Anne was in pain and there was nothing he could do to stop it, worse, it was his fault she was sweating, groaning and suffering in the first place. She held onto him, grit her teeth and choked back another scream. Falling back panting she looked at him and frowned. 'Stop it Andrew. I mean it just stop it right now.' She could always tell what he was thinking and she put him straight as soon as she realised what was going through his head. 'This isn't your fault, this isn't a bad thing and I am fine - oh bloody hell!' She couldn't continue as her body again obliged her to ride through another contraction.
'Mr Watson, please try to remember that you are here to help your wife not to add to her problems.' The voice of the attending nurse was both amused and not a little sarcastic but there was also a knowing smile on her face as she looked at them both. 'Nearly there Mrs Watson, you are doing a fantastic job. Are you sure you don't want anything for the pain?'
'No, I'm fine,' gasped Anne with a determined look on her face. Andrew mentally kicked himself and began to go through all the support exercises he had learnt in the pre-natal classes he and Anne had been to.
When Anne had first told him that she was pregnant and that he was going to be a dad he had been overwhelmed by a tide of emotions from unbelievable joy to almost mind numbing anxiety. He was going to be a father – what the hell did he know about being a father? She had seen through the gambit of emotions and started laughing at him. Hugging him to her and cupping his face with her hands before giving him a quick peck she smiled at him and said,' You will be a wonderful father my love. You will make sure that our child is loved and supported and safe. In addition you will spoil them with all your time and attention because you will ensure that they never feel as lost, lonely and unloved as you did. So stop doubting yourself daddy.' And he had.
There had been a sense of wonder as they journeyed together through the pregnancy. He made the little mite a cot and the safest high chair known to man. They had laughed together while decorating the nursery and he had broken down and sobbed when they had seen the first ultrasound together. It had been breath-taking to feel him kicking and he found a new talent in himself as he sang to his, as yet, unborn son while Anne relaxed on their bed.
They had invited their new neighbours round for a small celebration and were almost embarrassed at the unexpected generosity of their guests. Anne had insisted in inviting the husbands as well as the wives and Andrew received a good deal of advice as the men gathered around the barbeque as the women cooed over small clothes and soft toys.
It was one piece of excellent advice that he remembered now. 'You will feel completely helpless' Jed Collier informed him, 'but just remember to hang on and tell her how well she is doing.'
Anne was currently baring down and squeezing the bones out of his hand, he was about to say something encouraging when his beloved wife began swearing like the soldiers in his army squad; so he decided that discretion was the better part of valour and simply patted her face down with a cool cloth.
'Nearly there Mrs Watson,' encouraged the nurse, 'take a breath and push.'
'I am fucking pushing you stupid bitch!' The nurse seemed to take no offence at this outburst and smiled at Anne. 'A little more and there he is.'
Time seemed to speed up as so many things happened at once. Ann fell back onto the bed panting, the doctor and nurse were doing unknown things between his wife's legs and lifting out onto her stomach a bloody, slimy, wonderous bundle that they then began to clean and check.
Anne was smiling a large triumphant smile and he was trembling, tears falling unnoticed down his face, as he saw his son for the first time.
A few minutes later after all had been cleared away and medical checks done, Anne nestled into his arm as their son nestled in hers. 'I've changed my mind,' said Anne, 'we are not calling him David or Thomas, we are calling our wonderful son Kenneth and you, my beloved husband, will just have to deal with that.' She was smiling up at him but with a determined look on her face that he had learnt to recognise and not argue with.
He looked down at his family, and wasn't that a magical, terrifying and amazing word, and simply said, 'Hello Kenneth David Watson welcome to the world.'
Half an hour later Anne had finally fallen asleep and Andrew was hovering over his son's bedside cot, the attending nurse came back in and smiled a knowing smile. 'You can pick him up you know, you won't wake him or break him.'
'I didn't want to disturb him, he looks so peaceful.'
'Right now little will wake him and it is only right that he gets to be with his daddy.' The nurse went right ahead and placed little Kenneth in his arms. 'Talk to him Mr Watson or, if you like, sing to him, Mrs Watson tells us you have a good voice for lullabies.'
The nurse stepped quietly out and left them together. Looking down onto the tiny life in his hands Andrew was suddenly struck by how much his life had changed and how happy and blessed he felt at this moment. Knowing he would never be able to tell his son all that he had gone through, he felt it important, at this moment, to tell him just a little of his namesake. 'Once upon a time there was another little boy called Kenneth who had no one to love him…'
At the end Andrew put his son back in the cot leaving his hand at his son's back he began to sing, not a typical lullaby, but words that came to him unbidden and yet, he felt, totally appropriate for the moment. 'When you are weary, feeling small, when tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all…'
Anne, relaxed and happy, heard her husband singing gently to their son; no she had no doubts at all, Andrew would be a wonderful father.