Today is the day, I thought. My due date.

That was all I had the energy to get my head around. 40 weeks today. December 5. For so long I had waited with expectation for that date. And now, just like that, here it was.

I really hadn’t had any idea what to expect for those hours in labour. I don’t think anyone really does until it happens. It’s like swimming. You can talk about it all you like, but until you are in the water you don’t know what it really feels like.

So while I’d gone to all the ante-natal classes, and read all the books, and talked to friends and family, I still felt like I was in a shadow. On top of  all that, if I’d had a Mum, I would have asked her. But even then I wouldn’t have known.

However this bit – well, this bit came as a surprise. If I’d been in shadowlands before, now I was completely in the dark! That morning, I’d gone for my regular check-up. But I’d lost weight. Something was wrong. The doctor was quite concerned. He booked me in to the hospital straight away. In just a couple of hours, the hospital would be my new abode, for a while at least.

It’s going to happen today. Soon I will be a mother.

It was our pre-planned, “due date” outing

As we’d arranged, Stephen and I met in Camberwell to have lunch. It was a bit of a blur, and it seemed almost unreal, because I felt fine. A few strong Braxton-Hicks contractions let me know things were progressing, but nothing more than I’d had for the last few weeks. On our way to the cafe, we crossed the road at the pedestrian crossing half way up Burke Road – where I used to catch the tram in Primary School.

I was thinking . . . It’s going to happen today. It’s my due date and soon I will be a mother.

It felt like I was in a dream. Would our baby be alright?

What we did next . . .

In the moment, we behaved like “responsible parents”, even though we were very new at this parenting idea.

We prayed, asking God for his protection for both me and the baby. There were a few people we rang – Stephen’s Mum and Dad, the pastor at our church, my Dad, to tell them what was happening. And we also spoke to our good friend Denise, who worked as a student midwife at our hospital. She was a constant source of encouragement and advice over my final trimester.

And now, crossing Burke Road, Camberwell – the place I had crossed so often since I was in Grade Two, it was like standing on the edge of something. The contrast between old-normal and new-normal was strong. Balancing on the curb, teetering on a threshold between past and future. Embarking on an unseen, and yet certain, path.

It was my due date, and it was the day I became a mother.

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