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“My name is Diana Jenkins, and this is from my blog – DoctorDi – it’s about the birth of my son.
Outside, it was a hot, sunny day. The sky was that cloudless, blazing blue that is so distinctly Sydney’s, and the heat swarmed over my skin like something alive. We strolled up to Crows Nest and decided – perhaps this betrays a measure of our delirium – that now might be a good time to purchase something for Baby J to wear home from the hospital. We hadn’t gotten that far beforehand, you see. Llew hadn’t even finished the bassinet, let alone the painting… so a coming home outfit? Not a chance. A muslin wrap? Nary a one in sight. A nappy? Um, no. Baby wipes? I don’t think so. We were caught spectacularly unprepared – even the car seat wasn’t yet fitted. So I squelched along beside Llew while he fielded calls from his increasingly alarmed parents, still feeling nothing but the fluid draining out of me at irregular intervals, keeping my eyes peeled for a baby store.
At the checkout the shopgirl said, “So when are you due?”
I waved my hospital tags at her and said, “Any minute now. We went over the wall.”
Her eyes bugged and her jaw hit the floor. Her colleague stared uneasily at us and then looked meaningfully at the door.
“Yep,” I continued, glancing around appreciatively, “theoretically, I could give birth right here.”
She laughed nervously while I patted my stomach.
“Oh,” she said. “Please don’t do that.”
“My waters broke this morning,” I continued, feeling quite cheerful all of a sudden, “so it’s coming early, ready or not.”
Back at the hospital, I pulled out what began life as my IVF diary and tried writing down the day’s story so far, but then I recalled something Llew had said as we sat out that hour at home. He had crawled back into bed with me and said quietly “I’m going to miss it being just us.” We held each other tightly as my first tears of the day came, and I whispered back, “Me too.”
It makes me cry every time I think of it. Then as now, the sheer enormity of what we were doing, what we had done in choosing to bring this new life into the world, and its effect on our lives, came on me like a cancelled train suddenly tearing down the line wiping out all comers. Reality bore down on me at warp speed, and in those long seconds alone in the share suite, everything that had been abstract became painfully, instantly actual. After this day, we would no longer be as we were, as we have always been. That time was ending.”
ABOUT DIANA JENKINS:
Diana Jenkins is a freelance writer, predominantly in the arts and travel. Currently Varuna’s Alumni News Editor, Diana produces a monthly feature on some aspect of the craft while blogging at DoctorDi and Tweeting as @DianaMJenkins.
Her articles have appeared in The Australian, The Weekend Australian, The Australian Magazine, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sunday Telegraph, WHO, OUTthere, Is/Not and others. She works on her own writing whenever motherhood allows. Her first book-length work of fiction was shortlisted in the 2009 Varuna HarperCollins Manuscript Development Awards. Her second was shortlisted in the inaugural Varuna Publisher Fellowships.
“I completed a week-long Professional Development Residency at Varuna in September 2008, then spent another week there in 2010 (the week Kevin Rudd was rolled, in fact), and I’ve attended a day-long event at the hotel. Obviously my role as Alumni News Editor keeps me actively involved with Varuna; I love the place and it means a lot to me to be able to contribute to its profile in some way.” Diana Jenkins
My bio lists a number of the publications that have run my freelance articles; I’m still chipping away on the fiction front.
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