This week, I will be going to Liverpool again. I know it is only a month since I left my son at university there and this is already my second visit since leaving him, but this time I am taking the whole family as ……it’s his birthday!
I can’t believe my baby boy is now twenty.
He’s loving university life and although I was worried that he might struggle a bit with the academic side, he is really enjoying studying Drama because unlike at school, he can now focus on the subject he loves and so he is naturally keen, enthusiastic and motivated.
I’m very proud of him.
I know I am his mother and admit to (maybe!) being a bit pushy when he was younger, but he does have great musical and dramatic talents. He has already written, composed and directed three musicals, starting his first when he was just sixteen, which raised well over £3,000 for our Church’s redevelopment project. He’s done stand up comedy, compered big events and lights up the stage in every production that I’ve ever seen him in. And that’s not just Mum talk…. really!
I should have realised he’d enter the world of drama as the way he entered the world was pretty dramatic! Back in August, I wrote about how my daughter arrived so it’s only fair that I share his birth story too. I remember it as if it were yesterday…..
If you remember, my daughter had taken a good 27 hours to make her entry into the world. This time round, just a year later, I was determined to wait as long as possible before going into hospital. So when the contractions started at two in the afternoon, I decided that I would just ignore them as I assumed there would be no baby before the following afternoon at the earliest. I called the husband at work to warn him not to take on any new projects but not to rush home. And then I spent the rest of the day playing with my gorgeous baby girl, rolling around on the floor with her and letting her clamber all over me, and all the time trying to take no notice of the worsening pain that was coming at increasingly shorter intervals. I did start to worry at about four-thirty that maybe the baby’s arrival was not far off when suddenly, everything just stopped. No contractions, nothing.
I felt extremely smug then that I had been clever enough to stay at home and ride out the pain and spent the early part of the evening giving my daughter her bath and dinner and putting her to bed with an extra special kiss and cuddle as I knew it was the last time I would have just one baby to look after. It was as I lowered her into her cot that the pains started again….but I wasn’t going to be fooled into going to hospital too early.
So instead, I settled down to watch “EastEnders” which was a really important and dramatic episode. I wish I could remember what it was about now, but it probably featured Cindy Beale being a naughty girl and breaking Ian’s heart again or Sharon and Phil getting it on ….or breaking it off …..or getting it back on again! Either way, it was all far too important to be distracted by mere labour pains!
We were staying with my parents at the time, as we had just sold our flat and were looking for a house, and my dad knew instantly I was in pain because he noticed me clenching my toes every time I had a contraction!! He begged me to go to hospital as he could see they were coming pretty fast but I said I knew better and that they would soon stop again. The poor man started pacing then and kept taking his inhaler as I stubbornly sat and watched the Paul McKenna show! By the end of that though, the pain was pretty intense.
I asked the husband to run me a bath and I calculated that if I had a leisurely soak in warm water, it would help ease the pain and give me a few more hours at home. However, just as I went to step into the tub, my waters broke and from that point on there were no more contractions – just continuous, excruciating pain. I told, no screamed, at my husband to call an ambulance as I needed gas and air but they just laughed and told him it was as easy for him to drive me to hospital himself.
Throughout all of this my mother was very unsympathetic. During the evening, she told me to stop making a noisy fuss and expressed more worry about the state of her bathroom than me, when I told her my waters had broken! As my husband helped me to get into the car, she shouted from inside the house for me to wait a second. I was convinced she must have been feeling guilty about being so grumpy with me and wanted to hug me and wish me well as I went off to deliver her second grandchild. But no! She came running out with plastic bags that she insisted on putting over the car seats so I didn’t “make a mess” !!!
Fortunately my Dad gave me lots of hugs to send me on my way!
And so we headed off but the pain was horrendous. We had to get to the maternity hospital which was twenty minutes away but we had only reached the end of our road when suddenly I could feel the baby’s head. I told my husband and he dared to say that he didn’t think that could be right ! So, I grabbed his hand off the steering wheel and let him feel for himself.
I have never seen the colour drain out of someone so fast!
He became like a man possessed, driving on pavements, jumping lights, swearing at pedestrians who dared to use the zebra crossing. This was my lovely, quiet, mild-mannered, even-tempered husband who was, by the way, shouting at me to shut up every time I screamed with pain. He was a totally different man!
He screeched to a halt outside the maternity hospital where a few midwives were clearly waiting to be collected now that their shifts were over and he jumped out of the car and shouted the immortal line “MY WIFE IS HAVING A BABY” !! One of them pointed to the sign and said sarcastically that he was in the right place then, but he screamed hysterically “NO, SHE’S HAVING IT NOW!” She sauntered over to the car, took one look at me and then threw her bag on the floor. After a quick feel she shouted, even louder than him, “I NEED SUPPORT HERE….NOWWWWW !!” And somehow a chair appeared from somewhere, the car was left where it was with all the doors open and we were taken up in the lift to the fifth floor. But as the nurse in the reception area tried to work out which delivery suite was free, the midwife with us shouted there was no time for that and she threw what looked like a red airbed right there on the floor and told me to lie on it and push. And it was on that, after just three short pushes, that my son was out and in my arms and all I could think was that I didn’t want those lift doors to open, in case anyone saw all my bits !!
My poor husband saw the whole thing and was in complete and utter shock at the speed of it all….and the knowledge that just one more traffic light and his son would have arrived in the car. It took him a good couple of weeks to recover from that and even now he doesn’t laugh when I tell the story, which I obviously do with great relish at every opportunity!
He adores his boy though. So do I … even though we clash sometimes because he is far too much like me !
Happy Birthday, my darling son! When you make it big in Hollywood, remember what drama I went through to bring you into this world, and dedicate that Oscar to me!!