Thursday 19 March 2015

42 Weeks' Pregnant - The Days I gave Birth - Perfect

Day 1 
Ring Ring
Hello darling. How are you feeling today? Are you alright? Now don’t you worry - it is nearly the end now - just one more day to get through. I know it will be fast for you. Someone doesn’t have a monthly flow like yours and have a slow labour. You’ve always had very strong hormones. Just look at your mood swings! I know it will be fast. Keep me updated.  

Hello darling. Are you feeling any better now? What time are you going into the hospital sweetie? When is your appointment? Oh, yes, sorry you did tell me that. What time will they call you then? Oh, yes, sorry you did tell me that didn’t you? Well - don’t worry darling. It’s the end of the line. You will have your baby by the end of the day! I'd be surprised if you're not caught short in the taxi! Text me when you know what’s happening. 

Ring Ring
Darling, Have you called the hospital yet? To make sure that they definitely know about you? They might have forgotten about you. You have to be careful darling. You can’t just rely on administrators. I know they said they would call you but if it was me I would call them before hand just to check. Keep me updated. 

I have been speaking to some women at the office this morning darling and they think an Epidural is a good idea. So I think you should ask for one. As soon as you get there. There is only a minuscule chance you could be paralysed for life apparently. I don’t know if you have thought about it before now but if it were me I would ask for one. Oh you know about them? Good good. Well text me when... ok. 

Ring Ring 
Did you call them Sweetheart? And they know about you? Oh good. Well, all you have to do now is wait for that phone call. I suppose that’s all you’ve been doing all morning. Just sitting and waiting by the phone? Don’t worry darling. Not long now. Try to relax. It will be very fast I am sure. Keep me updated. 

You know the more I think about it darling the more I think it’ll be a very quick labour. I mean look at your hips. Yes I know you’re 14 days overdue, and yes, I know I said it would be early - but I am sure I’m not wrong about this now. . . .  You sound a little bit hormonal darling. . . . Try to keep calm dear. . .  It won’t be any good for the baby if you are this agitated. 

Ring Ring
Hi darling, I am on my lunch break now. Are you at the hospital now? Oh, they still haven’t called. That is odd. Oh well, it can’t be too long now anyway. Have you been able to have a nice morning anyway? Oh, oh, I see. Well - keep me updated. 

Brrrring - and two words - PRIVATE NUMBER flashed up on my mobile. My partner and I stared at the screen knowing that this time - it wasn’t going to be my mother. 

We had been sitting watching the phone since 5am like two soldiers in a trench waiting to be summoned to go over the top - and at 1.30pm the call finally came. The hospital was surprisingly lovely. I got my own bed with curtains all the way around it. There was a side table and my very own TV on a crane above my head. It felt a bit like a private long haul flight with a bed as opposed to a cramped seat. 

My partner went straight to ‘man work’ by selecting a TV/Movie package and registering my card and contact details in the TV system. The nurse gave me something to start my labour as, at 14 days overdue there was still no progress whatsoever, and we were told that it was, as ever - a bloody waiting game. My partner completed his ‘man work’ disappearing to the mini supermarket on the corner to return a while later with, as Julie Andrews would chirp, a few of my favourite things; A multi bag of Hula Hoops, Haribo sweets, banana milkshakes, apple juice cartons, a chicken salad sandwich and a ridiculously over sized bumper pack of cocktail sausages - as well as three different girly gossip magazines and after a long while he left me for the night. 

I sat there in my curtained cocoon in dimmed lighting with my inappropriate hospital picnic half watching muted TV programs, half listening to other potential mother’s telephone conversations and occasional groans of discomfort. 

 Day 2

After a sleepless night and several examinations it was found that progress was being made - and to put it delicately, it was then a numbers game. Starting at 3cm - slowly trudging through the trenches towards the elusive 10cm line. My partner went back to work for the day nearby leaving me with a smile on my face, a surprise donut and an Ipod full of comedy. 

By the time he was mobilised back in that afternoon he returned to quite a different image; me  - stood crouched over the bed, over a bean bag, weeping and quietly howling to the left and vomiting to the right - like I was performing a deranged dry version of the front crawl. “What’s wrong?” he asked, terror in his eyes. He was to ask this question quite a few times over the next 20 hours or so. 

