The Babymoon. A couple’s last ounce of freedom and relaxation before life as they know it is given a good wringing out and laughed out of the house by the Gods of Time to Yourself, Sleep, Independent Bathroom Breaks, Relaxed Mealtimes and Intelligent Conversation.
The pre-baby break has seen a boom in recent years. Kate and Wills did it, my hubby and I did it, most of my NCT group did it. Acting on advice by those in the know who said we’d regret not grabbing that last opportunity as a two. It seems it has become the norm.
What I haven’t seen pop up as a phenomena of our time is the ‘Labour-cation’. And I’m not talking about political parties and their election strategies, should you google such a phrase. I mean the type of weekend away you go on when, yep, you’re in labour.
I wouldn’t have chosen to do it, especially for my first child, it just kind of happened, as these things do with one of the most common and yet equally unpredictable experiences of life.
There are a few things you need to do to go about it:
1. Turf yourself out of your home
If, like us, you think to yourself, what we need is a really complicated, money-hemoraging challenge to complement the arrival of our newborn, then buy a shell of a house that needs completely a total renovation weeks before the birth. Thus leaving you reliant on friends, family or room availability of a hotel in proximity to the hospital.
2. Move in with the in-laws in a totally different county
With the house in a state of utter desolation and a vastly under-estimated move in date, what you need is somewhere to stay after about 38 weeks that makes your journey to the hospital inevitably difficult and long. Everything a mum-to-be looks for with the birth of her first. For example, like us, you could commute from Somerset to Bristol for midwife appointments, NCT meets and house project management.
3. Do some bonding with new acquaintances
There’s nothing that cements a friendship more than someone you barely know offering you their marital bed for the night in case you should deliver your sprog in the next few hours. Thanks Team Cook.
4. Take your hospital bag everywhere
No journey, no matter how small is complete without the hospital bag in the back of the car. When early labour sets in several days before the birth itself, you can then scavenge it for supplies whilst all your belongings remain stacked up in various sheds and attics around the country.
5. Take what you can get
However much you bond with your new hosts, no friendship needs to be challenged by the onset of any possible ‘moo-ing’, screeching, or whatever other sounds are to occur that may emanate uncontrollably during the throes of labour. Safer to be just you and your partner…and possibly some unsuspecting, unlucky hotel guests. Be resourceful and borrow any equipment you may need, for instance a friend at a gym lents us a bouncy swiss ball and NCT friends loaned a gigantic maternity pillow (seriously it was HUGE).
6. A hotel for a special occasion
The whole labour process is totally surreal anyway, so why not ramp up the craziness factor? My husband and I don’t stay in hotels THAT often – camping and backpackers are more our scene, unless it’s a special occasion – so make it a treat! You deserve it! Our room at The Avon Gorge looked over Bristol’s most iconic of views – Brunel’s suspension bridge. It was glorious, wintry, Christmassy and momentous – the perfect setting for a life-changing couple of days. And if the staff – who were aware of our predicament – were a little nervous that this woman was about to make a horrible mess of their hotel rooms, they hid it well.
7. What about check out time?
After a hideous night of non-stop contractions, if you finally find it’s time to leave IMMEDIATELY with belongings strewn willy nilly around the room, take what you can. As long as you’ve got the hospital bag…and your uneaten room service cheese. Stinky stilton wrapped in a napkin is lovely after a few hours in a warm hospital room. Ew (what was I thinking?). If you’ve explained the situation to your hotel they will hopefully be amazing and if you aren’t able to return for check out time, pack away safely all of your things for you to collect later.