The build up to labour

It’s a sunny 29 degrees here in Adelaide today. Ryan is outside playing in the sprinkler, something that we used to do as kids and is a novelty for our children. I don’t recall ever having to water the lawn in New Zealand. Here already the grasses are looking dry and we haven’t even hit summer yet.

Due to the warmer temperature and the imminent due date of this baby, I am rather puffy. My ankles disappear on hot days and my toes are like little sausages. In addition to this minor complaint, I have felt a steady and powerful build up of anticipation and  hormones. It feels a bit like the build up to a monsoon. Each day gets more intense, but you’re never sure if you’re right on the brink or if you still have days or weeks to go. Not my favourite experience. Anyway, I have compiled a list of things that every day become more evident as the birth approaches. Here’s hoping labour is just around the corner.



As evening approaches, I feel increasingly tired. I get ready for bed as usual, wind down with a book, tuck in to sleep and then it begins. Overwhelming and persistent restlessness.

It starts with wriggling to try to get comfortable with the gargantuan baby bump in the way. There are only two sleeping positions remaining. Left side or right side. Right side is generally out because I have the increasing need for feeling space in front of me and the claustrophobia of facing the middle of the bed forces me back onto my left side.

Then I get hot feet, so I stick them out the side. Then my legs get cold. Then I get restless leg syndrome and simply can’t keep still. Then inevitably, the baby starts wriggling uncomfortably. Or I get heart burn. Or thirsty. Or need to pee. And so it goes on. I get up and try all manner of things. Have a drink, go to the toilet, change clothes, have a shower, read a book, listen to music. It doesn’t seem to matter what I do, nothing settles me. It seems as though my body is simply determined and it WILL NOT SLEEP until the clock ticks around to approximately 1am.

Last night it was 1:45am…I climbed back into bed after a middle of the night shower and finally drifted off to sleep. This of course is all perfect preparation for the nights when I’ll be up with a baby who also simply WILL NOT SLEEP.

The Belly. How I see it.

Mood swings

One minute I’m feeling happy, energetic, motivated and positive about the birth. Then a family member happens to leave crumbs on the counter, or drips water on the clean floor, or leaves toys scattered about under my feet then beware of Hulk Mum. Screeching scoldings follow, and rants about having ‘Just cleaned this house!’ and “FIVE minutes! Can’t it just stay tidy for FIVE minutes?!” The tone of voice is piercingly unpleasant and whiney, the facial expression is dark and scary. 

Hell hath no fury.

But wait…only a few moments after the Hulk attack, scary Mum dissolves into a puddle of tears and slumps down on a chair and weeps out apologies for the rage. I feel like a terrible mother and wonder what I am doing with all these children and how on earth I am going to cope with another. I sniffle away for a while. The children are getting used to it and offer hugs or just quietly walk past and tell their Dad matter-of-factly “When I walked past Mum she was crying”. Which leads me to the next two.



I think I have cried every day for the last 7-10 days. Under normal circumstances, I’m not a frequent crier. But wow. Various things can set me off at the moment.

At our trip to the beach last weekend, I cried because I wanted to swim, but it was a bit cold for me, so I cried in the hot sun for about 25 minutes at my own pathetic-ness.

The other day I cried because Ben was catching flies with his bare hands, and put one it a jar. It died and spawned all it’s disgusting little larvae out into the jar and the kids showed me. I cried because it was repulsive to me “Get it out! Get it out of the house, it’s disgusting!” I said as I burst into tears at the sheer yuckiness.

I cry when I realise how moody and difficult I am and how kind my husband and family are to put up with me so patiently.

I cry when I feel overwhelmed at all the things that are on over the next 2 months. Birthday (four of them), end of year events, Christmas, and of course a birth.

And when it all gets too much, I cry because I’m so tired of crying all the time. Yes. I know.



Today I woke up feeling tired from lack of sleep, and could quite happily have spent the day in bed. However, around mid-morning, an overwhelming desire to have a clean and tidy house came over me and I found myself cleaning, sorting and tidying obsessively. Again, under normal circumstance, while I like clean and tidy, I’m not a clean freak. Today however, I want to rid my house of every grain of dirt, every dust bunny under the beds, and every grubby mark on the walls. I’ve wiped and swept and tidied random items away. I couldn’t wait a moment longer, and set up the birth pool, laid out towels and sheets and blankets and prepared baby clothes. The family are all well aware that the house has to stay tidy at all times because (and I quote Hulk Mum verbatim) :

“The labour will only start when everything is ready, so the house has to stay tidy all the time or the baby will NEVER come!”

And Hulk Mum believes that implicitly.


Tricky imposter contractions and twinges

By this I mean any of the following sneaky little things that make you feel like labour might actually be starting.

  • Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Sharp jabs and pains in the cervix (sorry)
  • Lower back ache

These come and make themselves known, and just when you start to have a flicker of hope that Operation Deliver Baby is “Go for Launch” they all stop immediately and snicker away delighted that they have fooled you yet again. It’s worse now that it’s my 5th pregnancy and those sneaky little buggers STILL get me. Every. Single. Time.

Preoccupation with labour

Bet you can’t guess what I’m thinking about?

99% of the time I am thinking about the birth. The baby. The labour. The signs of labour.

Is everything ready? Will everything go smoothly? What time will it all happen? Will the children be good and happy throughout? Will the baby be in a good position? Will I bleed to death? Will I cope with the pain? Will the baby be normal? Will the midwife respect my wishes? Will I freak out or have a Hulk Mum attack during the labour? Will I ever go into labour? Will I be pregnant forever? Will the baby be ok? Will I deliver naturally? Is that a contraction I am feeling? Is it going to be today?

Etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Hence this post.


So who knows? It could be today, tomorrow or next week. These bizarre behaviours will continue to increase (God help us) and the intensity will build and build and I will cry and tantrum. But then suddenly it will be all happening and then it will be over and I’ll come back here all serene and euphoric and maternal, and tell you all about it.


7 thoughts on “The build up to labour

  1. Wish I could be there to help…feel as thought I’m getting to know you better now you’re in OZ. You are an amazing person with an awesome, I was going to say, little, but it’s getting pretty big, family! May you find some peace and strength for your labour!

  2. You’re bringing back lots of memories! Good luck with everything and look forward to hearing the good news. Pretty amazing you find time to blog with all the kids and being so very pregnant, very inspirational! XX

  3. Well said, I love how you made this mad time of pregnancy have a humerous touch in all the seriousness of it all. I could relate to you and remember well this final stage. No one can really understand how there is nothing else happening in the entire world appart from you about to have a baby.

  4. Thinking of you and feeling all you are going through – I remember those last few uncomfortable sleepless nights – looking forward to hearing about the new addition.

  5. I loved this post…. thanks so much for sharing so transparently my lovely. I miss you and your uniqueness and your poppets… sending big virtual hugs and thinking of you heaps

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