Gentleman - I do not advocate this line of enquiry. 

Although I was in a substantial amount of pain it was made clear that we needed to wait it out for as long as possible - and I was making progress in the cm journey. I was offered Diamorphine - which was, quite frankly, lovely. The room went fuzzy and my worry at vomiting audibly in a place occupied by other people soon went away. All fumes of self consciousness gathered together in a cartoon stream of smoke and weaved its way past the birthing balls and nurses out of the window. 

I am not sure how out of it I was on this drug - all I know is that my partner seemed to be communicating with me by using various forms of eye rolls and felt the need to tell me that I was “quite loud” when I complained to him about the woman in the next cubicle and her late night phone calls. The drug gave a new lease of life to my gagging reflex and my partner and I engaged in a pass the water, pass the sick bucket, pass the water, pass the sick bucket rebound match. 

More time, more regurgitation and more examinations and what seemed like an infinity of timelessness led to our own room, no more curtain, and another Midwife shift change. My partner marched in ready for a fight and demanded I have an Epidural. We might have come across as quite adversary - but we were granted one snappish. The Anaesthesiologist asked if I had tried Hypnobirthing and my reply started with an ‘F’ and ended with an ‘Off’. We all had a giggle - my giggle slightly more ‘Exorcist’ like than the rest, intermittent with projectile vomit. I got my epidural and we played the numbers game once more. 

Hours passed. I lay on the bed drifting in and out of consciousness listening to a mixture of 80s and 90s power ballads. The lights were dimmed. The TV in our room was out of order - typical! Why do these things always happen to me? 

I felt relief - well I felt nothing - except severe nausea. More hours passed, the sun went down and rose up, and I had arrived at a perfect size 10 for the first and probably last time in my life. Meatloaf barked that he would do anything for love - except that. A disgruntled midwife appeared with a slightly rotten looking bumper packet of cocktail sausages asking if I still needed the food I had left in my locker. 

Day 3

Then it was Push o'clock people! And time for another midwife shift change. This time I had two! So even more people were invited in to look at what we could not rightfully call ‘privates’ anymore. I asked my partner to be elsewhere to help me to let myself "go with it". And he obliged. 

An hour later my epidural was wearing off. I was advised - and I knew, it was better not to get a top up as it would help with the pushing - and we thought we were really getting somewhere. I pushed for two long hours in total (breathing in between) - before the pain reached a point where I was no longer myself and my poor dishevelled exhausted partner and new midwives looked on with worry as a woman, who up to this point had stayed quite jokey - transformed into an earsplitting earthshaking blasting beast from the Nether Realm pleading to be put out of her misery. If you were in the waiting room that morning I sincerely apologise. 

The baby had turned back to back and there were suddenly several doctors in the room. It was then a long wait for a room in surgery to be available. Well, I say it was a long wait - I have no idea - it may have been seconds - just distorted seconds. Everything was fuzzy and scary and unreal and all I could see was my partner’s face. Then I was being wheeled into a theatre (not in the thespian sense) and all I could think of was all the episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and ER I had seen. 

My partner stood to the right of me and he appeared to have changed into sexy blue surgeon scrubs complete with hat and I was torn between a profound agonising terror and an overwhelming request that we somehow take this outfit home. A large yellow light shone above me and after fumbling and snippets of information pin balling past my brain about what was going to happen - my legs disappeared from my reality. 

A polite man pricked a small pin (oh grow up!) into various parts of my body to test the feeling. I exclaimed to the room that a ‘bleepy machine’ was next to me ‘like the ones that go duuuuuhhhhhhhh when you die!” (My medical knowledge knows no bounds). The kind looking man explained that they never go duuhhh - and that was a myth. I cried in a childlike state and after the forceps were used I heard the word “no” and I knew it was finally time for the last resort. 

One of the women peering over me was wearing small skull silver earrings and I felt the inclination to compliment her before knowing, even then, that there was a time and a place to flatter a woman on her jewelry and this was perhaps not it. The surgeon told me not to worry as they were all highly trained to help me, to which I pointed at my partner’s face and sobbed “He’s not trained”. This got a little laugh. I wasn’t joking. 

A barricade was made below me and I stared at my partner's face to the right of me. 
I felt nothing. 
I desperately wanted water. 
Rapid moments passed. 
I felt like an old sofa someone was trying to root around in for any spare change for the bus. 
I frantically searched the man I love's face for any sign of what was happening - what was going on. What was going on? 

