Sophie Pennington-Ridge, 28, brought home a Christmas baby boy on the same day as her sister-in-law...
When was your baby actually due?
My due date was 16th December. It had been a worrying nine months as I suffer from epilepsy, plus I had a two-year-old to look after on top of being pregnant! So I was looking forward to the baby arriving.
Your sister in law was due around the same time...
Yes, Amy was due on the 19th. I never thought our babies would arrive on the same day, although we are close so we'd talked at length about how lovely that would be. For some reason I kept thinking she would have hers before me even though her due date was after.
What happened on your due date?
Absolutely nothing! Or the day after, or the day after that... But in the evening of 20th December, I sat down in front of the TV after doing the washing up. My husband Alec was on phone to his parents and I felt like I had started to zone out. That's all I remember - the next thing I knew I was coming round on the floor, and Alec was telling me he'd called an ambulance.
I'd had an epileptic fit, not good news at 40 weeks pregnant. The ambulance arrived and I had to go in it on my own because we had to wait for my mum to arrive to look after Joseph. I remember crying in the ambulance and feeling very scared and sick.
What happened then?
I arrived at A&E and was taken straight up to the maternity ward. I was put into a side room and hooked up to monitor to check the baby. At this point I was feeling slight pains but nothing too bad, in fact I managed to get a bit of sleep and Alec was allowed to sleep on the floor in the room when he arrived. It was at this point he told me that earlier, at home, he had called my brother, Gordon to get him to come to look after Joseph but he'd said he couldn't because he was already in hospital as Amy was in labour! I couldn't believe it!
When did things start to really happen?
Alec left at about 6am to get back to see Joseph. They examined me about 8am and I was a couple of centimetres dilated, so they decided to break my waters.
Just before that happened, Gordon appeared to tell me I was an auntie, Amy had given birth to a baby boy, Sonny.
At that point I knew the babies would be arriving on the same day. But then things got a lot worse for me. Alec came back in and I was hanging onto the gas and air tube! During the morning the pains increased, and I asked for pethidine, but I wasn't allowed it because of my epilepsy. They gave me another type of painkiller, but when I asked for more a bit later I couldn't have it as it was making the baby drowsy. I had to do the last bit with just gas and air.
Three big pushes and, at 12.02pm, our baby boy Harry arrived... and I think I nearly broke Alec's hand!
What kind of an entrance did Harry make?
Harry weighed 9lb 8oz, a good healthy weight, but he wasn't breathing. Alec was supposed to cut the cord but they rushed him to the resucitation table instead. They had already sounded the alarm and about five doctors and nurses rushed in. I was terrified, and kept asking what was going on. The midwife who helped deliver him was trying to reassure me that he'd be fine, but later my husband told me he'd seen Harry looking very blue. But he recovered, and as soon as I saw him I felt that familiar rush of love. It was amazing.
Were you home in time for Christmas?
Yes, we got home on the 22nd. Christmas Day was tiring as we spent the morning at home then went to my parents' for dinner, then my husband's sister for a visit early evening. We hadn't really got anything for Harry as we didn't know if he'd be here or not - we're treating this as his first Christmas!
How will you be celebrating this year?
This year we are all going to Gordon's house for Christmas dinner so Harry and Sonny will be spending they day together, which is lovely. They see each other every week now as we live so close - it's going to be such a pleasure seeing our Christmas boys grow up together!
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