This time last year, I was in hospital, midway through an induction that couldn't be continued overnight due to a staff shortage. Everybody was giving birth that evening. I was uncomfortable; annoyed at being 13 days overdue; miserable at the thought of Daddy's imminent departure, and starting to doubt that I was even pregnant anymore. I just wanted to go home.
30 minutes later, I was in labour. Daddy had just left, was probably not even home yet. The midwife had also disappeared and so I spent a while texting my best friend in Dubai, trying to pass the time. Hours passed and the pain increased to the extent where I was certain you were about to make an appearance. I called the midwife, begged her to examine me, which she eventually did.
"4cm," she said, smugly.
She gave me paracetamol and a sleeping tablet and told me to get some rest. It was 10:30pm.
By midnight, I knew it was the real thing; knew you really were on your way. I begged the staff to let me call Daddy, and he arrived shortly after 12:30. We were given a side room as all the delivery suites were busy. We were left alone.
A lot of what happened between midnight and 4am is a blur of ineffective pain relief methods - TENS machine, a hot bath, codeine. Nothing made a difference. I asked for pethidine but the nurse wasn't qualified to administer it, said I would need to wait until I was in the delivery suite. By the time a room was free, it was just after 4am and it was too late for pethidine so I opted for the only other thing on offer - gas and air.
It was so hot in that room. Daddy kept opening the window when our student midwife left the room. Every time she came back, she told him off and closed it again, said something about a risk of infection. Daddy was also hot, and tired. He fell asleep in the chair by the bed, and the midwife (called Amy, I think), kept leaving the room. It was strange to be alone; Lucozade in one hand, entonox in the other.
At some point close to the time you were born, the midwife checked on your heart rate and I distinctly remember needing to know that you were ok.
"I love him," I said. It was the first time I had said those words about you.
At 06.10am, on Friday 24th September 2010, you finally arrived. It took all my energy and effort to get you into the World, with the threat of a caesarean hanging in the air. Even in a confused state, I knew that you needed me to come through for you.
Your first cry was fractured but it was there. I kept asking if you were alright; I asked Daddy, asked the midwives. They all nodded, said of course, you were fine. Your airways were cleared. Then came the proper crying; the healthy, hungry yell.
You were wrapped in a towel and handed to me, wide awake, taking in your new surroundings. Your lips and hands were blue; I kissed you and you were cold, so I held you closer. You looked at me; you were so beautiful.
From that precious moment onwards, you were the best son in the World. Daddy and I loved you immediately, off the scale. So proud. A boy! A son. We couldn't have been happier.
So there we have it, Sonny boy - the story of what happened this time last year. The beginning of your beautiful life.
You have changed so much already; you are a proper little boy now. Gone are the baby days. Sad, but necessary. I am proud that YOU are my son, I would not want it any other way.
Thank you for an incredible year. I hope you enjoy your presents in the morning; I hope we have chosen well! I hope you read this one day and know how special you are.
I love you.