Friday night was the first night that I've soaked in the bath since I was in labour with my daughter, Alice.
That sounds bad...sorry, don't get me wrong, I have washed since then! What I meant to say, was that labour with Alice was fabulously quick - I wasn't even convinced that I was in labour until the midwife told me - and I spent that first hour(ish) of labour sitting in my clary sage scented bathtub deciding if this was 'it' or if I really should have worn a looser skirt that day. Whilst sat there, chatting to the Bump (a la the Dr. Gowri Motha "Gentle Birth Method); encouraging her politely to get a shift on in the least painful way (well that's how I translated the book), the Husband popped in to ask what I was doing for dinner (cue primeval birthing growl) and should he therefore order a pizza (non-repeatable answer).
That was November, Alice is 3 1/2 months now. She is (all planning in place, but I'm nervous of tempting the unpredictable) the last of my babies. I have two other daughters, Poppy will be 5 this week and Lila is 2 1/2.
So, back to Friday - a particularly knackering day - and the Husband excelled himself by running me a bath and leaving candles burning, ready for when I had finished getting Alice to bed. And I lay there, and remembered the last time - looking at my large stomach protruding through the still water, dancing occasionally inbetween contractions - I thought about how I had then been so desperate to meet this little person who had been growing inside me for the past 9 months, but was also so apprehensive about what was coming next. I'd given birth twice - once in hospital, once accidentally at home, and now I was attempting a planned homebirth. How my two little girls were already asleep in the next room. How everything was about to change again.
And then I looked at how my stomach lay now - not flat yet, not full as it had been, inbetween. My three children grew there. Wow. A past version of me would have been horrified at the lack of tone in my muscles. I'm not going to lie, that's how I felt - maybe, to some extent, can still feel some days. But there's a lovely quote, and huge apologies to it's writer as I don't know who they are, and it goes...
"The Beauty Love Left Behind.
A mark for every breath you took, every blink, every sleepy yawn. One for every time you sucked your thumb, waved hello, closed your eyes and slept in the most perfect darkness. One for every time you had the hiccups. One for every dream you dreamed within me. It isn't very pretty anymore. Some may even think it ugly. That's OK. It was your home. It's where I first grew to love you, where I lay my hand as I dreamed about who you were and who you would be... "
Bathtubs are fabulous places. Mine has been a place for washing, labouring, playing, splashing, laughing, loving (ahem), calming, thinking...and it gave birth to this blog.