People might not believe in miracles, but I do!
The most joyful moment of my life was when I witnessed a miracle. My wife was in labour, and our beautiful son came into this world to delighted tears and happiness. My wives were tears of pain, and mine were tears of ecstatic happiness and amazement. I don’t know how many people can honestly say they have witnessed a life being created or start by taking the first-ever breath? I can, and I can say it was magical!
Me, a wheelchair user, a dad?
Being paraplegic for several years, I didn’t think I would become a father. I did think I was a Jaffa, but it turns out I’m not! After the initial shock and sudden surprise when my wife announced she was expecting a child, the 9 months of pregnancy and the preparation are, shall we say, an interesting time. Learning, planning, checking, announcing.
My wife did pregnancy yoga and breathing exercises, and we both attended antenatal classes before the big day. I’m glad we didn’t go in blindfolded, with no knowledge of the birth process and of the early years, which I think we are still in, although he’s eight now!
Challenges started months before the birth. Gathering clothes, bottles, sterilizers, changing mats, tables, a cot, and a jungle gym lays on the floor to create interesting opportunities for the senses. Also, finding a suitable nursery close to home that had space for a new starter, when he will be old enough and one I could access. The list goes on and on; it seems continuous. Did my mum have to get all this for my sister and me when we arrived?
Morning had broken
I am woken by the movement of my heavily expectant wife, pacing up and down the side of the bed. There is no light coming in around the curtain edges, so I know it is early. She announces that her waters have broken, and she thinks it’s on its way. One thing I vividly remember from our antenatal classes is that I do not need to panic. So I roll over and snooze. I’m not sure how long, but I wake again and get told it’s time; we need to leave.
Time to go!
It is amazing how quick a chain of events goes when there is a child’s potential birth on the way. I dress in record time and am ready to leave with the birthing bag on my lap.
We’re in the car and out of the drive. It’s still early on a Sunday morning and the roads are nicely quiet. We make the journey to the Maternity Wing of Stoke Mandeville hospital in good time. I can’t remember if I dumped my wife at the ward door and went to park, or parked and escorted her to the entrance. The timeline of events has no real significance, all that matters is, that we are safely at the security door, pressing the buzzer, trying to gain access. I am calm!
After being shown a pleasant, clean empty room, the action starts. I think it was about 11 am when my son took his first gulp of air. The gas and air I consumed had worn off, and I marvelled at the miraculous event I just witnessed. I had permission to be at the business end for the adventure we were going through, and I sat in wonderment after experiencing this breathtaking, marvellous occasion.
My second memory of the birth-giving classes kicks in, and I strip off my top half. I lean across and cut the umbilical cord with the instrument the nurse hands me. She then passes me my little piece of sunshine. “Hello Jacob,” I say, then lower my head to kiss his forehead as tears of exhilaration continue to roll down my cheeks.
The midwife who supported and helped us through the morning escorts my wife and me to a post-birth ward, where my wife has to spend a night. For some reason, we don’t have enough nappies. Fortunately, I know the town we are in, and after making sure my wife was comfortable, I headed to the nearest supermarket to get supplies. I use this opportunity to pass on the grand announcement of the safe arrival into this world of our son to my immediate family. More tears of jubilation occur, and I struggle to make an announcement.
Well done, my wife, for being a superwoman at the time of birth; well done to the midwife at the labour ward for her support and well done to me for not passing out!
All the skills and wheelchair training, can not prepare me for the next exciting caper of my life….