And then I knew -  he was there.  

And finally - my partner spoke ... 

"He's perfect" he said. 

42 Weeks' Pregnant - Apologies to my little Godot

“Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It's awful." 
"Let's go." "We can't." "Why not?" "We're waiting for Godot.”  
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot. 

Dear Son, 

I will be 42 weeks pregnant in two days, and I am writing to apologise for my attitude for the last two weeks. You see, I have been impatient, I have been selfish, I have been petty, I have been plain pathetic. 

The first thing you should know about the Mother you are going to get - is that she is very selfish. At least she has been for the last thirty years. Your mummy (to be) has never had a sister, she has never had a brother - she has been her mummy's one and only her whole life - and this has rendered her quite self absorbed. She is able to make any situation in the World  all about her. 

Your Father and I weren't planning on having a baby - you were a surprise to us. A shock. But a pleasant shock! Like the feeling you would get finding a £50 note down the bottom of an abandoned sofa. At first I was scared and worried how it would affect me - while your Father was excited, like a little child, at the prospect of you - and every day has been a massive learning experience for the two of us. 

While I have been 'housing' you in my belly I have been through the mill. I have suffered. I have been sick and exhausted and depressed and been to A and E and spent nights coughing up blood. It has been harder than I could have ever imagined - and all the while, you have been Golden. 

You have been in the right position for all my scans, you are in the correct position for birth, your heartbeat has been perfect, your size has been lovely, your movements have been consistent. It would seem Son, that you are much better at this 'pregnancy' lark than me! 

Of course, being your Mother - I have made it all about me! I have played the victim card - I have moaned to anyone with ears, I have milked it to your Father, I have over emphasised the ailments and over exaggerated the agony. On more than one occasion, probably 75% of the time - I have taken 'you' - and your well being for granted. 

The last two weeks however - have really taken the biscuit. It makes me quite ashamed to think of how I have been. I have been negative and impatient and ungrateful and dramatic. Instead of celebrating every moment that you are safe and well and, I assume, happy within my walls - I have taken it for granted, concentrated purely on my own discomfort and spent the days cursing the continuing hours that you reside in me. 

I even blamed you! I moaned that you were stubborn and whimpered into the night how unreasonable you were that you wouldn't move out when your lease was up! I whined that boys were lazy! I counted down the days till your due date (convinced, for no reason in particular, that you would be early) with impatience and when the due date came and went it was as if someone had died. As though a tragedy had occurred - when all the while, a miracle was occurring. 

And why should I blame you? You have no notion of deadlines or dates - suspended in nil gravity; warm, safe and protected - oblivious to this world. Why should you want to move towards the cold light? The noise? The real world. I would stay in there too. 

The irony is that I don't know why your Father and I are in such a rush. Why is it of so much importance that you come to us so quickly? Why aren't we savouring and devouring our last days together, just the two of us? And why am I so impatient for you to arrive when, if I am honest,  I am not ready for you. 

Don't get me wrong - your room is ready! You have tangible things - clothes and toys and goodies that other babies would be jealous of! You have a family awaiting who will love you to within an inch of your life - but I am scared stiff of you arriving. I am scared that I just won't be good enough for you. Maybe that's why I have focused so much on the dates - to avoid thinking about the reality of becoming... 'a mother'. 

And when I think about real tragedies in the world - or the women lining up to be in my position - devastated by not being able to have children - and here I am crying about keeping you within me for forty.... two weeks. Well, I couldn't feel sillier. 

So, I sincerely apologise darling - for being so silly and angry and frustrated - these last two weeks in particular. 

On Tuesday - they tell me - they will try to urge you out into reality.  By Mother's day on the 10th of March, providing everything goes well and you are meant for the world, I will be a Mother - good or bad. And you will no longer be a bump. You will no longer be anonymous. You will be a little person. You will be a Son. And you will be my Son, my baby - forever. 

And these last two weeks will be a distant memory; replaced with thousands of weeks of fresh worries ... and joys. 

My mistake has been that I have focused too much on the 'waiting' ... Like the characters in that depressing Samuel Beckett play - waiting for Godot. 

