Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Monday, June 16 – Great expectations

I decided this morning that I would spend the day getting ready for the birth. Anna could go into labour today, tomorrow or next month. I don’t want to worry her, as she is bursting with health as well as her baby, but I will feel much better if we make preparations now.
My first baby, Stephen, was due in mid-January, so I bought Christmas presents early and packed my bag a month before. But he didn’t turn up until the end of the first week in February and has continued to be a poor time-keeper ever since. And Jane was due on July 23 and when the day came, she popped out on time and is known for her punctuality.
So Anna and I sat together and talked about what she would need when the time comes. She won’t have a lot of choice as there won’t be gas and air, nor an epidural and certainly not a water birth. She asked if that might be possible, if the weather was warm, but after some discussion we decided that heating a large quantity of water, which might not be utterly pure, was out of the question, even though we still have an old blow-up paddling pool in the garage.
But Anna will have a clean bed and clean towels in a familiar environment. Rainwater is our cleanest source, so that will be boiled on the fire and I have put a plastic sheet and old towels under the bottom sheet, in case her waters break in bed. We packed the freshly laundered dry towels in a hamper in her bedroom, so they won’t be used by mistake. And I have saved a fresh bar of soap too, wanting everything to be clean and new for the new life that will come soon.
Then, when I went to feed the hens this afternoon, I found the broody hen refused to leave her nest. She has gone into the dazed trance of imminent motherhood, so I left her to sit and dream of her chicks while I collected three eggs from the far corner of the henhouse.

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