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Father of two (born 1980s), from North-East England

I was very involved. My wife wanted me to be (and I did). We went to National Childbirth Trust classes together beforehand. I took her into hospital in the middle of the night. It was a relatively quick labour - about four hours at most, I think. My son was born at around 7 a.m. Gosh, all these details are fading now, though I do have an account written down at the time. I was there the whole time. My wife would not let me go out at all (e.g. to fetch something). I helped support her head while she was bearing down. The NCT taught her to sing a tune while she was bearing down (to beat time to, to take her mind off things, I think). Her tune was 'The Red Flag'! (We were very left wing Labour people - obviously!). My son slid out all pink and healthy. I then dived down to the other end of the bed to take lots of photos (with my SLR. I was dead keen on photorealism then!). My wife was happy and healthy and not too exhausted, and it was all wonderful. A little later I wrote down my account of events before I was ushered out by the staff. I went to the car, picked up our patient dog and took her for a walk on the common by the hospital, about eight o'clock (?), and said out loud 'I have a son!' It felt great - magical - marvellous - life-changing. Then I went back home and phoned our parents (no mobiles in those days), and went to work, feeling light-headed.

My daughter came along nearly three years later. It was a Saturday evening. We shifted the kitchen furniture around in the afternoon, partly to get things moving, I think. We then went for a walk, with my son in the buggie. Went about 3/4 of a mile. Got near a friend's house, fortunately, when things really did begin to move. Our friends were in. They took my wife back to our house in their car, while I raced back through the streets with my son still asleep in the buggy! Didn't want to wake him! When I got back, we did, and got him in the car. It seemed like a race against time. It was well after five by this time. The level crossing was down, which made us fret! Anyway, the train eventually came. Up to the hospital, dropped my wife off. Then I drove back to our friends in the town where Adam and I were going to stay, and dropped him off. I got back to the hospital in time - just, really. About 30 mins later, my daughter was born - about 7 p.m., I think. My wife was in a birthing chair this time. Things had moved on. So no need to support her head. Can't remember whether the Red Flag was sung again! It was a much easier birth. Much quicker, certainly. My daughter was lovely. All ten fingers, all ten toes; all pink! Lots of dark hair. Oh, they all have that, don't they? You can tell I am writing this spontaneously! Well, we had some loving time together and then I had to go back to see my son and put him to bed. He looked very reflective when I told him he had a little sister - the start of a sometimes tempestuous but on the whole loving relationship (apart from some teenage angst!).

So there we are. Those are my hastily written recollections. Oh, one more thing. Yes, in case you are wondering, I have just recollected, that I took lots of photos just after my daughter was born too. Indeed, my recollections were most immediately shaped by those photos - though I last looked at them nearly a year ago when we were doing some tidying up. However, I do have non-photographic recollections as well - a sort of slightly blurred video playing through my head as I write.