Wow. What a day.
What started as a fairly average Thursday, has ended up a fairly rapid and blurry rollercoaster.
Cas said she woke up feeling a bit crappy, dropped Rudi off at nursery and by 10am had started feeling some sporadic twinges.
At 11am, Cas phoned me in the office to ask me to come home and finish putting the crib together - then I knew something was happening.
I did that and then popped back to the office to finish a few tasks and shutdown properly, knowing in my heart that today was going to be interesting.
We were at 39 weeks - exactly a week before our due date of 2nd May.
When I got back home at around 1.30pm, Cas was fairly regular in her contractions, coming down from 30 secs every 10 minutes, to consistently 45 to 70 seconds every 4 - 5 minutes.
Determined to stay pretty relaxed about the whole thing, we monitored, Cas busied herself by hoovering and otherwise feathering the nest. I just did as I was told, kept recording the contractions and otherwise started my normal habit of making stupid jokes and inappropriate times.
Eventually, we decided to mosey on in to Dorchester, a 30 minute drive from home. We casually chatted in between the increasing contractions, reminiscing about 2 years prior with Rudi and I did some comparison on the signs of labour and the schedule - we seemed to be following a very similar pattern. I worked out that, based on that experience, we were due to arrive at the hospital at around 3.30pm, so I stuck my neck out and predicted that the baby would be born at around 5.10pm.
Things moved pretty quickly after we arrived. We had talked before about trying a Pool birth, which we never got chance to do with Ru. This time, we made it to the pool, just about. Initial inspection showed Cas at around 8cm dilated. Things were coming along.
In the pool, Cas felt a little more comfortable, just as well, since like before, she made it through the whole labour with no pain relief whatsoever - just a cold flannel and a bottle of water. I have no idea how, but her focus, resilience and tolerance of pain just blows my mind. I'm so incredibly proud of her.
From the time Cas's waters broke, at 5.05pm it was a mere 4 minutes until baby Tyger made an appearance, gracefully surfacing from underwater in the birthing pool.
What happened next will live with me forever.
Everyone's seen it. Everyone knows about it. Baby is born. Pure elation and expectation. Expectation of hearing the noise that in the future will keep me awake, will make me impatient, will grind on me at 3am. But right now, the sound of baby Tyger's first cry is all I want to hear.
A few moments pass as Cas holds him in her arms. "Please, let's hear you cry baby".
"Come on baby, cry for mummy..."
More seconds pass. Nothing.
The midwives become increasingly agitated and the shift from natural and relaxed procedure to a more concerned and frantic manoeuvring of clamps, scissors and people was palpable.
Still no crying.
The student midwife hits the emergency button and within seconds more midwives and consultants were entering the room.
Moving very quickly to separate mum and baby, the umbilical chord was cut after a few attempts to clamp it were unsuccessful, until finally it was done. A still lifeless Tyger hoisted out of the pool and away from mummy, out into the hallway with the resuscitator machine was waiting with who knows how many people busying themselves as they sprung into emergency action.
At this point, and with things moving so quickly, we realised none of us had actually noticed what the sex was. Our midwife popped in and out, reassuring Cas and I that baby was ok, but there was still no crying.
I had a growing sense that I was in an nightmare, the scenario escalating in front of my eyes and we were helpless - just asking over and over again "is he (guessing sex) ok?"
"What was that?"
A little cry. Was that him (still guessing sex)?
Again, a little cry.
"Let's take him back into mum". "Him?" It's a boy.
I tell you, my heart had never beat so fast and I was so scared, helpless and insignificant at that point. What was only a few minutes felt like hours. But eventually, he rejoined mummy and me for our first cuddle, a happy, if a little shaken, but beautiful baby boy.
It turns out the sheer speed that he whizzed down that birth canal and swan dived into the birthing pool caused such a shock that it just took a little additional persuasion to kick into normal functions. Very normal, very common, no less scary. Thank god.
And so, Tyger Brook Schofield born at 5.09pm (that's right, I was a mere 1 minute off with my prediction), weighing in at 7lb 8oz and measuring 48cm, joined mummy, daddy and Rudi in this new world.
Welcome young Tyger, you can do anything.
Oh and the name? We just like it. Nothing more. Not named after the golfer or anything else. Quirky, kinda cool (in our opinion) and very different. Just the way we like it.
Now I'm home, Rudi is sound asleep and we both can't wait to visit mummy and Tyger tomorrow morning. Sleep tight.