I was convinced all the way through the pregnancy that the scan had estimated the dates incorrectly. The little fella was kicking before he was supposed to, bigger at various points than he should have been and it all felt a bit more advanced than it should have. So it came as no surprise to me that I found myself lying in bed on the 30th of December mulling over my lack of sleep when ‘pop’ the waters broke. I should say this was not the result of any of the techniques suggested, including the ‘milkshake’ one the midwife suggested to my horror, well I am a prude. It was just the time.
Being me, I obviously went into shock straight away. I couldn’t stop my teeth chattering, I felt really odd and I kept needing to go to the loo etc etc. I started getting a few contractions but decided to wait until the morning before I did anything at all. The husband rolled over and went back to sleep, seasoned pro that he is. I lay there in the darkness feeling ever so slightly afraid. Third babies do that to you, you’re not so concerned about the actual logistics of it all, but you know what may be about to happen so you blot it out. In short you’re carefree about it whilst being absolutely terrified beyond belief.
Morning eventually came, well it was Fifi morning which is about 5:30 AM and I called my parents to come over and look after the kids whilst I went to the hospital. The drive to the hospital took forever, one of the longest drives of my entire life and that does include getting a coach to the Cevenne National Park in France. As we parked the car I breathed in the crisp, grey Stevenage air and thought what a life changing moment I was about to have.
After an inability to get into the ward where we had been summoned, mainly thanks to the reception staff who appear to be trained to ignore the bell, we spoke to a midwife. It was decided to take us into new swanky Midwife Led Unit. I was impressed and quite fancied having a stay there. Unfortunately it was not to be, I was told that unless contractions started they would induce me at 8pm and that I could sit on the ward if I wanted. Within half an hour of this diagnosis I found myself wandering around B & Q with the husband discussing tile trims and decking in a shallow attempt to distract us from the inevitable. We couldn’t find Laura Ashley, I presume the Stevenage branch has closed. I remember thinking how grey the shop seemed, what a grey day it all was. Clearly nothing was going to start proper contractions, even the excitement of B & Q so we decided to drive the 30 miles home again.
At home I went to bed, tossing and turning I somehow managed to work my temperature up to 38.9 degrees. Or at least that’s what the thermometer said. On reflection as this was exactly the temperature that Boy had the previous week I wonder if it was stuck in the memory rather than my temperature. Technology confuses me at the best of times. Still, another long, long drive to the hospital and we found ourselves again waiting to be let into the ward by a receptionist who must have been deaf and blind. I was then admitted to the labour ward.
In preference to sitting on the labour ward myself and the hubby walked round and round and round the hospital. Initially to try to get some food, although it became clear that on New Years Eve all food outlets would close before their advertised New Year Closing time. Helpful. We ended up feasting on those hard plastic sandwiches from a machine and some crisps. If this wouldn’t kick start contractions it may kick start a tummy ache, much the same really.
The labour ward had three inmates; myself,some girl who appeared to have been there for days with her entire family including her late middle aged parents and another girl who seemed to have her mother and the father of the baby with her. They were all noisy and demanding. I sat in my cubicle curtains drawn, hubby next to me tweeting imagining that I was actually sitting on Holkham Beach or somewhere even vaguely nice. I read an entire copy of Red Magazine. No-one came to see me for about 4 hours. I eventually rang the bell and asked to be checked. It was hopeless. I told them that I didn’t have front contractions with Boy, they didn’t listen. I could tell. It was decided to induce me at 8pm, a time which coincides with visitor chuck out time…