Okay this is long but it’s worth it. My Baby Piglet, Jack’s, birth story is worthy of the telling so please forgive my indulgence.
Our Baby Piglet has many nicknames – Jackasaurus Rexicus, Sprogulous Midimus, JackJack, Baby Piglet, The Colonel, Big Mac Jack and The Trouser Leg Baby to name them. Not bad for a dinky dot with the real name of Jack Richard. He was going to be Daniel Jack Richard but his arrival changed that.
Let me explain why he gained the names Big Mac Jack, The Colonel and The Trouser Leg Baby as they are all connected and intertwined to one fateful day. It was also the reason he lost the Daniel.
We found out on Alex’s 1st birthday that we were expecting Jack. He was our honeymoon baby – literally – and he was due on 10th May 2008. His paternal Granny knew exactly what day he would arrive on and stated right from the start that it would be the 5th May – what would have been her dad’s 84th birthday.
The pregnancy was easier than Alex’s – pretty uneventful – and we got to the morning of the 5th May without excitement. I was working out what time he would need to start from to arrive on the 5th to make Granny happy and, based on the length of Alex’s 15 hour labour, worked out that Baby Piglet would need to start making its way into the world by 9am.
I was laying in bed having cuddles with Alex and told her at about 9.30 to tell her brother or sister to get a move on – jokingly – and she did something she hadn’t done at all during the pregnancy. She lifted my top to reveal my bump, reached down, stroked it, kissed it and laid her cheek against it.
Ouch – there was a huge tightening in my bump that never stopped. The second it hit Alex got very concerned as she thought she had hurt mummy and I had to try and make sure that she didn’t see me in pain. We rang the hospital and explained what was happening and they asked how far apart the pains were. Apart?? It was one long continual pain that increased to intense heights before settling back at nearly but not quite so intense heights!
“Ooh it sounds like you are in labour – pop down” they said.
We dutifully rang Granny and told her that we weren’t sure but thought we might be in labour, pottered bout getting the last of the hospital bag ready, got into the car and took Alex the twenty or so houses up to Granny’s house, knocked on the door – nothing! Richard wandered off down to the garden centre and came back up a few minutes later with mother and daughter. All of those few minutes I had spent screaming his name as i was in absolute agony but as he returned I hit a plateau of calm and the pain leveled out.
“No thanks Granny we don’ want a cup of tea thanks”
“No thanks ” through gritted teeth ” I don’t want to swap the car seats around.”
I found out afterwards that Granny thought I was being melodramatic especially as we weren’t even sure I was in labour – how little we knew and how different would things have been if we had stopped for tea! We set off leaving a very concerned looking Alex with Granny.
This was where it got rather scary. Somewhere along the way to the hospital – just past KFC but not quite as far along as McDonald’s – I decided I was uncomfortable and wanted to get into the most comfortable position I had found during my labour with Alex – on my knees.
I undid my seatbelt to some protestation from Richard and lifted myself up to turn into the footwell………
There was a feeling that can only be described as a slither and it dawned on me, very quickly that the baby had arrived! I couldn’t sit down, I couldn’t move, Richard was still driving and I was in a stunned state!
At this point I also realised how condescending men can be with their voices 😛 as the conversation went a bit like this….
“Richard! The baby’s here”
“Yes dear I know it’s coming. We’ll be there soon.”
“No Richard. The baby’s here!”
“I know it’s on its way. We’ll be at the hospital soon.”
“No Richard! the (add an expletive beginning with F) baby is in my (repeat that expletive!) trousers!” – I am rather proud of the fact that these plus once more on the journey were the only times that I swore through all three labours!
Silence. Incredulous silence. A glance down then back to the road – remember he is still driving – another glance down and a hand starting to make its tremulous way towards this tiny lump that had appeared whilst the other hand is still steering the still moving car.
Then a bleat! That newborn bleat that only newborn babies can make and dawning on Richard’s face. He suddenly sped up and started wrestling for his phone. I told him to concentrate on the driving and I’d phone 999. Not for an ambulance – the ambulance station was behind us and we were closer to the hospital – but to look for reassurance and that if any of the camera’d red lights that we were “ambulance jumping” took our picture we had proof for a good case to ask them not to give us any licence points.
Imagine the scene as we arrived at the hospital. It is Bank Holiday Monday. The social club directly next door has a car boot sale on and there are people and cars everywhere….. cars going the wrong way out of the hospital entrance and lots of people walking past. In we come, the correct way in our big Renault Espace and the car coming the other way keeps coming…… and we keep going with me frantically telling him to move with hand gestures.
He finally gets the message and moved, Richard hauled the car onto the ambulance chevrons at the hospital doors and goes rushing in to find a nurse with me clinging onto the hand rest with one hand and the ceiling handle with the other unable to sit down in case I squidged this mewling bundle somewhere beneath me.
Out came Ramesh with his wheelchair to escort me in. I refused to let him open the door – I wanted a nurse thank you very much! Richard came out looking bewildered and disappeared again only to emerge a few seconds later with a horde of blue uniforms all holding towels.”Awwww they’ve brought something to wrap the baby in” methinks. After all I have seen the TV dramas – they always ask for towels! But no. They used the towels to form a curtain between me and the people going past to protect my dignity. Wonderful! They helped me out of my jogging bottoms and the first sight of our baby was this little face pushing my underwear aside, looking very unimpressed I might add. “You mean I fought my way out of that lovely place only to be confronted with all this rubbish in the way” was the impression I was given 😀
They helped me into a wheelchair and, still with the cord connected, took me down to the labour ward where Richard dutifully cut the cord – something he hadn’t been able to do with Alex as she had been an emergency section. Having never crowned with Alex it struck me that the intense pain I had felt on the drive at Granny’s house was Jack crowning. This was confirmed when Ben was just as painful! It had taken about 45 minutes from that first intense contraction to his arrival.
As Jack had given me quite a severe tear I was taken to theatre for another full spinal block whilst Richard moved the car and sat with our gorgeous little boy. We had already had the conversation that, as he had been born on his Great Grandad’s birthday and his Great Grandad was known as Jack that it seemed only right to drop the Daniel and promote Jack to be his christian name. After checking with Granny that it wouldn’t be a problem they revealed that both she and her mum had secretly hoped we would call him Jack but hadn’t mentioned it as they didn’t want to pressure us so were elated at our decision.
Before they did wheel me off to theatre though they did let me phone my mum. Simply because all I could imagine was my poor dad trying to drive the motorways over to us with her screaming in his ear about the “baby they didn’t think would make it” as that was the impression Richard had given his dad! Oops – sorry dad!
As I was separated from Jack for a fair while I struggled to find the bond that was instantaneous when Alex arrived and, along with some health scares that were unconnected with his birth, it took me the best part of a year to find that rush of love and when it hit me it was astounding. Yet every time I hug him now it is that little bit tighter as I feel guilty that it took so long.
Why his nicknames then? Our Jack was born somewhere between KFC (The Colonel) and McDonald’s (Big Mac Jack) and had been born into a trouser leg (The Trouser Leg Baby). Just think who is getting a pair of jogging bottoms as a present on his 21st!
On a side note – I believe in the strings theory. That everything is connected by virtual strings somehow. We found out we were expecting Jack on Alex’s birthday and he arrived on Grandad Jack’s birthday. A couple of weeks later Nana (Grandad Jack’s wife) called us. She had been woken up in the middle of the night with a realisation……
Our Jack had been born in a car.
His Great Grandad had died in his car.
Co-incidence or strings?