Or like someone at the airport, on their way to Paradise - whose plane is 2 hours late. They forget - they are still going to paradise - they just have to be a little patient! They are just a little delayed. 

So, you stay in there, you relax - and your excited Father and I will see you soon Son x

41 Weeks Pregnant - We'll Smoke The Blighter Out

Captain's Log. Week 41. Plus 2. 9 days over due. HMS Whale.

I had a rather stilted telephone conversation with my Father yesterday. To paint a picture for you my Father is like a cross between Prince Charles, John Cleese and a pilot from the RAF during World War One. 

Dad: Hello, all well your end? 
Me: Well ... there is still no ... 
Ah, no, well, yes ... weather good here...
So I am eight days overdue which means ...
Like a Spring day here ... 
I have to go to the Midwife today ...
Ah, yes, well... mmm... Mid...wives ...
And I will have to have ... 
Did you catch University Challenge? 
A Procedure ...
Shame about Richard Briers ...
And if that doesn't work ...
Mmm... your Grandmother sends well wishes 
They will have to ...
Ah, yes, they WILL I suppose ...
Induce me ...
Mmm... yes... well ... no post for you here ...
Which I didn't really want because ...
Yes, well I'm going to have a spot of lunch before work ...
I wanted him to come naturally ...
Ok Dad, enjoy. 

He doesn't like to talk about it.
I am sick of talking about it.
I thought I would be talking about something else at this point. 

I'm quite blasé about the whole labour thing at this point. Don't get me wrong - I was absolutely petrified of giving birth - but you can't continually stay petrified for two weeks. It is as though a psychopath called me two weeks ago and said, in a chilling tone "I am going to come around and hurt you ... at some point". You can spend the first week terrified, aware of every noise, every feeling, every twinge - and then you just run out of energy. You resign yourself to it. "Get on with it" you shout. "I just need to get on with my life! Come and get me!" 

If I have one more bath my skin may peel off. One can only have so many baths a day before the 'relaxing' element of them is made redundant. Not to mention the fact I look like a Hippo at a Watering Hole - and to use a quote from 'Jaws': "We're gonna need a bigger bath". 

Yesterday morning I had my supermarket shopping delivered. The delivery man was very jovial. He said cheerily, "How are you today?" 
"OVERDUE" I snapped. 
"Oh!" he said, before looking me up and down. "I couldn't even tell because you were standing front on." I could have kissed him. 
Then he continued "A woman's waters broke in front of me once". 
"Maybe you are good luck?" I said. 
I had to restrain myself, greatly, from asking him in for a cup of tea - or lunch, or to stay the night. 

Then in the afternoon I had a meeting with Sooty's notorious friend! I tottered back to the Midwife for my 'final' appointment before I have my baby. 
My midwife said "Wow, you got your knickers off quick!" 
"Not my first time..." I said. 

Things are looking up today - I have my 1000 piece jigsaw to finish, I have some crumpets to eat for breakfast, I can have another bath, and ... Mother will be descending on us this afternoon. If there is one thing that will warm the cockles of your heart and cheer the spirits - it is a visit from the Mother Ship. I wonder what cautionary tales of woe she will bring with her.

We have less than 5 days for the little one to make his move or God Damn it - we will come up there and get him! "Don't make me come up there and get you boy!"  

Do you remember the scene in Alice in Wonderland when Alice has outgrown the Rabbit's house. Her head is sticking out of the top. Her arms and legs are sticking out of his windows and doors. The rabbit screams "Beast... Beast!" And then the song starts: 

"Oh, ho ho ... Oh, We'll smoke the blighter out
We'll put the beast to rout
Some kindling, just a stick or two, 
Ah, this bit of rubbish ought to do

We'll roast the blighter's toes 
We'll toast the bounder's nose 
just fetch that gate
we'll make it clear 
That monsters aren't welcome here! 

Without a single doubt
We'll smoke the blighter out!

We'll smoke the monster out!"

41 Weeks Pregnant - Over Cooked Chicken With Krispy Kreme As Standard

So.... I am cooking a Chicken Kiev.

The packet stated 40 minutes. Thought it was a tad long, but who am I to question the instructions? So I put it in the oven for 40 long minutes. It came to be time to take it out - but the Kiev appears to not want to come out. The Chicken Kiev has decided it is not cooked. It tells me it is calling the shots and will come out when it's good and ready. I don't know when this will be - evidently it's not up to me - it's up to the kiev.

