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Tom Wrigglesworth on unexpected deliveries

PUBLISHED: 00:00 03 October 2017

Tom Wrigglesworth

Tom Wrigglesworth


While waiting for his twins to arrive, Tom gets one baby delivery he wasn’t prepared for

Well I’m not entirely sure how all this has happened, but it seems that even though we’ve had well over seven months to prepare, today has taken us totally by surprise. It’s now the day before my Lulu (my darling wife) goes in for a Caesarian section. All being well, two twin girls will have swapped the safety of the womb for the chaos of living with me in about 24 hours time. I’m sure one day I’ll tell them about today.

A quick look back at the diary reveals that the babies would have been conceived around the New Year, when my wife was living in London for work commitments and I was doing up our house in preparation for her moving up to Yorkshire. We spent the Christmas holiday together, meaning I’m delighted and relieved to be able to say that the twins, like a good carving knife or the main shaft of a jet engine, can be stamped with the words ‘Made in Sheffield’.

Rather than be content with just the pregnancy to worry about, I decided to arrange for a new roof to be fitted. A few months ago it genuinely seemed like a good idea, the plan being to have the roof finished about two weeks before the due date. However, as professional, considerate and generally all round amazing as the staff at Jessop hospital have been, somewhere along the line there was a mix up, and we were originally given a due date of mid-October. Following a fortuitous glance over the notes by a night shift doctor, the mistake was spotted, the due date was hastily recalculated, and a C section was booked in. That and the fact that rain stopped play for a few days with the roof repair and my plan to have the house completed before the babies are born lay in tatters.

There was only one thing for it. Whiteboard-based planning had to be introduced. I screwed a whiteboard up on the wall of the kitchen which was to become our new guide. A constantly updated hymn sheet that ensures everyone knows their lines. In my neatest capital letter handwriting I wrote ‘ROOF AND TWIN PLAN’ across the top, and underlined it twice to show I meant business.

Soon a long list of tasks, reference numbers and ideas were scrawled across it. September 5th: install lintel. September 7th: main roof joist delivered. September 8th: C section. September 10th: attach drainpipes in the morning, collect wife and twins from hospital in the afternoon. See what I mean? Ridiculous. In the middle of the whiteboard a list of names grows and is pared back every day. We are very much at risk of using nappies to insulate the roof and naming one of our children Girder.

Car seats have been ticked off the list, changing stations have been stocked up and scaffolding surrounds the house, making a trip as trivial as taking out the recycling into a kind of army obstacle course with monkey bars and gangplanks.

That’s not to say the whiteboard has been a resounding success, although I’ve managed to keep episodes of genuine farce to a minimum. The most memorable one being caused by the usual mix up of high anxiety levels and miscommunication. And involvement from my dad. It only really takes the occurrence of two of these three things to cause a hiccup, so the fact all three were present made it inevitable.

In the middle of the whiteboard scrawling was the entry ‘Buy tumble dryer’. It had been suggested by pretty much everyone who has had to deal with the sudden upturn in laundry that comes from doubling the size of your family overnight. Especially when 50% of the household are, let’s be frank here, incontinent. With me being in the middle of reading endless pram reviews and cutting soffit boards down to size, I asked my Dad to buy the tumble dryer. ‘What do you need one of them for?’ he asked. ‘Well, for the babies,’ I replied. ‘Just get a basic one, nothing fancy, it’ll mainly be for baby clothes,’ I continued, over the hammering of a new board being whacked onto the roof.

Now I didn’t know this, I suppose up until now I have never needed to, but it’s actually possible to buy small tumble dryers. Folk who live on their own, or have limited space can buy mini dryers, that are about half the size of a normal machine.

So here we are, feeling like today has completely crept up on us, with under 18 hours before the C section, waiting at home with no roof insulation and scaffolding poles obscuring our view, and there in the corner of the kitchen, a tiny tumble dryer sits looking more nervous than Lulu and I combined. ‘I thought that’s what you said,’ protested my Dad when we took delivery of it. ‘You said get a baby tumble dryer’.

I suppose I’d better add that to the whiteboard. Have C section, finish roof, take tumble dryer back.

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