A year of firsts is set to continue with Baby James approaching his 1st birthday (3 more sleeps) and it’s got me thinking about this time 12 months ago. In actual fact our bundle of joy was scheduled on the calendar to arrive this very day, but like all good things we were forced to wait. The waiting game was pleasant enough, lazy days in the shade with cool breezes and healthy salads, and after debating the pros and cons of it, My Sweet and I also had developed a contingency plan, we would accept some medical intervention if Mother Nature didn’t kicked in by herself … she would be given an extra 3 days.
And so it was on the morning of the third day that we rose early (sounds kind of biblical) and readied ourselves for the adventure of a lifetime that was about to occur. We had received advice against answering the phone in the morning as it would likely be the hospital trying to bump you until another day. Not likely we had said, we were ready ... today WOULD be the day. In fact, the phone did ring, but who was on the other end of the line we will never know.
I had been nervous about this day for the full 9 months, we men are now duty bound to be by our wives side at the birth and I was afraid of the unknown. I had seen footage of births on TV, in movies, soap operas, documentaries, at baby school and even in an educational film in Year 10 Science. I had heard of labour’s lasting ten, twelve, 16 hours, longer even. I didn’t know how I would go seeing My Sweet in pain with our child, that was my fear.
The reality was nothing like my imagination.
On our arrival, we completed the relevant documentation, were greeted by our midwives and shown to our birthing suite. Our lovely, relaxed doctor arrived shortly thereafter, he had already brought new life into the world and it was only 7.30am. My Sweet was induced and then for the majority of the morning she sat comfortably propped up on the bed, hooked up to monitors and tubes.
Again, we had discussed the various options available to us to assist in the birthing process and we had decided that our birth plan would include the use of an epidural. My Sweet now laughs at a communication breakdown that occurred at this point. We had advised the midwives of our birth plan and they had been quizzing My Sweet about her contractions and not knowing what she was supposed to be feeling, she confirmed that they had commenced. The anaesthetist was notified and she attended to apply her skills. Looking back, My Sweet thinks that she felt two, possibly three contractions and on the pain scale, they didn’t really rate.
So, we had a pleasant day, talking to one another, discussing name options, reading the paper, drinking coffee and all the while relying upon the machine’s graph paper to spike which indicated another contraction. The experts kept telling us how well things were progressing and speculating as to which side of one o’clock we would see our son. Well, we had to wait a little longer than that, but, as the clock ticked closer to the E.T.A. I became more fidgety. Then Dr Doug appeared with his sleeves rolled up, he’d been busy elsewhere and he was about to become busy with us. (Hopefully I get around to writing a separate blog about Dr Doug, but if I don’t, he is a most relaxed professional, with his own brand of charisma inspiring confidence.) An examination was conducted and confirmation of imminent birth.
This next part is written from a male’s perspective, so please, no letters if I upset anyone.
From the time we took up battle stations, to the time Baby James arrived seemed to go very quickly. There was some huffing and puffing, there were some facial contortions and there was a sweaty brow … and that was just me. I felt inept, unhelpful and clumsy. My Sweet however, was brilliant; she focussed away from me and concentrated on Dr Doug’s instructions. As the action increased I was called into the fray to lend assistance. Now, I’m not saying I delivered my son. No siree, I’m certainly not suggesting that at all. I guess the best description of my involvement is to use a cricket analogy. Say, Dr Doug is the wicket keeper, I took up a position somewhere between gully and point, close to the action but not too close and certainly not relegated to the boundary.
Baby James was born into this world at 2.36pm on Thursday 13th November 2008. I have never witnessed anything more amazing, I have never seen My Sweet looking more beautiful and I have never felt as proud as I did at that moment in time. I’m even getting a bit misty eyed as I write about it now, but I do tend towards the emotional side, you should have seen me at the end of The Green Mile or Max and Mary.
We had brought a son into the world. We knew that he was a boy. We didn’t however have a name. Both James and Patrick were equal on our list. I leant towards favouring James and I think My Sweet was leaning towards Patrick as her favourite. In the instant that I saw him, I loved him and it wouldn’t matter to me what he was named, it was My Sweet who decided, he would be James Patrick and I was prouder still. My Sweet had given me the privilege to name our son and I love her for that too.
After, the weighing of Baby James, other medical checks and the lovely skin to skin experience we were brought to the ward where we would spend the next few nights. We were at the new Mater Mother’s Hospital in Brisbane with its modern facilities and thoughtful appointments, including a day bed for us dads to sleep on at night and meals accompanied with a glass of wine were enjoyed.
On our last night in hospital a seasonal storm cell descended on Brisbane, exploding over the north-western suburb of The Gap. It caused great devastation only a handful of kilometres from where we were nestled. In fact, as our room overlooked an internal protected courtyard, our view was merely of a dark, rainy sky, we were blissfully unaware of the trouble without, we were secure inside, perhaps an appropriate metaphor. I hope so.
We checked into the hospital as a couple and left as a family. Absolutely Amazing.