Three evenings ago, while The Boyfriend was working a late shift, I decided that it was about time I got myself Hospital Ready. At 37+6, Little Pea could be putting in an appearance any time soon, and although my hospital bag has been packed since we went on holiday, I have been far from ready to go.
For a start, I’m still waiting for the nesting to kick in. I think it may not happen. In my mind, I have tidied, dusted, cleaned, decluttered, hoovered, rearranged furniture, lovingly polished every surface, every tile, every floor…but only in my mind. In reality what happens is I look at the mess and the clutter, tut to myself, berate the cleaning fairies for not having shown up yet again, and make a firm decision that I will get on with it tomorrow.
Tomorrow has never appeared.
It’s been the same with my grossly pregnant body. During my pregnancy with The Baby, I still exfoliated, moisturised, fake-tanned, coloured my hair, always kept my toenails painted, and once I’d finished work, my fingernails too. This time around, if I manage a shower and a blast of the hair-dryer I’m doing well. There’s just not enough time for self-pampering (although my time is clearly not being spent on domestic chores…so where does it all go?) and there’s not enough motivation in this tired and lack-lustre body to do much more.
But on Tuesday evening I decided enough was enough. The Baby was tucked up in bed, The Boyfriend was at work, and I decided that I’d shower, shave, exfoliate, moisturise, fake-tan and paint my nails, in the event Pea arrived early, as scaring the midwives on the birth unit into not wanting to come anywhere near me and my wobbly, white, hairy bits was not on my birth plan.
I defuzzed, I scrubbed, I tanned, and I even reached my own toenails in order to paint them a nice summery coral colour. That was no mean feat (sorry) and one I instantly regretted attempting when it resulted in what felt like stitch for half an hour afterwards. But by 10pm I was Hospital Ready. Right, Pea, any time now is fine, I thought. I can safely face the staff without the embarrassment of them being unable to hide their horror at the hideous sight before them. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not model-material by any stretch of the imagination, I just managed to make myself a 5 on a scale of Monster to Normal.)
The following morning, while enjoying snuggles in bed with The Baby (The Boyfriend was back at work, thanks to his wonderful shifts)…actually, we enjoyed snuggles for five minutes while she drank her morning milk, and the morning then deteriorated into me trying to eke five minutes more in bed by letting her watch yet another episode of Peppa Pig on Daddy’s iPad, and her partly enjoying watching the same episode over and over and over again (her choice, not mine) and partly attempting baby acrobatics on the bed. Having told her several times to stop belly-flopping onto the mattress from the pillows, I sat up to have a conversation with her about what we should have for breakfast. At the precise moment I sat forward, The Baby, while shaking her head side to side in a 1960s Beatles-style, flung out her arm, and jabbed me straight in the eye with her tiny, jagged-nailed finger.
It was painful. My eye watered. I covered my eye and tried to resume the breakfast conversation. I couldn’t. I took my hand away from my eye and felt the tears streaming down my cheek. The Baby tried to pull my hand away and kiss my eye better. I asked her not to, she smacked my hand and then smacked my face. I was less than impressed and put on an episode of Cloudbabies* to try to keep her entertained while I attempted to stop my eye from hurting so much. Endless kids TV was doing nothing to stop the gymnastics from resuming, and realising that I literally couldn’t keep my eye on The Baby in order to stop her flinging herself head first onto the wooden floors, I took her into her nursery and put her in her cot where I knew she would be safe until my vision returned. She thought I was punishing her and cried. And cried. And cried. I lay in bed and cried. And cried. And cried. And tried to stop the pain, but it just wouldn’t go away. And my eye wouldn’t open. And the tears wouldn’t stop. A little while later, I heard Twinkle Twinkle being recited at a decent volume, followed by the alphabet times a hundred, and some general chit-chat. The Baby was fine. I was not.
I phoned The Boyfriend to tell him he needed to come home. He thought I was in labour and was mightily disappointed when he realised it was just that I had been blinded by The Baby.
Once The Baby had been safely delivered to my parents’ house, I had to get myself in some kind of presentable order for A&E. Turns out that even with all that pampering the night before, I still fell short of being Hospital Ready. Limp, unstyled hair, no mascara and joggers somehow managed to negate the fake-tanning and nail-painting and even though I couldn’t actually see, I know I was much more Vicky Pollard then Vicky Beckham. And just my luck, the nurse who triaged me was an old friend I’d not seen in a few years.
My eye is fine now. The Baby did a fairly decent take on Freddy Kruger and cut my cornea quite deeply, so much so that the doctor I saw the following day told me that the wound could re-open in the future and cause blurred vision and pain again without sustaining any injury. So at least I have that to look forward to. But after a couple of good nights’ sleep, antibiotics, and of course a magic pirate patch, I can at least open my eye without it being painful. Plus I can see, which is always a bonus.
So, all in all, two lessons learned; keep The Baby’s fingernails trimmed at all times, and have a decent outfit and plenty of make-up on hand for when I actually do go into labour.
* It sounds like we do nothing but watch TV with The Baby! It’s not true, we actually watch very little TV, but sometimes in a morning the iPad is my absolute saviour as it means a few extra minutes in bed!