Valentine’s Day isn’t an event on our relationship calendar, but oddly the one Feb 14th I clearly remember is the one just before the boy-child was born.
And before you think “oh, how sweet”, I don’t remember it in a haze of flowers, chocolate and candlelit dinners. What I remember is that, 11 days out from the baby’s due date, we had agreed to attend a wedding in Southend, way out in Essex. As this was about 90 miles from home, we had decided to book into the hotel where the wedding was being held, so that I could drag my bloated, easily exhausted carcass off to bed early while the Big T stayed on and enjoyed the nuptuals.
By that stage in my pregnancy, I was convinced that I’d go into labour at any moment and had to “be prepared.” So I loaded the car with my usual overnight bag, plus the stuff I thought I might need for the labour and birth, and made sure I knew the location of the hospital in Southend. I think I even took my medical notes along – just in case.
As it turned out, the boy-child stayed put and it should have been a totally uneventful weekend. Except that a) the Big T really enjoyed the nuptuals and ended up drinking with the band and other stragglers late into the night and b) my body decided to have a bit of a practice run at the birthing thing.
What this constellation of misfortunes meant was that a) the Big T spent much of the following morning in the bathroom throwing up and the afternoon dry-retching into a plastic bag while b) I drove us home experiencing what turned out to be Braxton Hicks contractions, but were sufficient to convince me that the boy-child’s first experience of his father would be the whiff of stale wine and vomit.
But of course, by the time the boy-child finally emerged, his father had fully recovered and was as awake, alert and fresh-of-breath as any man who’s just shared a 26 hour labour with a woman as short-tempered, impatient and foul-mouthed as me.
This post is part of my countdown to my son’s sixteenth birthday. Here’s what has gone before.