Some dates stay ingrained in the mind.
On Wednesday 20th September one year I had an antenatal appointment at the hospital. They told me they were not going to let me go all the way to full term because I was carrying a big first baby. They said I would go in on 7th October to be induced. I was OK about this as my baby was actually due on 13th October which I knew to be Margaret Thatcher's birthday. I did not want a child of mine to have anything in common with That Woman.
Then that afternoon I had an antenatal class. These are dreadful sessions in which one is patronised and poked and prodded by well meaning elderly health visitors, and in which one then has to perform absurd exercises for use in labour, which are sod all use when one is actually in labour, only they don't tell you that bit at the time. I was wearing white trousers.
With pregnancy comes guide books. They make quite hideous reading. As if reading about labour was not quite bad enough thank you ("I have got to do that???!!") one also learns that one is threatened with such undignified ailments as piles, thrush and incontinence. So when I was doing the 'pushing' exercise - in my white trousers -I was not entirely surprised, but nevertheless mortified, to realise I was leaking 'down below'. Oh bloody marvellous - I have developed incontinence. In public.
I got home and went for a lie down. Sod, sod and sod again. Still I leaked. An hour or so later I actually 'investigated' a bit more closely. After eight months of pregnancy I had mastered the act of collecting a sample of wee ( it is SO alright for men) - and did so now, only - humm - "What a funny colour wee you have Jane". I feared something was amiss and rang the hospital and they said I had better come in so they could check me out. I rang my husband who was working late and told him I had to go to hospital. "OK" he said, "What do you want me to do about it?" "I want you to bloody well get back here and take me." "Oh!" Anyway, we go to hospital, me wondering what I was going to do about cooking tea, and hoping we would get back in time for what was promised to be a particularly exciting episode of Brookside.
Cut to examination room.
"Whaddya mean I can't go home cos my waters have gone and I am going to have a baby in the next 24 hours??????"
I missed Brookside.
I hadn't bought so much as a toothbrush with me let alone anything for a baby - a nappy for example. It was the least prepared for anything I had ever been in my life. It had never ever occured to me my baby could come early. But come early he did. And although this story feels like it was only five minutes ago, as of tomorrow my first born child is legally old enough to drive. And that is SERIOUSLY scary.
Guilty - How do I plead? I plead "Guilty" your honour. Though I did spend six weeks in Ireland in the summer of 1974, visiting amongst many other places the youth...
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