Bring baby number 2 on! Photo: Karen Hattersley
I am officially full-term this week. I never thought it would be possible to be so excited about going through labour again.
I even had pineapple this weekend in an attempt to get the ball rolling, which brought me no closer to my baby but did rob me of a night of sleep thanks to hideous acid reflux.
Of course, I'm not actually excited about the labour part. No, contrary to the person I'd thought I would be the second time around - take-charge, positive, ready to feel strong and connected with my child during the birthing process - I am filled with dread, trepidation and paralysing anxiety when I think about going through it again. Is it too late to book myself in for an elective C-section?
And I actually had a 'good' labour the first time around, so either my hormones are a mess or I'm just a wimp. Or maybe a little bit of both.
My latest conversation with my midwife hasn't assuaged my fears and only served to convince me that in all likelihood, this baby will arrive very quickly. As in, my dreams of getting an epidural this time around may not come true because I will sneeze and presto, there will be an infant in my arms (if only).
I am being looked after by a caseload team of midwives who are meant to come to my house and then take me to the hospital when I'm far enough along in labour, but last week, after hearing me recount the tale of my first, rather speedy labour, where I only just made it to the hospital in an ambulance on time to deliver Diana there, the midwife just told me to high-tail it to the hospital without a second's thought as soon as my contractions are regular.
Considering that happened about an hour into my birth with Diana - and subsequent babies are meant to be faster - I am now once again plagued with fantasies (I mean nightmares) of giving birth in my hallway by myself, hysterical with pain and terror, while Bolshy the bulldog tried to 'help' by cutting (translation: biting to shreds) the umbilical cord...
While there is so much I can't predict - whether labour will be hideous or bearable, what it will be like to have newborn again, how D is going to cope in the early days - reflecting on the past nine months, and the highs and lows I've felt, one thing is for certain: I feel really ready to do it all again: sleepless nights, nipple pain, baby cinema...
And whenever I think, actually, I need to grow up a bit before I become a mother for the second time, I just look over at my (not-so-little any more) Diana, who I'm falling more and more in love with as each day passes.
Forget the transformation from newborn D to present-day D; eight months ago, when I first found out I was pregnant, Diana was this curious toddler, running around and just starting to speak. I thought she seemed grown-up - comparatively, of course - then, but when I think back to last spring, she was an infant compared to the independent, bossy, almost two-and-a-half year old that she is now, informing anyone who will listen that: 'Mummy has my baby sister in her tummy.'
She speaks in sentences! Even though I feel non-functional some of the time, surely she can help me pull it together...
So, wish us luck... with all of it. And if I do end up delivering this second kid on the street in five minutes, there is a positive - I'll get to be reunited with my first baby even faster.