Apologies for the cliffhanging gaps in my postings but I am busy relearning so many things I had forgotten about newborn babies. For example, I had forgetten how every single minute suddenly becomes consumed with bare essentials- feeding, changing, winding, cajoling to sleep. The way the whole day becomes compressed around the three to four hourly intervals between the baby needing to eat, the ease of losing track of time and remembering- just as his hand chewing becomes frantic.
And all the other moments run down like a stopwatch to fill the gaps in between the essentials. Laundry to be hung? Go, quick, before one of the children wakes up and wants to eat. Shower? Hurry, you have ten minutes in the small space between feeding Colt and Botany needing to get her coat on to leave for nursery. Feed yourself? Stuff face, you have exactly three minutes before the musical mobile over the cot winds down and Colt starts crying again.
I forgot how cumbersome prams can be, with annoying fiddly gears and levers to adjust the seat, the straps, the wheels sticking in the mud. I forgot the weight of the car seat and how much crap requires to be lugged around when going out- nappies, change of clothes, wipes, rattly things. I forgot the genius of the Ergo- hands free and enabling making tea, feeding the baby and playing Candyland with Botany all at the same time. I forgot the crushing exhaustion of waking up repeatedly in the night to that particular type of urgent cry. I forgot how much babies poo and wee, that strange vinegary smell. I forgot how much an overflowing breast can leak, shirts drenched regularly with milk.
I forgot the weariness of the colic scream, the endless rocking and shushing and soothing. And I forgot the sweet peace when the crying finally ceases and the baby falls asleep on my chest, his small fingers steepled together in infant prayer.
All this with the seemingly ceaseless demands of an attention seeking four year old in tow. Bless Botany, I am cutting her as much slack as possible at the moment but my god, kid. She can pester with the best of them. I counted yesterday and in the space of an hour she asked for thirty seven different things. "I want a DVD on. I want juice. I want my fairy house down from the top of the wardrobe. I want to change my dress. I need the light on in the toilet. I spilled my juice. I need a hanky. I want something else to eat. Can I play with your phone? Can we do some crafts? I want to go to the park. I want to go in the garden. I want, I need, please can I? Please, please, please? Whhhhhyyyy?"
Meanwhile, Colt is screeeeeeeammmmming in my ear and I feel like lobotomising myself with a piece of Lego.
Anyway...where were we on the birth story? Oh yes, overdue. So, I waddled myself in to my next midwife appointment, at noon on Wednesday, five days past my due date. We went through all the usual palaver of checks, blood pressure, pee in a cup, etc etc etc- and then we talked about induction. The consultant I had seen (due to my advance geriatic maternity) had advised that I should really be induced about twelve days over, and despite my considerable reluctance, I couldn't see any reason to disagree with that course of action. After much fumbling with the calendar and nineteen phone calls up to the hospital, the date was set for the following week.
Oh god, induction, I thought, remembering.
And then the midwife asked if I wanted a membrane sweep to hopefully get things going. I practically leapt on to the examining table, twirling my knickers around my head in my haste to agree.
The sweep itself wasn't painful at all, just very odd. I felt like a clock with someone reaching in and adjusting my pendulum. She rootled around a bit and then declared afterwards that I was 1-2 cm dilated and all other signs were favourable. Huzzah. We toddled home, to commence waiting. All day I was poised for...something, anything to happen. And nothing did, apart from a few minor twinges and feeling kind of oddly expectant, as if I was on the verge. Another nine hundred or so text messages arrived from various friends to ask what was going on. I went to bed, anticipating that both everything and nothing would happen.
At four in the morning, I woke up. Ooh. I think that was a contraction. Eight minutes later, another. And another. Not hugely painful but definitely...there. I lay there for while playing with my iphone contraction app until about eight o'clock, when I began listening for the usual sounds of Botany waking up. Then there was a strange, small but distinct POPPING feeling, followed by a small gush. I dashed to the bathroom thinking perhaps my waters had broken, but the result wasn't quite what I was expecting. A small definite trickle, not the flood of last time. Huh. At that point Botany did finally get up, and the contractions had ramped up to every six or seven minutes. I went to our room and kicked Knox out of bed. Go take a shower, I said, it's started- and I think at this rate we'll need to head to the hospital pretty soon.
I made breakfast for everyone, had a cup of tea and.....the contractions slowed down. Right down to every seven or eight minutes again, regular nd noticeable but not really increasing intensity or duration. I thought a series of frustrated expletives before settling down to wait and watch the clock.
To be continued...