Today, I'm going to explain how to bring on labour. If there was anything that actually worked, this conversation would never happen, because everybody would just do it and shut up about it. Instead, there is just a list of activities that convey varying degrees of desperation: this desperation then announces itself, via your placenta, to the foetus, which will make a mature evaluation of your mental state balanced against its own comfort, and come out when the balance reaches 0.7.
Eating pineapple is the least desperate thing you can do, and I know this because you sometimes see people eating it who aren't even pregnant. So I get a pineapple, and C (whose fault this all is) picks it up and goes, "What's wrong with tinned pineapple?" and I go, "Erm ... it's in a tin?" And he goes "Yes! That's so much more convenient! This doesn't even stand up on its own!"
"I don't know how valuable a starting point that is for convenience - the baby won't be able to stand up on its own," I say. (If only we were having a foal ... )
"Yes, but there are units devised for storing the baby that take that into account," he says.
I say, "Well, we have a fruit bowl!"
C says, "Oh, is that a fruit bowl?"
"What did you think it was?"
"I've never seen any fruit in it."
I have now finished the pineapple, without effect.
Many people swear by sex, but it has to be with a man, because it is only they who can produce the active hormone. It won't exactly come as news to anyone that they often have to be badgered into this with promises of other things, such as ice cream or money. C's friend said in his NCT class, "This prostaglandin - can it be administered orally?"
Curry, by the way, only works as an alternative to sex. If you have a curry and then sex, neither of them work. Likewise, curry and pineapple, since cooking the pineapple destroys the enzyme. If you had the pineapple as a raw garnish, that would work, but since you need to eat quite a lot of pineapple, it would have to be a huge curry. Pineapple and sex work fine together, and by happy coincidence, there is a pineapple tip in the food section of Cosmo Best Sex Tips of All Time, though a) I'll tell you one thing that this book doesn't say in any of its tips, and that's "First, get pregnant and wait nine months. This will make you all the more attractive," and b) this particular pineapple does, I'm afraid, have to be tinned. I'm afraid I can't give you any more details, because I am shy.
Strenuous physical exertion often features in advice, but there's always something fishy about it. I've heard that you've got to clean the windows, dig up a rose bush, wash the floor, move furniture, blacken the fire grate, go down to the stream and wash sheets against flat stones ... nobody does these things. Anyway, effort doesn't work, and I know this because of what happened yesterday. The dog had to have an anaesthetic, and woke up in such a state of despair that I picked him up from the vet earlier than was orthodox because the piteous howling was getting on everyone's nerves. When we got home, he was mobile but only upwardly, and if he tried to get down the stairs, he would fall over. Unfortunately, he combined this new disability with incredible neediness, so every time I went upstairs, he'd follow me, and I'd have to carry him down again.
After this had happened twice, I decided that I would just stop going upstairs for the rest of the day, but from the minute I arrived at that decision, I needed a wee every 20 seconds. "I'm actually going to fall over and kill us all," I thought, as I lugged this four-and-a-half-stone dog down the stairs, and people will say, "Never mind, she wouldn't even let the dog walk downstairs on his own - imagine what she would have been like with a baby!"
You are probably thinking, "None of this sounds desperate at all. This just sounds like some unusual food combinations and a bit of coerced sex. This is no more desperate than a holiday in Morocco." I have saved the most desperate for last, numbnut: you roll down your cervix like a turtle neck and you'll go into labour within the half hour. Some midwives swear by it, and others think that the ones who suggest it should be struck off. Well, don't look at me! I don't know what any of this means!