“The lockdown had started. Lou was very close. During the sweep the midwife had said that the baby would probably come during the weekend. We went home and had a pretty normal evening. I did a bit of gardening, had tea and went to bed. I’m not going to lie, I was a bit worried about not being able to attend the delivery because of this whole Covid thing. At around 12AM Lou nudged me, ‘I’m having contractions.’ By this point the contractions were all over the place. We called the maternity, but they said to try wait it out— Lou’s waters hadn’t broken.
“This wasn’t our first, so I was quite calm at this point. I turned to Lou and told her that we’d have a quick shower and that we’d go to the hospital right after that.” Paul’s words kept to a steady tempo.
“I was just out of the shower when Lou said, ‘They’re getting worse, you need to call the maternity.’”
“I was on the phone to triage when I heard Lou in the bathroom saying that her waters had broken. My reply was ‘That’s great.’ To which she replied ‘Oh my God! I can feel the head!’ I then said what the voice in my head was telling me had to be true, ‘No you can’t!’
“The maternity triage said to phone 999, which I did, but by this point there was no time. I dragged Lou onto the floor. The baby was out with the next set of contractions, but she had the chord around her neck. I kept thinking; I’m going to lose them both. I nearly crumbled.
“The call handler told me how to untangle the chord and clear her airway to start her breathing. The sound of her finally crying was the best thing I’d ever heard. Things were far from over though and I knew it. When we had our son Jack, Lou ended up losing a lot of blood, so the joy of the baby crying wore off quick.
“Lou was still on the cold bathroom floor. When the thought of losing them returned, it nearly broke me. I kept pinching the baby to keep her crying and the call handler kept me talking,” said Paul. Even over the phone it was obvious that Paul was back with Lou; both still on the floor. Both sweating. Both breathing heavily.
“The ambulance came quick, but it felt like a lifetime. I was so thankful to see a proper medical professional. The NHS were incredible. Looking back, the whole thing was amazing, however I would have preferred it not to have been so stressful!
“I picked them both up the next day. We named her Eva Helen, after my sister who passed away twenty years ago. She’s seven weeks old now, feeding well and putting on weight. She doesn’t cry much, which is good, but I’ll never forget her first cry. What a sweet sound. “