It had been a normal start to the day. I dropped off A (my lovely lady) at her workplace for an 8am start then headed home, grabbed a coffee on the way scolding my hands on that bastard paper cup, got showered then grabbed my laptop to start my own working day.
An hour later A texted to say she was leaving work early, she'd not been feeling well and I think her colleagues suggested she go get checked out, 7 months pregnant and feeling some pains over a few days after a very easy pregnancy was giving us both a little concern , but A thought it was something common like Braxton hicks.
Two hours later we would have a baby boy.
We went to the maternity hospital and after dealing with some staff who were trying to dissuade us from just dropping by, we were booked in to see a midwife. I don't think they were being awkward, just that they really aren't setup for drop-in visits like ours.
Either way they booked us in without much fuss and a midwife came to talk with A, we also got a biscuit and jug of water which made things feel quite normal, I expected we'd be leaving pretty soon after the check-up.
After a scan things started to move fast.
It turned out A was actually dealing with the pain rather well as her body had began preparation for labour, the placenta had separated from the uterus, this could be seen from an old blood-clot on the scan and while we had been in the room A's water's had broken! we were now on borrowed time.
I remember the doctor consoling A on how the timing of her visit had been perfect and how we were in the best place possible (we really were!) in that professional manner, reassuring even though things are actually quite serious , A's face contorting as the emotion swept over her, the realisation that your baby needs to be delivered straight away is quite a hard thing to be hit with.
We were moved into a large room with plenty of sinks and cupboards and it's own bathroom, lots of space for equipment and the numerous staff who were filtering in through the door. Consent forms were produced and procedures explained with risks outlined as I got changed in the bathroom into scrubs, I felt a bit bewildered, poor A huh!
A spinal was administered then we were moved into surgery, I sat down with A her bottom half hidden from view with large sheets of paper towel so we couldn't see the procedure which I was advised can be grisly looking. I held A's right arm as it shook dramatically from the pain control drugs while people fed us regular updates on the operation who could only hear. We chatted and almost joked at times as the c-section cutting device crackled away behind the paper veil.
People would keep checking I was ok , I did feel pretty overwhelmed from lack of sleep and the adrenaline making my heart skip beats, but then I was just stunned, I had it easy as I wasn't the one going through major abdominal surgery.
It felt so peculiar when I was called over to the weighing area to take pictures of my new son! He was a bump several hours prior!. We were supposed to have 7 more weeks to procrastinate and stress! It was crazy how quickly we'd gone from a drama free pregnancy to this sudden c-section!
It had been a rollercoaster of a morning.
As I frantically texted freshly taken photos of our newborn to immediate family one of the scrub nurses came over and wrapped her arms round me, as things were getting setup for surgery A had recognised one of her work colleagues was working in the room that day :)
Out of surgery and back into that large functional room the little one had to be taken to NICU ( Neo natal Intensive Care Unit ) , I was assured I could go see him shortly , mum would have to wait a bit longer as she'd need to remain in bed and be wheeled up.
I went up to NICU still a little shellshocked, not quite knowing what was happening at that point or what was to come, felt a little helpless. In NICU there were several of those serious looking incubators, like mini greenhouses with titchy babies in them, quiet and controlled with extremely proficient looking staff tending to the little people around them.
I peered into that incubator to see that little man , the tiniest head, that little furrowed brow , his skin bright red, not really knowing what to say to him and feeling inadequate that I couldn't stand there and say anything easily, nothing naturally was coming to mind.
A member of staff came over and introduced herself as the scheduling manager then tactfully informed me there was no bed for us at Bristol, unfortunately we would not be able to stay as he wasn't expected and more importantly (luckily!) not sick enough.
Bristol NICU is top class and covers a very large area of the south-west (if not the south west), so effectively we were getting a positive downgrade to another hospital, 'Southmead' I ventured hopefully, 'taunton' she replied.
They knew it was going to be quite hard for mum to hear this, just after an operation that leaves you bed ridden and unable to move yourself around the news did hit her quite hard but A is accepting, we knew it had to happen.
I went home soon after to pick up some items for the sudden unplanned trip, then headed back to spend time between NICU and the recovery ward, already colleagues from the nearby Royal infirmary had visited A and baby, atleast three on that first day.
It was around 11:30pm when we got the green light to head to Taunton and the assurance there would be somewhere for me to stay. I would travel down that night while A remained, hopefully for as short a time as possible.
Ambulances are not the most comfortable ride , the vehicle would shudder giving you an idea of the quality road surface underneath, little man would let out a little cry in protest.
I sat in the chair next to him reading about Wim Hof the Dutchman who can withstand freezing cold conditions with ease, which made me feel reassured reading about how resilient the human body can be.
At taunton I still felt quite shell shocked, it was late, it was dark and quiet and unfamiliar , in the ward I was told a few rules such as washing hands and advised not to have brought my jacket into the room. I felt sheepish and foolish not knowing all these things that seemed like common sense. I wanted to wait while they hooked up the babies incubator to just see him one more time, but the nurses looked really busy, I felt a bit spare so I asked if I could dump my stuff in the room we'd been allocated , definitely a room in a hospital so not exactly cosy but still great to have it supplied! I sat on the light bed which easily shifted on plastic wheels, texting A updates then deciding I was good to no-one and laid down to try and get some sleep so I could get up at a reasonable time on day 1 of my Son's life!.