The above is an analogy. Hopefully it doesn't require too much explanation.

I am now a week over due from my (what many people keep telling me is the ESTIMATED) due date. How helpful. I can't sleep and I have crippling heartburn and nausea like I did back in the early weeks. I feel anxious and I am writing this to you at 3am.

I can get away with typing on my laptop in my bedroom at this hour because my partner is once again sleeping in the spare room. He pretends he is doing this out of consideration for me. I know better. He is doing this so that:
  1. He has more space - as I now take up 92% of the mattress* 
  2. He won't be asked 21 times to roll over because he is breathing in my face*
  3. He won't be woken up 34 times in the night by me getting up to go to the toilet* 
  4. There will be no risk of me accosting him in the night in an attempt to kick start labour. 
*All statistics are made up. 

I think any amorous activities in the boudoir are well and truly out of the question at this stage. I caught a glimpse of myself in the bedroom mirror during one romantic clinch recently and I resembled an advert on Channel 4 for an episode of "Fat Fetishes". 
This is Stacey, she is 23 years old and weighs 32 stone and insists she is perfectly healthy and normal. 
You are not healthy Stacey. And you are not normal. The clue is that you are on a program called 'fetishes'. 

There are more terrifying cautionary baby tales in the Newspaper this week like the story of how a Fox tore off a baby's finger. It appeared to have brazenly wandered into the house and tried to pull the baby out of its Cot. Oddly my Mother has not called me to detail the very clear and present dangers of 'Urban Foxes' - but she might be sensing that if she calls me with any more advice or warnings I will smother myself with my pregnancy pillow. I live in an area highly populated by students as opposed to wildlife. If we did have any 'Urban Foxes' in our area they would be more likely to make the front page after they were found wearing a traffic cone on their head, tied to a lamp post. 

I had my usual midwife appointment yesterday - an appointment I never thought I would have to go to. I imagined I would be too busy at home with my new baby. Alas, I was not. I waddled through the hazardous snow to the doctors and announced I was there for the midwife. The Receptionist checked my name on the computer, tilted her head to the side, squinted patronisingly and mouthed, for what seems like the 100th time, 
"Do you have your sample dear?" 
"YES!" I said. 
Honestly,  you forget it ONE TIME and they never let it go. 
The rest of the queue were left to uncomfortably wonder what bodily fluid my sample could be. 

The midwife very often has a 'student' in with her who I have not met before. A new student was there to greet me yesterday while my midwife went to the toilet (I bet she doesn't have to pee into a tiny test tube). It turns out I had peed into a red tube and not a white tube and this wasn't correct (I pick the tubes up from the front desk every time so not strictly my fault). 

"From now on when you come, try to use the white tubes" the student said.
"Whoa Nelly!" I said "From now on? This is my last time love, I WON'T BE BACK!" 
I have had my fill of filling up minuscule tubes with urine. 
I have had my fill of midwife appointments. 
I have had my fill of being pregnant. 

I was informed that it is perfectly normal to go overdue with your first baby and that in eight more days I would be offered a Sweep - if I wanted one. I am a bit confused about the inconsistencies regarding sweeps as I know of women in my area being given sweeps before their due date - and more than one for that matter. But I am not going to kick up a fuss. Particularly as, as I expected, a Sweep does not in any way relate to the loveable children's TV puppet. The only things they both have in common are that they involve hands being inserted at your base. And I expect I will make a few squeaks too. The procedure sounds like something more likely to be seen on "All Creatures Great and Small" as a Vet meanders towards you wearing a full arm's worth of surgical glove. "Mooo!" 

I have come up with a legitimate business idea. I am struggling to come up with an innovative and catchy name - but the basic premise is as follows.  

A service specifically designed for ladies who have gone over their due date (there must be thousands of us). You call a number and your representative turns up with various forms of entertainment for you to pass the time away. The representative should be able to perform manicures and pedicures which can be halted immediately should anything occur. They should be able to play board games with you, watch Sex and the City with you or just talk to you so you don't go insane. 

You should get a Krispy Kreme doughnut just for enquiring - as standard. The Krispy Kreme doughnut being the pregnant equivalent to a free Parker Pen. I would pay a high premium for this type of service at this point - because I am bored, frustrated and ready. 

