To my darling Charlie

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After a rough night, with your big brother waking a few times, I noticed in my sleep that I was having contractions. They weren’t strong enough to keep me awake or lasting long enough to worry me – I’d been having them on and off all week. At 6:30am, I decided to get up and time them: about ten minutes apart and lasting for 30 seconds – nothing to worry about. I told your dad that I thought we might have a baby that day and he thought I was kidding.

As we had breakfast, I noticed that the contractions were getting stronger, lasting longer and coming closer together. It was also getting more difficult to breathe through them. I still wasn’t too concerned and concentrated on relaxing. I called the hospital just to let them know we’d probably be in later, and they suggested I take some Panadol and call back in two hours. “You’re probably in the early stages and may have a long way to go,” said the midwife reassuringly. I decided we’d better get organised – just in case – and got in the shower. I had three contractions in the shower and the hot water helped me through them.

When I got out of the shower and timed my contractions again, they were suddenly coming every two to three minutes. I told Daddy we had better get going, and by the time we got down to the car, I was feeling the urge to push. The pain was quite intense and it took all of my concentration to breathe and relax. I watched the clock, knowing that each contraction would only last a minute or so, and focused on getting to the hospital. Daddy drove faster than he ever has, but calmly and carefully. But 15 minutes from home, my waters broke. I still thought we might make it to the hospital, but had a moment of disappointment as I realised I had barely had time to think about all the techniques we had learned at our Calmbirth class, apart from the breathing, as things grew more intense and I couldn’t focus on anything other than what was happening inside me.

As we crossed the Tsing Ma Bridge I began to think we might not make it, and the only moment I truly lost control, and my temper, was when we found ourselves stuck behind a particularly slow and bad driver. Mummy said some words that I hope to never hear come out of your mouth, young man, and Daddy got us out of there quick smart. Minutes later, knowing there was a tunnel and another bridge ahead, we agreed that it was probably time to pull over. Some of the best advice we had received while I was pregnant was, if we found ourselves in that exact situation, to stop the car and go with it. So we did. The men from the tunnel monitoring station came running out as soon as we pulled in and your dad shouted, “My wife’s having a baby!” which quickly sent them running to call an ambulance. I was already in the back seat and got up on my knees while your dad pulled out the car seat and grabbed the towels and blanket we had packed just in case. Dad said he could see your little head crowning and, with two more big contractions and very little effort on my part, you were out. Daddy caught you, cried out, “It’s a boy!” cleared your nose and mouth, and you let out a tiny cry. And that was the moment I realised that you were actually here. The relief I felt was instant and indescribable, and after Daddy placed you in my arms, we looked at each other and laughed with tears in our eyes. We had just delivered our baby in the back of the car!

We shared a moment in the ambulance, you and I, when you reached up and grabbed onto my finger with your tiny hand. You stole my heart, utterly and completely, and have continued to do so every day since. Your birth may have been a very exciting part of the story, but it was only the beginning.

All my love,


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Brooke Chenoweth
Brooke grew up in rural Australia and spent most of her early days running around barefoot, playing dress-up and perfecting her mud pie recipe. After high school, Brooke hightailed it out of town and went off to university in the “city,” where she discovered the world, literally and figuratively. Some quirks of fortune, a few hurdles and several years later, Brooke found herself married and moving to Hong Kong in 2007. After a brief stint as an English teacher, she discovered that blogging and freelance writing fulfilled all of her potential career wishes while allowing her to stay at home in her pyjamas with her gorgeous little boys. While dressing up is a rare treat these days, she still enjoys going barefoot, and now makes mud pies with her sons.

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