The extra pain meds helped enough to ease the symptoms a little. Mathew pepped up enough to stay awake until 6 pm at which time he fell asleep in his chair. His cold sweats are awful this evening; we’ve already changed his sheets once and will change them again when he gets up for a bathroom break.

Mathew had some homemade pizza (thanks John!) and had some visitors. When I saw he was comfortable and talking to Kristen I called my in-laws to come over, quick! They did and were able to visit their grandson for a while. Later his Aunt Christine and Uncle Harry stopped in but it was during that visit that Mathew fell asleep.

Mathew did mumble about how glad he was to be able to see some people and to sit in his chair and play his Nintendo Switch. Kristen was with him all afternoon and that is what he liked best of all.

Now, I want to take you back to 24 years ago on this night. The night before Mathew was born. John was posted to Nanaimo, British Columbia following our 3-1/2 year posting to Lahr, Germany. We arrived mid-February and I was due on April 1st in 1993. That was quite an April Fool’s joke, I tell you!!

So we had just moved into our first purchased home after spending 2 weeks or so waiting to take possession. Our furniture in storage (in Canada) had arrived but nothing from Germany except a couple of the “urgent” boxes you were allowed to send fast. Fortunately we had a couch set and bed in storage!!

I had been very sick with a cold and this night was the first one where I was feeling better. Previously I had slept…or not… on the couch so John could sleep. My hacking and nose-blowing couldn’t be treated with anything because I was pregnant.

All that day I was feeling better and had been outside doing a little tidying of our yard. I had a very achy lower back but thought nothing of it as I’d had mobility issues and other problems during the pregnancy and chalked this up to something similar. I had no idea it can be a sign of early labour…..

Since the baby wasn’t due for another few weeks we hadn’t bought much or prepared the baby’s room ~ we had only been in the house for a few days, remember. My splurge up until then was a stroller. The hotel we stayed in until the house was ready, was next to a mall. I could walk over and wander through during the day, while John was at work. Not knowing much about babies or baby things I stopped every mother with a stroller to ask their opinion of strollers. All of them steered me towards the Pergo (Perego??) Stroller with the 4 wheels that could lock or all unlock, making for easy movements no matter where we were. It was the best advice!! My in-laws had purchased and sent a crib to us but it was sitting in pieces on the floor, in the baby’s room.

It was nighttime and for the first time in a week, I crawled into bed and felt such relief at the good night’s rest I was about to have. John was in the bathroom brushing his teeth.

I rolled over to settle into slumber…..and I felt a pop.

Like an internal plug had just been pulled.

I instantly knew it had something to do with being pregnant. Whatever was about to happen I didn’t want to happen on the bed or on our newly professionally cleaned carpets. The only thing for it was to run to the bathroom. The door was shut, maybe even locked. I didn’t wait to casually opened it…just kicked it open and ran inside.

John froze in horror; he later told me he thought someone had broken in.

He wished!

As I stood there, we could both hear the flood of water running down my legs and onto the floor. My water had burst and it was Niagra Falls, people…not some slight trickle. John’s face turned white and he yelled at me to get into the car NOW. I wasn’t having any of that ~ I wasn’t going anywhere until I knew what was happening. If something was going to happen I figured the bathtub would be an easy-to-clean setup. I know, I know. You have to remember we lived in military quarters up until this point and everything had to be spotless, so we were clean freaks. It hadn’t yet rubbed off (you should see my house 24 years into having kids…)

Nothing really happened beyond the water breaking so after 10 minutes or so we called the hospital to see what we should do. The Labour and Delivery Floor told us to come in. Great. We hadn’t even packed the hospital bag. So poor John, stressed to the max, ran back and forth throwing anything he could think of, into a baby bag I received at a baby shower in Germany.

Next we got into the car ~ it was about 9:30 pm by now and dark. We drove. We asked each other if we knew where the hospital was. This is before cellphones, internet, etc, and remember…. we had JUST moved into the house and didn’t expect a baby for a few more weeks. It was pretty funny, driving along looking for the signs to take us to the hospital; I felt like one of those comedy shows where you watch unbelievable things happen.

We eventually found the hospital and I made John get me a wheelchair. I was so upset about my wet pants because the I leaked a lot of amniotic fluid whenever I moved. There were people waiting in the hospital waiting area and I was embarrassed (ha ha ha; now I would waltz in and take the whole show over!!). Whatever the ER desk did, they sent me up to Labour and Delivery.

We get up there and the first thing the nurse does is point me to a room and told me to go in so they could check that my water actually broke. I looked at her incredulously and then stood up. She took one look at my pants and laughed out loud. Never mind, she said. I was given a room. They wanted me to stay because my water had indeed broken and now there was a risk of infection.

I was having mild contractions but nothing regular or exciting. By midnight they were few and far between but the monitor showed the baby and I were doing just fine so the hospital sent John home for the night with a promise to call if anything changed.

Lucky me. I got to stay. The contractions would come and go sporadically, so I didn’t sleep very much that night. I wasn’t scared at all once I knew the baby was fine.

The floor had a grand total of one bathroom for every lady in labour; can you believe that? There was a tub in the same room so if someone wanted to relax during labour by having a bath or shower, well the door shut and locked. The other problem I ran into happened when I went into the lonely stall. The door closed on the right and I had an iv in my left hand. The iv pole didn’t fit inside the stall. So there I am, quite awkward, with my left hand held up across my chest because the stupid iv line was taut beyond the stall door. As if that wasn’t ridiculous enough…. the toilet paper roll was on the left wall.

I sat there for a few minutes not believing the whole stupid situation. There was the occasional uncomfortable contraction, my left arm is stuck over to the right side of the stall where the iv line was  pulling at my hand because  there wasn’t enough iv line to relax my hand at all. And there, on the right, is the toilet paper out of reach. I just know some bitchy nurse had that carefully calculated just so and had a bad shift so just decided to be an asshole when setting up the whole iv. I probably missed the sly, sideways glance as she put the iv in my left hand and measure the iv line JUST SO, so it wouldn’t reach when I went to the one crappy bathroom with the stupid stall and door on the ride side.

I never did press the “call” for help button. I didn’t need to. While trying to figure out a way to get toilet paper I wrestled enough with everything that I pulled the iv line and the bells and whistles went off, which brought the nurses running.

When I returned the following year when Kristen was born a brank, new bathroom was built across the hall that had 4 or 5 big, spacious stalls where the woman and all her attached equipment could fit. The place had moved into the new century…but not the night before Mathew was born in 1993!!

Next post will be about his big day!

His birthday!!

He is very happy he lived to see his 24th birthday. He wondered if he would.