Of course, this time last year I didn’t know I was waiting to be induced. I thought my waters were going to break in a restaurant any minute.
The due date had been and gone - mildly disappointing since it was 11.11.11 - but that seemed ok. One or two days late is fine, like turning up at a party at 9 when the invitation said 8.30. It's almost rude to give birth exactly on time.
But when my next favourite date, 20.11.2011, passed me by without even a twinge, I began to wonder if the whole being pregnant thing was just a huge misunderstanding.
For most of those two weeks I was in a pretty wild state, madly jealous of all my friends with due dates after mine who were announcing their births left, right and centre – but also in strange denial about what was to come.
I spent my days re-watching trilogies and freezing bolognese, but if for one moment I’d actually believed there was a small baby coming, I might have more usefully done a few of these:
1. Told everyone the due date was a fortnight later than it was.
I’ll definitely do this if there’s a next time. There are only so many texts you can send saying, ‘Still no news!’
2. Bought lots of snacks you can eat with one hand.
Defrosting a freezer meal requires levels of forethought that were unavailable to me for at least six weeks after birth.
3. Learnt how to use the nappy bin.
Turns out 3.30am is no time to be reading instructions. Especially if you’ve just smudged meconium over the diagrams.
4. Read up on breastfeeding.
The NCT mean well but a morning spent gazing at pictures of African women breastfeeding on bicycles did nothing to ease the excruciating pain and fever that ensued for months. I should have spent the pre-induction fortnight reading every single article on kellymom.com.
5. Read up on formula feeding.
I was so convinced I’d be breastfeeding on a bicycle that I didn’t find out anything about formula feeding at all. I didn’t buy any bottles, pumps or sterilising equipment. I’d never even heard of Aptamil. That changed quickly, and late at night.
6. Changed the text alert on my phone.
That comedy car horn noise gets pretty antisocial when you’re in labour behind a curtain on a night ward.
7. Not felt so inadequate for not going into labour on time.
It turned out I was pregnant after all, and no-one had the birth they expected or hoped for, and no-one cares what the due date was once there’s an actual birthday to celebrate. Phew.