'The most remarkable day of my life'
OUR dramatic arrival at the maternity unit at the Royal Cornwall Hospital came a month earlier than anticipated, writes new father Miles Davis.
But from the moment my wife and I arrived on the ward the staff could not have been kinder, more helpful or more professional.
Alice was diagnosed with the life-threatening Hellp syndrome, an extreme form of pre-eclampsia that causes blood pressure to rocket and affects liver function.
The nurse established her blood pressure was "through the roof" and we were quickly moved into a bigger room which was soon filled with staff who hooked Alice up to various drips and informed us of the severity of the situation.
Only a couple of hours earlier my wife had gone for a regular check-up and I was at my desk at the West Briton when she called to say I needed to get her to the hospital. The night before we had drawn up a birthing plan but had never imagined we would end up in the maternity ward on that day.
It was made clear to us that the only solution was to have an emergency Caesarean section and Tom Smith-Walker was the man who would perform the operation.
He and his colleagues exuded calm and reassured us that the experience may not be as we had expected, but that everything would be OK.
I stayed with Alice until the last possible moment but she needed a general anaesthetic for the operation and I waited outside – pacing the corridor in the traditional fashion.
It was about 20 minutes later that a nurse wheeled a trolley towards me bearing our newborn baby boy. I cannot begin to describe the feeling of seeing your baby for the first time – but it is known by parents the world over.
Our son, Arthur, spent his first two weeks in the incredible care of staff at the neonatal unit but the surprise birth did not have any lasting effect and he is now a thriving five-month-old. Alice was kept in hospital for a week and has made a full recovery.
The wellbeing of my wife and son was all down to the professionalism and dedication of the staff on both the maternity ward and in the neonatal unit.
It was the most remarkable day of my life and it amazes me to think that for doctors like Mr Smith-Walker and all of the staff at the hospital, it was a normal working day of carrying out their duties impeccably.
That is what they do – save lives and seemingly perform miracles – and I'm delighted to see the staff receive some of the recognition they deserve.