The Babymoon is now a well-known term to describe a couple’s pre-baby mini-break before life as they know it is laughed out of the house by the Gods of Time to Yourself, Sleep, Independent Bathroom Breaks, Relaxed Mealtimes and Intelligent Conversation. The mum-to-be mini break has seen a boom in recent years. Kate and Wills did it and my hubby and I did it, acting on advice by those in the know, who said we’d regret not grabbing that last relaxing travelling opportunity as a couple.
Last second mum-to-be mini break
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. I mean, the type of last-second mum-to-be mini break you take when, yep, you’re in labour.
I wouldn’t have chosen to do it, especially for my first child, it just kind of happened…and so, should the same thing happen to other mums-to-be, there are a few things you need to do to go about it:
1. Turf yourself out of your home
If, like my husband and I, 8-months into pregnancy, you think to yourself ‘what we need is a really complicated, money-haemorrhaging challenge to complement the arrival of our newborn’, then buy an unliveable shell of a house that needs a total renovation weeks before the birth. As a result you will be rendered reliant on friends, family or room availability of a hotel in proximity to the hospital.
2. Move in with the in-laws in a different county
With the house in a state of utter desolation and a vastly under-estimated move-in date, mum and dads-to-be will need somewhere in mind to stay after 38 weeks, in case you go into labour. Somewhere that makes your journey to the hospital inevitably difficult and long – everything a mum-to-be looks for with the birth of her first baby. We decided it would be a good idea to commute from Somerset to Bristol for midwife appointments, NCT meet-ups and house project management instead of booking into the local hospital, Yeovil. Because where would the story be in that?
3. Do some bonding with new mum-to-be 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 go into labour with your first sprog. When your waters break and you have no fixed abode in your current location, you may need to call upon people you have only just met to house you for a night. Thanks Team Cook, we will be forever grateful!
4. Take your mum-to-be hospital bag everywhere
When you are living out of a suitcase in another county and you’re pregnancy is almost full-term, no journey, no matter how small, is complete without the hospital bag in the back of the car. This bag is invaluable when early labour sets in, as you can scavenge it for supplies in the absence of all your worldly belongings which remain stacked up in various sheds and attics around the country.
5. Find a hotel once the contractions start
However much you bond with your hosts, no new friendship needs to be start with the possibility of ‘moo-ing’, bodily fluids, or whatever else might emanate uncontrollably during the throes of labour. Safer to be just you and your partner…and possibly some unsuspecting hotel guests. Be resourceful and borrow any equipment you may need, for instance, a buddy who works in a gym might be able to offer up a bouncy swiss ball, pregnant friends might be able to share a gigantic maternity pillow…you get the idea.
6. Choosing the perfect hotel for a mum-to-be mini break
The whole labour process is totally surreal anyway, so why not ramp up the craziness factor? It’s a special occasion so make it a treat, you deserve it! The only last-minute room we could find near the hospital turned out to be the lovely The Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin, which looks over Bristol’s most iconic view – Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. Being December, it was glorious, wintry and Christmassy – 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 hotel check-out time?
If you find the baby will shortly be coming and 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 (stinky stilton wrapped in a napkin is lovely after a few hours in a warm hospital room – what was I thinking???). If you’ve explained the situation to your hotel, they will hopefully be understanding and if you aren’t able to return for check out time, pack away all of your things to collect later.