This weekend we had two instances of excitement. 1) the Eurovision Song Contest was on which, although quite famously loved/unloved in the UK, is a real family favourite of mine and something I always look forward to. And then with a slightly different type of excitement 2) on Friday, we had to make sure our hospital bag was ready to go in it’s slightly unfinished state as a few Braxton Hicks contractions started to feel a bit too real and baby decided to send out another sign that hinted she was ready already!
We’re nearly 31 weeks and to try and stay calm we firstly re-affirmed that at this stage, although it’s not ideal, baby is in fact fully developed, just needing a bit of extra time to fill out and strengthen. Therefore, she wouldn’t be in real medical danger, therefore no need to unduly panic.
Next step was sitting down and breathing (I know…you’d like to hope that ‘breathing’ is an unnecessary step on a ‘to do’ list but baby brain coupled with the slight panic that there could be a baby on it’s way does tend to send rationality slightly askew) as advised by those in the medical know how, we had started timing the contractions.
I also then called my brother as he lives nearest the hospital and should we on D-Day (used in this instance to mean Delivery Day) be sent home in early labour, instead of the 40 minute journey home, we’ll be heading the 5 minutes to his place. So we called just to mention that we might be popping round and to double check he had some milk in.
My husband and brother were both ready for action and I have to admit seeing Tom going round the house speaking his internal checklist out loud, and Christopher on the phone reiterating that any time of night or day is fine but he was in London in two days time and was that ok got me giggling. To which I was reprimanded as if laughing may encourage the baby to come jiggling out early, which only made me laugh harder. If labour had any potential to be that jovial, I’d be extremely happy but something tells me laughing through it won’t be an option…depending on just what type of gas you’re given I suppose.
Anyway for 5 days we are without a car whilst our two seater van/car gets replaced for a 5 seater baby friendly car, and almost for this reason alone we figured that the laws of irony would mean labour would be more likely in this small gap. So the call to my brother was also to pre warn him that we may need the chauffeur add on with our stay.
So, transport confirmed, Mother to be calm and even enjoying herself, hospital bag not complete but ready enough, Father to be slightly paler than normal but prepared and ready to jump to action. Hospital aware and contractions being timed and pads out of their previously unopened packet. What was next? We gingerly approached the internet having being burned before by a wealth of worst case scenarios. ‘Have a bath which can often ease Braxton Hicks,’ real labour doesn’t just go away and a bath was done easily enough so we headed upstairs.
Sitting in the bath the reality that this baby that we’ve spent over 7 months discussing was definitely and imminently going to be with us was an exciting but terrifying prospect. We still had nearly 10 weeks to go to discuss the part that comes next, you know, the parenthood part…the part with no annual leave, no pay and no end…! Luckily for both of our blood pressures, the bath definitely eased the pain part of the tightenings and timings showed that the contractions were irregular, and were becoming if anything, further apart rather than closer together.
Declaring ourselves out of the woods just in time for a few friends to arrive, we relaxed and the rest of the evening went by uncomfortably (for my tummy only, we didn’t all sit in uncomfortable silence!) but lovely with a BBQ a much more welcomed activity than premature labour.
The whole event was a bit of a shock to the system and it made us distinctly aware of how little control we have over the part that comes next. Plans from here on in will be written very definitely but in pencil! It may well be that we have longer than the prescribed 40 weeks and we’ll end up desperate for D-Day to arrive, there’s just no way to tell. That’s the ‘magic’ of pregnancy and an unpredictability we’ll have to get used to in the months and years to follow. But in a way it was also comforting, we’ve all seen those films which condense labour into a two minute frantic montage. But actually, chances are (and I’m well aware there are exceptions to this, but in the main…) we’ll have time to get things organised and calm ourselves down a bit before even arriving at the hospital, what happens then is a free for all, they’re the medical staff, we’ll have some wriggle room to stop being calm!
A dress rehearsal allows you to be better prepared for opening night so for that reason, Braxton Hicks plus added little anomalies that suggest labour are helpful practise for parents. Luckily for us, we were then able to enjoy the original weekend excitement, and sat with our European feast, homemade scorecards and ‘wine’ (there is no soft drink over the last few months we haven’t put into our wedding gift champagne flutes and dubbed wine or champagne!) the Eurovision Song Contest which provided a fun but ridiculous night of entertainment. 2014 will go down in Eurovision history because of the controversy before it and the public acceptance with the eventual winner Austria’s Conchita, ‘the bearded lady’. We will certainly always remember this weekend and whilst giggling away at our favourite entry Iceland, we made a mental note to add it into our ‘the year you were born scrapbook,’ with the hope that perhaps in years to come, we’d tell our daughter during a well loved family night, whilst she fills in her own scoresheet, about the Eurovision she nearly made it in time for!