Birth Diaries: 'My Husband Was On A Work Do When I Went Into Labour – And Fell Asleep In The Hospital'

"He had a few drinks, missed the last bus, and phoned me to come and pick him up."
HuffPost UK
HuffPost UK

In HuffPost Birth Diaries we hear the extraordinary stories of the everyday miracle of birth. This week, Lucille Whiting shares her story. If you’d like to share yours, email amy.packham@huffpost.com.

My pregnancy was relatively normal until – at eight months – I was in a car accident. We were on a fast road and someone pulled out, then slammed into the back of us. It put me in hospital for a few days. Everything seemed okay, I was assured, but after the accident I kept getting twinges. I’d go back to the midwife each time but she said everything was normal. The twinges carried on, but there was still no sign of active labour.

Four weeks before my due date I’d been to see my midwife, who confirmed there was no sign of this baby coming any time soon. “It’ll be ages, you’ll go over your due date”, she told me. Hearing this, my partner asked if he could go out on a leaving do at work that night. I thought we had weeks, so I agreed.

“Go out, enjoy yourself it might be the last time for a while!” I joked.

Off he went to the leaving do, 20 miles away in Cambridge. He had a few drinks, missed the last bus, then phoned me to come and pick him up later that night. I jumped in the car, but as soon as I did those “twinges” got stronger. I started timing them on the clock while I was driving and realised how regular they were. By the time I got to him, they were every five minutes.

Lucille Whiting
Lucille Whiting

Having had a few drinks, there was no way he could’ve driven home so I had to drive all the way back by which time my contractions were three minutes apart. We phoned the hospital and were told to go straight in. The taxi driver said it’d be a whopping £60 for the short ride – “if your waters break we’ll have to clean it” – but we had no other option, so we agreed.

As soon as I got there, the midwives checked me over and said that, yes, I was in active labour. They ran me a lovely, warm lavender bath in the room and I got in to relax as they popped in and out to check on me. My husband sat down next to the bath and soon after I got in, having been concentrating on my contractions and breathing, I realised he was curled up on the floor asleep.

This was to the amusement of the midwife, who gave him a good old kick when she spotted him. “Get up, we’re moving, it’s time!” she said. That woke him up for sure, and we went straight into the delivery room where I had an epidural.

He perked up then – but was still a little bit delirious. I don’t think he realised it was happening! Despite everything that had gone on for the last few hours, he hadn’t quite caught up.

I remember him turning to me and saying: “Do I have to phone work to say I’m not going in tomorrow then?” The doctor looked at him and said: “Yes!”

The epidural slowed things down a bit – I just didn’t feel the urge to push because I couldn’t feel anything. That said, I was pushing and pushing (and pushing and puuushing), but nothing was happening. It was utterly exhausting and I got to the point where I was just too tired to carry on.

I needed it to be over, so they eventually used forceps to deliver my son. Painful, but needed. I was stunned when I saw him – my little boy. A lot of people say they don’t feel that immediate rush of love but I really, really did. I had waited a long time to have him, I just wanted them to give him to me!

They had to rush him off because he was a bit blue and floppy, but they soon revived and weighed him. “Can you bring him back!” I remember asking. I didn’t like them taking him away (as any woman would feel). He was back in a few minutes, of course, but that time just feels like 100 years when you’re in it.

I was so relieved to have him in my arms, as was my partner who was now fully back with it. He was finally a dad! It’s a birth story we have told many times over the years – and it always makes people laugh.

My birth advice?

Every pregnancy is different. Every birth is different. Every baby is different. Just like every mum is different. Make sure you’re happy, comfortable and in control of what is gong on. You might not feel like you are, but you can be.