This may well be the last entry for some time... Officially past my sell-by date and in an impatient bid to finally meet Baby Green (forgive me little man), I arranged to have a sweep done this afternoon. For those of you fortunates unfamiliar with the lingo, a membrane sweep isn't a cosmetic treatment but a kind of internal examination whereby the midwife uses her fingers to literally 'sweep' the cells of the cervix. Similar to a smear but a much more bloody, painful and drawn out affair, it is (incredibly) considered less intrusive than other means of inducing labour in late starters such as myself. The hospital guidelines about induction claims the sweep can be uncomfortable. In short, it f-ing hurts (or at least it did for me) yet the process did grant me an opportunity to trial those tedious deep breathing exercises you get taught in antenatal classes, and to relish a little taste of the painful feast to come. Honestly, mothers are the real gangstas, the true and unsung tribal warriors of our time... No one but other mothers has a clue quite how brave and tough as nails you must be in order to give birth. Just hearing me describe the ordeal over the phone had Mr Green feeling faint. Thank God the survival of the human species doesn't rely on men who, it has to be said, have no qualms about rising to the occasion when it comes to mating but would struggle to give up the goods at the nth hour. Granted, even I went a little pale when the midwife cheerily announced, her hand up to my kingdom come, that she could feel the baby's head!
Strangely, the ritual left me in high spirits. Not only did the midwife commend my aura of calm as she discreetly balled up countless bloody tissues like Jack the Ripper, she was surprised to find that, considering the 'ripeness' and dilation of my cervix (about 2-3cm already -- to put that in perspective, a baby's head starts to crown at about 10cm) it was a wonder I wasn't already in labour. And in any case, she said she'd be incredibly surprised if actual labour hadn't started within the next 48 hours. Music to my ears. These past few days have been incredibly challenging -- an understatement akin to saying the sweep was 'uncomfortable'. With each passing day, the 9-month haul has been feeling like the build up to death row when you just want the damned needle already. My back has been hurting almost constantly from the 42lbs gained. Add to that the fear of straying too far in case your waters break in the supermarket aisle, and you start to feel like a prisoner in your own house but without the bonus of satellite TV. The mental hurdle is the hardest to overcome once the due date has been and gone and still no baby. I guess -- if you'll forgive the mixing of sporting metaphors -- it has to do with moving the goal post after your sights have been firmly fixed on it for months. Due dates are approximate and, like any anxiously awaited celebrity, rarely does a baby appear when he's scheduled to. Still, you can't help but focus and consolidate your energies on that calendar date regardless of the dictates of common sense. It is especially difficult as a 21st Century Fox to relinquish control over the events in your life and hand the reins back to Mother Nature. But ultimately it is she who has the upper hand, and pregnancy reminds us of this fact time and again.
So even though there are 'helping hands' out there in the guise of my matronly midwife, in the end our bodies are subject to nature's whimsy. We are all at her mercy. I just hope when the time does come that she goes gentle with me.