I recall the immense tiredness of the first few weeks - absolute exhaustion. I would come home from work and fall asleep on the sofa, only to be woken by my husband who'd arrived home an hour later, had left me sleeping and prepared dinner for us both. I'd eat and then sleep again. I have never known a tiredness like it.
Then the first scan. That life changing moment when you see your baby on the screen. It seems a blur of lines, then the sonographer points arrows and shows you legs, arms, eyes, nose and best of all, a tiny beating heart. Then you hear it. The whoosing sound like an ocean and then the 'bwoph, bwoph, bwoph' sound of your child living inside you - that God breathed life that's been gently placed there as a gift, all neatly tucked away.
Then your clothes don't fit anymore and the realisation that now it's time to go shopping for maternity wear. Big enormous trousers that could fit around a space hopper and skirts like scout tents.
Alternate weeks with the midwife and doctor. Being prodded and poked. Blood tests being taken. All to make sure your baby is well and growing. Finding out your baby's head is half way down or two thirds down, or it's popped up again, now it's down again, and finally 'engaged'. This is it. Not long to go.
The final few weeks. You've had enough now. Surely it's ready to be born. You can't sleep, you can't turn over, you can't bend down to do your shoes up, getting out of the bath requires assistance, you can't pull your chair close to your desk at work because your bump is in the way and you can't get back in the car at the supermarket because somebody has parked too close to the driver's door and you're too big to get in the gap.
You're excited, you're scared. You know it's coming soon. You know it's going to hurt. You've visited the hospital and seen all the contraptions and checked with the nurses they're well stocked with pethidine, entonox and anaesthetists. The nursery is ready, tiny nappies wait unopened in their packet, grandparents have stocked you up with hand knitted cardigans, the pram is in the hall and your hospital bag is packed.
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Joshua was born 7 days early. An 8 hour water pool labour that was halted because he was face up, stuck and distressed. I also had maternal exhaustion and the increased effort of trying to deliver him was sending me into a delirous unconsciousness. I gave it all I had and it wasn't enough. He needed help to get out and was swiftly delivered by ventouse. A beautiful baby, 7lb 7oz.
Joshua, is 12 years old today. A remarkable young lad who is growing up to be an exceptional young man. He's doing very well at school and has lots of nice friends. He's learning each day more and more about who he is and who God wants him to be. I love him immensely and I'm incredibly proud of him and of all things most, I thank God, that of all the women in the world He could have given Joshua to, He gave him to me.