Tuesday, 9 September 2008

5 is the magic number...

There's something about the number 5 - and multiples of it - that invite reflection. Not sure why it's any more significant than 4, or 6, but for some reason it just is. It's totally undeserved, of course. You can imagine, in the Numberjack household, 4 and 6 getting all antsy with their sibling. 6, on learning that 5 gets to be celebrated as 'significant' yet again, lets rip;

"What's so special about you? It's not like you're an even number, or anything. OK, so two of you make 10 - what's clever about that? Add me and 4 together, and we make 10 too. It's no biggie. Don't we qualify for some big hooha?"

"Yeah!" pipes up 4. "We like celebrations, just like everyone else... But nooooo, it's all about 'the 5'. Well, we're sick of it. We're off to partaaay with the evens. See how you like that! Later, dude..."


5. It was 5 years ago tomorrow that Boy #1 was born. 5 years ago tomorrow morning, in fact. Which means that 5 years ago tonight, I was still sitting on our beat-up green & white striped easy chair, watching SATC whilst it was still cool. I had just started my maternity leave and had the whole thing all planned out. I was going to spend the next couple of weeks relaxing; my baby would be born on time and with as little intervention as possible; and who knows, maybe I would take up the offer of a birthing pool if one was available. After a straightforward birth, I was going to breastfeed successfully, jump straight back into my skinny jeans, and maybe even walk home from the hospital. I mean, we only lived a 10 minute stroll away. How hard could it be?

(Note to other mothers reading this: if you snort too hard you will make your nose bleed. Just a piece of advice).

I had just done the first day of my 3 day intensive NCT (ante-natal for non-Brits) course, and my mind was in free fall;

"Do I really need to buy everything on the long list they gave us, of the things that they suggested we take to the hospital? Will honey-flavoured ice-cubes really help? Do we even have a thermos flask to put them in? Maybe I should actually unpack the box of baby stuff that my sis (far more clued in than I) ordered on my behalf from Boots when she got tired of waiting for me to do it myself. As if there's a rush, really! Though perhaps it would be a good idea to pack 'the bag' that everyone talks about as being so important. You know, the one that is supposed to be waiting by the door, ready for you / your partner to pick up as you swan calmly out the door on the way to your perfect, preferably drug free delivery.

"Time enough tomorrow. For now, let's just get lost in the wonder that is Carrie's wardrobe...

"Oops! God, I can't believe it - I've wet myself. Stretch marks, heartburn, and now this. Will the indignity of this pregnancy malarky never end? Won't mention it to Husband, let's just scoot down the corridor...

"Sooooo. Made it to the loo - but it's not stopping. Hmmm. Maybe - maybe - I haven't wet myself. Ah. Not sure now whether to be relieved at the lack of stress incontinence or panicked by the thought that 'it' might actually be happening. It isn't, of course. My due date is not for another 15 days. I haven't even finished my ante-natal classes. We don't get to final stage delivery until tomorrow! No, it couldn't possibly be early. No-one in my family is ever early. EVER.

"But it's not stopping.


Now, I'm not going to take you through the whole grisly process. Suffice it to say that my dreams of a straightforward delivery were just that - dreams. I would no more have set foot in a birthing pool by the time I was admitted (nearly fully dilated, I might add) a couple of hours later, than I would have gone through the whole thing without an epidural. And there were plenty of interventions. Nearing the end of it I felt so much like a cow that I asked the two obstetricians who had temporarily lost sight of their arms which was Siegfried and which was Tristran Farnon (drugs are a wonderful thing for restoring your sense of humour - and follow the link if you don't have the faintest idea what I'm talking about).

But ultimately, the most important thing was that Boy #1 arrived, intact and healthy. I still remember now the look in his eyes when they handed him to me seconds after he was born, blue, bruised, and silent with shock. And the weight of his tiny body curled up sleeping on my chest, like a little bear, a couple of hours later. That's still my nickname for him now at times; Little Bear.

5 years ago. It seems like a lifetime - it is a lifetime, his - and yet it is as if it were yesterday.


  1. Lovely post! Brought a tear to my eye - in a good way - honest! t.x

  2. Isn't it funny how when you're pregnant, ANYTHING can happen to you and you assume it's another horrible side-effect of pregnancy? In fact, I was saying this to a friend, and to illustrate, said "I mean, for heaven's sake, you could start snoring one night, look it up on the web and find that it was a side effect of pregnancy", at which point she laughed and said "you know, actually, it is, and I did".

    Lovely post.

