It’s coming to that time of year and I have started to think back about what I was doing this time last year.
I say that like I haven’t been doing that for the whole of the last 12 months!! But, now it feels even more important to think back as we creep up to my son’s first birthday.
I have to say, I was very lucky with my pregnancy. My husband and I found out we were pregnant at 5 weeks (one week after I drank an awful lot of gin at my brother’s wedding!!). I felt very sick in the first few months and mainly lived on a diet of bread, cheese and salt & vinegar crisps (sorry Isaac!), but I didn’t have debilitating ‘morning’ sickness like some. I was tired all the time but I could still go to work. My body was changing but I seemed to be doing ok.
I knew my due date was the 28 March. It was the date ingrained in my brain since my 12 week scan. I knew, since everybody told me, that it was just an estimate. I also knew only 4% of babies were actually born on their due date. But I remember thinking two things. Firstly I had that sneaky feeling I was going to be in that 4%. However much I tried to quash the feeling it kept creeping up. People would say to me “you’re super organised” and “you’re always on time” your baby will definitely be on time. I know they didn’t know anymore than I did but I secretly believed our baby would arrive on his due date. We were also told our baby was big. Perfect, I thought, just what every mum wants to hear! But at the same time I thought if he was big he would be ready to arrive on time. The second thing I remember thinking was that I didn’t mind. I knew he was coming at some point, I knew I wouldn’t go more than 14 days overdue so there was no need getting wound up – he would, as everyone kept reminding me, arrive when he was ready!
My biggest fear when I was pregnant was that I would go into labour at home on my own. It was the thing that played on my mind the most, but the one thing nobody could really reassure me of. I knew it would take my husband about 2 hours to get home from work if I called him; my mum was on hand but even she was an hour away and the friends I had made close to where we now live were new friends and we weren’t quite at the “phone a friend and tell her you are in labour” stage just yet. I finished work 2 weeks before my due date. I wanted some time “off” before the baby arrived and I was pretty certain I didn’t want to go into labour in, or travelling to or from, London. So I figured 2 weeks was a good buffer and, as I had my mind set on giving birth at Lister Hospital, I refused to leave the county in those final few weeks.
What nobody and nothing prepared me for was the 29th March, or the 30th or any day between the 31st and the 8th April. I had had my 2 weeks off work. My hospital bag was packed, I had been through a lot (I mean, a lot) of Greys Anatomy and I was ready. People told me to “make the most of the time” and “save up my sleep”; those people clearly having no idea or recollection of just how uncomfortable sleep is at 40 weeks pregnant or exactly what one can do to make the most of their time when they are constantly exhausted and unable to do anything without someone saying “be careful!” If I am completely honest those last 2 weeks of my pregnancy were the worst. I was desperate for my son to arrive and nobody could say anything to me that made me feel any better. By the end I was so fed up of people telling me what to eat and drink (none of those things work, by the way) and listening to people say “he must just be really happy in there!” I didn’t want to respond to text messages or answer the phone and I snapped at anything my husband said to me. Unless someone could tell me my son was on his way, I did not care what anyone had to say. I cried, daily, at anything! I filled the freezer with home-made meals like people told me to do and when I tried to bake flapjacks (ready-to-eat snacks for when the baby arrived) and they fell tocrumbly pieces, I sobbed! When my husband asked what was wrong and I told him it was the flapjacks, he replied “ok, what’s really wrong?” He didn’t know what to do with me, I didn’t even know what to do with myself! The idea of “knowing” I may have to wait an extra 2 weeks to meet my son was horrendous! The constant thought that I had ‘wasted’ a month of my maternity leave also played on my mind and all of the time my little tiny son was oblivious!
On Friday the 8th April at around half past 2 in the afternoon my waters broke. Knowing how close I was to being induced (the Saturday morning) my husband had stayed at home that day and I was so grateful to have him there! There is then a blur between Friday evening and Sunday morning that I still can’t quite comprehend. The timings of what happened and when are difficult to recall but I can remember clearly that at 7.06 Isaac Frank Thomas came into our lives, and all of the waiting was over. To do this day, almost a year later, I cant think of anything that anyone could have said that would have made those last 13 days more bearable.
And now, a year later, I am counting down those final 2 weeks to Isaac’s birthday and they seem so insignificant now; a year on, and I want these 2 weeks to go as slow as possible!