June 15, 2019

One More Gin And Tonic?

One more gin and tonic? Alright, why not? This is how my journey to fatherhood started, with a gin and tonic in my hand and my brain fuzzy with that tipsy haze.

I was in a bar in Melbourne knocking back G and T's with a mate after a work gathering, in deep enough to loosen our lips and get to the good conversation.

Talk about our plans for the future was mixed in with the usual banter you might hear at any crappy pub. Little did I know my life was about to change forever, and not in the way you might expect.

Now I'm sure there are many stories of unplanned conception that start in a bar, fueled on by one (or two) too many. This isn't one of those though.

We had decided to call it a night and went our separate ways, me into an uber and my conversation partner to his inner city apartment. It was a twenty minute ride home so I settled in, trying to avoid an awkward, tipsy conversation with my driver. I don't usually do this but I was feeling a bit under the weather (read: drunk) so I kept my mouth shut. My phone rang. It was someone I was seeing, but in an attempt not to embarrass myself with any incoherent mumbling I didn't answer. She called again. I figured she probably wanted me to come over, but I was already halfway home so again, I didn't answer. "I'll just shoot her a quick text to say we can catch up tomorrow." Just before I hit send I realised she had beat me to it. I opened a text from her and what it said sent chills down my spine. It didn't say I’m pregnant, like I'm sure all of you are thinking, she’s not that predictable.

I think I've been stabbed.

Not what you want to be told in a uber on your way home to throw up. For a moment I didn't know what to do. Call the police, call an ambulance? Both of those things feel obvious in hindsight, but I didn't do either. I asked my uber driver to turn around and immediately called her back. She was sobbing and scared, hiding around the side of her apartment building unable to move. We turned the corner into her street after a very stressful and silent ride and the uber smiled at me as I opened the car door, and I thought he has no idea. Probably would have made his night more interesting…

I pushed the gate to her apartment block open to see her shaking next to the front door, hand clutched to her side, unable to go inside. She was noticeably calmer than when I spoke to her on the phone, but I could see that things weren't good. Obviously. Blood was seeping through the fingers of the hand she was holding on her side and she was white as a ghost.

Adrenaline kicked in and instantly I forgot how many drinks I had thrown back. I asked to have a look. Shit. We need to get to the hospital. But how? I definitely couldn't drive and an ambulance would take too long. Her housemate was also rushing an uber over and thankfully arrived sober and able to drive us all.

It escapes me why triage nurses are always so blase about everything. Oh, your bone is sticking out? Please wait. Your brains are leaking out of your nose? Take a seat, please. There we were standing in the emergency room while the person that takes your information is dithering with some pointless paperwork and getting confused about our relationship (more on that later). Okay now, what brings you in tonight? Why this is the tenth rather than the first question I still cannot tell you. Someone stabbed me. His whole face changes, as does his snail pace, and we are whisked over into a room in the space of about three seconds.

While we wait for a doctor to arrive perhaps this would be a good time to tell you what exactly happened to her that night.

While we wait for a doctor to arrive perhaps this would be a good time to tell you what exactly happened to her that night.

It was late, around midnight and my future baby mama was on her way home to the notoriously fancy and not at all crime-ridden suburb of Toorak in Melbourne. She left the tram at her stop and proceeded to walk down her street to her apartment building, around 500m away. Three men followed her from the stop, just out of sight, on the other side of the road. Two of the men stayed on that side and as the other crossed over, ran up behind her and grabbed her. There was a struggle, a lot of screaming and all the while his friends watched from the other side of the road. A kick to the balls seemed to finally get him to leave with (what she first thought) was one last nasty punch to the side. It was actually a knife, burying itself an inch across and deep.

The doctor is here! And so are some detectives… They are not impressed that she hadn’t wanted to create a fuss and called neither them or an ambulance from the scene. This is worth creating a fuss! She looks embarrassed and they turn their sights onto me. And are you the boyfriend? Awkward. I was famously unsure thus far of what I wanted in our relationship, asking for something casual (hilarious, as we ended up married less than a year later, but that’s another story). Yeeeep. I guess that settles it. In between wincing and crying, we had a giggle about the situation and appreciated the absurdity of having 'the conversation' in such strange circumstances.

Fourteen hours and many frequent and prolonged trips to the toilet later, (I was drunk remember?) I left the hospital to get ready for my night shift at work. When I came back the next morning, I met her parents for the first time. Perfect timing.

She's ok now, just so you know. The knife narrowly missed puncturing any organs. The doctor told her it was the best place on your body to get stabbed! So I guess we can thank the attacker for something, though they never found him or his mates.

That night taught me a lot. It taught me how to be a better partner (a committed one, at least) but most of all it taught me how to be there when I'm needed, even though I sometimes feel like I can't. Or like I just want to go home to spew.

Less than a year later we were married and one year after that we welcomed our son. When you know you know, you know?

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