  3. What a great post. I felt all emotional reading it. Think I might have to go eat some chocolate now to banish the 'gorwing up too fast' fears from my mind..

  4. Happy birth day.

    So - enjoyed all that lovely maternity leave, all those moments to fill, it seems!!! lol - a friend had her son instead of her leaving lunch.

  5. Ah, it's all worth it, isn't it, when you get that little bundle to hold. Really enjoyed this one, PM.

  6. What a lovely post, happy birthday boy #1. You made me feel very nostalgic and emotional, in a good way!

  7. Sigh. I live vicariously through you - you now that!

  8. Lovely post! You can't beat a good birth story...especially one that starts with an episode of SATC.
    I'm in denial about this whole growing up so fast thing - big school looms next year and I could cry now thinking about it - god help me on the day!

  9. Oh PM, I am sitting here welling up at the image of your darling little baby. Definitely over emotional, lack of sleep mummy in W12 this week.

    Well done you.. give yourself a large pat on the back for having him. And a big HB to him too.

    BM x

  10. Thanks, KP. Pass the tissues...

    Iota, so true. I used pregnancy as an excuse for bad temper, laziness, flatulence (oh no, no one believed that one), tiredness, inability to cook anything other than cereal, absent-mindedness... and so on.

    M/M - you can have the chocolate - but only if you SHARE!

    Jeanie, I know, I never got that empty time to fill. And of course when I had my second I was filling that space with Boy #1 (but not for long because guess what - his brother was early too...)

    Thanks, VG. It was worth. Although sometimes when i tread on yet another piece of lego...

    Mel, thanks.

    Aims, if only you knew. I would love to write something witty in reply but am so dead on my feet that zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz is the best I can do...

    Thanks BM. And well done too for getting through the beginning of the term with your ridiculous commute. I can't believe they're putting you through it! (The park makes it almost sound worth it though - not sure there are many animal sanctuaries round here...)

  11. Like the other readers here this post made my eyes go all misty. Like you, I can clearly (and painfully) remember each step of my first labour. Mine too started with water... waking me up by its sharp, coldness at two in the morning...

    "They're not babies long" as my mum constantly tells me. I'm making the most of every moment of my second's 'babiness'. Time passes even more quickly the second time around.

    Happy Birthday

  12. I know you're late an all, but will add this to my birth stories list - it's a doozy.

  13. Hi Smalls, as Tara (below) will tell you, I actually DON'T remember every part of labour - just that first initial shock... After that, it all becomes (mercifully ) something of a blur... Lucky me!

    Tara, thanks!

    NH Mum, will pass the virtual tissues. Balsam infused, of course!

  14. Happy birthday PM. My first was born on 5th Oct and is 15 this year, so 5 is clearly an auspicious number.

    A friend was describing to me, just this morning, how she delivered her daughter's baby in the bathroom a few weeks ago. This time it was the hospital in denial - they'd told her not to come in just yet.

  15. Happy Birthday to Boy #1! I hope you found the Smarties!

  16. Ah, all that preggers stuff seems so long ago ... and alas, it is! A little award awaits you at my place, PM

  17. Now, don't go and get all sentimental on me, PM. It just won't do!

  18. Well, I'm just green with envy that you were so dilated on arriving at the hospital. I won't go into my own details, suffice to say I wasn't. I remember asking our NCT-equivalent woman what would happen if you ended up having it in a taxi or something, and she just said, "You should be so lucky. It won't be that quick".

  19. Great post - it captures the 'my life isn't going to change one bit once this baby arrives' deludedness we all suffer from before the tyranny of motherhood. But we wouldn't be without them for a second , would we?
    I'm off now for a quiet weep.

    Mya x

  20. sorry, but honey-flavoured ice-cubes? What sort of crap is that??

    It's always moving to remember their birth days isn't it? How far away that sex and the city moment seems now...

    happy b'day!


  21. GPM - thankyou, and you know, your friend's friend probably had a better experience than some of the rest of us...

    SB, I am SO smartied up that I hope never to see another in my life.

    DD, thankyou! That's just what I need right now (or would be, if I could focus on the screen properly - must get my contact lens prescription updated!)

    Irene, I promise to do my level best not to!

    EPM, I know, it certainly took me by suprise. And I was so certain that Boy #2 would be even quicker that I refused to leave when my waters broke with him - and then ended up staying in for the next 24hours before he arrived.

    Mya, I made you weep? Good god - I never thought I'd see the day!

    Pig, I know. You're absolutely bloody right. And of course, since Boy #2 was also early, I didn't get to try them that time round either to see if there was any point ...


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