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Last night was nieces 21st birthday party, at a club, in that well known hub of youthful exuberance and soulful poetry, Milton Keynes. I was really looking forward to the event as it had all the ingredients for an entertaining evening; family, music, dancing, food, with a little soupscon of adrenaline as I had to give a speech and, my sister’s 2 ex-husbands plus her partner would be there.

First, back to Thursday. I had a relaxing day planned. Little pile of ironing to wade through, whilst catching up on some daytime TV, Fern is not the bubbly personality she was since losing all that weight. Not only are her measurements smaller, her warm personality has diminished as well. Shame, she and Phillip were a great ‘cheer-you up’ team. After the ironing a dabble in baking, used up some past it’s best bread and made 2 bread puddings, love the smell of the mixed spices, and then a trip to the hairdressers to have the barnet cropped for the party last night.

Thursday tea-time my job-share phoned to update me on work happenings and issues relating to our caseload. At her clinic one of our woman, booked for a homebirth, had attended for a stretch and sweep , it was unnecessary as C’s cervix was already 5 cms dilated and the membranes were bulging! Good news, as hopefully this means that labour will start quite shortly. Job-share had told C that she would go on call for her and I told my job-share that if there were problems with 2nd midwives, or things were happening very quickly, then she could call me as I only live 5 minutes away from C.

Thursday evening Son came around, he is still having a flare-up of his ulcerative colitis and they have now started him on azathioprine which is, at the moment, not helping. This flare-up has been going on for months now, he has become really anaemic and that, combined with his recent 2 stones weight loss and the constant discomfort is making him really lethargic and quite depressed. I tried to buoy him up, the new drug takes time to work and we will just have to hope that by the time baby arrives he will be full of energy and able to fully enjoy life again. I am worried about him and so a combination of ‘maternal distress’, the old night sweats and restless legs saw me wandering the house when I should have been sleeping. I was just standing on the tiles in the kitchen, good for cooling off and alleviating restless legs, when the phone rang. As I grabbed it quickly so as not to disturb Hubby I glanced at the clock, 2.45 am. It was job-share, C was labouring but……..the doors to the hospital where the on-call equipment is kept were locked, the porter was not responding to her knocking and both the on-call midwives were out at 2 other homebirths. Having experienced difficulty in gaining access before I had the phone number for the porter so relayed that to her and told her to phone me when she needed me. I got back into bed, was just entering that lovely dream-like state which precedes sleep, when she phoned again, would I join her at the homebirth? I left a note for Hubby just in case he woke up and realised I had abandoned him, phoned labour ward and told them what was going on, grabbed my on-call equipment and nipped off down the road. It was all fairly peaceful. C was smiling between contractions, she was really happy to have 2 midwives there who she knew, her previous hospital birth had been quite traumatic as she felt that the midwives were unfriendly and unsupportive, and all progressed quite smoothly to the birth of a little boy at 6am. By the time we had waited for the placenta, it was a physiological third stage so lasted 40 minutes, tidied up all our equipment, weighed baby and checked him over and then helped C with a bath it was 8.345am before we left. I arrived home, my note was still where I left it so I added the request to wake me at 12 noon and, being shattered, I headed for bed, Hubby was just getting up. ‘Bloody hell. Who was phoning at that time?’ was his greeting. I explained who, what and why and it dawned on him that I had been, gone and returned whilst he was sleeping. ‘You’re on annual leave’ was his comment as I snuggled down and hoped I could sleep. I just love that getting into bed after a night-shift or a call-out. The naughtiness of deliberately getting into bed whilst everyone else is just starting their days activities, the knowing that when you awake it will be the same day and you will still have hours to do things in, like go to a 21st party, it’s almost like gaining extra time in your life.

The party. Well, for all my eulogising about how wonderful losing a night’s sleep can be, I feel that age is catching-up with me and I don’t recover as well so I was possibly less energetic than I had hoped. My niece looked lovely and really, really enjoyed herself. The speeches were lovely, I did a tongue-in cheek imitation of an M & S advert, you know, using the ‘ extra-sweet, hand-dusted, steeped, traditional, 21 year-matured’ keywords, I think it was appreciated (the 3 bacardi’s and no food helped)! I did very little dancing, the music was good but really not suited to a 50 year-old trying out her moves in front of a room full of mainly 20 year olds. My Mother, the ********** , use any expletive descriptive of pure evil here, did her usual and behaved similarly to how she had at Son’s wedding, controlling and attention-seeking. Hubby ended up having to drive her home as she wouldn’t take a taxi. At one point, after being introduced to her grand-daughter’s fiancees relatives she said ‘ Well, of course R’ (her husband) ‘has bi-polar’, attempting to lighten the conversation I interjected with ‘Yes, he’s big and white with a black nose’, she rejoined with how she diagnosed his condition, instructs the doctors on the medication he requires, and then she decides regimes and dosages. Apparently, if it wasn’t for her R would be dead, if it wasn’t for her he would be mentally stable, is my observation. At the party my previous, and present brother-in-laws all behaved impeccably toward each other. One of them I hadn’t seen for about 15 years, it was good to catch-up. When there is a divorce it is an odd situation for other family members. There you are, all a family together, sharing so many parts of your lives and suddenly this quite major member of the family disappears off the radar, this huge chunk of family life disappears. (Huge chunk is not meant to imply that either of my ex-BIL’s are overweight!) We left at 12.30, Hubby was sober and in danger of being deafened by the music, I was tired, tired and tipsy. After several failed attempts, frequent muliple revolutions of roundabouts, we left Milton Keynes, headed into Bedfordshire, had a passing aquaintance with the M1, a close encounter with Whipsnade Zoo and eventually got home at 2.30am. Hubby insists that at no time did he take a wrong turning, he was just enjoying listening to Leonard Cohen

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