what happens. Little old me saw the funny side in this, I even enjoyed the husband heckling me, comparing me to an old woman. However, when the wee seemed to be taking the piss, I soon started asking questions.
The hubster told me to ring the Triage team, just to be sure that all was a-ok. I remember telling him not to be so stupid for thinking our little one was on the way. I had two weeks left yet darn it and I already felt cheated out of my time being Lady Muck thanks to the flu that had so kindly graced me with its presence. Nonetheless, hospital bags were packed and the car seat (still boxed up) was chucked in the boot of the car.
Before I knew it, I was being hooked up to a monitor and examined to see if my waters had leaked. Like the muppet I am, Big Bird here was still completely in denial that our baby was on route via the fastest route on mummy maps. “Your hind waters have broken, we need to induce you” were the words uttered between my unmanicured feet. Shit the bed (yes, this can also happen in labour) bambino was making an early appearance.
I quickly became bessies with gas and air as my “fake” contractions started coming in thick and fast. Be warned though gals, those canisters run out and you’ll need that replacement fast. It’s all shits and giggles when you’re puffing away on the good stuff but when that little bugger packs in, you’re screwed.
After what felt like days, we were finally moved into a labour room where I was met by two smiling faces who were to very swiftly become my new BFFs. Move over gas and air, I’ve been upgraded.
My midwives rocked. They were like the perfect tag team; organised, efficient and calm. Having endured 24 hours of gas and air, I started to struggle and along came the mini breakdown on the husband. I remember sobbing that I couldn’t do it anymore and needed an epidural but due to my waters breaking and me being a plank and not knowing, it was off the cards until my bloods had come back. My new BFFs offered me alternate pain relief and diamorphine joined my circle of friends.
Now, when the last thing you watched on tv was The Jungle Book and you’re now under the influence of morphine, things get a little cray cray. Genuinely, I told my midwife that she reminded me of Baloo and asked her to fetch me a jäger bomb. The party continued when my bloods came back and I got the green light for an epidural. Life was good.
My funniest memories of my hubster happened whilst I was drifting in and out of glorious sleep under the beautiful spell of the epidural. Every time I opened my eyes, I would glance across to his bolt upright chair and see him tucking into yet another sandwich. He was a lean, mean Subway machine.
The hours were now really stacking up and were totting up to 34 on the radar. Having had the progress of a snail carrying the kitchen sink, I was absolutely delighted to hear that I’d finally reached 9cm.
“Time to push” I was told and by God, was I ready. It’s amazing how you find the strength and energy to push after such a long and exhausting process, but somehow, some way, I was pushing like a trooper.
Half an hour passed and our little one was still hanging on in there. “Push another half hour” I was told. I gritted my teeth and followed orders. Still no joy. Now, being the wuss that I am, I had written on my birth plan that I wanted to avoid the forceps in whichever way was possible but alas, like all things in labour, you just do as you’re bloody told.
I will never be able to use salad spoons again. After this experience, tossing of any sort is firmly off the menu. Nonetheless, had it not been for those weapons of torture, our little one would still be dining for one in her favourite snug.
When she finally arrived, she was placed on my chest and we were told that we had a gorgeous little girl. It’s true what they say; when that baby arrives the blood, sweat and tears all become a distant memory, even as you’re sat with your legs akimbo with five doctors between your legs playing dot to dot with your third degree tear.
The very next day, I turned to my husband and told him I was ready to do it all again. Yes it had been tough, yes it had even been scary but when Amélie looked up at me with those big brown eyes, completely and utterly dependable on me for survival, I knew it had all been totally worthwhile. I was ready to be strapped back into that wonderful ride and go again. Yes, maybe I am a little loop to loop but hey, that’s the joy of motherhood.
Rachael aka the mummy blagger is a UK parent blogger and mother to Amelie. She blags her way through parenthood one step at a time. To read more of her blogs visit her page here.