The next big event in our planner was an outreach in the town hall in the last week of March. My due date was the 9 April. Rob Rufus had agreed to be the main preacher and we were expecting 101 people from Nepal, India, South Africa and other parts of the world, to pitch up. We booked buses for them from Delhi to Mussoorie.
The plan was that they would go out on prayer walks in areas where church members lived. We mapped out Mussoorie and were so happy with ourselves for being so organised. When we showed it to our local friends, they looked at us as and asked us if we were deliberately trying to give our visitors a hard time. We hadn’t given much thought to how many kilometres or how many hills they were going to have to walk and climb. We started all over again.
When people found out I was pregnant, they called Sue to ask her what I needed. She called me to ask me. There was very little I could get in Mussoorie. There were no baby grows or onesies, no waterproofs, no light cotton clothes, actually there wasn’t anything. I mentioned some of those things to her and didn’t think about it again. Newborn disposable nappies were number one on the list. I was planning to use towelling nappies after the first couple of weeks so I just needed a few.
We got to the town hall on the first night of meetings and people started handing me bags. Most of them said, “I’m so sorry I couldn’t fit more in my bag, this is all I could carry.” I was overwhelmed with baby things; carry cot, clothes, hundreds of nappies, vests, honey dummies and everything I needed for my baby. It was incredible. We packed it all into our jeep to take it home and it filled up most of the vehicle. It was amazing. We didn’t have any cupboards but managed to pack it all in behind the curtains in our makeshift wardrobe in our room. I had already worked out I was going to be able to share my nappies with Champa who was six months behind me in her pregnancy. We were so amazed at the generosity of our friends. Some didn’t know us at all.
The town hall was packed to capacity for four nights in a row. It had never seen such chaos. The worship times were wild and noisy. People from all backgrounds danced and sang Jesus songs. Rob preached his heart out and many were prayed for. We had people in our house all day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Most of our visitors were staying at the Brentwood Hotel, which was at the end of the busy alley where I would be having my baby. Doctor Goldmith’s Nursing Home was in the bazaar near Picture Palace. The stairway was narrow enough for one person at a time. There were surgical gloves hanging on a string outside the window and there were three small rooms. One surgery/delivery room and two room for inpatients. Each room had three hard wooden beds with thin, just as hard mattresses and pillows. The blankets were the heavy, rough type. There was an attached bathroom, which needed a good scrub before it could be used. It wasn’t unusual to see a rat running down the passage. There was no oxygen or incubator if anything went wrong. The closest one was forty-five minutes down the mountain in Dehra Dun. Mrs Goldsmith was a lovely lady from Mizoram, North East of India. She had delivered hundreds of babies. I felt comfortable with her. She was the old fashioned type who didn’t need an ultra sound machine to tell her the position of the baby. There was no fuss. Pregnancy and birth were treated like the most natural thing on the planet. I was happy with that. We had made sure Tony could be with me during the birth even though it wasn’t an Indian practice.
My pregnancy had been great and I had been healthy and strong. We had a few ultra sounds done down the hill in Dehra Dun and everything was good. We were quite eager to know if it was a boy but were aware that it was illegal for a radiologist to inform patients about the sex of the baby. There was so much female foeticide. In the 6th month we had seen “something’ that made us think it was a boy. The doctor wouldn’t tell us but he had smiled and told us that there was a 90 % chance that it was what we were wanting. We still weren’t totally sure. Whatever it was, we were going to be thrilled. I felt so close to our baby and so excited to finally meet.
Sue was booked to arrive a day before my due date. We were hoping she would be able to be in the delivery room with us. I had been feeling tightness in my inner thighs for a week and lots of Braxton Hicks. At 4 a.m. on the 26 March, right in the middle of the outreach, my waters broke. Two weeks ahead of time.