So its finally here, the eve of my daughters birthday. I may get a little emotional, I can’t lie.
Firstly, my day so far, well it has been another day of pleasant cycling, the weather has been kind to me on this start back to the new school year. Even though my wife has been back to work over 3 months now, it still feels a little strange coming back to an empty house. I guess maybe because it wasn’t usually empty when I got back as the mother in law had brought Olivia home before I got back from work on the days she had her. Now Olivia is in nursery and the house does seem a little quiet when I get home, although I am only in the house long enough to change from my cycling clothing into regular clothes before I head out and walk up to the nursery to collect her. Today I decided to call the wife as I was almost at the nursery, as I knew her bus stop was just across the road and I wanted to know if she was anywhere near yet so I could wait for her, it turns out she was only about 50 yards away and walking towards me as she’d left work 10 minutes early and had just got off the earlier bus, so we were both able to pick Olivia up together, which was lovely! Olivia had had yet another wonderful day and made us so proud, the staff just loved having her there, which came as no surprise as she is always full of smiles and happy! Who wouldn’t love looking after a smiling baby that didn’t cry?
Olivia was fed and given her bottle before being whisked up to bed early as she was very tired from nursery, which worked out well as I had a business planning meeting with my newest team member who I am very excited to have on board, she is showing a huge amount of enthusiasm for the business, and is going to be a great asset to the team. I also managed to secure another meeting to introduce the business to another friend who is interested in the potential that it offers. I’d say a fairly productive evening all in all!
This time last year, was a very different situation. Life was about to become very different, and not in a “new car” or “I’ve just got a new job” kind of way… I was about to become a parent, and I can’t lie, I was nervous! It was quite literally like being in a dream, it wasn’t real, I would wake up any minute and we’d still just be a regular couple talking about the future like it was never going to change. But it was… and very, very soon! I remember going into work in a confused, bewildered state, not knowing what to do. Clare had been having some mild contractions for a couple of days, but now they were getting serious, yet I wanted to be there to support her as long as I could after the baby arrived and so didn’t want to waste a single day of my precious two week paternity leave waiting around in a hospital if today wasn’t going to be the day. I went straight in and spoke to the head looking like I’d just seen a ghost, he didn’t hesitate and just told me to go away and be with my wife! I was grateful, he knew better than I did where I should be. I walked into the hospital just after 9am to a very relieved wife who was glad she didn’t have to spend the day alone. She was uncomfortable, but still we didn’t have a bed in the delivery suite, and so we waited. All day we waited, and nothing was happening. I took a walk to the shops to pick up some food as only the mothers get any food in the hospital, and still nothing happened. It was getting close to kicking out time, when even expectant fathers become a problem for the hospital staff, I either went home, or I was kicked out. It had been a long day, I had got home around 10pm, after being there since 9am, and I can’t lie I felt a little deflated. The house was still empty, I still didn’t have a baby yet, and I couldn’t be with my wife who I knew was now very uncomfortable in a noisy ward and probably wouldn’t be sleeping. It sucked, to be honest! I didn’t know what to do with myself, I’d considered opening a beer to take my mind off it all… then suddenly the phone rang. It was the loudest noise in the world, and nothing else in the world existed at that point in time except for me and that phone… I had to find it and find it fast… this was one call that could NEVER go to voicemail!! On the end of the phone was a voice that was instantly reassuring, informing me not to panic was a clear primary instruction. The fact we now had a bed available on the delivery suite was the second message, and the third was that Clare was about to be taken down there. Everything was in place, bags were where they needed to be, and Clare had all she needed at the hospital. I just needed to take a deep breath, remember I was driving a family hatchback and not a formula 1 car, that speed limits still applied to me and getting there in one piece was the most important thing. There was one way to save time, and that was to not hang about, so I was straight in the car. I actually made it from home to the delivery suite before Clare made it from her bed to the delivery suite, much to Clare’s surprise. The next hour or so, we waited again. We had our own room and a single midwife was with us. It was calm and everyone was very relaxed. Our antenatal training had served us well and we knew what was going to happen… or at least we thought we did! The real contractions kicked in just after midnight, and we knew this was it… it had started. Clare, had decided that she could cope with the pain just with regulated breathing and occasional gas and air, she was like a machine! The labour progressed in an almost text book fashion, almost like she’d seen the script and was just acting it out! Five hours in and the clock had just turned 5am, Clare was ready to start pushing.
Was this it?
Were we really just about to have a baby?
Clare pushed for an hour and a half, with almost nothing happening. The nurses made her very uncomfortable by doing some tests to see if she could push safely for any longer, and she could and so was made to push for another 30 minutes. I could see she had nothing left, and it was breaking my heart to watch, I was feeling very emotional. I wanted my baby more than anything in the world, but Clare was clearly close to breaking point and I was becoming extremely concerned. Did I show it? Hell no! I told her she was amazing, that I was right there with her and how much I loved her. Something had to give though. Just after 7am they made the decision that our baby was stuck, lying in an funny position that meant no amount of pushing would get her out, and that left just one option… our baby was coming out via the sunroof! Clare was in theatre by 7:25 and I was made to wait outside while they prepped her. It was the longest five minutes of my life! Finally I was taken into theatre and we were ready. At this point we knew our baby’s arrival was just moments away. I was a mess, but I couldn’t show it, not even an ounce of it. A screen was put up and surgeons fiddled and messed around behind it. Clare said “Have you cut me open yet?” to which came the response “You’re baby is half way out!”. I felt like I’d been drip fed several shots of tequila, my head and my stomach were spinning! Then, a minute later, it was all over. Nurses walked away with a baby in their arms, this was it, we got to meet junior! I was called over to find out if it was a girl all a boy, and we knew all along it was going to be a boy. We’d never found out, but we knew it would be a boy. Only it wasn’t… it was a girl, and she already had a name, we’d both agreed on Olivia. I picked up baby Olivia and carried her over to Clare. I was tempted to just blurt out “ITS A GIRL!!”… but that wasn’t what I wanted to say, so holding back a flood of tears in a broken and choked up voice, I turned to Clare and said… “I’d like you to meet Olivia”. At 7:34am on the 5th of September and our little girl was brought into the world weighing a very normal and healthy 7lb 14oz and everything about her was absolutely perfect. It had been the longest night of my life and the whole thing had felt like the weirdest dream ever, but it was all very very real.
That was 12 months ago, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. What happened after that was a complete blur, we were both exhausted, and on cloud nine at the same time. Now we prepare to celebrate our beautiful daughters first birthday. I honestly don’t know where the year has gone, but the best thing I ever did was create this blog to keep track of it all. I know a few friends read it here and there, but I mainly created it for myself to look back on, to remember the adventure that has been the last year! My life is very different now, as is my outlook on it. My goals have changed, my plans have changed, and with a wonderful wife by my side and an amazing daughter in my life, things feel like they just couldn’t get any better at the moment! I remember a time shortly before I met Clare that I was beginning to lose hope. I didn’t think I’d ever find the right woman, settle down and have a family. It just shows that you never know how close you are to your dreams, but you should never, ever give up!