Time bends in the final few days of the pregnancy. Today is our due date, a magical point on the horizon that we’ve been inching towards for 40 weeks. Unfortunately, it’s no different to yesterday or the day before that. Tomorrow, of course, could be the day when our lives change forever. But nothing is happening.
After Christmas, I stopped dreaming and started to remember what it all means. A few weeks ago, I felt it could happen at any time, the Second Coming was pretty much baked and ready to reveal herself. Or himself, that possibly amazing twist in the tale. But nothing is happening.
The Duchess is understandably tired, uncomfortable, sometimes pained and fed up. Her legendary impatience suddenly seems more than fair. She’s starting to panic that the Second Coming will keep growing beyond the estimated 10 pounds – her BIG brother’s initial fighting weight, ouch. She fitfully sleeps imagining a Yorkshire Post front page screaming ‘Our biggest baby ever!’ (with a special diagram comparing the Second Coming to a baby elephant or a dumper truck). So she’s drinking raspberry tea by the gallon and coaxing the junior swim champion in her belly to come out and play. But nothing is happening.
Obviously, the Duchess is taking the strain – so forgive this minor complaint – but it’s weird for me, the Guilty Bystander. The Duchess left work on her prescribed day in December armed with generous wishes and presents. I’m still tramping to the office every day, wondering if this will be my last shift for a few weeks. Lovely, caring people holler ‘still here, then?’ or ‘has she had it yet?’ as I hang up my coat, sigh and shake my head. One morning – soon? – I won’t appear and they’ll no doubt smile and wait for the photo. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Because nothing is happening.
The Boy Wonder went nine days over, so it was a tortuous wait. Even when the waters broke, he kept us waiting for another 36 hours. And then that strange, frozen period cracked with one final push and everything accelerated to a completely new future. It’s unique and brilliant and mad and overwhelming and frightening and the best thing ever. But us daddyfools don’t really get the chance to adjust to it behind closed doors. The Duchess will have her ups and downs keeping two very different children happy but she’ll also be able to choose her social engagements and in nine months she’ll reappear at work as Mum™, glowing, confident and in control. Meanwhile, I’ll be back at the lathe before the middle of February, at the latest, looking like I’ve been in a train crash on the way home from an all-night party that had no booze, crap food and a faint smell of sick.
But that’s all a long way off. Because nothing is happening.