This post is beginning to get as long and drawn out as his birth was! I did warn you there was a huge story here at least, so I will continue hopefully toward and end……but Lord! So much HAPPENED!! This post could literally go on and on…..

The weeks spent in hospital are long, each day seemingly endless. The only break in the tedious routine that was my life, was the “room mate”. I was unlucky at first. I was put in a room close to the nurses station, as I was considered high risk. My first room mate was a Princess having her first baby, along with a fairly lethal dose of diabetes. She was absolutely maddeningly perfectly fake. She’d been in and out of hospital (with diabetes), since she was a small child, and you could tell she was used to getting her own way, both at home and in the hospital. Then there”s lil ole country bumpkin me… armed with a “lethal” sense of humour and justice. It could only end in tears!!

She had this husband, whom she called, “Richard” like this, “Ritch-urrrrd”. She used to look down her nose at me and say things like, “Ritch-urrrd will be in later this evening. I do hope he doesn’t bring me any more flowers….There’s hardly any room left in hee-ure for them.”

I used to look up her nose and say, “cripes I’d be happy to get even one!” Looking around at the few cards and beautiful drawings my kids, and friend’s kids had drawn for me. I was grateful for every one of them!

Her husband would arrive and I would say, “Gidday Dick, and how was work today?” Because I am a bitch, and I hated my roomie, and it used to upset her when “Dick” and I spoke friendly to each other. She hated that he allowed me to call him Dick, she would say “Ritch-urrrd” over and over! Thankfully she asked for me to be removed after about a week. And they did! They gave me a new room, with a normal person in it!!

I often wonder how she went with her baby, (I’m not really a bitch), but I never saw her again, I think they let her go home shortly after. I can only imagine how she handled things like baby turds, and vomit, “Ritch-urrrrd? The baby is leaking dis-guuurssting things onto me!!!”

My next roomie was great, we got along ok. She wasn’t the type of person that I would seek out for company, but she was so much better than “Princess”, that I was so grateful. Things got tragic however and about 2 weeks after we were roomed in together she sadly lost both of her identical twin girls within hours of each other. They suffered from “Twin to twin transfusion”, where only one twin gets sufficient nutrition from the placenta and the other struggles to grow. They had actually started to do really well just before they died, so it was a tragic shock when they passed away. I was so sad for her, I knew exactly how she felt, she was only 11 weeks from term and had already done her nursery, named both her girls and her whole family was eagerly awaiting their birth. It was absolutely traumatic, and perhaps brought home the fact that I wasn’t out of danger yet myself. I remember talking to one of the nurses that night about struggling to be able to talk to Nat about her losses. It’s still so hard to put into words, and anything you say just sounds empty and toneless to the grieving mother. I remember feeling so guilty for still being pregnant, when she had lost so much! I never saw Nat again either. She was moved to another ward, (away from the other pregnant ladies), and then went home a few days later. There was a kind of hushed atmosphere in the ward that week. The nurses were sad, we patients were sad. The doctors were sad. Losing two little girls was almost too much for all of us.

I spent a few days in the two bed ward on my own, so when they introduced me to Kylie I was more than ready for someone to talk to again. She and I hit it off like rockets. We laughed and talked all night long that first night. We were so alike, and she was so funny!We ended up being roomies for the rest of her stay in the hospital. Right up until she had her baby. She was great. We had fun. We forgot why we were in hospital, and often used to find our visitors interrupted our fun!

Kylie had a spinal fusion, two of her discs had been basically fused together because she had broken her back as a young child. She’d been doing a “back bend” and had a jumper tied around her waist. One of her friends pulled on the jumper, next thing, Kylie’s back is broken. Such a tragic accident for a child, leading to a great deal of pain for Kylie for the rest of her life. Children can be so stupid! She was in hospital for pain management during the later stages of her pregnancy as the baby was causing a lot of pain.

We were a bit mischievous Kylie and I. There were some very newsworthy occasions that happened while we were “in”. One of them was the death of our beloved Princess Di. Again the entire ward, (up to 25 pregnant ladies, and 8 nursing staff), were sad and subdued.

On the day of her televised funeral, the nurses came by every 2 bed ward, (which were situated in a U shape around the nurses station in the middle), and told us we were not to go into labor or “anything” whilst the funeral was on that day! HA! Kylie and I got out of our beds sneaking around all the other wards plotting our secret plan. We were going to show those Nurses a thing or two!

As the funeral started one by one all the buzzers began to buzz in the ward. 25 ladies all complained at once that they thought they were “having the baby!” Just as we had arranged!!  Kylie and I were in hysterics, our plan had worked beautifully! Funny how the nurses knew instantly who was behind the scheme, they marched straight into our room and scolded us.

One of the things I used to do to fill in time was try and name my baby boy. I had long ago fallen in love with the name, “Dale”. I had been in hospital with a woman named Dale earlier who was kind and thoughtful, and I liked the unisex name a lot. He who used to be hated it though and urged me to come up with another. I was stumped, but there was no way I was letting him name the kid Malcolm, so I tried and tried. I quite liked Riley, but again, He hated the name. I was fast running out of ideas and time…

I even toyed with the idea of naming him “Diver” after Stuart Diver who incredibly survived  the Jindabyne mudslide disaster on the 30th July 1997. Stuart was found alive 3 days after the mudslide, buried deep in rubble. I felt that my boy had the same kind of special survival spirit.

Stuart Diver was helicoptered in to Canberra Hospital early in August. Some of us ladies from Antenatal ward wanted to go and visit him, but we decided not to as we felt we’d be imposing, all turning up in our wheelchairs like that, a bunch of preggers ladies? Imagine?

We all got to know each other so well, all the longer term patients like me, and the nurses. It was quite a lovely time for some female bonding actually. We all had the same worries, and we were all stuck in the ward holding on as best we could. I went in and out of labor a few times, causing a bit of alarm, and spent a few nights up on the next floor in delivery, but always with a dose of Ventolin, which is a muscle relaxant and used to stop uterine contractions, (or at least was 15 years ago), my labor would stop and we would return to antenatal ward triumphant!

My bleeding would come and go, (only a small amount of loss), but any blood loss in pregnancy is serious, so I was never allowed much freedom. I did escape for a day or two here and there. I would be told I could go home and see how things panned out, but always within 24 hours, my bleeding would start again, and back I’d go to Kylie and the ward! Those little holidays at Magoo’s with my boys were precious to me. Being able to sit down for dinner with them and tuck them into bed at night was so lovely. Unfortunately they only happened a couple of times.


I was in hospital a total of 10 weeks before 6 was born. It all began with an innocent walk….