There are lots of days throughout life that could be highlighted as extra special or could be said to have changed your life in some way. The day you meet your soulmate, a wedding day or simply a Saturday after being hit with the realisation of not having to get up for work.
The day I’m talking about though, is the 11th May 2017. Although I have enjoyed my own personal versions of the examples above, this day was different.
I am of course talking about the day I became a Dad.
We had a fairly uneventful pregnancy, I say we but what I really mean is Lawrie, she did all the work, I just tried to make myself as useful as possible whenever possible. However one day after our due date at a routine checkup Lawrie’s blood pressure was slightly high – of course this had nothing to do with the fact we were running slightly late for the appointment on a day which for Manchester was uncharacteristically hot – no, nothing to do with that. Obviously we were shipped off to the hospital where after nearly 2 hours and several blood pressure checks later you guessed it Lawrie was absolutely fine.
At this point we received a lesson in planning, more to the point no matter how much planning you do, things inevitably change. Because of the blip in blood pressure the Doctors decided it best not to take any chances and to book us in for an induction the next day which also meant our entire birth plan was thrown out the window. We had planned to utilise the birthing centre, we loved the rooms there and Lawrie really wanted a water birth but due to being induced and having to be hooked up to monitor blood pressure we instead had to opt for the delivery suite which in the grand scheme of things was perfectly fine.
The next day, hauling enough bags for a 2 week holiday, I took Lawrie back to the hospital and settled her in. she was given a pessary to begin the induction and that was that, we were told that it could take up to 24 hours to work so after fiddling with the TV for a bit and knowing her mum and sister were arriving soon to spend the last few hours of visiting time with her I decided to head home .
After a restless night I returned to the hospital to find Lawrie had also not had a great night, she was missing Griffin our German Shepherd – yes we have a huge dog, and two cats but more on them in a future post.
We waited anxiously to be seen by the midwife to get an update on the progress of the induction, when a nurse casually advised us that it’s common to need two or three pessaries and that we would likely be here another two days before there was any movement, before we had chance to really take in that comment in popped the midwife. The midwife carried out an examination and with a smile informed us that Lawrie was 2-3 centimetres and we would now be moved downstairs to have her waters broken. With the previous nurses comments still present in our mind this news was a welcome relief for us.
After once again hauling the excessive luggage downstairs and down the corridor we settled into our room and dug in preparing for a long night ahead.
The room was as you would expect apart from a huge lamp that hung off the ceiling, which despite knowing was there I managed to consistently bash my head on every time I stood up. This constant hitting my head taught me a valuable life lesson, one which to be honest I should have already known – the delivery suite is not a place for my pain!
Four hours in and it was time for our next examination, we were advised that normally they expect around 2-3 centimetres every four hours, so we would likely be around 5-6 by now, however with the midwife trying to firmly manage expectations she also told us that it can be just as likely that we haven’t progressed at all, but this is perfectly normal. The examination, which for Lawrie is not the most comfortable of things was made slightly more awkward by the surprised look on the midwife’s face, the lack of words flowing from her mouth gave us a slight cause for concern as we waited in anticipation for a progress update. “Okay” she said “You’re fully dilated and I think we are ready to push” – words we did not expect to hear for some time.
Suddenly and before we really had time for it to register, things kick into overdrive, all the lights are dimmed apart for a single spotlight and in time with the next contraction the midwife instruct’s Lawrie to “start pushing”.
What happened next and the conclusion to this story was the most surreal and profound moment in my life, at 8:59pm I saw my daughter enter this world and in the second it took for my mind to register what had just happened there were already tears streaming down my face, I took a step back and looked on as Lawrie shared this same experience.
I made sure I cut the cord, I know some people aren’t overly fussed about this but it is something that I really wanted to do, it might sound silly but it connected me somehow to physical act of her being born. In addition to cutting the cord I also put on her first nappy and dressed her for the first time, obviously this was painfully slow to watch but fortunately – 8 weeks later as I am writing this – I am now aware she is not made out of glass!
After the emotions had calmed the midwife team gave us some space, not before supplying us with the customary toast and coffee I might add which was ace considering half of the baggage we dragged around with us was full of snacks we didn’t get chance to eat. Eventually we had to move back upstairs and by this point it was late and visiting hours were well and truly over, which for me meant I had to leave, however credit to the hospital no-one mentioned this and I did not feel pushed out at all, however after settling Lawrie into her new bed and spending a bit more time with her and Fawn I left for home.
I will never forget that drive home, you will have heard about cloud 9 but I was way past that. As I mentioned earlier the weather had been great and even at 1:30am it was still warm out, I put the sunroof down, blasted the tunes and felt like nothing or no-one could touch me. I was so wired by the emotions of the day that even when I got home I couldn’t sleep, It wasn’t until a few hours later that I managed to drift off – another lesson I learnt that day, take the sleep when you can get it!
11th May 2017 – A day that truly changed my life.