In Saturday’s Times there was an article about how Prince William might be able to travel from Anglesey to his wife’s bedside in London once she starts labour. Train and car were suggested, with the Royal helicopter being dismissed as “too expensive”. In reality, I’m sure the birth of the future monarch would definitely warrant a chopper trip – hang the expense – or else he will contrive to be closer to Kate in the last couple of weeks leading up to the due date. Although the Duke apparently wants to work right up to the birth, in common with most fathers-to-be, I’m sure no-one would mind if an exception was made in this case!
The problem is, William has to make his way from Anglesey to London. We’ve done that journey in opposite, after the volcanic ash cloud meant our flight to Dublin was cancelled. Undaunted, we booked a ferry passage instead and drove up to northwest* Wales. It was a looong drive. But it was sunny, we were on our way to a wedding, and we had ample entertainment in the form of our friends in the back seat. We even saw Dizzee Rascal on the ferry! (Whitney Houston was also apparently there but we didn’t see her…). However, I can well imagine the stress of a 4+ hour journey when with every passing minute you could be missing the birth of your firstborn child.
Frankly I’m surprised that Kate and William are that far apart so close to their baby being born. It makes Mr Cath working on the other side of London seem like nothing. Of course, that doesn’t stop us feeling nervous about it! Our previous ideas about labour, especially first labour, were that it was usually long and drawn out (our NCT teacher encouraged us to wait until the last possible minute to drive to hospital as otherwise you might get turned away). However, Elly’s labour experience has turned that on its head, and made us realise that things can happen far more suddenly and quickly than you might have thought.
I imagine I’d be able to hold on for the 35-40 minutes it takes Mr Cath to get home, but what if I can’t get a hold of him? At the moment I’m not supposed to phone him at work as he assumes it will be an emergency (and when I phone him for other just as urgent reasons, such as not being able to work the Sky+, I have to immediately tell him I’m ok before saying anything else). I can usually get through straight away, but there is a chance he could be in an important meeting. For example, all this week his line manager – normally conveniently based in Singapore – is in town. However, I know his wife is expecting too so hopefully he of all people will understand the need to keep one’s personal phone on!
Mr Cath plays tennis every week. If “it” happens while he’s on court, (a) he can’t hear his phone and (b) it takes him longer to get home afterwards – about an hour. He’s coincidentally not playing this week, but will be next week… a few days after the due date = prime time for babies to be born!
Social things are not so much of an issue as there’s no reason why Mr Cath can’t check his phone and he’s usually not too far away. And just in case he has to drive, he’s been going easy on the beers! There was a hairy moment about six weeks ago when he went on a stag weekend to Newcastle. They stayed in what sounds like the worst hostel ever, which didn’t have any plug sockets in the room, meaning phones couldn’t be charged. He ended up switching his phone on every few hours to check for messages then switching it straight off again. There weren’t any medical emergencies in the end but I dread to think what we would have done if there had been… Newcastle is even further away than Anglesey!
All in all, I think we’re pretty lucky that we are generally near to each other geographically, unlike many other expecting couples in this country as well as the Duke and Duchess. Nevertheless, I have some minicab numbers ready and a waterproof maternity mat that I can sit on en route to the hospital – surely they couldn’t refuse to take someone so considerate of their upholstery?!
*Speaking of which: Kimye – why?