Sailor 5
23 May

I’m going to be a Daddy! – James’ birth story

I felt so prepared. I knew all the Mr Miyagi style contraction massage moves that we were taught in the NCT classes. I had my contraction timer on my iPhone and I knew I needed to wait for the 60 second contraction before we drove sedately to hospital. I had half of the Waitrose fruit and juice aisles packed into the boot of my car along with more chargers, iPads, laptops and other electronic bits of kit than most of the rest of Kingston Hospital put together. The hospital bags were packed including my swimming trunks in case I needed to get into the water bath with Julia at the hospital and the whole of Season 2 of Mad Men to while away the time. Everything was all checked off and ready to go. I even had this grand plan to open a bottle of wine and give Julia a glass when she had her first contraction…to drink in the bath at home.


It’s all a bit of a blur. 1:30am I went to DEFCON 5 (or 1, whichever is the emergency one) the second that Julia told me she thought she had wet herself. Wahoo! The waters had burst and I called the midwife department at Kingston hospital. They wanted me to bring her in “just to check her blood pressure and any possibility of infection”. Having watched two episodes of Dr Who the evening before to try and turn my brain off (I am a bit of a geek at heart), all I could hear in my head was the Dr Who running-towards-scary-stuff-with-gusto orchestral score as I drove like a mad man to the hospital. Dumping the car astride two spaces I helped Julia up to the midwife triage. They checked Julia, all was well, we went home after being told that it will probably be a day or two before we need to go back. A day or two… [insert echo] … a day or two… a day or two…


Four hours later Julia’s contractions hit her like a tsunami, which is what the water in the bath looked like as it sloshed over the side. Didn’t have time to open the wine. I had my iPhone timer and was dumfounded to find that her contractions were ninety seconds long and sixty seconds apart. Not a single opportunity to use the birthing ball rolling uselessly around the kitchen nor could I put into action my wax on wax off massage moves on her lower back. “Don’t touch me,” she growled in a possessed Exorcist-y voice.  The midwife sweetly suggested I should get her in the car immediately and saunter, not speed, over to the hospital. I ripped open the new TENS machine packaging, furiously read the instructions and slapped the pads onto her back. I handed her the controller and Julia instinctively and through gritted teeth pushed the little plus button until it beeped a little warning of over-egging the pain relief. Julia pushed it to the max and fifteen minutes later we were sauntering at forty miles an hour with Julia averaging three, sixty second contractions in ten minutes.

So here I am twelve hours later (eighteen hours after the waters burst) with Julia epiduraled up to the eyeballs, the threat of C section and a memory of all the parents who laughed when I proudly told them of our all natural birth plan that we drafted in triplicate over dinner one evening. “Wait and see,” they said. “What will happen, will happen,” they said. Well I saw and it happened.

As I write this I have yet to meet my slow arriving daughter who seems quite happy in the warm, dark, muffled mummy bag. I have just been given my scrubs, if required, and there has been a shift change stealing away all the lovely nurses and mid-wives who I’ve been learning from all day to be replaced by other fabulous midwives who I met earlier this morning at 2am. “Still here?” they asked chirpily as they all examined Julia’s lady bits. 6 cm dilation! Finally established labour.

We had packed three hospital bags of stuff from a list derived from a number of different sources. We have used barely anything in the bags apart from the Natracare maternity pads that I HIGHLY recommend that you pack as the hospital don’t have any and they have proved to be essential. They showed us when the show had left the building and then much importantly they showed up that Abdul had pooped in the womb. This was a warning bell that started a whole three ringed circus of ‘fun’. Oh yes, we also used the 100 bendy straws, without which Julia would never get a chance to drink anything.

Julia will be back and writing as soon as she has squeezed out my daughter. She started to dictate a blog to me before I wrote this, but to be honest she was otherwise distracted. Four contractions every ten minutes. Ten out of ten for effort though. 

So until then I am going to change into my scrubs and take a photo of myself in the mirror.


  1. 23 May

    Jo Belfield

    Lovely post James :) I really enjoyed reading it :)

  2. 23 May


    Holy smokes! Action stations. Good luck for the delivery, the first few days and – well – beyond that too!

  3. 23 May

    Matt P

    All hands on deck! The photo on this post seems very appropriate.

    Good luck you guys!

  4. 23 May

    Claire Pearson

    What an amazing account. You’ll be so glad you got these details down as it happened. :) Newborn babies smell just gorgeous (once they are cleaned up a bit). Enjoy every minute x

  5. 23 May


    Congratulations!! I had three different sets of midwives I was there so long having Willow. So worth it in the end. Hope you are both enjoying time with your daughter now.

  6. 23 May

    Amy Georgina

    Fingers crossed for everything in the next few days guys, however little miss arrives it’ll all be so amazing (even if it means the c-word, I’ve had one, it’s not too bad although I hope you maintain some of your original plan). Good luck, pleasant happy thoughts coming your way, can’t wait for the ‘big reveal’!!

  7. 23 May

    mandy meadows

    Wow I’m with you and Julia all the way. Good luck ad good bless

  8. 24 May

    Jenny AKA Mrs O

    Holy fook! this is bringing it all back…. sounds very much like my own birth story 8 short weeks ago. It was all but forgotten until I read this….. and then i remembered that when William was delivered onto my tummy all pain and exhaustion evaporated and I was euphoric – cannot wait to hear more! It’s such a beautiful thing, life, it really is x

  9. 25 May

    Jonny Boughton

    James – well done m’old NCT buddy. Given you’re now fully qualified and experienced, will you be Karen and my “doula”for our imminent arrival?

  10. 25 May

    Andy Brooks

    Great account James – a new dad/dad to be’s perspective is always interesting (and entertaining) – best laid plans always go out the window and we become the kings of rolling with the punches and improvising on these occasions. Sounds like you did a grand job!

  11. 25 May


    Oh James this account did make me smile, yep you just can’t plan for babies. They will do whatever they want to do. But you handled it perfectly. Well done!

  12. 25 May

    Abby Wilkes

    You make me smile James! Yep, it’s all bringing back memories. Don’t bother making a plan. The little one will decide what happens. Well done and enjoy! x

  13. 27 May


    Such a lovely (and funny) post! It’s not often you hear the dad’s side of the story, I think this would get a thumbs up from dads everywhere! Congratulations!

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