I stood in an empty house. My belly was large, round, swollen and tight.
It was so quiet. I could only hear the lulling sounds of the traffic from the main road, the gentle repetitive click from the living room clock and the hum of the old refrigerator, almost knowingly wasting it’s time cooling half a loaf of bread and a few teaspoons of milk at the bottom of a bare carton. I couldn’t care to do the shopping right now, I feel too uncomfortable. I’ll do it later when I can get help, I thought.
Some distance away cars, bikes and trucks filled with passengers and drivers, off on their daily missions continued to roll in closer, growing louder, passing the nearest part of the free-way and drifting away again. Important, purposeful people hurrying along to their desks, meetings, lunches, clients, holidays, families, gatherings and other stimulating events, carrying on as normal, waiting on nothing.
I sighed and stretched out my arms, looking around at my already immaculate home. I’d been kept busy in the morning, first doing the few dishes from breakfast, making and tidying the beds, popping on the pieces of clothing that needed washing then re-mopping the floors, wiping down the crumbs off the benches and cleaning the already cleaned bathrooms. At that point I had become so intensely immersed in the cleansing process that I had soon found myself on all fours, scrubbing away at the corners of each room with an old, dishevelled toothbrush. I had altogether too much time and plenty on my mind. But even the scrubbing, now, was done.
“Any day now,” I told myself, softly. “Any day he will be here. It will all be different then.”
As if he understood my self assuring whispers, he responded. For the first time that day I felt him move again. On the left of my large, stretched belly, a knee, foot or elbow protruded out wilfully. He pressed with all of his strength, before sitting for a moment, and retreating back again. Back into his mothers cocoon, warm safe and invisible to the world. It was as if he wanted just to tell me, he too, hoped to meet soon.
“Any day, now, angel.” I said, this time to my unborn son.
I wandered around the rooms, down the hall and into the bathrooms again, checking for anything more useful I could be doing.
Finally, I found my way into the empty nursery.
I stood, motionless over the ready made cradle. Pastel coloured blankets of green blue and light brown covered the white polka dot sheets. A single mobile hung above, with little, stuffed animals, drifting in small circles over that magical spot where baby would sleep. across from the cradle sat a wooden change table, with a soft cushy spot for wiping bub’s bottom. Lined across the changing workspace was powders, creams, soft scented wipes and baby lotions.
In the small, built in cupboard, tiny adorable suits, jumpers, and hanging drawers filled with booties socks bibs and beanies lay dormant. Waiting as impatiently as I was for a purpose.
The clicking of the clock grew louder in my head, as if it was mocking me. Two days ago he should have been here. Yet here we were, me and all these little pieces, waiting. Click, Click, Click. Some moments I felt he would never come, and we would be here waiting, forever.
I sat down, slowly and awkwardly, on the edge of the rocking chair in the far corner of the room and settled back with a heaving breath as he dropped into my back. Swinging back and forth, slowly, I felt him turn and resettle inside me. He wasn’t making any moves to get out just yet, he must be too comfortable.
As I sat there, rocking back and forth on the suddenly very comfortable chair, I felt my eyes begin to close. I drifted off and away as the room fell out from under my feet and my surroundings blackened into the world of unconsciousness.
I awoke in a hospital bed, with all of my family around me, smiling. Small ******s of glistening light pierced in through white, frilly curtains hung around clear glass windows, with specks of dust dancing in sequence between them. My mother and father, sister and brother crowded around me with overjoyed faces. My husband, Francis, appeared between them holding a small package wrapped in soft, light blue blankets.
Handing him to me, Francis kissed me on the cheek lightly, and I smiled up at him, knowing our bundle had arrived. I looked down to take in the first sweet moment of our long awaited meeting.
But it didn’t happen, instead of big blue eyes, a button nose and soft, porcelain skin, I saw instead my smartphone, wrapped in muslin cloth, beeping and ringing, vibrating and alarming, with FRANCIS written in big red letters across the screen. What the h-???
