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Christopher's Birth

Wednesday February 24th, 1982

In everybody's life there are only a handful of days that are unique.

Today was one of them - the birth of our first baby and it came very unexpectedly.

Yesterday when Anne went up the hospital I had resigned myself to a birth sometime next week. When I went to be last night I was tired after my run, but had no idea that it would be 36 hours before I went to bed again.

We had been in bed only a few minutes when Anne complained of pain. It soon became obvious that she was suffering contractions and, after checking them for a while, she telephoned the hospital to say we were on our way.

We arrived at the Norfolk and Norwich at midnight. Anne was examined and bathed while I waited in the fathers' room. It was soon found out that it was not a false alarm and she was taken into the delivery theatre.

It took 11 hours for the baby to come and that was 11 hours of quite a harrowing experience. Anne's pain was awful and it just seemed to drag on and on.

Towards the end it was found that a normal delivery would not be possible because the head was facing the wrong direction. And so after spending three fruitless hours trying to push it out it was decided on a forceps delivery with a local anasthetic.

A doctor then took over and this time it was a straightforward event to deliver a bouncing 7lb 7oz baby boy at 10.55 a.m.

I felt quite emotional seeing such a small, helpless human being that I had helped to give life to. Once the birth was over things began to calm down and Anne was left to rest and then later taken down to one of the wards.

I left at 1 p.m and drove home and made one or two important phone calls before trying to get a couple of hours sleep which made me feel worse than if I hadn't bothered. I got up at 4.20 p.m not sure just what day it was.

Had a bath and something to eat and then drove down to the fish shop which turned out not to be open. Spent a little time phoning people with the news and then at 7 p.m returned to the hospital. Anne was in quite good spirits and Christopher (a new name for the diary that will play such a leading part in our lives in the future) was sleeping.

He really is a gorgeous little thing. I stayed until 8.30 p.m and then got some food from the Chinese takeaway on Unthank Road. Came home and ate that and then spent a good hour phoning round numerous people, before finally going to bed at 11 p.m. So really a day that will never be forgotten.

It ws harrowing in many ways but the end result made up for all the pain and misery. Even Norwich City won away from home and the mortgage rate looks like going down - could things be on the way up again?

NOTES

Anne had suffered pain the day before and gone to the hospital but been released when it turned out to be a false alarm.

At the time of the birth I was in training for a marathon and the previous evening had run for almost two hours. I subsequently took part and completed the Bungay Black Dog Marathon in Suffolk and gave up marathon running after it.

As I write this piece Christopher is asleep in his bedroom having enjoyed a night out with friends last night. He is now getting on for 17, is taller than me and will soon be starting to study for A levels. He wouldn't thank me for once referring to him as a gorgeous little thing.

I still vividly remember my drive back from the hospital. It's only a distance of about six miles but I can remember the feeling of elation and emotion.

©Peter Steward 1982, 1998

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