*My column for this week - apologies if some of it seems repeated from early blog posts.
There are few things guaranteed to make you feel less ridiculous than sitting, bouncing on a birthing ball, watching Sex and the City trying to pretend – for just one second – that there is a touch of glamour and excitement left in your life.
Yes, I’m just over a week away from my due date and things have started to hot up in the Allan household. (Although not, in any kind of Carrie/ Mr Big romantically charged way, you understand).
My standard evening now involves a very early change into my jammies and an hour or so either bouncing on or lying over an oversize gym ball in a bid to ease those deliciously deceptive Braxton Hicks contractions which have me wondering if labour is imminent at any moment.
I’m almost afraid to leave the house. And when I do I rush around as fast as my hugely pregnant belly will let me for fear of my waters breaking somewhere entirely inappropriate (like the school playground). My sister has suggested I start hanging around shops I like, you know just in case those rumours of shops being very kind to women who have almost delivered in the soft furnishings aisle are correct. I, however, can’t bear the thought of having to explain to anyone that no, I’ve not wet myself, and yes, I am having a baby and then having to worry about some first aiding stranger offering to give me a check over or deliver my baby amid the scatter cushions.
I’ve become mildly obsessed with Google and lists of symptoms of early labour – as if I haven’t been through it before. Although in fairness it was five years ago and my memory is very much clouded by a haze of gas and air.
I have also learned the very important lesson that should you even suspect, for a second, you are actually going into early labour the one way to stop any pains dead in their tracks is to tell someone else. A simple text to my mother “Not sure, but having a little pain” is more effective than an epidural for stopping pain in its tracks.
I have taken also to listening to a hypnobirthing CD – which is not as kooky as it sounds. Although I have yet to manage to listen to it the whole way through without falling asleep or failing to get my breathing right.
The gentle inhalation and exhalation it recommends tends to send me into it a fit of hyperventilation or I find I’m breathing in through my mouth and out through my nose which is the wrong way to do it. There is something terribly depressing about thinking that you can’t even get breathing right.
I should be very zen about it all, I know. Giving birth is, they say, the most natural thing in the world. Millions of women have done it – and many of them have done it more than once. My granny even managed it 10 times which is something I’m on total awe over because I’m a bundle of pre-natal nerves and hormones – which is so not a good mix.
Even my own (increasingly unsympathetic) husband has found his patience for my pre-birth nerves being tested. He tells me frequently I have done it before and survived so I’ll be just fine doing it again.
There are many things in this world people survive – it does not mean they are experiences any of us wish to repeat. I survived almost chopping the back of my foot off once when it got trapped in the spokes of a fast moving bicycle wheel – but I wouldn’t be doing a happy dance at the thought of a repeat performance.
Of course giving birth is different. You get something nice at the end of it. All I got at the end of the evil bike incident was a rake of stitches and some very attractive crutches. This time I’ll be getting a wee baby. (Or if current estimates are anything to go by, a relatively big baby). And of course a baby is much more preferable to a painful injury, even if the giving birth process sometimes feels somewhat the same except to a much more intimate area.
I’ll be completing our family (because believe me, I’m so done with this pregnancy carry on) and I’ll be entering a brand new phase of my life – one where I’m a mother of two. One where I will have to think of my son as a big brother and think of us as a family of four. I’m trying to focus on that – rather than the pain and the fear that I have over the actual birth experience. I’m also trying to focus on the fact that it will just be one day of my life of discomfort before I face a whole new world of excitement, joy and blessings.
Still, if you get the chance, offer up a wee intention for a quick and relatively painless birth experience for me. And say another one that I’m not writing a similar column again in three weeks bemoaning the joys of going overdue – for the sake of my sanity and everyone around me.
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