All Aboard

All Aboard!! If Bec’s pregnancy had been a train trip, it would’ve been one undertaken on a Japanese bullet train.
Fast. Efficient. Time table schedule kept to the minute.

In short, predictable and, capping it off, all with plenty of tasty food and an open bar thrown in for good measure. The pregnancy was that good.

Not a nanosecond of morning sickness and, as we’d learn come delivery day, virtually all her weight gain that of the baby.

Seven months in and Bec was SUPing Currumbin Creek in a bikini top and board shorts without garnering a second glance. The girl would work right up till two weeks before her delivery date and even then, a side view of her decked out in her work apron attire, suggested little more than maybe a pizza binge the evening before.

Even the actual birth process was void of much of the Hollywood drama and theatrics I’d prepared myself for.

After a morning inducement we settled in to our room with a view of the Tweed River for a couple hours of trying to watch Daniel Day Lewis’ brilliant portrayal of Abe Lincoln between slowly building contractions. I was thinking all that was missing was the popcorn and it would’ve been as romantic a date as any we could’ve hoped for.

That is, until Bec ruined the moment with an polite but stern announcement, “Jimmy, I think I’m gonna have to catch the end of the movie some other time.”

That would be my subtle but jarring reminder that the real show was set to begin. And begin it did, with about twenty minutes of blood vessel bursting pushes, the likes of which I hope never to witness again. And just like that, almost as quickly as it started (the father’s perspective, of course) our bulleted gravy train pulled into its Tweed Hospital station at 7:04 pm on April 23, 2013.

The following morning, as I drove home for the first of many errands, things seemed…different. The breeze blew fresh and crisp, the sunlight seemed brighter and the temperature seemed to be that of spring and not the fall that the southern hemisphere calendar said it was.

I had been in the hospital for all of 22 hours and as I squinted into the light of that first day of the rest of my life, the sights all around me seemed more vivid and vibrant than any I remembered before. It was as if the process of witnessing my daughter coming into the world had rewired my brain synapses like an unsuspected jolt of acid to the system.

“So this is what fatherhood feels like,” I said to myself all the while gazing skyward in the manner of a man who’s just had his sight restored.

It stands to reason, then, we should’ve seen it coming. It just couldn’t last.

Because unbeknownst to me as I ran my first errand as a father, one train journey had ended. The next one had just begun. This one with a destination we were both blissfully oblivious to.

This one bound for the wonderful sleepless world of ‘Colic’. It was time to pay the Piper.

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