At points over the last seven and a half months I have been guilty of almost ignoring this pregnancy. With none of the SPD which made expecting T more painful than it might have been, a new job and a manic toddler I haven't had the time or, to be honest, the inclination to pore over the Mamas & Papas catalogue and indulge in daydreams about life with a newborn again. If it wasn't for the giant football up my jumper, the constant need for new bras (how big?!) and the bottle of Gaviscon on the bedside table, life could almost be carrying on as normal.
I'm not saying I'm ungrateful of course. Every day I remember how lucky I am to be able to complete my family when I want to. I say a silent prayer of thanks when the baby kicks (less angrily than her brother did, I wonder if this means a more chilled out baby is on her way?) and have a sneaky rub, gently pushing back on the tiny elbows or heels making a bid for freedom through my abdomen, whenever I can. But until now I've been lucky enough not to have to worry about my pregnancy.
Then on Monday, en route to the shower, it happened. I spotted blood. Not lots, but it was there, red and angry and for one moment the bottom fell out of my world. It is impossible to be rational in situations like this, but whilst T played with toys in the (empty) bath, safely out of the way, I called the hospital, my husband and put a friend on standby for childcare. As advised I stuck on a maternity towel and drank two pints of ice-cold cordial to encourage the baby to move.
After an hour or so of monitoring, a dignity-shrinking series of internal exams and swabs and a few tears, the midwives at the local hospital pronounced the baby was fine and sent me on my way with instructions to rest and come back if the bleeding, by now little more than spotting, got any worse. 'Just one of those things'.
When we returned from the hospital, and my husband went back to the office, T needed a nap. I joined him, and tried to sleep off some of the worry. When he woke, I asked what he wanted to do for the afternoon, and received the reply every Mummy in need of some TLC wants to hear:
A wee wee on the potty
CBeebies on Mummy's knee
We spent the afternoon snuggling, and the next day, boy at nursery, my bump and I rested up and lazed about. As the spotting tailed off and eventually stopped I made a promise to myself to celebrate these last weeks as a pregnant woman and take some time out for just me and my girl.