A Successful Home Delivery and the Lockdown/Lock-In.
My second son was born late Saturday night (what would normally have been my beer night) two weeks ago, after a short, but intense, labour.
He was delivered at home by two brilliant midwives, who were fully protected courtesy of customised #tinap bin bag aprons, unused clean air protest dust masks, and disposable gloves my wife stocked up on back in February when – without any scientific advice whatsoever – she somehow accurately foresaw the current coronavirus global pandemic somehow reaching the UK's shores (and airports). Practising prudent use of valuable PPE supplies, the midwives wore their own prescription spectacles to protect from splashes to the eyes. (This is, of course, not true. They had NHS supplied aprons, surgical masks, and gloves.)
Now, we've had our groceries, pizza and most other household and personal items delivered to our home, rather than dealing with the stress of actually going out and having to interact with other people, for years, so a home delivery of our new son might have seemed like an obvious choice.
But a home birth was definitely Plan B, and only came to be Plan A due to coronavirus related issues with hospital birth and childcare arrangements for our nearly six year old, which now favoured delivery at home.
Preparing for birth
My boss had told me a few days prior that 'home births are great, because you can make a cup of tea'.
So, I stocked up on tea bags, and prepared myself mentally and physically for the big day by repeatedly ignoring my wife's pleas to listen to her hypnobirthing mp3s on the expected role of the 'birthing partner' (whatever that is), and getting through the last of my beer stockpile in anticipation of several years of enforced sobriety (in order to deal with nighttime and next morning emergencies).
I'm just thankful we never got around to implementing my boss's idea for a work appraisal, because his multi-tasking expectations are clearly way beyond my capabilities.
Labour of birth
While I fully accept that I had the easiest job on the night (bar my nearly six year old, who thankfully slept through it all in the adjacent bedroom), I was very pleased the main bit was over relatively quickly (three hours) as my right arm and hand were getting tired.
To ease the pain of contractions, and in the absence of any pain relief other than 'gas and air', my wife insisted (on pain of death) that I massage her lower back for two minutes every three minutes.
In between massages/contractions, I had to top up her glass of filtered water and hold it to her lips for her to drink.
When the baby's head came out, slowly, I remember thinking it was weirdly like watching a picture coming out of a printer.
When he was out, I immediately noticed his testicles seemed abnormally large, the size of giant tea bags. (Turns out they were swollen with fluid.)
'He's a boy, he's definitely a boy!' I said.
I could have done with some gas and air myself at this point.
My wife has been pretty amazing through it all. I don't know how she copes with the lack of sleep, although I'm doing my best to make sure she gets a couple of hours whenever she can when she's not busy feeding baby.
I have done a few nappy changes. Son no. 1 is always delighted whenever his little brother pees all over me, which was really his main reason for wanting a little brother in the first place.
We're mainly homebirds, so the lockdown/lock-in has not been too bad for us. And we're lucky to have had everything we needed, including toilet paper, flour, use of our communal garden and area where we live for exercise, sunshine, unusually fresh air, and seeing red kites and egrets flying over, among other lesser spotted wildlife.
My eldest lad has suffered the most, as he misses his school routine and friends, which is compounded by his not realising that he would no longer be the centre of attention now his little brother is here.