It's the ultimate 'in at the deep end' assignment: nine months of pregnancy then everything that giving birth entails. The List goes behind the doors of the maternity ward.

Wolds: Ellie Carr Photograph: Craig Sanders


.-\l'"l‘iiR .\'l.\'li MONTHS of nausea. tent- shaped fashions and soft drinks. the moment had arriycd. I‘d read eyery hook puhlished and heard the birth stories oi strangers on the bus. hut nothing could prepare me for the steamroller that was about to driye met‘ my hody. leaying stretch marks. stitches and more layers of extra insulation than your ayeragc suhurhan lot't.

The time was midnight: the place. my bed. There were three weeks to go till my first— horn‘s due date. hut someone had forgotten to

14 THE lIST 6- f9


tell .lunior and strange sensations were kicking off in my ahdomen. The pains coming thick and last. I decided to call the hospital. 'l)o you think I‘m in labour." I asked the midwife who. being four miles away and on the end of a phone. was in no real position to judge.

Between Us we decided that the giant hand squeezing my womh eyery the minutes meant yes. prohahly. liither that or my digestiye tract had declared war on my lower intestine and was carrying out tactical air strikes the minutes apart.

My partner. who had since woken from his slumher and adopted the look oi a rahhit threatened with a part in l'iIIu/ .-\Ilrm'liun. commandeered the works ran and made tip the satisage pieces. :\.s we drew up outside the hospital at the unearthly hour ot‘ 3am. the hirth stories ot‘ eyery woman l'd e\ er met I'lashed in iron! of my eyes. \Vould l drop my spt‘og in the lift on the way up to labour suite. or was I in for a 30 hour marathon and a run-in with medieyal instruments ol' torture‘.’

The answer lay behind the hospital‘s swing