By DAVE GILES
(and proud new dad)
THIS is to mums everywhere. It’s to all the mums I saw at Southend Hospital over the weekend. It’s to my mum, who was too good for this world. And it’s to Vicky, my wife – mum to Henry Dylan Giles, who arrived on Saturday night at an eye-watering 9lb 6oz.
He is, as you can see, by far the most beautiful child ever to be born. That goes without saying. But in these few hundred words I want to pay tribute to his mum, to my mum and to all mums.
I wasn’t prepared for the violent beauty of childbirth. I’ll never forget the look in Vicky's eyes as she screamed at a God she doesn’t believe in. She screamed for help – and all she had to look at was me.
I was hopeless and useless. The only thing I could do was promise her it was going to get better. The epidural was coming and that would ease the pain. As it turned out, even that was a lie. As staff prepared her for the injection, our midwife told her it was too late.
She was simply going to have to tough it out. And tough it out she did. Over a harrowing five hours, she endured pain I could never imagine. And I have no idea how many babies were born across the world in those five hours, but I bet it was a lot.
So this is to those mums too. Our day began at 8am when we went in for a scheduled induction. We were given our bed and left to wait. Unfortunately, we were placed next to a couple who insisted on stressing Vicky out by watching some terrible rap-based film on their iPad. I tried to get us a private room, but couldn’t. We walked outside in the hospital grounds and the rain started falling.
Vicky was close to tears, so bizarrely, we went and sat in my car, just to be somewhere peaceful. Angry as I was at this inconsiderate couple, all is forgiven. This is to that mum too.
The pain took off for Vicky at about 6pm. Short bursts of about 30 seconds, rising and swelling with each breath. We were transferred to a private room at 8pm, where the gas and air stemmed the agony for a while. As it got worse, we asked for the epidural, but it was too late. It got worse and worse. But then amid the deafening roar, the desperation and the chaos there suddenly was a new noise.
I can hear it now as I type. It was the sound of my son. Henry Dylan Giles. 9lb 6oz. No drugs. Just willpower, nature and the worst swearing I’ve ever heard. What Vicky did was incredible. Something for which I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to thank her.
I also know at the same time it wasn’t all that incredible. It was something which has been happening since time began, to billions and billions of mums.
This column means nothing to them. But it’s a thank-you to every single, last one of you.