The 1st July 2015 was the hottest July day in the UK ever recorded. It was also the day that Ted Joseph Coates was born.
I remember a very restless sleep that night before. Restless with excitement to meet Fats’ Little Baby Bean, but more restless with nervousness about Fats’ impending surgery. That morning, laid on a sun lounger amongst the rubble in my garden, I spoke to Fats who was waiting in hospital for her C-Section, sweating buckets and starving hungry, but calm and happy. In only a few hours she’d meet her baby – that certainty seemed alien, yet reassuring. I could hardly wait.
As Fats was taken into surgery, Dan and I headed to the hospital to meet with Carol and Chris – Fats’ parents – and await the arrival of LBB. I knew there was nothing I could do from the waiting room, but I somehow needed to be close to her. Of course, it would also mean I could meet baby immediately after the birth. We chatted away nervously, the whole time my mind fixed firmly on my best friend.
When Coates walked into the waiting room, both hands behind his head and a shell-shocked grin on his face, I could have burst. “We’ve got a Ted!” he said of his new son. “And he’s got a massive ball”. The second nugget of information got somewhat lost in the squeals and hugs and teary eyes. “Is Hoz ok? Is she ok?” i asked as I squeezed Mr Coates tightly. He nodded, “she’s amazing.”
Walking in to meet little Ted was a bit like an out-of-body experience. I couldn’t take my eyes of this incredible little baby boy that my best friend had made, and my eyes instantly filled with tears as I hugged Fats. I was so proud of her.
Holding little Ted, with my own baby – now one-day overdue and apparently way too cosy – in my stomach, was quite overwhelming. The love I felt for Ted instantly made my heart ache, and I knew that would only be even more intense with my own little treacle.
But back to Ted’s ball. Ted was born with a significant amount of fluid on one of his testicles, causing quite the visual shock to Fats and Coates as he was lifted up in that ‘lion king’ moment after a C-Section birth. It certainly negated the need for them to question the sex. This would be the first of many ‘quirks’ or medical problems (second if you count him being breech) of Ted’s that would lead Fats very quickly to coin the term “Ted gets it so wrong”.
Born at 14:29 and weighing in at 8lb6oz, Ted Joseph Coates was full of character from the moment he arrived in the world. His little legs, thanks to his breech position, were tucked up in a frog position leading to his nickname ‘froggy’ and Fats called him a little Benjamin Button, with a face that promised to tell a thousand stories. Ted has some of Coates’ features and absolutely none of Fats’, but the opposite is true of his characteristics; he’s certainly a Winman in that department. “We’ve had a shocker”, Fats said to me. “We wanted a baby that looks like me but acts like Adam, but instead we have a baby that acts like me and looks like Adam. Disaster!”
I left Fats and Ted in hospital that night and headed across Oxford for acupuncture that promised to naturally induce my labour. Yes, that’s right. I paid someone to stick needles in me and painfully twist them in the hope that I would go into labour. I didn’t. Although 48 hours later my waters did break. Was it the result of the acupuncture? Probably not. I’d also later wonder why I was so very desperate to kick-start the unimaginable pain of labour.
Later that night as Fats messaged me from her hospital bed, ready to settle down with Ted for their first night together, she gushed about the love she felt for him and how amazing it felt to be a mum. Ten hours later, and zero hours of sleep acquired due to Ted’s endless crying, I messaged Fats asking how she and her little man were. “It turns out fats, that Ted is a bit of an arsehole”, she wrote. I couldn’t stop laughing.
And Ted would continue to “get it wrong” during the nights in the weeks to come, and his large testicle and frog legs were just the beginning of his ailments, the poor little man. But I think that just makes us all love him more.
Welcome to the world Ted Joseph, you gorgeous, wonderful little man.
Two babies down, one to go…