When I was pregnant for the first time I was obsessed with getting everything 'ready for the baby'.
'I will write a list.' I declared a month before my daughter was due to arrive. 'You can't go wrong with a list.'
I recently found the list in question and discovered that pre-motherhood I was an idiot (and slightly obsessed with One Born Every Minute).
Here is The List (in all its embarrassing glory):
1. Pack hospital bag with snacks, make up, music, books and laptop as I will probably be in labour for days (like on One Born Every Minute).
2. Try to empty my bowels twice a day so I don't poo myself while in labour (like Polish woman onOne Born Every Minute).
3. Get new bikini and make music play list to ensure beautiful relaxing water birth (like the glamorous woman on One Born Every Minute).
4. Watch entire series of One Born Every Minute again.
5. Wash all brand new baby clothes in Fairy.
6. Wash all our own clothes in Fairy.
7.Wash all cot bedding in Fairy.
8. Call midwife and ask if I need to wash settee covers and muslins in Fairy.
9. Disinfect the entire house and everything in it with anti-bacterial wipes every day until baby is born.
10. Do pelvic floor exercises all day, every day to make up for not doing pelvic floor exercises for the past nine months.
11. Trim my massively overgrown bikini line so it doesn't poke the baby in the eye on her way out (or at least break the back of it).
12. Buy books and DVDs to keep me occupied on maternity leave.
13. Make James [the husband] promise not to look at the 'bottom end' when I am giving birth.
14. Learn to bake a cake (or at least flapjacks).
15. Buy cake recipe book.
16. Buy cake tin.
17. Read What To Expect When You Are Expecting (again).
18. Try harder to get the hang of perineum massage (maybe find film on YouTube?).
19. Go out for a romantic meal as we may not be able to for six months once the baby is here.
20. CONGRATULATIONS, you have finished this list! Now sit back and relax for a few weeks until the baby arrives!
I never got to number 20. In fact, I never even got past number one.
'First babies are always late,' they told me. 'You will probably give birth a good two weeks after your due date.'
My daughter arrived TWO weeks before her due date.
I was happily eating a Big Mac (our romantic meal) like a woman who had loads of time to stuff her face – when my waters broke. My husband and I swiftly shoved clothes and nappies into a carrier bag, drove to the hospital and no sooner had I got into the birthing pool than my daughter arrived (totally buggering up my unmassaged perineum).
There had been no time for snacks, magazines or ipod playlists. No chance for the amusing banter with midwives or hilarious arguments with my husband I had seen on One Born Every Minute.
And as I had been under the impression I had a good month left for all the cleaning, pelvic floor exercises, washing and cake baking, I was totally unprepared.
I had to take my precious newborn back to a house that had not yet been disinfected (and smelt of McDonalds), dress her in baby grows that had not been washed in Fairy and hope that having to fight her way out through my big lady bush hadn't scarred her for life.
I didn't write a to-do list when I was pregnant the second time around.
With one baby to take care of on the outside and another one kicking the crap out of me on the inside I was to oexhausted to do anything, let alone pelvic floor exercises.
I threw out all the books, didn't bother with baking and I certainly did not watch One Born Every Minute.
You can read more from Emily-Jane Clark on StolenSleep.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
More on Parentdish:
Why I'm not writing a birth plan
Your birth plan - and what really happens