After three years of trying to have a child and three subsequent miscarriages when pregnancy number four was announced to me in the wee (literally) small hours that night I panicked and smiled in equal measures. Truth be told our ‘history’ had hit me hard, perhaps harder than I imagined and the black dog had never been far away. I doubted myself I doubted my relationship and even doubted I’d ever be the parent I’d longed to be.

The months that followed were lived from scan to scan with one every fortnight initially and everytime the relief of seeing a heartbeat was breathtaking. Without fail whenever we heard that steady rhythm coming from the darkness I shed a tear or two of both relief and joy that ‘Bean’ was growing as he should. Of course we still had a couple of scares including a terrifying bleed at 16 weeks that had us racing to Exeter again to be told everything looked ok and it was perhaps just ‘one of those things’ along with R nearly passing out whilst at work (typically whilst I was on the road somewhere).

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know I work away a fair bit so throughout the pregnancy there were messages and phone calls to check on Mother and Bean and finally I was grounded a fortnight before the due date to avoid any midnight dashes across the country. It was something I worried about a great deal as (in my head) I should have always be there to give R a back massage or even just to throw some food together. I know it’s hard to believe but I went from Mr Miserable Black Dog to Mary Bloody Poppins and took care of everything I possibly could to lighten the load, I even managed to control my temper more than ever and smiled (around 14 times over eight months in case you wondered).

So to the big day, three days early (thus avoiding the registrar’s talk of R being induced due to her age?!?) and the feeling of a familiar lump clambering back onto the bed post nocturnal loo visit only for that person to utter the words I’ll never forget.

‘Babe, don’t panic but I think it’s started’

Don’t panic, of course DON’T PANIC!!!!!

To be fair I went and made myself a Lemsip (other cold relief hot beverages are available) as I’d felt absolutely shocking the night before and got on with phoning the hospital. After I calmly let them know R was in labour and that the contractions were around two minutes apart they said ‘we’ll see you when you get here’. So that was that, finally I had permission to spank my company car (complete with its speed tracking device) all the way to Exeter at around five in the morning…imagine a pensioner with bad eyes and a gammy leg in their Nissan Micra and you’ll get the picture for the back roads, once we hit the A30 however I opened the taps a wee bit and we made it to the hospital in record time.

Upon examination R was six centimetres dilated already and we were told in no uncertain terms that we’d be having our baby that day. Those words again won’t ever be forgotten simply because of the weight they carried and how much it meant to us both. We would be having a baby…as in our baby…ya know like grown ups do but not us as it ‘always’ went wrong…

From us arriving to Bean being born was a mere two hours forty minutes later, yes there were tears, yes there was fear there was even a fair smattering of bodily fluids kicking about the place but there was one thing in that room I’ll never forget. I’d always said I thought R would just get in the zone and get on with birth but never for one minute did I know what power (both mental and physical) she possessed. Gas and air was cast asunder as it was making her feel ‘out of control’ so for the period of pushing it was gritted teeth and focus on the job in hand. Technically Bean was born ventouse, however with the suction bowl being cracked (someone missed their daily checks there I feel) it’s impact was miminum and R did 95% of the work required.

The immediate aftermath of the birth room was pretty surreal to say the least, slowly the midwives and doctors disappear leaving three people where only two had walked in. One of them knackered elated and complete with some nifty blanket stitches the other still plodding round with bare feet after nearly fainting early doors due to the heat and terrible man flu (a bit of a sniffle). Nine months of stress and worry had got us to this day and by the time my head hit the Premier Inn pillow that night I already knew it was all worthwhile.