You’re my hero
When Jodie Griffin, 37, from Tettenhall, went into labour, her eight-year-old son took charge…
Hearing the front door slam one afternoon, I knew my eight-year-old son Marcus was trudging in. ‘How was school?’ I called. ‘Mum, I learnt something really interesting today,’ he said very seriously, plonking his bag down.
‘Go on then?’ I said, kissing the top of his head.
‘Sometimes, when mummies and daddies have a special cuddle, this can make a baby,’ Marcus said very matter-of-factly.
‘That’s very good,’ I replied, trying not to laugh.
My partner David, 41, and I had been told by Marcus’ school that his year would be having the birds and bees talk soon, so I’d been expecting this.
It was a good thing that he’d learnt the basics, too, because, a few weeks later, I had some news.
Sitting Marcus down at the table, I patted my belly.
‘Mummy’s got something exciting to tell you,’ I said. ‘There’s a baby in my belly.’
As Marcus sat there in silence, I could see his brain working.
‘Did you and Daddy have a special cuddle?’ he asked. ‘That’s right my clever boy,’ I grinned.
When his younger brother Alexander, now two, was on his way, Marcus was a bit too young to understand, but now, he was full of questions!
It was so sweet, and David and I were glad that Marcus was excited about having another sibling.
At my 20-week scan, we found out I was having a girl.
‘Yes!’ Marcus grinned excitedly when I told him. ‘I’ll always look after her.’ That weekend, we took him to the shops with us.
‘She’ll look cute in this,’ Marcus said, pointing to a sweet little pink dress on the rail.
‘We’ll buy it for her as a gift from you,’ David smiled.
The next few months flew by, and we chose the name Freya for our daughter.
And, before we knew it, my due date – 5 November – was fast approaching.
That evening, David cooked me a spicy curry – I’d been craving it all day.
‘Let’s hope this baby doesn’t come out with a bang!’ David joked, adding more chillies to the mix.
‘There’s no chance of that,’ I moaned, stroking my huge belly. ‘She’ll be late like the boys were.’
Both Marcus and Alexander had been 12 days overdue, and I’d had to be induced both times.
So I had a feeling Freya was going to take her time, too. And I was right. ‘When’s the baby coming?’ Marcus would ask me every day.
Eventually, I was booked in to be induced on 14 November.
But the day before, I woke up in the morning and the bed was wet.
Waddling downstairs, I found David in the kitchen.
‘My waters have broken,’ I said. ‘We need to get to the hospital.’
Getting my hospital bag together, David bundled me into the car and off we went.
My parents, Linda and Michael, came round to watch the boys.
Arriving at the hospital, my contractions were close together, although not too painful.
‘You’re only 4cm dilated,’ a midwife said.
‘Try the birthing pool, that can sometimes get things moving.’
Stripping off, I climbed into the warm water and instantly felt my body relax. ‘This is nice,’ I smiled. By now it was 1pm. ‘Come on, Freya,’ I whispered, stroking my bump.
But instead of becoming more frequent, my contractions slowed to 20 minutes apart.
‘I don’t think anything’s going to happen soon,’ the midwife said. ‘You’re better off going home for now.’ But I was worried. ‘I’m not
sure,’ I said.
‘We don’t live too far away,’ David soothed. ‘We’ll come back when she’s ready.’
So, a bit nervous, I went back home.
‘Where’s Freya?’ Marcus asked, frowning. ‘She’ll still in my belly,’ I sighed. My parents went home and I tried to get comfy in a T-shirt and pair of jogging bottoms.
David cooked dinner and we settled on the sofa to watch the telly.
‘How are the contractions?’ David asked after we’d eaten. ‘Same,’ I shrugged. At about 9.30pm, he went to the kitchen to do the washing up.
All of a sudden, I had a desperate urge to push! I took a deep breath.
