Today is the day that we (on this side of the world/in this country) dedicate a day to celebrating our mothers.
Traditionally my children wake me up with an extremely milky cup of tea (I don't like milky drinks) and an over warmed (in the microwave) pain au chocolat. They whisper excitedly outside my bedroom door… well the Wee Weapons do.. and then they push the door open and carefully hand me a tray with said milky tea slopping over the sides. Sometimes there will be flowers, usually there is chocolate. They look at me expectantly and I hand over chocolates. Then they say "Bye Mummy. Enjoy your lie in". I count my blessings, then shove my head back under the duvet because 7am does NOT constitute a lie in to me.
About four years ago I was there for the arrival of a very special Mothering Sunday gift.
I was working with a lovely couple (pretty much all of my couples are lovely) and I was on call. On Friday the telephone rang to say that A was in labour or certainly at the beginning of labour. And then a strange thing happened… I heard nothing more, not a call, not a text, not a message for 24 hours.
On the Saturday evening I went out to dinner with a group of girlfriends. I called my lady to tell her that I was having dinner 10 minutes from her house and that I could get to her quickly if she needed me to.
We order dinner and the first telephone call comes. The girls at the table get very very excited. They don't understand why I'm so relaxed. A brief chat with Dad helps me to establish that she's labouring beautifully at home, but doesn't want me yet.
Dinner arrives. We eat. The dessert menus are passed round. The second telephone call comes. Cue more excitement from the girls. Another quick conversation with Dad reveals the fact that Mum is fine and doing well, but that Dad is getting increasingly nervous.
As we finish dessert the third telephone call comes. Dad says that Mum doesn't think that she needs me, but he thinks that he does. The girls almost combust with excitement. I leave cash and grab my bag. This Doula is good to go.
I arrived at the house. The lighting is low, Mum is in the bedroom, one leg up on the bed, slowly swaying from side to side. There is an interview about the Gulf War on the radio. I settle down and wait for Mum to say that it is time to go to the hospital. This is one of my "low pain threshold" mums. She has already told me that she will do her best but she may well want and demand an epidural. I am not to dissuade her.
Suddenly she makes three bovine sounds. I ask "What can you feel?". She turns to me and says "a burning between my legs". I ask to look and I can see a ball of membranes bulging between her legs. I quietly ask her husband to call 999. He does so and hands the phone to me, panic slowly filling his face.
A blue light flashes through the window as the Operator asks me repeatedly "What can you see? What can you see? Can you see a leg? A bottom? The cord?". Quietly and gently I reply "No, just a ball of membrane". An urgent knock on the door and ring on the bell and I look at Dad. He grabs the bags, I shake my head. He looks ready to cry but instead runs down the stairs, flings open the door yelling "Upstairs!!!" and rushing back. Four burly paramedics stomp into the beautifully calm room and the head man looks at me and says "What can you see?". I say "A ball of membrane. A head. A body. A baby!" and like that Seren slips into my arms. It is 00.20am. My thoughts are simple. Don't drop the baby! The head paramedic says "Do you want gloves?"
I crawl home at 5am having held a bicycle lamp so that the Midwife, who eventually arrived, could check for and repair any tears. The house is tidy. Mum had been shaking her head saying "I wanted a hospital birth!"
There is whispering outside my door "She doesn't know it's Mothering Sunday. It's a surprise." Lots of giggles, warm milky tea and an over warmed pain au chocolate.
HAPPY MOTHERING SUNDAY!