Well here we go. To use yet another metaphor, we have at least entered the airport on our way to lift off, by which I mean that the baby is 'engaged'. Or rather, his head is engaged in the process of sinking into my pelvis. Only 2/5 so far with what I am assured is 3/5 to go before he is thoroughly wedged-in and ready for the boarding lounge (because I am going to abuse this metaphor for a while... the sense of queasy anticipation and aimless boredom one experiences in airports fits this particular scenario reasonably well).
What this means is that when I stand up he sways dangerously into various muscle groups and organs which here-to-fore have remained relatively unscathed by the experience to date. I have, for example, connected quite well with my pelvic floor. I think I know where it begins and ends as these bits feel the strain whenever blodgy-boy has a particularly nasty bounce. Nasty bounces also pin-point exactly how mobile my pelvis has become. In the past, having not particularly thought about my pelvis I would possibly have described it as a bone and perhaps have gone on to finish by presenting it as something reasonably solid. Now, however, I may be inclined to describe it as somewhat of a more flexible object which can change shape and turn walking into an alarmingly new exercise in balance and movement. Rather than putting one foot in front of the other it is more like swinging one foot in front of the other. And, since I can't see the feet in question, the term 'in front of' is rather more optimistic than I would like and walking in a straight line after, for example, getting out of bed, is in fact a matter of pure chance.
This simple question of movement and the accompanying issue of 'what comes next' ought to be my main focus about now. 'Can I get up', 'can I walk' and 'when will my waters break?' should be fore-front in my mind. These have, however, been usurped by what appears to be the main concern of many of the other Mums-to-be in my aquaintance. From hippies to nice yuppy mums from Clapham's Nappy Valley there is only one topic of conversation once the question 'when are you due' has been answered - and that, my friends, is what I have heard referred to delicately as 'Lady Gardening'.
I have to admit that there is something strangely compelling about this subject, particularly after looking at various birthing videos and photographs. It does rather creep into one's mind that perhaps 'she could use a trim'. Now, this may be complete diversionary tactics, along the lines of buying too many all-in-ones because they're on sale, or discussing the engineering specs of various buggies rather than focusing on the birth of an impending baby - however there it sits, forefront in ones mind. To prune, or not to prune.
In the olden days, apparently, they whipped you into hospital and out came the safety razor to lop off the shrubbery. These days however they are much more enlightened by all accounts and deliver the baby whatever the state of your allotment (I am sorry about this, metaphoritis apparently comes with this blog). This leaves the choice in the hands of the expectant Mum - who, it must be said, can no more reach the scenery than she can see it without an array of mirrors and a safety net.
This is something that I must confess had not crossed my mind until it started raising it's ugly head in the online forums and then again in our nice NCT class... multiple times. Some ladies have either bought or been given a device to do the job for them. I italicise the above as several have been given this present by others Who Have Gone Before and passed this obsession down the line and it is always these women who open the first conversation. Now, how one is expected to use such a device without help is beyond many of us and has sparked several debates about how one goes about doing this and what sort of topiary one leaves behind. I'll refrain from offering you the preferred choices, however needless to say number one on the list is not 'do nothing'.
Once asked, this question cannot be put back in it's box (as it were). One begins to imagine oneself naked in a room full of strangers plus one's husband who, it has to be said, one would still like to have see oneself as a potential object of desire at some point. You can probably see where this is leading ('down the garden path' a voice whispers).
The choices, once one has come to the conclusion that suddenly this is in fact something with which one is very concerned are whether to try do to this oneself, or to hire someone else to do it. On this point the hippies and yummy yuppies are divided equally down the middle between those who can't bear the thought of subjecting someone else to the act and are determined to do some DIY and those who can't bear the thought of subjecting themselves to it and would rather pay a professional.
With the professional route discarded due to taste considerations, one has then to decide between subjecting oneself to the rigours of sharp objects, ripping motions or burning potions (or, to continue the metaphor to it's logical conclusion, shearing, ploughing or weed-killer) around what is an area of, shall we say, significant sensitivity at this time...
The reason why this is so all-consuming is, of course, that none of us particularly want to consider what is really happening to our bodies, to our muscles and bones and to our pelvic floors. None of us really want to focus on the impending venture onto the runway and take-off into parenthood, concerning as it does a considerable amount of pain, mess and general life-changing inconvenience. Therefore any excuse to focus on something more familiar is, like the 3-for-2 sales in airport bookshops, a welcome opportunity for distraction, eagerly seized.
And this is where I leave off, contemplating the arsenal of weapons in my bathroom tool-shed. I hope I have a hand-mirror.