At 8pm on Saturday 21st January 2012, it began.
Having waited not entirely patiently for nine months, Becca finally went into labour. I say went into labour, although to be honest, at that stage it was really just the odd contraction every 20 or so minutes. It was exciting but also frustrating as it was still impossible to say how long the labour would last. We would soon find that the answer to that question was “a very long time.”
After very little for sleep for Becca on Saturday night, Sunday morning arrived but things didn’t appear to be any further along. Even by Sunday evening, when we actually dropped into Crowborough Birthing Centre, we were told that the labour was still at a painstakingly early stage and so we had to go home.
Monday daytime wasn’t much better (although on a positive note I did get to play a lot of Zelda to pass the time) but the contractions steadily grew closer together and more powerful. At 6pm on Monday, Becca was officially admitted at the birthing centre. Finally, it seemed that we could get this show on the road.
Crowborough Birthing Centre is an amazing place to have a baby. It in no way feels like a hospital and is just so cosy and lovely. And as we were the only people there that night, the care we received from the midwives Daphne & Becky, was top notch and I can’t sing their praises enough. They popped in regularly to check how Becca was getting on and offered to make us drinks, run baths etc. It was just phenomenal.
We sat and watched a bit of a Friends DVD to pass the time, although Becca was understandably a little distracted and now claims to remember nothing of it at all. After a bath and a further check up at around 10pm, the midwives told us that we would have to make a decision about what to do next. The baby was back to back and just wasn’t moving into the right position. As Crowborough doesn’t have any medical back up, the midwives suggested that we consider being transferred to Pembury Hospital in Tunbridge Wells in order that Becca could have an epidural and drugs to speed up the process. We were gutted to make the decision to leave Crowborough as the care had been so good there, but Becca was clearly in a lot of pain and a transfer seemed the best option. After a brief discussion about what we’d do, I went and told the midwives they should call for an ambulance to take Becca to Pembury.
Whilst all this was going on, I was keeping people updated on Facebook as to what was happening. The support we received from friends and members of the church family was amazing. It was incredibly reassuring to know that so many people were praying for Becca all the way through her labour and anytime some new information arose, I was immediately putting it on Facebook as I knew people would be using it to pray, and as things stood, we needed all the help we could get.
The ambulance seemed to take an age to arrive and when it finally did, it was one of those paramedic cars. The midwives said there was no way Becca was going to be able to get to Pembury in that so they called for an actual ambulance, which we later found out had to come from Brighton, a good 45 minutes drive away. So we had an inordinately long wait for this ambulance, during which Becca was becoming more and more uncomfortable.
About ten minutes before the ambulance arrived, Becca said that she felt like she needed to push. After a quick check by the midwives, they were amazed that the baby had moved into exactly the right position and so we were back to Plan A, a Crowborough birth. All that prayer really paid off.
The midwives got Becca to jump onto a birthing stool. At this point I realised that this baby was actually going to arrive. I knew she was in their and had been for nine months. I’d felt her kick and move around. But until Becca was told to get on that stool, I don’t think I’d actually realised we were going to have a real life baby. And that was the most singularly terrifying moment of my life to date.
Over the next 35 or so minutes, Becca was an absolute pushing machine. Even the midwives were impressed. It was such a bizarre experience. Becca was on a birthing stool, I was sitting behind her whilst a midwife was lying on the floor on account of her dodgy knee. Amidst the pushing, one cracking moment came when Becca declared that her hair was a mess. The midwives said she probably had bigger things to be worrying about at that point.
Then finally, at 00:27am on Tuesday 24th January 2012, Melody Joy Feesey was born, weighing 6lb 5oz. And she is beautiful. Admittedly when she first came out I thought she looked like a cross between a little old man and E.T. and there was definitely a split second where I thought she was a boy due to the unfortunate placement of her umbilical cord. But she was, and is, most definitely a girl.
I got to cut the chord before we were furnished with cups of tea along with a ridiculous amount of toast and marmalade. It was brilliant and the midwives really looked after the three of us. Daphne and Becky saw us through the night and Hilary was brilliant for us the next day.
And so with my new found daddy-dom, a different type of youth work has begun. This is one child who I can’t give back at the end of the evening. For all my thoughts on Christian parenting and what it should look like, the time has come for me to actually put them into practice. It’s a little bit scary but also very exciting.