My partner is being very supportive and says the baby is obviously very happy in the home I have created for him. I wouldn't want to come out either. The world is a scary place. Full of urban foxes. 

He also has a colleague (my partner, not the fox) who had to have her baby 'induced' - but nothing worked so she 'had' to have a Caesarean. He suggested this might not be the worst thing in the world - especially considering my anxiety. While I wouldn't be devastated if this happened, there is a sick side of me that wants to experience childbirth the natural way (with as many drugs as possible). I guess I feel I have got this far... 

It's a bit like losing your virginity. It might be awful - but at least afterwards you can say you've done it and you can join in the conversation. You can, at last, separate the complete Bullshit from the facts. 
"I did it Stace! And you were lying, they don't put it in your ear!" 

You see the Chicken Kiev was a metaphor for my baby...

41 Weeks pregnant - The elusive plumber and 101 things NOT to say to an overdue pregnant beast lady

You know that feeling you get when you are in desperate need of a Plumber?

You see, without a Plumber you can't have a wash or go about your daily chores. You are a little bit 'stranded' without your water. So you call the Plumbing company and they say "Yes, we can help, we will send round a plumber to you tomorrow. He will be there at any time between 8am and 8pm - so you will need to stay put for the day and just wait in for him, ok?" 

Annoying - yes. But you need access to water and one day spent inside won't be too bad. You don't understand why they can't be more 'specific' about your time slot - but Hey Ho! At least, at the end of the day, you know you'll get a result.

Well... imagine that you wait in that day, and the hours tick by, and it gets to 8pm and there is no plumber. Then imagine that all you can do is continue to wait, day after day, for this elusive plumber. The hours turn in to days, the days turn in to nights - and before you know it... you have waited in for this Bastard calling himself a Plumber for. a. week.

It has now been six days. My baby is six days overdue. Six days overcooked.

Here is a list I have compiled of things NOT to say to someone who is overdue:

1. Any news yet? Any baby yet? Any symptoms yet? Any twinges yet? Anything yet? Have you given birth yet? Are you at the hospital yet? Are you a mummy yet?

Oh, you mean the baby? Yes Mother - we had him a few days ago. Did we not mention it?

2. How are you feeling? Are you alright? Are you ok? Let me know how you are? Sweetie, I haven't heard from you in more than ten minutes... can you please text me/ call me/ email me as soon as possible because your Father and I are very very concerned and can not eat/ sleep/ breathe until you let me know you are ok.

I. AM. OK.

3. Have you had your sweep yet? At least you'll have a sweep soon. Why haven't you had a sweep yet? I had a sweep. Sweep Time! Sweeps do nothing anyway. What's a Sweep?

4. Have you tried spicy food? Have you tried Curry? Why don't you have some Curry? Curry, Curry, Curry!

5. Why don't you have sex? Have you had sex? Try some sex. Have some sex and a curry?

6. Morning Fatty! (partner)

7. I think you'll have your baby in 12 days because my psychic, tarot reader, astrologist, faith healer, other bullshit merchant told me so.

8. That baby isn't moving yet, he hasn't dropped yet! You can see he hasn't dropped. It hasn't dropped. Your stomach is too high up. The baby isn't ready - you can see he hasn't dropped.

9. At least you know he will come within 14 days now. At least you know it'll only be two weeks. Only two weeks left to wait. What's your problem? You only have to wait two weeks.

10. I really enjoyed my maternity leave. I would love two weeks off. I wish I had two weeks to sit around and watch TV. Try to relax. Enjoy your time off.

11. You should enjoy your time off because... once the baby's here you'll wish you had this time back. You'll never sleep again after the baby is here. You'll be sorry once that baby is there. You'll wish you had this time to relax back, cause once you have that baby it'll be Hell.

Oh wonderful. What a marvellous catch 22! Thank you.

12. Go out and about. Don't be scared to carry on as normal. Don't stay in your house like a prisoner. If your waters break in the supermarket - who cares?

Me. I care. I dislike wondering around constantly worrying that I am going to, essentially piss myself, in public. Thanks.

13. Baby will come when he is ready. You shouldn't rush him. The baby will decide when he is ready. It is not up to you. It is natural. He's not ready yet!

