This time last year, I was entertaining old friends. They were here on a visit and I hadn't seen them for a long time. I was pregnant. Very pregnant. The frog was working and I laid on a very simple brunch - if I recall, I opened a few packets and patted my belly apologetically. That, after all, is what it was there for, no? My big 'get out of jail free' belly?
I didn't much use pregnancy as a reason to stuff myself, I can stuff myself without any reason, thank you very much. I didn't use it as an excuse not to exercise, I worked out up to 6 months. I did however use it as a fine excuse to wear a bikini without shame, to let the Frog carry the groceries and to feel cheated if I didn't get a seat on the tube. Wouldn't you?
On this particular day however, I was trying not to focus on the fact that I was due to have a baby. Today. As it were. My due date. The midwife had informed me that I wasn't ready, I'd refused an appointment to book an induction on the following Monday and was girding my loins to tough out a few more weeks in the sweltering heat.
Partway through brunch, which we ate outside in the garden, I stood up to get something and I, er, wet myself. Or something. But then, there was nothing there. The next time I stood up, same thing. And again. And again. I recall being very cool about it. I remember sitting down after yet another trip to the loo, announcing that I thought my waters had broken and starting in on another biscuit. Why not?
Over the course of the day I saw a midwife, had a few pains and some wild energy and, eventually, settled in for a long night, at the end of which was a complete unknown.
There are all these occasions in one's life when one steps out from an established comfort zone into a totally unknown experience for the first time, knowing that things will never be the same again. Going to school. Having one's first kiss. Moving out of one's parents house. Losing one's virginity. Getting one's first job. Oh, and HAVING A BABY.
I had no idea what was waiting for me at the end of the night, or in the middle of it, or at the end of the next day - no idea what it would be like, when it would be coming or how I was going to handle it. I pfaffed around organising things, the house, the cat, the frog. I patted my bump obsessively. I made a few phone calls and settled in for a long, painful wait.
This time a year ago the livingroom had the birth pool set up in it and I was on my way to meet the spud for the first time. This year I'm off to bed and in the morning, I'll meet the spud once more, this time for his first ever birthday.