Total Recall – or not.

Total Recall – or not.

I am 38 weeks pregnant.

But it still seems as if I have so very long to go before we get to meet the Hatchling.

Sleep comes in small doses, with all the hip pain and the constant need to pee! And fitting in daytime naps is not as easy with an existing child (even one at school) as it was without one.

There is still a lot to be done around the house. The nursery isn’t finished, the guest room is piled high with taken-down Christmas decorations, and as you may have noticed, the last few months have been so manic that writing has taken a back seat. Christmas and New Year and end of term madness and present buying and finishing things off at 3 different jobs has hoovered up all of my energy and attention. I keep glancing at the blog folder on my laptop and feeling guilty that I can’t find time to do something a little more creative that the school uniform wash or bookkeeping.

But some of my friends threw me a surprise mini baby shower last weekend, and it was wonderful! It made me feel very special and also made everything feel a lot more real and immediate. This baby is coming, and now I need to start remembering how to do the newborn thing…

Memory is an issue for me. I have such a terrible memory now. I don’t think I used to. I do sometimes wonder if this is a long lasting effect of trauma. Or may my brain is just pants!

I have spent this whole pregnancy countering very kind offers of gorgeous second hand baby clothes by saying that it’s ok, as we still have all of Ethan’s baby clothes up in the loft.

Then we pulled all the baby paraphernalia out of the loft bag by bag (well, I say “we”, I mean “Nick, with me supervising!”)…. The gro-bags….the  muslins…the bibs and baby socks…the sheets and blankets… The big bag of 12-18 month clothes….the big bag of 18-24 month clothes…the cloth nappies…the reusable wipes…the buggy and car seat…

Yup – nothing from the 1st year, other than socks…

I was completely baffled.

I have absolutely no memory of doing anything with those clothes – giving them away or selling them or anything. And I had been so certain that they were in the loft. And the only other person who would have been there to help me remember is dead. So of no help at all. So we have spent the last few weeks collecting enough small clothing so that the Hatchling isn’t laying around in just a nappy and baby socks when it gets here. And I am left confused at where the babygrows have all gone, but mainly worried that my memory of Ethan’s first year is so shocking. If I can’t remember getting rid of all the sentimental first clothes he wore, then what else have I forgotten?

That is one of the things no-one tells you about losing a spouse. You lose their half of the shared memory of your life.

Often in the last few days, as it all gets more real, Nick has asked me a question about some aspect of caring for a baby – how long do you need to sterilise bottles for, or how old will they be when they stop breastfeeding, or why do you need this random gadget! And I frequently realise that I cant remember. I have no clear recollection of large chunks of that first year.

I remember spending hours in the evening walking up and down in the bedroom, rocking Ethan and singing American Pie. We chose the longest song we could think of so we wouldn’t get too bored singing it over and over again. For years it was part of the bedtime routine (“Sing Pie Mummy!”). I remember going for many many walks around the estate during the day – trying desperately to get him to sleep, wondering if people saw me traipsing in circles and thought I was bonkers.  I remember washing nappies and the bizarrely therapeutic task of popping the right colour pieces all together again. I remember my wonderful friend Susan coming to stay for 2 weeks once Mark had to go back to work. But what I had totally forgotten until she reminded me the other day, was the phone conversation between us when she asked how I was and I burst into tears, and then she got in the car and spent her Easter Holiday picking things up off of the floor for me and doing the washing.  I remember fitting in workouts during nap time or, at the weekend, doing cardio whilst Mark looked after Ethan and being handed him to feed in between sets! These are all flashes. But there is so much I have forgotten. And I wonder if it will come flooding back with the muscle-memory of doing the newborn thing all again. I hope so. The two (4 really!) of us are relying mainly on me knowing what I’m doing with babies…

Seems quite optimistic right now… I can just about remember which way a nappy goes on. The breast pump is proving a little more complicated than I recall.

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