Updated: Nov 21, 2020
My Wife gave birth to a Gnome
If you have ever supported your loved one through pregnancy you will know it's quite the journey and 9 months feels like, I shall not finish that sentence and neither should you.
We knew the drill, after all we had our girl in a Hong Kong hospital where they didn't speak English during labour, and our son came on our bedroom floor when we moved back to the UK with the midwife getting there just on time. Also turning up were 8 medics and ambulance drivers as though they had paid entry fees to an explicit show without my permission, bringing no experience but fascinated stares with zero value.
So what next...
First off, after lugging our 2 children long haul to Malaysia in parallel with a business trip, we were gifted with the amazing yet surprising news that we were having a 3rd baby!
Our son was only 8 months old and our daughter 20 months so the info came with quite a shock.
To add to it, thinking I was being a romantic I got us 2 weeks in a dam jungle in Langkawi. Our chalet had 20 steps just to get down to the path where a mini bus would collect us and take us to the facilities, beach or anywhere away from the isolation.
You don't go out empty handed for a holiday day out, beach bags, buggies, 2 children, blow up crocodiles, all crammed with us anytime we wanted to go anywhere, just picture it.
Anyhow, skip 9 months forward, it's midnight and to avoid being induced, (medics force the contracts to start) on Sunday 14th July 2018 my wife drinks castor oil on the Friday as it is known to help to speed along labour.
Problem is, we are in our home and 3rd time around our 2nd son doesn't plan on extending his stay inside any longer, at all...
My Wife's waters break and I am called downstairs out of my sleep to attend the scene.
It's not calm, time is against us so we grab everything needed and leave the house to get into the car.
The garden never seemed so far from the car but in this instance it proved so as Toya slowly kneels down onto the grass, followed by the dreaded words, "he's coming".
So here it goes, with no other choice we then proceed to doing what we do best, dealing with situation's that are thrown our way and learn on the spot.
Heroically calm my Wife bends down and pushes, without delay I see the head of my son greeting me, within minutes I see his face and the next I know he is in my hands.
Midnight, a front garden in Kent, we are stationary for any bystander to see on the street, unable to move and surreally processing what had just happened.
Luckily My Wife's sister was staying that evening and we were able to get her to dial for the ambulance and get some towels, clearly shocked at what was happening I had to call her name many times to bring her back to planet Earth and listen to the urgent requests!
So there we have it, superwoman gives birth by herself, the ambulance turns up 30 mins later and only then we remember, our neighbour is a midwife and was in her house at the time during the whole ordeal.
So this leads me to the 5 things I would advise you do if you ever find yourself in the same situation...
1) Plan, what really helped was that we already had the hospital bag (your partner will have this covered but this is what we had- change of clothes, maternity and nursing pads, bibs and clothes for baby, nipple cream-Lanolin, toiletries, baby blanket, nursing pillow, towels, bottles of water etc) ready months in advance with everything that would be needed for Mum and baby. We were able to focus on the immediate situation rather than trying to look for things that would have diverted our attention. I'm not sure everyone agrees but planning for me was also watching my wife give birth previously so I wasn't fully out of my depth, I knew I wasn't going to pass out just seeing what was happening let alone being part of action. If you're not like me, popping them out every year, the alternative would be to watch a video... Or maybe not.
2) Stay Calm. No matter what happens and how crazy it looks, DON'T PANIC. Keep a cool head, this approach really allowed us to focus on the task with confidence and no doubt helped us avoid stress which could have resulted in errors. Work on blocking out the emotional responses to other parts of life and it will help you cope with your reaction to bigger mountains. The last thing you need when you're trying to catch a slippery baby is your mind being elsewhere.
3) Vocalize and Guide, It might come as a surprise to you but a woman giving birth is pretty busy and can't see what is going on at the other end, it can bring peace and structure just talking through the process. We did this with our first when there was a language barrier in Hong Kong and it was a very special experience together, it also helps the mother with encouragement to persevere and assists in the push and rest horror sequence.
4) Gravity. Let gravity help if you find yourself having to deliver your own baby, get your partner onto all fours, it will most likely feel most comfortable for her without a doctor nearby to advise. This is a more natural position vs being on the back which puts all weight on the pelvis which is at the time trying to expand... yes pretty graphic.
5) Catch. The films make out you've got a couple of years before you're playing catch with your son.
When the baby is ready to fully come out, get down, lock your thighs together, lock your forearms and elbows together and cup your hands close to your chest. My son was very small, you need to support the neck and anticipate the speed in which a baby will come out, the last you want is a hard landing with them being so delicate, this posture will mean even as a bad catcher you will have high chances of safely delivering your own baby.
In a world that is arguably too digital I wouldn't usually say to rely on devices but having your phone with you certainly helps if you need to call for an ambulance. Luckily for us we could call upon a family member otherwise, we would have been shouting for help as I had my hands kind of full at the time.
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