Jumping, startled. I realised I had fallen asleep in the rocking chair. My neck had been at an impossibly uncomfortable angle and now shot pain down one side every time I attempted to straighten up.
“Ooowwwww!” I cried, angrily. “Bl***y H**!”
My phone was indeed ringing in my front pocket, and it was, in fact, Francis.
“Hello? Yes?” I said, attempting not to sound as if I’d just been drifting around the abyss of dreamland.
“Hey Honey! Just on my lunch break and thought I’d check in, everything OK? Any news??”
Being our first child, Francis was proven to be quite the edgy father. Being as excited, if not more so about our little prince pending his entrance into the world, he had been finding it impossible to focus on his work. Instead, he had found himself calling me at every opportunity. checking in that I hadn’t suddenly been thrown into a four minute labour, unable to reach him due to the severe pain, speed and efficiency of my sudden baby ejection.
“I’m fine, babe.” I reassured him, “Still no news.”
We shared a short, silent moment of shared disappointment and he told me a little about his day, before saying short, loving goodbyes and hanging up to continue our tedious activities. At least I had Francis, I thought. Couldn’t have found a better hubby. I’d hit the Jackpot with this stunning yet caring man. Go me!
I felt a little bit less grumpy after speaking with my sweetie, and my neck slowly began to feel better. I became a little more relaxed about the whole “waiting for the pain to come” scenario that had been going through my head so much lately. Waddling into the kitchen, I made myself a turkey sandwhich then set my big round bum down on the couch to watch TV for the rest of the afternoon. Giggling at stupid jokes and crying over terribly written soapies.
Finally it was “Francis come home” time and I felt a little wave of excitement as he walked through the gate and opened our front door. We shared a long, exaggerated hug, then planned a romantic meal together, with candles and non-alcoholic wine that he’d thoughtfully picked up on his way home.
Later, we snuggled in to bed to bid another day passed, and shared a few closing thoughts together.
“Do you think it will happen soon?” I asked him as we drifted off together amongst the thick, soft blankets.
He rested his hand on my planet sized belly and felt a little roll and kick from his tiny little man.
“Yes, any time now.” He whispered in return, “So you better get some sleep”. Francis stroked my hair and said goodnight, then rolled to his side and went to sleep.
As I melted away again into the world of dreaming, I thought silently to myself,
Maybe I’ll go two weeks over and need an induction. I guess that’s okay, at least it will be planned. I let go for the night, finally, of my waiting woes. Then falling off into nothingness, I relaxed once again.
Hours passed, then suddenly, something happened.
I jumped out of bed with what felt like a burst. A sudden giant release of pressure. Looking down, surprised, I saw what looked like litres of water gush down my legs.
I stood there for a micro-moment, mouth wide open in shock, gawking at the pool of liquid underneath me. Finally, an adrenaline rush of a scale I’d never felt before pumped through my body and I ran to the toilet to investigate further, unable to fully believe what had just happened..
Francis had awoken by the sudden movement of me bursting out of bed and down the hall.
“What’s up, babe? Are you OK?” He said, concern in his voice.
All I could do in response was begin laughing maniacally. I couldn’t believe it. Such a simple thing had immediately changed everything. It was all happening. Now. I could feel the worry rising from Francis, even through the closed door of the small, simple bathroom, as he stood up from the bed, trying to put together what had just happened. He looked down at the pool of liquid next to the bed, that then trailed off to where I’d ran, and it all clicked into place.
“Um, honey?” He said, excitedly, catching up with the event that was now, finally and suddenly, unfolding.
“My waters just broke!” I said, dramatically. “He’s coming!”
Francis yelled out with excitement “Ohhh OHHH! OHHH!”
The contractions came fast, they were immediately intense. We knew there wasn’t much time. Excitedly shoving everything left to pack into large duffel bags, Francis rang our mother and the hospital to let them know the good news.
Our wait was nearly over, and our journey had nearly began. Off we went, smiling on the inside and quivering in excitement, to arrive at the place where we’d meet our baby boy.
But that’s another story.
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