No, itõs fine, I thought. But there it was again. ‘David!’ I yelled. ‘I need to push, now!’ ‘Are you sure?’ he said, running in.‘i know,’ I said, writhing around
in agony. Just then, I noticed that Marcus had come into the room, and was looking at me, startled. ‘Mummy’s fine,’ I told him. ‘Don’t worry.’ David phoned the hospital right away. ‘She needs to push,’ he said. Then his eyes widened. Hanging up, he said that we’d need to call an ambulance.
Pain was tearing through my tummy and the urge to push was getting stronger.
Just then, Marcus grabbed the phone and dialled 999, giving the operator our address.
‘I’ll go outside to watch out for the ambulance,’ David said.
We lived on the school grounds where I worked as a French teacher and David as a caretaker.
People often had trouble finding our house.
So David ran outside to wait for the ambulance while Marcus handed me the phone.
‘Is there anyone else with you?’ the operator asked me. ‘Just my sons,’ I panted. ‘They’re eight and 17 months.’
‘Right, pass the phone to your elder boy,’ she said.
So I passed the phone back to Marcus, then pulled off my jogging bottoms and knickers.
As Marcus listened to the operator’s instructions, he nodded his head. ‘I can get towels,’ he said. Then he ran upstairs with the phone still pressed against his ear. A few seconds later, he was back with a stack of towels from the airing cupboard. ‘I need to put them under you, Mummy,’ he said to me. ‘Good boy,’ I smiled, lifting myself up. Marcus quickly slid the towels under me. I couldn’t imagine what he was thinking. Labour was traumatic enough for an adult, let alone an eightyear-old boy. ‘You know Mummy’s OK, don’t you?’ I asked him. ‘This is just how babies come out. You’re my hero!’ Marcus was listening intently to the operator again. I could hear her telling him to check for the head. Marcus bent down and peered between my legs. ‘Yes, there’s a head,’ he explained calmly. Then he screwed up his face. ‘And loads of green slime.’ I couldn’t help but laugh. ‘OK,’ Marcus said suddenly, placing the phone between his ear and his shoulder. Then he moved his hand under the baby’s head. ‘I’ve got the head!’ he said. Screaming out in pain, I just had to push. Freya’s body began to emerge. ‘She’s coming!’ Marcus said to the operator excitedly. Now there were just the feet to go. Just then, David rushed in with the paramedics. ‘It looks like we weren’t needed!’ one laughed. ‘Well done,’ the other said to Marcus. ‘Let us take over now.’ With all the commotion, little Alexander had wandered into the living room to see what was going on.
Marcus, always the protective big brother, took his hand and led him to the kitchen table for a story.
‘One last push,’ the paramedic said to me.
Then, at 10.04pm, Freya came out with a loud cry.
‘Hello gorgeous,’ I cried, as she was wrapped up and handed to me.
She seemed perfectly healthy, but the paramedics wanted to take us to the hospital to be checked over.
‘I’ll stay with the boys,’ David said.
At the hospital, the midwife who’d sent me home earlier gasped when she saw me with Freya.
‘We weren’t expecting that!’ she cried.
‘Thankfully my son stepped in,’ I explained, telling her all about how incredible Marcus had been.
‘He can have a job here when he’s older,’ she laughed.
Freya weighed in at 8lb 7oz and was perfectly healthy.
At 3am, David and the boys came to fetch us.
‘Here’s the hero!’ the midwives cheered, rubbing Marcus’ hair. He turned bright red. ‘You are my hero,’ I told him. ‘There aren’t many brothers who can say they delivered their sister.’
‘I said I’d always look after her,’ Marcus smiled.
I couldn’t believe how calm he’d been through it all.
David and I bought him a Lego Ninjago temple as a thank you present – he deserved it.
Now, Freya is a year old, and people still talk about what Marcus did the day she was born. ‘Mum needed me,’ he shrugs. David and I aren’t planning on having another baby, but if we do, I know we’ll have help on hand – Marcus the midwife!