This is my very last bump photo. Firstly, because it was 2 weeks before my planned c-section date and I didn’t have a chance to take a PROPER last bump photo, and secondly because it all started one normal Monday morning when I went to work.
I started at 9am. The last week of work before I left for maternity leave, to enjoy a week or so before our new arrival joined us. Alfie had been dancing around my stomach making me feel pretty queezy that morning and I didn’t think much of it, except that he was obviously having a good wriggle and HOPEFULLY getting himself in the right position as, until that point, little cheeky Alfie George had been a footling breach which in other words, meant instead of engaging his head he had engaged one foot (yes, just the one. The other one was tucked across my tummy, stuck out in a weird direction). This was why we’d opted for the sun-roof exit as the safest way to get him into the world with minimum drama.
Anyway, a few people had been rubbing my belly and saying the usual “Have you not popped yet?” and “Are you still pregnant?”… yes. Yes I am, thanks for noticing. I was having another one of these conversations with an elderly gentleman who had visited the phone shop, in between simple questions about how to send text messages or how to listen to voicemails, when down my leg I felt a trickle.
I’ll be honest, I thought I’d wet myself. I thought FINALLY I was THAT pregnant that I couldn’t even make it to the toilet in time, as I politely excused myself and waddled with thighs pressed together into the cubicle of the customer toilets. I cleaned up, and as I stood up to get back to the shop floor, another gush hit my trousers. About a million thoughts at once hit my head, but the one I kept coming back to was “Oh crap… that’s my waters.” I sat for a good 5 minutes thinking about what I should do. Being the customer toilets, there were people coming in and out all the time, so I decided the first thing I needed to do was get myself into the disabled toilet so I could get a bit more privacy. After I’d made a wad out of half a roll of tissue to try and stop my waters dribbling all over the place, I made a dash for it and prayed it was empty.
But the toilet seat was broken and the toilet bowl itself was pretty minging. Oh well, I thought. (They blamed me for the state of it later!!) So this is what happened next….
*Phones Craig. No answer*
Hi mum. Look, I know you’re 50 odd miles away and I’m not entirely sure what you can do to help, but my waters have broken… Yep… I’m in the disabled loo… No… Ok, I’ll call Craig… Yeah he’s at work. I’ll see if Natalie can pick me up. Ok. I’ll keep you updated. Thanks mum. Bye.
*Tries Craig again. No answer* SMS: Er, babe, this call you wanna answer. xxxx
*Phones Labour ward*
Hi, I’m due a c-section in 2 weeks but my waters have broken, not sure what I should do… yes… no… really? I need to go home and wait for labour? But he’s footling breach… well, within an hour… ok, i’ll be there as soon as I can. Thanks.
Natalie, hi, are you busy?… Ahh, ok. How long will that take?… Why? I need you to do me a favour, and you’re not going to believe this, but my waters have just broken at work and the labour ward want me to go in immediately… yeah… my car is here though… ah good idea. I’ll need to stop at home to grab my notes though. Thank you so much. See you soon.
Hi babe. No. Not kidding…. Yeah about 15 minutes ago… don’t worry I know you’re busy, nothing much has happened! They just went when I was talking to a customer and… yes… in the loo… so what I’ve do-…. yes he’s fine! Look, I’ve phoned the labour ward and they want me to go in asap, so save you coming from Salisbury to Andover, Nat is coming to pick me up, but bringing Dave so he can take my car home… yes… we will be stopping at home to get my notes and probably the bag just in ca-… yeah… Will meet you there. I’ll keep you updated about when we leave… okay… love you too babe, bye.
Next comes a knock at the door. Whilst I was on the phone to everyone, my mum had phoned the store and asked someone to come and help me. Pretty soon word got round that there was a lady having a baby in the toilets, people periodically came over to give their best wishes, one manager tried to call an ambulance (I promtly told him I definitely didn’t need an ambulance) and most just be nosy. But they got me some fresh trousers, some bigggg pads and some new pants as my work gear was soaked through by now, and before I knew it, my sister-in-law was there, ready to get me to the hospital. My brother-in-law was in the store buying puppy training pads to line the car with so I didn’t ruin the seats and I asked for a wheelchair to be brought so I could get to the car without needing a cleaner to follow me with a mop.
Anyway, to skip a load of boring bit in the middle, we got to the hospital about 40 minutes later, Craig was waiting for us there. They hooked me up to a monitor straight away and assessed me and the baby.
“Your baby will be born today. We’ll take you to theatre around 3pm”
In 3 hours, we were going to meet our little boy. We couldn’t believe what we were hearing.
Everything else went absolutely text book. The atmosphere was incredibly relaxed, everyone was in great spirits and if I’m honest, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. The team we had with us in the theatre were all so supportive and were appreciative of how relaxed I was. They administered the Spinal Block, did their preparation and began.
At 3.48pm, the world stood still as Alfie George Collins took his first ALMIGHTY breath and filled the room with a scream full of life. My eyes welled up and I cried with him. I lost myself in that moment and just for a second, was more overwhelmed with emotion than I’d ever been before as I watched them tick off their checks with perfect scores. Craig was watching with tears in his eye too, as he cut the cord and helped clean him up, pop a nappy on him, get a little hat on him and get him wrapped up. The anaesthetist had grabbed Craig’s phone and snapped some incredibly precious photos for us. A tiny 5lb 10oz with lots of hair, and his hand in his mouth!
I had decided that I didn’t want my first cuddle until I was sat up out of theatre. Craig cuddled Alfie close to me as they finished the surgery, I couldn’t tell you how long it took, I was lost in the face of our new perfect little boy. In recovery, I had been holding Alfie for around 5 minutes before he started searching for food… and I was able to feed him for 45 minutes SOLID. Little kid was hungry! When he’d finished and was enjoying a snuggly skin to skin cuddle under my blanket, we were wheeled to the ward where I was going to spend the night and that was that.
We were parents.
And that, boys and girls, was how little Alfie George Collins entered the world 20 days early, but so incredibly perfectly.