This week I delivered my own baby – and yes, you have read that correctly. Clearly it is not something I’d planned or had wanted to do, however, sometimes in life you don’t have a choice.
Within 10 minutes of going to bed – and just as I had begun a dream involving Pamela Anderson and a camping trip, I felt her (Mrs C, not Pamela) stiffen and grab my arm.
‘What’s up?’ I enquired.
‘I think my water’s have just broken,’ she gasped.
‘Are you sure?’ I asked.
‘Well either that or I’ve involuntarily wet myself,’ she said.
The next hour involved me lying in bed trying to sleep, while Mrs C did a kind of athletics routine around the room, jumping up and down each time another contraction hit, while crying out in agony. We went to hospital, but were sent home, something to do with dilation.
A short time later, about 3am-ish, Mrs C suddenly screamed, vomited, and then, with words I think will haunt me for the rest of my life, gasped, ‘it’s coming’.
I’m not sure exactly what happened next but Mrs C – now sittingwith her knees on the bedroom floor, her arms and head on the bed, and her bottom protruding in the air – rang 999.
It was at that point I glanced down and with something way beyond the emotion of horror, saw the distinct shape of a baby’s head emerging.
With the phone on loud speaker, a fantastic woman called Debbie talked us through what to do.
Mrs C was told to lie on the bed. One push later and the head was fully out, at which point I wasn’t sure whether to faint, cry, or to run as far away as possible.
When our first child had been born, I’d stayed up the head end and not dared lookdown below once. Now I had blood and all sorts of gunk on my hands and arms and cradling a small human head.
This was the scariest part for I noticed the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. What’s more the baby was completely lifeless. The operator told me to stay calm and to gently remove the cord.
Using a shaky finger I managed, at about the fifth attempt, to loop the cord over his head and untangle it from his neck.
The baby’s eyes suddenly twitched, and it jerkily moved its head and let out a cry.
One more contraction/push and blow me, the whole baby popped out into my hands.
‘It’s a boy,’ I cried. I knew thisbecause he asked who Man United were playing on Saturday.
I wiped his body and covered him with blankets to keep him warm and stuck my finger into his tiny mouth to make sure it was clear.
‘Right, the ambulance is almost with you Steven,’ said Debbie in the 999 room, before instructing me to tie some string around the umbilical cord.
When this was done we could kind of relax, or as much as you can relax when you and your wife are in the bedroom at 4.30am on a Tuesday, with a new-born baby staring at you and no one with any medical expertise in sight.
But then, thank the lord, three paramedics arrived and took control. They were superb, I can’t praise them enough.
My son, Wilf Canavan, weighed in at 7lb and will forever be told his father single-handedly delivered him (though Mrs C played a small part too).
The upside of having a home birth is we saved £2.50 on parking at the hospital.
The downside is that we had to bin – because of all the blood – six towels, two sets of bedsheets, one duvet cover and a mattress protector, and spend £110 on replacements from Dunelm Mill… but rest assured, I’ll be taking that out of Wilf’s pocket money when he’s older.
I’m now off to have whatever medical procedure is necessary to ensure I never father another child.