There was a storm today, little one. Just briefly - a hard flurry of rain, a cast of light, strong wind, just on dusk. For a moment there though it was cool enough to wear slippers and a robe, so it was very exciting.
In a few hours you'll be thirty-nine weeks and very ready to come out. All day I have been rearranging, cleaning, nesting, preparing. Of course, what I do in one room is promptly balanced by what your sister does in another room. While I enjoyed stacking your little onesies in the drawers beside my bed, storing blankets in a nearby chest, preparing the room for your Nana and Grandpa, your sister found a roll of toilet paper under the bathroom sink and trailed it all through the house. And I don't want to get started on what she did with the dog shampoo...
Anticipation is strong. Soon little one, soon you will be here. Soon we will meet you.
Your eldest sister was telling your younger sister about how once you come she will lose all the attention. This weighs heavily on your oldest sister. It is not so long ago that she was my whole world while her big brother was at school. It is clear she remembers it vividly - the golden age. You, my darling, must be ready to share. As a fourth child, I am afraid you may need to grab all the attention you can get with both hands - your sisters definitely both enjoy the limelight and are good at acquiring it. However, I can promise you that after initial hiccups they will love you, and you will be a team - my bold and creative pirate-princess-super-spies.
As your sisters had their bath tonight I sat beside them with my swollen feet in the hot lavender-tea-tree infused water and read them Billy and Belle and Touched by the Moon. Billy and Belle is about a family who have a new baby and I love how real and down to earth it is - that the little toddler has to go to school with her big brother when her mum heads into hospital, walked to and from by the neighbour, and in the eyes of the kids the bring-your-pet-day is almost as big a deal as the new sibling.
I think pre-labor has arrived - strong, vice-like Braxton-Hicks are gripping me every 10-15 minutes, bringing stabbing pains, and in between you're punching away with your own stabbing pains.
I don't know if things will continue like this for hours, days or even weeks, or die down entirely, but it does seem like soon, soon you will say your welcome to the world, and I won't feel you rolling around within, your little kicks and head-butts. I won't be able to watch my tummy form odd mountains, first on one side and then undulating to the other. Instead I'll get to cradle you in my arms and look upon your face, but this time, this magic time will be over for ever. You really, truly will be our last little one.
In the dark room, listening to your daddy snoring, your sister sleeping beside me, your brother (who snuck in after lights out) beside her, the fan whirring on my other side, my mind whirrs on all the things yet to do, all the things to remember.
Your daddy is sick with man-flu, and accidentally stayed up most of last night (I found him in his study at 4am practicing one handed knots for surgery and reminded him of your imminent arrival and that staying up all night playing computer games, writing assignments or practicing for surgery is Not On until you're safely on the outside. He needs to be ready and fresh as nobody knows what birth will bring or how long it will go for. He stayed up all night playing WOW the night before your brother was born and then it was nearly forty hours until he could sleep. I could do without a repeat - the terror when he was kicked out of the hospital and had to drive after nearly sixty hours without sleep...
When he woke up this morning with the man-flu I gave him the death stare and reminded him he is Not Allowed To Be Sick. For one, he doesn't have any sick leave left, for another, he needs to be alert for your journey into the world. No excuses.
So he's coughed and wheezed and gone to bed early and hopefully he will wake up refreshed tomorrow. Maybe. Even his eyes are swollen.
We sat together chopping herbs and spices for our manflu-is-not-allowed soup - lemongrass, basil, ginger, garlic, kaffir lime, mostly fresh picked from our garden, with the door open to let the rain-laden air rush inside, and I tried not to pay attention to the increasingly common Braxton-Hicks.
We are sort of, almost, ready for you. But there are still so many things undone, and really, if you could wait for Saturday when your Nana and Grandpa arrive it would be much, much handier...
Sweetheart, you've suddenly decided it's time to tango, an elbow to the left, a sudden bulging (maybe your back?) to the right. Something else down below. I wish I could work out which part of you is which, but the truth is I'm totally clueless. Head? Feet? Back? Knee? A couple of jabs here, a pulsing there. Something is moving out this way.
I rub gently where I can feel you close to the surface, wondering how you interpret it. Wondering if you have any conception of what the circular touch is. I know you like music - you'll start moving to certain songs - but beyond that? It's so hard to tell how you see the world - the shades of half-light, the pulsings of blood, the heart-beat, swishings of stomach, your world entire. Our squabbles and laughter must come to you as distant echoes. It will be such a shock for you when you come out and suddenly noise and light are so immediate and intense.
As the rain descended, the light went and my Braxton's continued, I grabbed the camera and ordered Beloved to grab some photos as this could be one of the last chances before you're on the outside to capture what you look like on the inside.
Too wet to go outside, even on the verandah the rain bounced up - and we checked the photos to discover that I had my robe on inside out anyway. Oops. Second try was our bedroom, and the last light slanting through the window over the bassinet you'll sleep in for your first few months.
Within the week you'll be here, little one. Our last, our third girl, our marine adventurous one. Soon. Very soon.