When you’re pregnant for the first time, every midwife appointment is a milestone.
A milestone to anticipate. To look forward to. To be prepared for.
When you’re on your third child, it’s a completely different story. Every appointment is more like a millstone around your neck.
It starts when you don’t even remember you have a midwife appointment, until the morning you are due to go. By which time it is too late to arrange childcare so you do the next best thing. Which is, of course, the next worst thing. You take your kids with you.
You know that this is a disaster waiting to happen but you reason with yourself that you’ll only be quick and they’ll sit quietly and nicely if you ask them. Unfortunately, your baby brain means you have forgotten that other people’s children do this. Not yours.
As you march through the doctors to get to the maternity clinic, because you are late after looking for a rabbit blanket, which just had to accompany you, the straggling two year old and bolchy four year old do nothing to dispel people’s impression of you. That you clearly have not heard of that wonderful 21st century invention called contraception. At this point in time, you yourself are wondering why you didn’t just use a condom.
Still, the highlight is yet to come. No, not the joyous look on the midwife’s face when she sees you’ve brought your rabble with you (never mind that she’d be out of a job if people like you didn’t keep on reproducing). But the highlight of doing a urine sample in front of a young and very inquisitive audience.
You tried to leave them in the room with the midwife, of course you did. You’re not an idiot. But they couldn’t bear to be parted from their darling mother for one minute. No. So in you all go. Into the smallest toilet cubicle ever recorded. To pee in a pot.
Weeing into a teeny pot is easy at the best of times. So it’s a complete doddle doing it with a two year old hanging off your leg and a four year old who wants to know what on earth you are doing. And is probably at that very minute getting all sorts of ideas about what things she will wee into when she gets home. Because according to Mummy, this is apparently acceptable behaviour. Lead by example and all that.
By the time the midwife checks your blood pressure, your two year old has weighed herself twice, rearranged the chairs into a train and experimented with the button thing that makes the bed whizz up and down. Your four year old, meanwhile, has collected an interesting selection of leaflets on home birth, external cephalic version (turning a breech baby to you and me) and got hold of a couple of urine litmus test strips.
‘Your blood pressure’s good,’ says the midwife. ‘Low. I’m surprised it’s not higher.’
What, with these dream children?
When you get home you make a neon A3 sign and write on it the date of your next midwife appointment. IN BIG LETTERS. And hang it on the back of the front door.
So you NEVER forget a midwife appointment. Ever again.