Ok, so the thing with birth is no one really tells dad what to expect, you kind of just go along with it all knowing that all hell is going to break loose at any moment and you only hope that you don’t become “one of them” dads. The kind that is more of an inconvenience than actual help. Let’s see how I did.
Boss man (Baby, aka Tommy) was 2 weeks overdue. We were both on pins for far too long and I expected Leah to just scream in utter pain one day and have it all kick off, but it was not going to play out like that. Instead, we were to simply drive to the hospital and announce our arrival, the rest was unknown to me. I have been in some fairly high-pressure situations so I wasn’t too worried about this one and so far so good right?
The first part of it all is a little bit of blur to me, not so much because it was a crazy and full of emotion but more so because it was, in all honesty, very boring. You know when you walk to a destination with a friend, but they know where you are going and you don’t, it always seems to drag. This part was a little like that.
We were put on a ward and Leah was put on observation, this went on for a while. Eventually, we thought it was time to induce until it wasn’t. We were moved to a private room and the one thing that stands out was the little spread they put on for us. We hadn’t eaten for ages at this point so I was very grateful. Leah was still on monitoring and chunk (baby) was playing up, ignoring the impending eviction notice and doing his utmost to delay things.
So back and forth, back and forth we went between ward and room. I wasn’t worried as all seemed to be in hand and Leah wasn’t worried so all is well.
Then things finally got moving, a little bit of good old NHS work that I don’t really know much about and don’t care to know and we were in the delivery suite.
It’s here that mine and Leah’s story slowly drift further and further apart.
She was hooked up to a machine that showed her contractions and baby’s heartbeat. I was fully aware that the nurse would not have the time to explain what was going on should anything be going wrong, nor would she want to.. what if I was to freak out? I would be that dad and no one wants to deal with him.
So I kept on eye on this screen and I began to notice that with every contraction Boss Man’s heartbeat would drop. Ok, not a big deal I thought, crazy things are going on in there and I’m sure it would eventually balance out. Time went on, contractions got longer and the time in-between them got a lot shorter. Baby’s heartbeat still dropping, I have noticed a concerned look on the midwife’s face slowly develop over time.
I said to myself no matter what I can’t let on to Leah, she has to do her thing and I can’t make the situation anymore stressful for her. It’s time to push and she is on the way to a full meltdown, I can feel the worry from the midwife and other people she has brought in consuming the room. I am feeling very worried and praying it’s not showing.
We are now well and truly into giving birth and Leah has fallen asleep, waking up to give it her all on every push, looking at me with a look I can do nothing to ease and then it happened. I saw her face turn and the drugs had 100% worn off. Not good. Not good at all.
The atmosphere in the room is fairly tense right now and I am doing everything I can to keep her going without sounding like a cheesy American in a feel-good sports film, coaching my prospect through the 12 round of a hell for leather boxing match.
Then I see a look in Leah’s eye and I know whatever happened before is nothing on what is about to go down. Tommy is super close to taking his first breath in the world and Leah checks out. I don’t mean she got up and walked out, I mean she mentally and physically checked out, her body was exhausted and done and I can’t blame her.
No matter what I did she wasn’t coming back any time soon, then in a flash, all hell broke loose. The room filled with people the bed was transformed and Leah’s legs were thrown up. Again not good.
A woman came in a took control of the situation, she was prepped for surgery and she was doing her best to bring Leah round. Then I was told if Leah doesn’t push Tommy could die and I need to do everything I could to try and get her to push. Wow. So kicked in that cheesy American coach that I was trying not to be earlier on.
Leah had come round just enough to muster a push or two and the gaffer (surgeon woman) made a “small cut”. That I could deal with, I was then encouraged to take a look, as boss man’s head was starting to show… Don’t look! Nothing good comes of it. You are too terrified to truly enjoy the moment and if you don’t have a thick skin it will only make it all worse.
Gaffer then pulls out a toilet plunger (that’s what it looks like anyway) and rams it on Tommy’s head, I’m like WTF! I can see veins on her forearm as she yanks Tommy from Leah’s body. I can now feel myself losing it a little as things seem to be walking a very thin tightrope.
Time stands still… I don’t think to take a breath and Tommy emerges. I don’t react and have agreed I won’t react until I hear him cry.
This is testing me.
He then cries, as do I, I have never been so relieved in all my life. The usual checks are done, he is fine and I’m assured the lump/bruising on his head will go down soon enough. He is placed in Leah’s arms and just like that we are a family.