Monday, 24 October 2016

Speedy Arrival

I understand that labour is painful.  I’ve never actually been through it myself, so I cannot corroborate it from personal experience, but I am an observant fellow and I have experienced it through B on three occasions so I am fairly confident when I say that it didn’t seem like she was enjoying it.  Which is what makes what I am about to tell you quite so impressive, from my point of view at least.

Firstly though a bit of background.  After all, you know me, I’m not happy until I’ve written 1000 inconsequential words before finally getting to the punchline.
So, firstly a small digression about false alarms.  We had one with L.  It was short and sweet and mostly inconvenient for B and my parents.  B, who had to go through the pain of her body pretending it was going to have a baby and then just going, “ooppss, sorry, fooled you,that was funny right?  Right?” and my parents because they were the ones we called at some ludicrous time in the morning, only to have to let them know that they probably weren’t going to be getting a grandchild after all.  The whole morning was like the world’s least funny practical joke.  In the end I went to work, and my dad stayed with B, in case anything erupted.

It didn’t.  I spent all day on tenterhooks, waiting for the inevitable phone call, only to hear nothing.  Imagine the tension, imagine my pain as I sat staring at the phone.  Words can barely do justice to it.  Whilst all day all B had to do was look after two children while being over 9 months pregnant.  And people say it’s hard for the mothers.  In the end no phone call came and I left work confidently predicting that I would be back again in the morning.  Oh hubris how you mock us.

You see, that night was indeed to be the night.  We had packed dad back off home with a cheery wave once I was home and the children were in bed.  Which was pretty much exactly when B’s body decided to go into full-on overdrive.  One sheepish phone call to the parents later (once we were fairly sure that something really was happening, and while they were just tucking into their tea) followed by a phone call to a close friend who was closer, which was handy it will turn out and we were ready to go.  This was only the beginning of the fun.

We left the house around 8:30 and arrived at the hospital 15 minutes later.  So for those of you making notes at the back about quarter to nine.  Picked up our car-park ticket and sauntered in.  Well, alright, not so much sauntered.  By this point B was looking in serious pain and really struggling to move at all.  Now, I am not the most constitutionally capable when it comes to moments like this, I think it has something to do with having a Y chromosome.  So right now I was panicking about pretty much everything, but I think I managed it to hide it well, mostly by uttering inanities like, “It’s OK”, and “We’re going to be alright,” like there was anything wrong with me at all.  

We made it in, through B being a hero and me meekly following along trying to be useful.  This was when we hit our biggest hurdle.  There was no one there.  No one on reception, no one to tell that my wife was about to have a baby all over their surgically clean floor.  B was scrunched up on a chair uttering small moans and not so small bellows, whilst I was frantically trying to conjure people with the power of my mind.  This approach not being wholly successful I then moved seamlessly on to stage 2 of my master plan.  Sitting next to B and trying to remember the incantation I needed to get the bell on the door to the maternity ward to work.  At this point we had been in the hospital for 15 minutes or so, which gets us to 9pm.  There had been no evidence of anyone being in the hospital at all up to this point, certainly no one competent to deliver the baby that was, too all intents and purposes, making her entrance into the world.  

It was at this point, maybe 20 minutes in or so that I saw an opening.  The door to the maternity ward opened slightly as another family came out.  Seeing my opportunity I leapt through it to try to accost the first person I saw.  I suspect that there is a reason why the midwives in the maternity ward would prefer not to have to deal with pretty disheveled, and by this point mostly mindless, fathers to be storming in, but they were very sympathetic and obviously thought they were humouring me in coming to see my wife, whom they doubtless thought was in the early stages of labour.  It only took one look at B however before the midwife decided a more brisk demeanour was required.  This was confirmed by B assuring her that in fact her waters had broken and things were quite urgent.

We were rushed, you will understand that this is a relative term in this instance, into the ward through the staff entrance, and B was made as comfortable as she could be.  At this point I just shut down.  B was in the hands of people who actually knew what they were doing, and I, as the least useful person in the world, wasn’t going to have to quickly Google how to deliver a baby.  This shutting down unfortunately didn’t extend to the part of my brain that is in control of thinking of really terrible and inopportune things to say, that, sadly, was working just fine.  So at the point at which the midwife took B’s heart rate, which was, naturally, quite high, my brain decides now is the perfect moment for an awful sporting reference and I say, “You’re no Lance Armstrong are you?”  To which B, whilst being in incredible pain and trying to produce a baby,  replies, “But didn’t he turn out to be on drugs?”  Which is, of course, totally accurate, and also somewhat ironic as B was right then trying to get as much gas and air into her as is humanly possible.  My wife ladies and gentleman, I bet you’re all wishing she was the one writing the blog aren’t you?  A woman who could pass the 6 laugh test even while in labour.

In the end we had L roughly 45 minutes after we bought the car-park ticket for the hospital.  B was great, our midwife was superb and I was left to carry stuff and act the part of a spare wheel.  L has brought a lot of joy into our lives in the 14 months that she has been more than just a bump but I will always remember that first day of false alarms and Lance Armstrong jokes.


  1. Brilliant....!! The wit continues...even at the most inopportune moments! 😃

    1. Thank you! Yes, my wife is very witty. Especially when she shouldn't be.