Sunday, 9 September 2012

Week 53- breast pads, spin classes and the arrival of Pootle

My contractions started early in the morning on 10 September 2011 .

I'd woken up in bed with a mixture of excitement and complete fear, as I took a deep breath and tried to work out whether the low pain deep in my gut was a baby on its way. Or wind.

I got up and walked around a bit, leaving Ben to sleep as it was the middle of the night.

And I sat off on the sofa and thought about how life would be in a day's time.

And I couldn't.

No amount of shopping for baby gros and washing them in non-bio powder, or watching One Born Every Minute, or stocking up on breast pads, or writing and rewriting my birth plan, could have prepared me for that moment.

For ten years it had just been the two of us. Getting pissed. Going to festivals. Jumping in the car at weekends to go away and see mates. Making split decisions about what we were going to do that week or that year.

And in a day all that was going to change. There was going to be three of us. A brand new person.

I could feel Pootle's head deep down in my pelvis as another throbbing wave came over me.

I knew I should sleep because I was about to embark on the most physical, violent, messy, emotionally draining experience of my life.

I'd never even done a spin class properly. When the trainer used to shout out to crank up the resistance, I used to pretend to turn the dial, and then spend the next 20 minutes free-wheeling.

And soon, I would be pushing an entire human being out of me and into the world.

I started panicking that I wasn't ready for all this. That we hadn't had long enough as just Ben and me. That we wouldn't know how to cope with another person in our life. That there wasn't enough space in our flat or in our hearts.

And on cue Pootle stretched, bringing things back into focus, and I wondered what the baby would look like. And whether it would be an Arthur or a Nancy.

I hung out in Pootle's yellow room, and tried to imagine what the Moses basket would look like with someone in it.

Since we'd found out I was pregnant, we'd started to get our act together, without even realising we were doing it.

We'd moved twice, so we could buy a flat, which, disappointingly, had stunk of fags and wet dog when we first moved in. But we'd painted it, and cleaned it, and got new carpets. Learnt how to bleed a radiator, bought a Quentin Blake picture of the BFG for Pootle's room, and mowed the grass.

And this was what it was all for.

I sat for a bit longer. It was still dark outside, and completely still, with only the occasional sound of a car driving by. And I thought for one last moment about how life had been up until now in our bubble of two. And how we were going to have a son or daughter who would be in our lives for the rest of our lives.

And then I felt an unfamiliar tightening deep in my core that momentarily took my breath.

And I went to wake Ben to tell him our baby was on its way.

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