‘For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.’
Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene I
Have you heard that it sucks being pregnant in the heat? It’s true, you know.
Yesterday, it was thirty degrees. THIRTY. In England. What happened to the wimpy drizzle that is ours by ancient right at the end of June? Normally I’d be thrilled about ye olde English climate bucking the trend for once. But yesterday, with a little person clinging to my insides like a koala bear, things went very much not to plan, and I have only a hot day and mad blood to blame for it.
It started well when I managed to wangle a last-minute appointment with the midwife, after weeks of haunting Tracy’s phone line like an antenatal stalker. I left work and sped home in some agitation: last-minute midwife appointments mean unexpected urine samples, and we all know how well that does NOT go. As a precaution, I’d banned myself from using the loo since about 11am, and was in a state of high bladdery tension by the time I got in.
From having no midwife and no appointments, I suddenly had two midwives – one a trainee – and appointments everywhere I looked. I sat and sweltered and tried to write them all down while my blood pressure was taken and my belly measured and TJ’s heartbeat located. (S/he’s head-down and facing outwards at the moment, apparently, which explains how thoroughly bruised I am: little knees and elbows are pointier than heads and bottoms.) Then I had yet more blood taken, and ended up roiling back up the hill through the heat haze like a drunkard. I popped into the chemist on the way back to try and buy some emergency chocolate, and then popped out again in disgust when all they had were Strepsils.
No relief at home, sadly: our flat was like the interior of a cream-coloured wood-burning stove, and there was no ice cream to be found anywhere. I did a terrible job of working, and when I had to run out to Tesco in the evening for mid-week supplies, felt no guilt whatsoever about parking here:
Well, they don’t specify that your child has to be post-natal, do they?! An oversight, if you ask me.
Then came the Cake Disaster. I wanted to do a good deed and take some cake to a lovely family we know. It wasn’t much fun standing over an oven belching heated air into our already scalding flat, but things didn’t go properly wrong until I got to the chocolate icing. Which unexpectedly came out beigy-orange, so wasn’t likely to go with dark brown Minstrels except in some kind of Seventies nostalgia setting. And then the icing wouldn’t set. I’d inhaled half a box of icing sugar and actually fused myself to my undergarments by the time I accepted that it really wasn’t going to stay on the cake.
So I sat down and cried. By which I mean I sobbed for forty-five minutes with the kind of hysterical abandon that would indicate I’d just lost my hamster to a tragic food processor accident, the Seventies cake dripping at me from the table in dire accusation. I had to be put in a cold bath with Sherlock Holmes on the radio and a bowl of chocolate ice cream waiting by the bed before I recovered.
I woke up this morning to rain on the window, a cool breeze and a perfectly servicable cake. Welcome back, rubbish British weather. My husband and I would like to request that you don’t leave us again.