Wednesday 7 June
Daniel's flat. Hurrah! After eight interminable days being overdue,
baby is on the way! Blessed relief. Had started to feel like human
head on body of potbellied pig. Daniel is on his way home. For once in
life am completely ready and organised and all we have to do is go to
hospital and calmly give birth to human child with only two arms.
In midst of nightmare. Journey began with me trying to squeeze woman's
- head-on-pig's - body into evil-smelling back seat of minicab, while
Daniel, ashen-faced and shaking, tried to force more and more stuff
into boot and Magda yelled hysterically into my ear via mobile:
"Bridget, stop panicking - you have to be calm or it'll harm the
I yelled, doubling over, "Fuck!"
Magda shrieked. "It's only two minutes since the last
contraction, you're going to give birth in the car! It's a total
disaster. I told you you should have had me as your birthing partner
to calm you down. Why did you leave it so late?"
stopped off on the way home to buy a stopwatch in Liberty's," I
hissed into the phone.
time the contractions. And then he got into a flap and gave the
minicab the wrong address."
going in a minicab?"
forgot there's nowhere to park at the hospital."
go on holiday? Somewhere nice?" beamed the minicab driver,
wrestling the eighth bag on to the front seat as Daniel chucked an
England flag, a large unexplained cardboard tube and a copy of The Sun
- featuring Heather Mills McCartney in a pornographic pose with a
weird German - into the back on top of me, then jumped in, yelling at
the driver, "Go! Go! Go! It's an emergency!".
this?" I said, looking at the cardboard tube as the minicab took
off with a screech of tyres.
yourself hydrated," yelled Magda. "Suck on an ice-pop."
I panicked, "did you bring those ice-pops out of the
he said huffily, rolling his eyes and handing me a polythene bag.
aren't ice-pops. They're
looked only momentarily sheepish. "What's the problem? You can
suck on a sausage. Wouldn't hold Lady Mills McCartney back, would
- where are we going?" I yelled, suddenly realising we'd been
heading in completely the wrong direction for some time.
is the way to the Portland hospital, right?"
We're not having the baby at the Portland!"
my God, you're right. Stop! Christ. I'm so sorry, Jones. Christ."
never seen Daniel in such a state before. By the time we'd got through
the rush-hour traffic to Paddington, the contractions were coming
every minute and the minicab driver kept looking over his shoulder,
crying and saying prayers in Arabic. Daniel was gibbering
hysterically, asking if babies were supposed to come out head first or
feet first, and I was lying with my head on Daniel's knee, yelling in
pain, and sucking on a frozen sausage.
we got to the hospital, a full medical team was waiting outside for
us. Ended up being loaded on to trolley with all bags on top of me.
straight from the station, have we?" said the midwife when we
burst, sweating, into the labour room. Trouble was, what with minicab
not turning up etc, we had too much time to decide we needed more
things, as if packing for rain-sodden mini-break in Lake District.
This is what have ended up bringing:
overnight bags containing clothes, toiletries, tennis balls etc
pack playing cards (so Daniel can teach me poker during labour)
containing 5 hardback books, 8 magazines, 2 dozen DVDs
laptop (for e-mailing during labour)
iPod (unopened, plan being to learn how to use and load with CDs
bag CDs to load on to iPod during labour
can foie gras and crackers (Daniel's idea)
bottle 1982 claret
box Milk Tray
cans Red Stripe
chart of World Cup matches (in cardboard tube)
England World Cup flag
bag frozen sausages
was just asking if I wanted drugs or a natural childbirth - at which
bellowed, "Drugs! Drugs! Give me the drugs!"- when there was
a commotion outside, followed by bloodcurdling cries and woman
shouting, "You're hurting me, you're killing my baby!".
to worry about," purred the midwife, smilingly, then shot out of
the room. Split second before door closed revealed several figures in
scrubs hurtling along corridor.
charmingly reassuring," murmured Daniel. Then suddenly, tears
welled up in his eyes. "Oh, Jones," he said, grasping my
hand all clumsily. "I can't believe this is happening. We're
having a baby. Don't die in childbirth or anything, will you?"
the midwife eventually returned, unreassuring explanation for furore
was that mentally disturbed patient had broken in from another bit of
hospital. "Now!" she said, brightly, "This drug, some
patients call the Margarita. On a scale of 1-10, what would you say
your pain was?"
and a half?" I said, hopefully.
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. At last am going to have calm and poised birth experience have dreamed of.