14. It is very common to go over your due date. What were you expecting? Didn't you know? Stupid! It is only an 'estimated' date. They can't be precise about these things.

15. I went fourteen days over my due date. My friend went eight days over her due date. My sister went weeks after her due date. Some one I know went two weeks over their due date and had to be induced - and even then nothing worked!

16. If you could go another day overdue that would do me a big favour because I have a big day at work and all my colleagues have actually said it'd be really handy if the baby could stay put for another week... (partner)

17. Top Gear is on at eight, and I am staying up late tonight to watch that Match - so it'd be quite good if he didn't make an appearance tonight. (partner)

18. I could really do with a good night's sleep so I hope he doesn't come today. (partner)

19. Today should have been his birthday... isn't that funny? (Mother)

The only acceptable thing to say to an overdue pregnant lady:

What? He still hasn't come out? That is Shite! That baby sounds like a complete Arse!

40 Weeks Pregnant - Don't Forget Your Placenta

My Father has taught me many valuable lessons in my life. For example - "If One does not speak properly, One will never get a good job". He still winces at News presenter's 'regional' accents. Grammar and pronunciation have always been of the up most importance to him. My Father is all about good manners. God forbid you lick his butter knife (not a euphemism) or say an offensive word or put your elbows on the dinner table or drink out of a bottle as opposed to a glass. And speaking of 'glass' - God forbid you say 'glass' and not 'glaarrss'. But he also taught me very early on that to be late is the rudest thing you can be.

Well it turns out his Grandson is one little rude Bugger (sorry Father)! Because he is late. He is not on time. It is the 12th of February - a date that has been etched into my skull since our first scan. A date that has ruled my every move along the chess board of pregnancy for nine. long. months. It is Pancake day! Shrove Tuesday! D-Day! THE day. In the words of 'Take That': Today this could be... the greatest day of our lives". So - where is he? What an inconsiderate Git!

Nine months of obsessing over this date - 12/02/13 - and so far, it is not living up to its expectations. I woke up and I was still here. I was still the same. Everything is still unchanged. I am still ... fat, swollen, anxious, uncomfortable, immobile, fed up and exhausted. My partner still got up and went to work. The sun, well as much sun as you can get in England in February, still rose. The earth still turns. "Don't they know it's the end of the world?” So what to do... what to do... Make pancakes?

I thought it would be a lot nicer - being pregnant. Especially considering how pregnancy rates are continually soaring in the UK - especially among our youth. I thought it must have its benefits (other than the literal Government 'Benefits').

So, here we are, at full term. Most of the food in my fridge has the use by date of today - my cottage cheese for example, and I have a 1000 piece jigsaw to do. But what will be first? The cottage cheese or the jigsaw ... or my son? We shall see.

There's just enough time for my Mother to email me again to ask me if I am alright, oh, and to remind me to remind the midwife to not forget about removing the Placenta. Thank goodness she remembered to remind me to remind her! Or that poor midwife wouldn't have known would she? She probably doesn't even know what a Placenta is! Thank goodness for my overly medically qualified Mother - and look out for her upcoming debut novel "Bleeding Obvious smack you in the face advice to patronise and irritate professionals with".

Available in hardback.

39 Weeks Pregnant - Dear the (very British) Daddy to be

Thank you. 

When we found out the surprise news that we were to be more than just partners - we were to become parents - thank you for taking the news so well and never once suggesting we do anything other than have our baby. 

Thank you for being overly protective of me, especially in my first weeks, and walking me to and from work on several occasions. 

Thank you for, one day, surprising me half way through my hour walk home with a large carton of apple juice because I was thirsty - and thank you for carrying my heavy work bags. 

Thank you for making me a large flask of ginger tea and wrapping ginger biscuits in foil for me to have at work every day when sickness really was at its height and I couldn’t keep anything down. 

Thank you for suggesting I get a taxi to and from work when I was exhausted and sick and couldn’t get out of bed early enough to walk to work. 

Thank you for being so concerned and strict with me when we had to go to A and E after a day and night of continuous sickness, talking on behalf of me to the nurses, not flinching when I vomited in front of you several times in the hospital sink and blowing up the surgical gloves to try and make me laugh. 

Thank you for suggesting I go to my parents’ house for the week while you packed up our entire house and moved for us so that I wouldn’t have to.  

