An unforgettable day

Russ offered to drive me to the hospital for our 6 month obstetrics appointment. We’d just moved to the beautiful Mornington Peninsula which we knew well after riding it’s many spectacular hilly roads with spectacular coastal views. We’d moved from the Melbourne CBD once we found out I was pregnant wishing for more space for our little one to roam around. Our property certainly had that and was set on just under an acre with mature native trees along the boundaries, a tropical garden with swimming pool and 5 bedroom house! Life was peaceful and blissful as we planned our future and eagerly awaited the birth of our son.

The hospital was less than 15 minutes drive away, and our obstetrician Andy was highly recommended by a close friend. I’d met him once before and connected immediately. He was warm, funny and had a no nonsense approach to life which I really liked. I continued to work through the pregnancy and made a few phone calls as Russ drove.

He hesitated exiting our driveway looking a little uncertain which direction to turn which seemed odd. Looking to me for confirmation I directed him left then spoke to a client most of the way there. The route was straightforward and one we had cycled countless times before. We knew every metre of road it’s dead patches and where we could put the pedal down and race between the lights.

He missed the turn off into Main Street and before I realised we had driven another kilometre while still on the phone I indicated we needed to make a U-turn. Ending my call I asked where he was going as he replied to the hospital. I was momentarily frustrated wondering what had just occurred then overcome with the feeling that something was seriously wrong. It just clicked this was more than just headaches he’d been experiencing, he was losing his sense of direction and ability to navigate.

In an instant I felt quite sick, was it the baby or an instinctive response to the situation? I attempted to lighten the situation laughing it off focussed on our appointment and getting through the next hour. We’d been to the hospital before. This was supposed to be a trial run for the day when he would drive me there in labour.

He knew I knew something was wrong as I excused myself for a quick bathroom stop before heading to the consulting rooms. In the bathroom I quickly closed the cubicle door and was overcome by sadness. My head pressed against the door as I began to sob loudly. I’d typically say I was in control of my emotions but something had been released and suddenly I began crying uncontrollably. It was a deep painful sound that I was trying to stifle but couldn’t. I heard a woman’s voice on the other side of the door. She asked if she could help. She asked what the problem was. I opened the door and seeing her worried expression I blurted out, “it’s my partner, he’s having these extreme headaches, blacking out, and now he didn’t know how to drive to the hospital. Something is very wrong.” She told me she was a midwife and asked who my obstetrician was. Reassuring me she said Andy would would understand and I should tell him.

Regaining some composure and mindful of the time I quickly thanked her and reassured her I would be ok, perhaps more for me than her.

Drying my eyes I met Russ in the hallway and walked up the stairs to our appointment. It had to be business as usual. This was the first of many days I swallowed hard and realised I had to focus and just breathe. The breath was what I could control and this came to be the most important realisation for coming months.

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