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Aoife in Tarragona


David gives Aoife a skiing lesson




It was a cold dark October evening, with stars a plenty in the clear sparkling sky and frost forecast when the ........"call"......... came!!!!I was already on my hands and knees (not in any pre labour ritual I hasten to add!), when the phone rang at work as I struggled to fix the speakers in the computer."It’s Liz, for you Joe " said our practice manager, who had promised to give me the"kiss of (my) Life" if I got electrocuted under the computer bench. Needless to say this was my biggest fear and every move was made with precision! Electrocution, at least would be a quick death!!

It was now 6.05pm and Liz enquired if I would be home soon as the boys needed to be at the Halloween school disco at 6.30pm, "of course I will be home before then, don’t panic",  Liz’ voice then responded in an ever increasing pitch which made me suspicious that some thing was brewing!!!! So off out the door like a flash, straight to Zetland Ave.On arrival home chaos abounded (as usual) bodies everywhere all with urgent requests like "where is my mask?" "you’ve got it on already!!" The disco was obviously a top priority for the boys and nothing was going to stop them.So Liz’ labour was proceeding along quietly in the midst of the frantic search for outfits for this Halloween disco!!! The waters had gone about 5.30pm so this was the real McCoy!!Eventually we raced out the door at 6.25pm with David, James and Ronan as a Footballer, Kempo- Karate-Kick-boxer and Pirate respectively all bundled into the car with Liz and her contractions every 3 minutes.

We decided to drop the boys at the school gate this time and not go in for a chat, in the given circumstances!!So in we went to the Belford Hospital Fraternity Unit, yet again, and low and behold Liz was only 5 centimetres!!!!  Halfway there already, maybe we should go home again for an hour or two!!!  It was action packed from there on, with strong contractions continuously cascading every 3-4 minutes and I had to, eventually reach for the "Gas"!!!! There was one slight problem, Liz!!! She had got there first and I knew she was not going to relinquish it without a fraca !!! There are two main components to the "Gas" gadget. The mouthpiece and the corrugated tubing. I decided (erroneously in retrospect) to go for the corrugated tubing !! Unfortunately Liz had an almighty or "mighty" as they say in Galway, grip on this tubing. A diversion tactic was required so I shouted "the Head is Out", and then tried to prise Liz’ little fingers, one by one, off this deeply corrugated tubing.  A seasoned campaigner like Liz was not to be fooled by that one and tightened her ferocious grip on the Tubing( while attempting with wild swipes to grip my neck) But alas , at that point in time a burly Orthopaedic Surgeon would have his work cut out for him !!!!! Surgical removal of all 10 fingers was the only option!!!!  Dejected momentarily, I conceded, and put all my effort into requesting "my Epidural"!!!The atmosphere was now becoming somewhat "Tense," as my repeated requests were being repeatedly ignored by the two Serious Stern looking Midwives, whom uncharacteristically ignored Doctors requests! The fact that they knew me could be a factor !!!To cut a long story short, before you nod off and fall into the fire, at precisely 7.38pm there was a cracker of a contraction of such intensity that Liz had to interrupt the detailed list of instructions she was giving me, like how to turn on the washing machine and where the hoover is located, the menu for every meal for the next two weeks, where the boys socks are etc etc etc.

Out shot Baby like a snowboarder on a down hill slalom! So I looked down with the definite expectation of seeing "Free Willy", but no sign!!! After a millisecond pause (deliberate in case you might have heard a rumour that I was speechless!!)"IT’S ……………….A…………… GIRL" I said  with amazement.Liz said "WHAT? ……. Are you sure?" So I looked down again…. And…. again just "to be sure to be sure " and then relayed my findings back to headquarters " Yes , Mrs Tangney" in my usual serious doctor tone as I am about to break some difficult news," your personal obstetrician can now confirm that you have a beautiful baby Daughter!!!" Even the serious midwives gave a little smile in my direction !!!!Liz was totally stunned and Euphoric (she still is 5 weeks later!)What a surprise after all those boys, at last some reinforcements!!! As the news broke throughout the hospital, the shrieks and screams could be heard all over the corridors!!! ...............So now back home to tell the boys!!!

About 9.30 pm I arrived home to find all the boys jumping on top of each having a wrestling contest, the screaming stopped when they saw me and shouted "where’s the baby?" "Okay boys all into the sitting room and sit on the couch. Like a stampede they all hit for the couch at once and Joseph had to be levered off the door jamb!!Finally all the gang seated momentarily on the couch. On the far left was Joseph (2 1/2) a cute little smile and a big Blondie head of hair (like his father) and now sucking voraciously on his "soother" to such a degree that his cheeks were touching his tonsils !!!! I didn’t want to startle him as he might swallow the "soother", lodge in his Oesophagus ("Gullet" to lay people!) lead to asphyxia (going blue) and I would be forced to slap him on the back (side) which is well overdue in order to dislodge the offending foreign body ie the…..Soother!!! He also had a river of "mucus" running from his nose and had already left a shiny slimey deposit, any fat slug would be proud of ,on the leg of my trousers when I first came into the hall with his customary (grip daddy’s leg) greeting!!!!!  Joseph was unusually quiet, obviously playing his cards right for the "sweeties", given the occasion!!!!Next to Joseph was Ronan (6) and a big six at that!!! He still had his Dracula outfit on and has true" fangs" for the last two years as his front teeth are missing. He has a big head of curly hair (hmmm, unusual I might add, and I’m still making enquiries!!!)He is big strong lad with a torso abundant in muscles, a natural athlete, and a fearsome warrior not to be messed with day or night!! (Fortunately we are friends!) . However Joseph still attacks him daily and biting followed by facial scraping are his weapons if a shinty stick is unavailable!!! Playing midfield was Ciaran (4) who is our "chief Whinger". He can whinge right from the minute he wakes up straight through to lunchtime, without a break!!! Fortunately, he now goes to nursery each morning 9.30 to 12 which has saved Liz’ sanity!!! Despite the whinging he is improving and cute looking (especially when asleep!!) Next to Ciaran was James "Bloody Hell" Tangney, who uses this swear at every opportunity !!! James now 8 is totally undisturbed by the world around him and will carry on doing his own thing regardless!!! He has an unrivalled selection of curses and swears and is keen to try them out on any victim, like his three younger brothers!!! I’m waiting for the day when Joseph tells me to p…off!!David (10) sitting there with two big watery eyes, is now totally up to date with Maternity jargon and proudly told everybody at the school disco that his mother was in "labour"!! Also familiar to him "placenta" "umbilical cord" and "Fontanelle" ie "the soft spot on babies head that moves rhythmically with varying intracranial pressure within the babies brain," according to David."So, Boys I’ve got some good news …..and…. some bad news" "The good news is that you now have a baby sister !!!" The bad news is that we now have TWO bosses!!! The boys broke loose off the couch and darted in all directions roaring and screaming and shouting and …..James swearing his favourite "Bloody Hell" !!!!!

The rest is history, since then the phone was hopping for a week, call waiting was "waiting and waiting" the doorbell went mad, the droves of visitors had to queue in the hallway and the off licence ran out of Whiskey!!! What a month and the entire of Fort William celebrated Aoife’s arrival!!!!


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