Thank you for going to our new house early in the morning before I got there to set up the baby’s rocking moses basket and clothes rail in the new nursery to make me feel better about all our other possessions being boxed up. 

Thank you for buying me a pregnancy pillow. 

Thank you for shouting at:
  • the Estate Agents when they called me despite you asking them not to
  • The supermarket delivery service for me when they didn’t assist me with the heavy shopping at the door
  • the hospital midwife when she put the fear of God into me about ‘hospital births’ as opposed to ‘home births’ 
  • My work agency when I was too sick to finish my paperwork or work contract. 

Thank you for buying me a hospital bag. 

Thank you for buying me a second hospital bag when you realised I wanted to take everything I have ever owned to the hospital. 

Thank you for running me baths, filling my hot water bottle every night to soothe my back, making me copious amounts of tea with honey and doing all my laundry. 

Thank you for surprising me with Ice Cream, Chinese food and cooking me full Roast Dinners when I got my appetite back. 

Thank you for letting me wander up and down the aisles of several supermarkets miserably for literally hours and still leaving with nothing because nothing looked appetising. 

Thank you for surprising me with gossip magazines. 

Thank you for giving up smoking for our son. 

Thank you for asking everyone in our County if I could use their toilet. 

Thank you for securing a full time permanent job which means that I can stay at home for as long as I want with our baby and not making me feel guilty when I spend the money you have earned. 

Thank you for talking to people at work about me and asking other people’s advice and buying me several pregnancy books. 

Thank you for suggesting I stop reading the pregnancy books as they appeared to make me more, not less, anxious - and make me imagine a plethora of symptoms I could have. 

Thank you for Googling every single symptom I have ever had to check it is normal and only telling me the positive results. 

Thank you for listening to me crying and having panic attacks about labour. 

Thank you for watching the birth video at the hospital while I faced the wall and for telling me afterwards that "it really didn't look that bad" even though I could tell you were lying. 

Thank you for putting up the shower curtain, the nursing chair and for taking down and re-constructing the bed numerous times to try and pick the best bedroom for us and the baby.

Thank you for always taking out the rubbish and doing the (vomit inducing) Cat’s litter tray. 

Thank you for coming with me to the scans and always asking about my midwife appointments.

Thank you for coming with me to hear the heartbeat. 

Thank you for not telling my Mother our son's name despite her offering you money to give it up. 

Thank you for pretending not to notice my extra facial hair. 

Thank you for putting my socks on my feet when I have been unable to reach. 

I am sorry. 

I am sorry that the woman who has been in front of you for these 9 months has not been the woman you originally signed up for. 

I am sorry that the fun, happy, hyper girl you fell for has, at times, been replaced by a weepy, insecure, moody nightmarish bitch-cow-wench from Hell. 

I am sorry that when you didn’t want to come to Mothercare for the twentieth time with... my Mother.... I decided you were a selfish pig. 

I am sorry that if you fall asleep downstairs on the sofa I decide that you are a waste of space. 

I am sorry that when I asked you what song I should have on my labour soundtrack and you suggested "my achey breaky vagina" I didn't laugh. 

I am sorry that if you have an extra glass of wine (or a cigar on a special occasion) I brand you a complete arse hole and start to plan my life alone. 

I am sorry I have changed from a confident lady to a paranoid, jealous mess who assumes you are chatting up all the other women who don't have swollen ankles, a distended belly or extra facial hair. 

I am sorry that I have grown extra facial hair and for at least 75% of my pregnancy have not bothered to put my make up on, washed or blow dried my hair, shaved my legs or worn a bra.  

I am sorry that I give you a hard time if you don’t cuddle me enough or always say the right things. 

I am sorry that I have been, at times, irrational, unmanageable and just plain ridiculous. 

I am sorry that I have not seen you, at times, for the good man you are. 

I promise.

I promise that soon you will get your girlfriend back.

I promise that I will stop putting so much pressure on you to be my everything. 

I promise that I will stop being ridiculous, hormonal and making mountains out of tiny molehills. 

We have known each other for seven years - but we really didn't know each other until 9 months ago. 

Yes, sometimes, you can be all action and no words - but 

I promise that I will try to be fair and see you for what you are more often - a wonderful, kind, excited - very British, daddy to be.