Yesterday was weird. The early part of it seemed filled with nothing but waiting and uncertainty, and then a whole bunch of stuff came together in quick succession between 4pm and half-past.

(Side note: Grrr – I just switched to the new WordPress editor to give it a go and I hate it but I can’t seem to find a way to undo my choice! Anyway, I’m not going to let it stop me, so going to keep going.)

The big thing was the house decision. As I mentioned yesterday, we met with our neighbours on Saturday about concessions that might enable them to withdraw their appeal and they were to get back to us. We heard nothing all weekend, nothing throughout the day of Monday, but finally around 4pm – really cutting it fine as we’d said they needed to get back to us on Monday – we got a message saying we have a deal. In principle. 

Now it’s up to solicitors to sort out the whole legalese of it and then sign and agreement, they withdraw appeal, and we’re golden. The thing is, of course, we have only until this day next week to submit a response to their appeal, so timing is crucial at this point and it’s still far from done.

While that excitement was on-going, and I was using an old toothbrush and harsh chemicals to scrub the children’s beds before putting on their shiny new mattresses, a new review came in for G.’s book which was glowing in the extreme. A glowing review is one thing – I mean I gave him a glowing review, but this one came from someone who seems to have a fair amount of influence in the book blogging and reading world and it gave an order of magnitude boost to the hype surrounding book. 

I’m seriously excited about the beds though. It’s one of those day-to-day life things that just makes a difference to how I feel about living in the house. So we cleaned and painted our old bedroom and were using it as storage /playroom until it occurred to us that it’s much bigger and warmer and cleaner than the boys’ actual room, so a semi-major move has taken place and their “new” beds and shiny comfortable new mattresses that are way more comfortable than our mattress have now been installed in the clean room. With reindeer bedcovers. 

I hurt my back a little while doing the scrubbing though and later that evening I started to get some really intense abdominal cramping in my mid back and through my belly. 

So, what to do? Panic, obviously. 

Coz if you don’t panic a bit then you’re kind of a bad parent. I didn’t think it was premature labour – I mean, I just felt sick and sore and it was hard to walk – but how would I know? I didn’t have a labour with the boys as it was a scheduled section at 37 weeks. 

You kind of stop trusting your self-judgement around pregnancy. Pains that are tolerable and even usual in the normal run of things suddenly become frightening threats to your baby. 

And the baby has a really good chance of survival even if she came early at this point. But only if I was in the hospital. So, maybe you can see why my mind would be racing at 100 miles an hour and catastrophising all over the place and expecting the worst. Because sometimes it’s potentially protective to expect the worst. 

Let’s look at it mathematically and calculate a probabilistic expected value for it. 

The probability that I was in premature labour was low. Let’s say one in a thousand. P(Prem) = 0.01. Hence P(Not Prem) = 0.99.

Fine. But what about the cost. There are two possibilities – I react (i.e. “panic”, go to hospital, whatever) or I don’t react. Stay at home, hope it gets better. After all, it probably will.

If I don’t react and the baby is coming, then there’s a huge negative cost to me. Like, minus eleventy-billion. If I don’t react and the baby is not coming, there’s a minor positive value to me. Coz I get to stay at home. Say +100. (I have no idea what currency I’m dealing in here, but you get the general idea.)

So, the Expected Value of not reacting is: 0.01(-110,000,000,000) + 0.99(100) = -109,999,999,901

Basically catastrophic. Despite the high probability of nothing being wrong, the potential cost completely overwhelms that. 

But after all, there was a third way. I called the hospital for advice, and the recommended rest and monitoring. Which I was happy to do as I live pretty close and I know they do similar calculations (with possibly less ridiculous numbers) when they give their advice. The pain got better (not completely gone, still there if I’m particularly active), and so the night passed. 

I don’t really know how to not panic the next time though.