I rolled over this morning and nearly jumped out of my skin – Tracey was sitting up in bed facing me.
“I think you better have a shower,” she said.
Fifteen minutes later I’d also managed a shave.
“Call your mum,” said Tracey, “but don’t tell her I’m in labour. I don’t want to jinx it again. Just invite her up for a coffee.”
An hour later we were ready to head up to the hospital: not to have a baby, mind, just because it looks so nice in the early morning light and Tracey thought I should see it.
As Tracey made her way through the house Master6 stumbled out of his room. He quickly appraised the situation and sorted his priorities.
“Can I play the DS?”
“Not now, Josh,” I told him. “It’s still bedtime and you’ve got school today. Mummy and I are just going up to the hospital to have your-“
“Uh-huh!!” snapped Tracey from halfway across the kitchen, where she’d frozen mid-step in another wave of pain.
“-to see the doctor.”
He turned around to walk back to bed, but suddenly froze mid-step. It took me all of five seconds to work out what was going on.
“Josh,” I said. “Stop mocking your mum and go back to bed.”
At the hospital, which was quite lovely nestled beneath the morning rain clouds, we stop-started our way towards the emergency entrance.
“Here, hold my arm,” I suggested as we traversed the slope of the hospital drive.
“Why?” asked Tracey. “You worried you’ll slip?” Gee, I wonder where Master6 gets it.
Up to the fourth floor: the mid-wife directed us into the waiting room. “It’s time, is it?”
“Yes,” said Tracey. And then it all stopped. “Oh, shit!”
Fortunately it started up again an hour later, only this time with instant vigor.
And at 8.35am this morning, little ‘soon to be named’ arrived at a healthy 7lbs3. Miss0 is 51cm long with an apparently deceptively large head and is the most beautiful little cherub in the whole world. Both are doing well and as we speak the Devereaux and Lawrence clans are converging on the hospital to welcome our latest wonder.
Is there a feeling in the world to compare with a day like this? I’m forty-four and this is the seventh time I’ve been privileged enough to experience it, and I think not. I must say though that as a father, witnessing your wife endure the pain and being unable to do anything much about it, you do feel quite useless and unnecessary. All you can do is mutter encouragements, rub her back and make sure there’s always cold water handy for sipping. Which I’m told is heaps, but every time I think when this is done she’s going to hate me.
Then today, same as every time, when I was leaving to tie up some loose ends, Tracey grabbed my hand.
“Hurry back,” she said.
You girls really do forget everything just as soon as the baby comes out, don’t you?! Our marriage is, I think, a testament to that innate ability.
Thank you to everyone who has been so forthcoming with their encouragements and blessings on this journey. But mostly, thank you to my sweet, darling wife for all she endures so willingly so we can have this big, wonderful family x
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