. . . of the most hilarious things about giving birth was how the epidural left me legless. Numb from the waist down and high as a kite from the gas and air (what LARKS!), I vividly remember H and my lovely midwife hauling me about on the bed as I giggled; my right leg just kept flopping over the side and there was nothing I could do about it. This was a distraction from the fact Zee was now officially 17 days late and WHY WASN’T THE BABY HERE YET etc etc. Well he finally did arrive and was the best thing we have ever seen with our own eyes ever, and on Sunday just gone, it was exactly one year to the day that Zee was born late, screaming and perfect.
Over the course of this birthday weekend, I was struck with a vivid case of the ‘This Time Last Year’s . . .’ TTLY the second attempt at induction had finally worked, and realising he was going to be in for the long haul, H announced he was getting us takeaway Pizza Express. He was horrified by the hospital food and I had to keep my strength up. Yes, that actually happened. TTLY I was getting a real taste for the gas and air having been stone cold sober for nine months, ooooh it was nice. And the higher I got the higher I bounced up and down on the ball, trying to remain in conversation with H and the midwife but everything’s starting to feel funny . . Hang on. HANG ON. They are looking at me with big grins. I no longer really know what they’re saying. Are they TEASING ME?! I’m in labour and they’re teasing me?! Yes, that actually happened. TTLY the pain was now pretty bad (it was bound to happen), Zee had gone back to back and an epidural was necessary. I was Not Going To Say No To That. The midwife promised just one more contraction and then the heavenly epidural . . . at which point a very apologetic-looking nurse stuck her head around the door and announced the anaesthetist was delayed by two hours . . . doom etc etc!
Anyway. To cut a very long night and morning short, finally a doctor arrived brandishing a pair of . . . no I can’t write it, I can’t say the F-word on here . . . and lo and behold there was our baby. I will honestly and genuinely say that giving birth was okay. Obviously it is a totally individual experience, no two births or babies are ever the same. But I kept thinking, even during the most painful times, that it was manageable, I could absolutely do it, and it was fine. And I don’t mean a woman’s version of IT’S FINE *grits teeth and means the opposite* – but actually fine.
Back to this weekend and my dose of the TTLY’s; it was such a life-changing experience that I guess you can’t help but relive all the memories. And on Sunday, Zee’s first ever birthday, I kept thinking how much easier this day was than TTLY. I veritably LEAPT out of bed upon hearing his early morning babbling, I was so excited to see my birthday boy. And we sung to him and had cards and presents and balloons, before preparing for his first ever birthday party and Naming Day for approximately 80 family and friends, in a big hall down the road. There was bunting and cake and flowers and prosecco, and speeches and chiddlers running around everywhere. And in amongst it all, a little boy beaming away and surrounded by everyone who loves him, with no idea what any of it was for. You my little man. It’s all for you.
One year of interrupted sleep, days and days of not knowing what day it was. Endless tears, panic, is this right? Is he alright? Too hot? Too cold? What will I feed him, what will he wear? How will I know WHAT TO DO? You don’t. But it all works out anyway. Because when he smiles, or holds your finger, or gazes up at you with enormous wide eyes, or falls asleep in your arms or laughs or crawls for the first time, or says ‘Dada’ or ‘Mama’ (once!), or feeds himself or splashes you with bathwater or swims underwater or wipes away your tears; well. That’s what it’s all for, isn’t it?
Happy first birthday Zee. And here’s to many more.