Today is T minus 8 days to D-Day or the expected due date of Mini Mini. It’s a time where excited text messages including the words “anything” and “stirring” are arriving from family and friends or Facebook messages exclaiming have you not popped yet? are coming in from those friends who are further afield.
It’ s that time in pregnancy where you are just fed up with the discomfort coupled with a huge impatience to finally meet your baby, tinged with anxiety about the impending birth. You know it will more than likely go fine. Millions of babies are born every minute with absolutely no complications. Still there’s a nagging suspicion that out of all these births, yours will be the one that goes awry, but you bury this evil thought deep and concentrate on being positive. Mostly at this stage of pregnancy, you just want it to be over. I want it to be over and yesterday I was convinced it was about to be!
It started with a small bloody show on Sunday evening, just before I ran a bath for Mini. Unlike my first pregnancy with its myriad awkward bleeds, there has been nothing of the kind this time around so tiny alarm bells began to tinkle in my brain. Then as I was lifting Mini into the bath, the rumblings of a contraction started-gripping the top of my uterus and spreading slowly and deliberately over my abdomen and around to my back, creating a vice like grip with pressure extending downwards. It rose slightly in intensity, then began to fade. Unlike my previous Braxton Hicks sensations which were sharp and angry in nature, this was a dull ache without much pain-a cramp that felt welcomed by my body for what I instantly believed it to be-my first true contraction!
There are certain things that mark false contractions from true ones-those that get gradually longer, more intense and closer together tick the boxes for the real deal. Other possible indications are nausea, loose bowels and back ache. So far all boxes were ticked and interestingly all symptoms of my SPD had vanished.
Convinced, I sent a text to my friend who is our designated emergency babysitter for Mini should I go into labour outside of childminding hours just to let her know that tonight could be the night before heading to bed to conserve my energy for what I was sure would be an eventful tomorrow!
At around 4am, unable to sleep any more from the pain, I got up and went for a walk downstairs-another thing to measure true labour by is if you change position and you still have the contractions. Another box ticked. I mooched about for a bit, did some light cleaning, watched some very early morning BBC News-something I haven’t done since the time of Mini’s night feeds-then decided to get back into bed.
Dawn came and with it our early morning bedside visitor who seemed in flying form. I decided to pack her off to creche for the full day instead of her regular half day. I cancelled my appointment at the beauty salon and phoned my two remaining clients to apologise but I would have to cancel their appointments today as I WAS IN LABOUR!!!
Not wishing to miss out on any grooming from my missed rendezvous with my beautician, I put the DIY plan in motion-tweezers were located to tame my unruly eyebrows, a face mask was applied and the Immac cream was rooted out from underneath tubs and tubes of half used lotions. I haven’t used Immac in ages but was sure I had done so earlier on in the pregnancy without any major consequence.
So there I was trying to lift my unwilling bump to apply that noxious cream to my lady bits. A ridiculous endeavour! After a few minutes of contortionist movements, I gave up and moved on to the underarms. Now I’ve never had any problem with Immac, even when I’ve left the cream on for longer than the recommended 6 minutes-I’m not alone with this-everyone does it right? This time though, my underarms began to tingle not long after the application and by the time I was removing the cream, they were on fire!
It was then that I noticed the contractions had stopped. It had been at least twenty minutes since my last one. I got dressed, went downstairs, put on the kettle. No contractions. An hour passed. Then two. Nothing. Nada. Zip. The only vibrations I felt were now coming from my phone via uber excited text messages from friends who had heard that Mini Mini was on her way.
But no. No Mini Mini. Just an exhausted, uncomfortably big, still pregnant mamma with magnified SPD symptoms. Nothing has changed except I am less well off financially due to cancelling work and putting Mini in creche for longer. Oh and my underarms continue to burn the living shite outta me!
The only upside of this false alarm is that we get to keep Poppy on the table as one of our baby names. It would have been weird to have given the child that name on Armistice Day, considering neither of us are British. Actually even if we were, I think it still would have been weird!
Most of all though, I’m feeling like a right eejit for getting it so wrong. I am convinced Mini Mini will be early because her older sister was four days early but obviously this might not be the case. Every baby is different as is every labour but why is true labour so flipping hard to distinguish? Has this happened to any other second time round mums? Please tell me I’m not on my own with this!
In the meantime, I’m off to bounce on my long suffering gym ball and chow down on some ultra spicy curries!