In the dark of night ...
I was breathing, in a blue shirt, pant-less, into my mother's arms. Look into my eyes and breathe, she said, and I thought that was very strange. I dropped my waters onto the bathroom floor and still my mum was unfazed. Still time to go, she said.
My mum retold this story at his funeral recently and when she began I thought 'Oh my God! Mum's really gonna go there.' And go there she did, describing the birth of Stormboy in the dark of night.
We'd decided to have a hospital birth. It wasn't my choice. I would happily have given birth at home but my partner wanted the white coats in attendance. It was a tussle between us: I felt strong enough to eschew doctors and he didn't, is what it boiled down to. So a decision but not really a choice. When my waters crashed to the bathroom floor, both us realised it was time to go. My labour had quickened within an hour or so.
Mum was with us in the Kombi as we hurtled up the main street towards the hospital. He and I had previously gone over our route. Go Aberdeen Street, I'd said. No speed humps there.
He had some kind of blood rush and chose the main street, driving over the granite speed humps like someone possessed, as I stood in the back of the Kombi, holding the side rails. Badoosh! Badoosh! Badoosh! I believe that Stormboy was rattled out of me during that drive. We got to a roundabout and I said to mum, it's coming mum, it's coming.
She checked the baby, at which stage I yelled at her to not push that child back inside me. It was an odd call. I was in so much pain, I dunno where my head was at really. Anyway, we got to the next roundabout and my child was crowning, about to be born, and mum told him to stop the car.
Stop the car, my mum said.
I can't stop the car, he said. I'm on a roundabout.
He pulled over just after the roundabout and Stormboy was born in a Kombi on the side of the road. It was past 1300 and all of the city lights had just blinked out. Mum literally caught that kid in the dark. It was a pitch black no moon night. Stormboy was quiet, cool and silent as I pressed him to my breast. He felt shocked at this sudden turn of events. Mum and Stormboy's dad scrambled around in the Kombi for a torch. Someone threw me a towel and I wrapped it over my newborn. These minutes seemed to go on for hours.
Then Stormboy's father found the Dolphin torch, turned it on and shone it directly into our son's face. We heard his first breath and then him exhale with a decent scream. It's boy! The first boy born in three decades. Stormboy's dad climbed back into the driver's seat. My mum climbed into the passenger's seat and we continued to the hospital, me, sitting in the back seat of the Kombi, holding a brand new child, heaving, cranking, thrilling with post birth endorphins.