It was the heat wave of 2003, and when I awoke the significance of the day registered at once. My due date. The day that had been etched on my mind for almost nine months. It was finally here. Yet I was feeling surprisingly calm.
Convenient then that I was already at the hospital. I’d been there for two days, pacing the corridors, trying to snatch as much sleep as I could. There would be no journey to make, no last minute panic, no hospital dash, which was nice.
It meant I could simply stroll over to the nurses’ station and ask: “Should I have a bath before the birth or after?”
It seemed a sensible question at the time. Odd then that I should find the nurse looking at me with an expression of concern, possibly intrigue. But I needed an answer so I returned her you-look-a-little-confused gaze, and waited.
“No love,” she said finally, “you had your baby two days ago.”
“Oh.” I said patting my very obvious bump.
I glanced across at the maternity ward, full of new mums with cots next to their beds. But next to my bed there was nothing, not even an empty cot.
Then the realisation hit me – the little girl who frequently runs late in the mornings, and who has absolutely no sense of time-keeping, had arrived two days early. She was safe and well but being monitored in Special Care, just as a precaution, which was why she was not with me.
I didn’t have to go through it all again.
Which meant I could have that bath.
This was my due date seven years ago written for Josie’s Writing Workshop. The prompt – Due date, which I have taken literally!