Santa’s big surprise…
I was watching the kids open their toys when he made a surprise appearance!
Demi-leigh Elson, 21, Stoke-on-trent
Standing on tiptoes, my daughter Lola-lea, 3, carefully pushed her envelope into the postbox.
‘I hope Santa gets my letter,’ she smiled. ‘I’d like our new baby for Christmas.’
My son Codie-ray, 2, wriggled in his pushchair.
‘Baby for Christmas,’ he chimed in.
‘We’ll have to wait and see,’ I smiled. ‘Santa will only bring the baby at Christmas if he thinks it’s a good idea.’
It was early December 2017 and I was expecting my third child. With a due date of 26 December, our whole family was buzzing.
When I’d met my partner Aaron Ousley, then 25, in August 2014, I was already mum to Lola-lea, then just 5 months old.
The following year, two weeks before Christmas, Codie-ray was born.
Then in April 2017, I fell pregnant again.
And at my 20-week scan we discovered our little boy was due on Boxing Day. A Christmas baby! Thankfully, my pregnancy progressed well.
With each passing week, Lola-lea and Codie-ray grew more excited.
By November, however, I was worrying about my due date.
I always planned Christmas Day meticulously, with the kids’ presents piled under the tree as festive songs played.
Then there was all that lovely grub.
Turkey, roast potatoes and stuffing, followed by double helpings of Christmas pud…
‘What if I end up in hospital over Christmas?’ I fretted. ‘I’d never forgive myself missing the kids open their presents.’
‘Stop worrying,’ Aaron laughed. ‘This baby will come when he’s ready.’
My other two both arrived late, so I hoped this baby would take his lead from them! By December, I was huge. Getting organised, I put up decorations, wrapped the kids’ presents and packed my hospital bag.
But there was one thing I couldn’t plan.
‘Please stay inside until Boxing Day,’ I said, rubbing my bump.
I felt a swish and a kick in my belly. Almost like he’d heard me… On Christmas Eve, we hung the kids’ stockings and placed a mince pie and a carrot on a plate by the fire.
‘Where will Santa leave the baby?’ Lola-lea frowned, looking around.
‘Er, I’m not sure darling,’ I said, crossing my fingers this baby would stick to the plan.
Early next morning, the kids bounced on the bed.
‘He’s been!’ Codie-ray shouted, eyes wide.
We watched sleepily as they excitedly pulled colouring books, pencils, and chocolates from their stockings.
But as we all put on dressing gowns and padded downstairs, pain shot through my abdomen.
Only a twinge, I thought, focusing on the kids.
The room looked beautiful, with decorations and fairy lights everywhere.
We’d just had a new carpet laid, too.
I sat on the floor by our lovely tree, laughing as the kids tore into their presents. But no baby – yet... ‘Maybe these aren’t false labour pains after all,’ I grimaced as yet another wave rippled across my
belly. By 9am, they were coming every few minutes.
‘Should I call the hospital?’ Aaron asked. I shook my head. With Lola-lea and Codie-ray, I’d been induced and labour had taken hours.
My waters hadn’t even broken yet. ‘We’ve got time,’ I said, gritting my teeth. ‘I want to see the kids open the rest of their presents.’ The kids had breakfast and then carried on unwrapping. ‘A Disney Princess castle,’ Lola-lea yelped. ‘Thomas the Tank Engine trains,’ Codie-ray cheered. They also had new clothes, trainers and a Finding Nemo game. Despite the contractions growing stronger, I managed to open my gifts, too. ‘Ooh, a bottle of prosecco,’ I said, breathing through another contraction. I’d bought Aaron some nice aftershave. As he spritzed it on, his eyes darted to my face nervously. At 11.30am, as the kids opened their last gifts – new Christmas jumpers – I felt the strongest contraction yet. ‘This might not take hours after all,’ I whimpered. Aaron lifted his phone. ‘I’ll call an ambulance,’ he said. Paramedics arrived within minutes and, just behind them, my mum Nicola, 39. She ushered the kids into the kitchen, while I moved onto my hands and knees by the tree.
Focusing on a fairy light twinkling in front of me, I tried to breathe through the contractions. Then… ‘I need to push!’ I gasped. With no time to get to the hospital, the paramedics helped me onto the sofa. They gave me gas and air. ‘Mind my new carpet,’ I snapped.
Aaron threw down blankets everywhere.
Good job, too, as minutes later there was an almighty gush between my legs as my waters broke.
This is it!
Aaron gripped my hand as I pushed our baby into the world at midday.
As Oakley-john was placed in my arms, the pain of the last few hours was already a distant memory.
I stared down at his little face and had never felt luckier.
‘Talk about the perfect gift,’ I whispered, cradling him to me. ‘He’s beautiful,’ Aaron wept. Our little festive surprise weighed 6lb 10oz.
The children gasped when they rushed in and saw their baby brother.
‘You got your wish after all,’ I smiled.
The paramedics took me and Oakley-john to Royal Stoke University Hospital for checkups. By 5pm, we were home – just in time for Christmas dinner!
‘It smells amazing,’ I told Aaron.
He’d been busy preparing sprouts and spuds while I’d been gone.
Tucking in as Oakley-john slept in his Moses basket, I felt the true spirit of Christmas.
We even cracked open the prosecco.
Despite my worries, Oakley-john timed his arrival perfectly and we can’t wait to celebrate his first birthday. So special. I might even consider having another baby under the Christmas tree if it means Aaron cooks the dinner again!
‘Mind my new carpet!’ I snapped to the paramedics
What a pressie!