In ancient mythology, my name, ‘Diana,’ means goddess of the hunt and the moon, and while I don’t know where we were in the sky’s calendar when Baby J decided to make his move, we definitely weren’t far off the full wheel of cheese. Talk during the Darklings’ stay had turned to the lunar, both actual and fictional, and I’ll forever associate our stroll along the beachfront on their final night, the moon heavy over the inky Pacific, with the start of things to come. Indeed, they say that maternity and psych wards are especially chaotic places during full moons, and the hospital was certainly jumping when we arrived.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. That’s not where it all started. It started at home, in bed. You know how I predicted Baby J’s witching hour would be 4 am? Well, he did nothing to dispel this idea in the wee hours of November 24, when I awoke with a jolt. Had I wet myself in my sleep…? That would be unusual, I thought. Could it be my waters breaking? Surely not, I thought. So I lay there, quietly wondering, waiting to see what would happen next. I must say, this long moment was hugely lacking in drama – there was no pipe bursting, no popping sound, no dam wall giving way, just – there it was again, that small, silent rush. I went to the bathroom. I returned to bed. It happened again, and that’s when I knew I wasn’t merely incontinent. And that’s when I leaned over and quietly said, ‘Llewie, I think my waters just broke.’
Llew lurched upright like Frankenstein breaking free of the lab. He seemed to be gasping for air, and in seconds he was blindly throwing some of my things into his grandfather’s old port with one hand while calling the hospital with the other. They were unhurried. Call back in an hour, they said. Go back to bed and see if it continues. Make sure.
Uh huh. Okay. We waited an hour, and we were sure. And when we called back, so were they. Come in, they said. Have a shower, eat something, and come in. All this time I felt eerily calm. I showered and the last doubt evaporated – I had no control over this rush of liquid, it had its own inexorable agenda. After my shower, Llew got me some muesli and yoghurt for a 5 am breakfast, and possibly a cup of tea. I ate slowly, little realising it would be the last meal I would eat entirely at my leisure for a good deal of time to come. As I dipped my spoon and continued scooping neat little mouthfuls of cereal from the bowl, I really had no sense whatsoever of what would happen next, and zero anxiety about it. I just knew that it had begun.
In the car, a fit of giggles struck. Llew and I wept with hysteria – really uncontrollable cackling – imagining nurses calling out to each other to come get a look at this girl who wet herself. We imagined arriving only to be told I just couldn’t tell the difference between peeing my pants and having my waters break – at the time, this scenario was the very height of hilarity. I practically gave myself a stitch over it. Llew and I howled with laughter acting out this ritual humiliation, adding layers of ridicule until we were both streaming tears. We must have looked an absolute treat to passing cars. And so it was that we made our way to the hospital, in what was already a surprising amount of traffic. An hour later, and that trip would have taken an hour longer. As it was we arrived at the hospital just after 6 am, weak from laughter. Instantly I felt like apologising for making a fuss. And I really thought they’d turn us around and send us straight back home again. Instead, we were shown into a birthing suite, and I was instructed to deliver up evidence of the fluid that was steadily leaking out of me. I obliged, and all doubt about its nature promptly vanished. This confirmation was shocking in its clarity: suddenly, four weeks ahead of schedule, we were GO for Baby J.