So, I packed up my mug, accepted my colleagues good luck messages, activated my out-of-office and off I went.
And I waited....
... and waited....
My theory (based on no medical facts whatsoever) was that as soon as I'd finished work I'd probably have a couple of weeks getting the last few things sorted out for the twins' arrival and then they'd be here. Not so much.
As both my babies were head-down (cephalic), and as I'd had no problems during my pregnancy, my consultant was keen to wait it out for as long as possible so that I would go into labour naturally and avoid an induction/ possible c-section (those of you who have read my birth story post will know that I avoided neither of these in the end!). The earliest she wanted to discuss induction was 38 weeks, so I just had to wait.
Looking back on this time now, I really wish I'd have been better prepared for the waiting bit of maternity leave. I suppose I thought I'd be busy getting ready for the babies, sorting stuff out, buying things, and generally "nesting". Well, maybe I'm missing this particular gene, because once I'd folded and re-folded each tiny babygro 40 times there didn't seem to be an awful lot of romance in it. Of course there were tons of things that needed doing: painting the lounge, cleaning the windows, scrubbing the grout in the bathroom, putting things in the loft - all tasks I was completely unable to undertake due to the sheer size of me + full-term twins.
After some outings in the first few weeks of maternity leave I didn't even feel comfortable going out on my own. I could still drive (just about, and only an automatic), and I certainly didn't feel like I was going to launch into labour at any minute, but I was very aware of falling over, or worse getting stuck somewhere. On one memorable solo trip to the supermarket I arrived back at my car to find a van packed very close to the driver's side. Not only could I not fit through the gap, but I couldn't even get in the passenger's side and climb over because I couldn't bloody climb over! Instead I had to stand next to my car, embarrassed and fuming, waiting for the van driver's return.
The stares I got when I was nearing the end of my pregnancy were the main reason I stopped going out on my own. I was clearly enormous, and any fool could see that I was having more than one baby, but the general public are a great deal thicker than the average fool, so people would actually recoil in horror as I approached, presumably on the assumption that I'd swallowed an elephant and was just about to eat them too.
So I was huge, uncomfortable, bored to tears, frustrated, exhausted (although I soon learnt the true meaning of exhaustion when my babies were born). Here's how I should have spent my time:
- Watching films/boxsets that I've always wanted to see (whilst lounging on the sofa eating chocolates)
- Reading books that I've always wanted to read (the trashy and the "important")
- Cooking for the freezer
- Mastering a handicraft (I've since learnt to crochet which would have been a brilliant way of whiling away the hours)
- Having long phone/Skype conversations with family and friends
- Inviting people to visit
- Booking in helpers for after the babies' arrival
- Looking at useful/interesting things on the internet, rather than reading about twin birth horror stories and getting scared
- Putting all my photos in albums
- Packing a useful hospital bag (FYI: 3 pairs of knickers is not enough)
- Practicing with the pushchair and carseats (when we were finally discharged from hospital, we couldn't get the carseats out of the car)