As January arrived the whole ‘I’m having a baby’ thing seemed even more real. I was having a baby THIS YEAR. In a little over 4 months (or less, who can tell) we would have another actual real life human living in our house. Although having said that, we didn’t actually have a house at this point. As with any house move there was umpteen problems with solicitors, outstanding paperwork, the land registry, you name it – there was an issue with it. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say ‘I moved house, it was a breeze’. How in this day and age is moving house still the most time consuming and stressful activity known to man? We’d done everything we could, our buyer was ready to go, the people in our new home were moving to a new build that was finished so how this process took 6 months to complete, I’ll never know. We had no choice but to become a nuisance to our solicitors and estate agent but ultimately leave it to the powers that be and just hope we’d be in before the baby arrived.
In the February when I was 29 weeks gone we decided pretty last minute to go on one last holiday before the baby and the house move. We wanted sun but with my expanding waistline and inability to go more than 11 minutes between urinating we didn’t want to travel far. So we decided on Marrakech. I had my fit to fly letter from the midwife, which annoyingly I wasn’t asked for, packed up the cases and off we went. I was so looking forward to a few days of not getting on the tube, not wearing a massive scarf because my coat no longer did up, not talking to our estate agent but most importantly, snoozing in the sunshine. We touched down and the smell of sun just hit me. I was so happy. The hotel was lovely and there was palm trees everywhere. Before lunchtime I was already in my swimsuit eyeing up the mocktail and pizza menu and for the first time since finding out I was pregnant I felt so relaxed. I wasn’t reading pram reviews, I wasn’t checking future roadworks on the A228 that would scupper our hospital rush (I only did that like 347 times) and although I couldn’t drink, man did that barman make a good mocktail. That evening Michael had said he’d done some research on restaurants in the local area and sourced that evening’s eatery. I was stunned. He was not the planner or organiser in this relationship but I was tired from the early flight and growing human so I didn’t think too much of it. Then just as I was spritzing the perfume and having a last minute mirror check, I turned round and he was on the floor on one knee holding out the most beautiful engagement ring I’d ever seen. I was so shocked, I didn’t say anything, I just laughed. He then asked the inevitable, I said yes, he stopped shaking, it fit and all was good with the world. Most people won’t believe that I was shocked and that it was the most unexpected thing ever but it really was. We’d been together 6 years. We had friends that had met after us and were already married with children by this point but I honestly didn’t have a clue. I had an inkling that he may have proposed on other holidays or birthdays but not this one. We were about to become parents! I didn’t have time to plan a wedding too! We then headed to the restaurant (he knows I’d have died of embarrassment being proposed to in public which is why he did it just the two of us) and we had the most incredible meal. The table was full of lots of Moroccan delicacies, there were belly dancers and snake charmers and after the meal we rung our parents. They were so thrilled for us. A grandchild and a new Son/Daughter-in-law and it was only February, what a year this was turning out to be!
That trip was epic and not just because of the proposal. It really was a holiday to remember. There was no crazy late nights, no hangovers, no early mornings pick-ups for tours just us two, chilling round a pool, eating everything in sight, exploring the beautiful city of Marrakech whilst doing so dragging around my huge belly and my huge diamond!
Upon our return to the UK we were inundated with cards, gifts, surprises and well wishes on our engagement. It was so lovely. I’d just made the classic ‘we’re having a baby’ announcement on Facebook and now I had to make one for the impending nuptials! My Instagram had never seen so many likes! Our first card to arrive was from one of my besties in Australia, Jenny. She’d left us all high and dry to embark in life down under 3 months before and we all missed her terribly. So for her to get the first card in was pretty impressive. FYI, Jen couldn’t cope with life without me so came back to the UK for good in July. Was it her family? Her other friends? Her newborn Niece…? Nah. She came back for me. Anyway, on that Monday after Marrakech I’ve walked into the office to find my desk covered in heart shaped chocolates, a card from all my colleagues, confetti, joke guide books on how to be a good wife/husband and a huge ‘YOU’RE ENGAGED’ balloon attached to my chair. They knew exactly how to embarrass me. The next few weeks that followed were filled with all my lovely friends and family bringing wedding bits, magazines, framed photos of us and for a small moment I forgot I was even pregnant! We viewed a few venues when we got back to try and give us an idea of the kind of wedding we would want but I’m writing this 15 months later and we still have no idea.
At about 34 weeks and after the chaos of babymoons, engagements and wedding planning it was time for the day every preggo bird longs for… it was… My Baby Shower! And what an incredible day it was. I had no idea where I was going. I was just told to be ready for 1:30 and Michael would drive me there. My friends really had gone the extra mile on this one. There was a huge balloon wall, confetti balloons, personalised biscuits, the most amazing cake, nappy cakes, incredible food but most importantly it was a room filled with all my favourite girls (and my 6 month old nephew, Oscar). After the shower we sat in the bar downstairs with all our friends and headed home early evening. I remember getting in and it taking a good 5 trips to the car to bring all of our gifts in. I felt incredibly lucky. We ordered a dominoes, sat on the floor and opened presents for near on 2 hours! It was like Christmas day all over again. I made Michael make a note of who bought what for thank you cards but truth be told I remember every gift and who bought what to this day.
I’ve always known that I have the best friends and family a girl could ask for but over those past 6 months they really all showed me how special I was to them and I’ll always be grateful to them for that. My engagement surprises were all so thoughtful and my baby shower was amazing. These girls have seen me rolling up my school skirt to the nth degree, seen me neck so many Bacardi breezers I vommed through my nose, picked me up when I was down and made me laugh more times than I could care to mention. So to be there with them celebrating my engagement and having them put on the most lovely baby shower for me was more than I could ever have hoped for.
Nuggets of Knowledge:
· If you get the chance and have the money, you must go on a babymoon. As I’ve explained it was perfect. We always look back on those pictures fondly as I cart my massive gut round Marrakech sipping on a smoothie. It really allowed us to just step away from the hustle and bustle of real life for a few days to reconnect and be just us two for the last time. The diamond was just a massive bonus.
· Unless you have a photographic memory like moi, I would recommend the notebook when opening gifts. Otherwise you could be thanking your Auntie June for a babygrow when she actually turned up with a hooded towel.
· If you’re 13 and reading this, don’t roll your school skirt up. You look a dick.