It was shortly before 7am when our phone rang.
It was our consultant. He spoke to Irishmam and quickly took charge of the situation, telling us to come in later that morning to have the baby delivered.
The drive over was just surreal. All these cars full of people going to work oblivious to the fact that the whole planet had been stopped in its tracks. We felt like we were driving ourselves to our own execution. And yet we were calm, we were doing it. It was happening.
Once we reached the hospital the staff there took control of us and got us set up in a room and started to prepare us for the day ahead. Everybody was so nice and I may be imagining it but I felt like the whole hospital, or at least the entire maternity ward knew about our situation and a calming hush seemed to settle on the building.
Don’t get me wrong, these were the initial hours of the worst days my wife and I have ever experienced, but the professionalism of the staff and the general small scale of the hospital went a long way towards minimising the trauma.
We were in such shock and fear of what was happening. I think we both wondered what the baby was going to look like, we were afraid some deformed and damaged creature would emerge.
Eventually we were taken down to the theatre area. Irishmam was taken in to get prepared, while I was led away to get dressed in hospital gear. The guy who supplied me with the clothes remembered me from when Littleboy was born – though that time they just took me to get dressed to distract me from the emergency. How lovely it is to be known to the hospital staff!
In the theatre we were introduced to the nurses/assistants who would be helping the doctor. They all had tears in their eyes as they explained what was going to happen and got things under way.
I sat beside Irishmam and held her hands and cried with her as the doctor began the operation. One of the nurses stood beside each of us, giving us encouragement as the doc did his work.
What can I remember most – maybe the silence in the room. The only noise was the quiet interaction between the doctor and the assistant and the suction of fluid from Irishmam’s body (same sound as you hear in the dentist when he’s drilling and the assistant is clearing the water away)
Also, it was sunny outside, a lovely crisp winters day.
After just a few minutes the baby was delivered. The silence continued and it just underlined how wrong the situation was. Any secret tiny hope that this was all a big mistake was dispelled when no little cry was heard from the newborn baby.
I could barely bring myself to look, but I had to. Irishmam and I had been unsure if we even wanted to see the baby such was our fear and dread of the unknown, but as soon as she was delivered we had to see her.
And what do you know, she was absolutely perfect. gorgeous. A little pink darling with a mop of jet black hair. She just looked like she was asleep.
She was presented to her mammy and I and we admired her and examined her and kissed her and looked at her little hands and wished with all our hearts that she was playing a trick on us and would yowl to life at any moment.
[Recalling that day and writing this piece up is difficult and I have to stop for a while. ]