In the hospital, just before his twin boys were born, Sam Avery said he should have been petrified, but he actually felt quite calm.
My wife opted for a natural birth because she didn’t want to miss out on the experience. I gently suggested that a c-section might be easier for her. Why take the scenic route when you can jump on the M6?
One midwife told me to get my camera ready for the ‘big moment’ which always baffles me. People often ask, who is filming their children being born? But that’s not the real question. What I want to know is who the hell is watching it back? It’s great to have ammunition to embarrass your kids when they grow up but I can’t see any upside to screening the full birth on a big screen at your son’s 18th surprise party. I suppose you’d save money on the buffet.
So we get put in a nice big, room of our own and told to wait. A couple of hours of nervous chat go by before the inducement gel turns up. This went in and contractions started immediately.
My wife made it very clear that I was not to make her laugh during the birth, which meant I was very tempted to do my act. In all seriousness, I tend to deal with stressful situations by making inane and moronic comments so this was going to be a challenge.
“Please, please don’t make me laugh.”
“Even if you poo the bed?” I decided definitely not to say.
In the end I just kept my mouth shut for 22 hours as we waited for the twins to arrive. I haven’t waited that long to see someone since I went to watch Guns N Roses.
My wife slogged through labour with strength, grace and a creative use of the English expletive system. And every time we thought we were near they’d run a check and tell us that we were at least a couple of hours away from anything happening, until finally one of the twins was about to emerge through the front door. Then all of a sudden the other twin started ‘buggering about’ (technical term) and almost instantly they called the consultant who decided to opt for an emergency c-section. Turned out the scenic route led directly to the M6 anyway.
This was pretty scary stuff as we’d been together throughout but I was told I wasn’t allowed into the theatre for the c-section, the most crucial part. I should have been petrified but at this point I actually felt quite calm. It’s amazing what a combination of chronic fatigue and childlike denial can do. They put her under and ushered me into a tiny waiting room that had 3 chairs and a coffee table with Take a Break magazine on. The front cover had the headline ‘My Ex’s Ghost Got Me Pregnant’ which I decided was wholly inappropriate under the circumstances. I remember thinking a good tagline would have been ‘He Put The Willies Up Me’. It’s strange how your brain deals with stressful situations.
I was just becoming enthralled in the true life story of a gypsy paternity battle on page 7 when the midwife came running in and told me I was now the father of two beautiful boys.
‘Beautiful! So they’re not mine?’ I un-hilariously quipped. She gave me a hug then ran off with my phone to take some pictures.
Now, let’s be honest here. New born babies aren’t nearly as cute as they become a few minutes later – like a good roast chicken they need to stand for a minute or two before they’re ready. So let’s just say that the first photos she showed me most definitely won’t be going on our mantelpiece anytime soon.
But then she brought them both into the waiting room for me to hold, beautifully swaddled in white towels, eyes closed like puppies. Puppies that looked a bit like me. And that’s when it hit me in the gut that this was one of those moments in life that will never leave me, like my wedding day or that time they opened a new till at Aldi and I managed to scoop all my shopping up in one hand and dive to the front. Magic.
They were so still and peaceful, their only movement being their teeny, tiny nostrils flaring ever so slightly to take in their first few breaths. The midwife left the room to give me a moment with them and as my eyes filled up with a joy that I haven’t felt anything close to I noticed that the blanket on one had moved slightly over his mouth. Parental programming 2.0 kicked in and thinking ‘I’d better just move that away a bit’ I realized that I didn’t have a free hand to do so. Can I put one down? No, crap, can’t do that either. Oh shit, one’s started wriggling…MIDWIFE! GET BACK IN HERE!
Emotionally, this was going to be the most amazing journey of our lives.
Logistically, this was going to be tricky.