Last Saturday, on April 25th 2020 at 6.16am, my wife Lynsey and I hit a pretty significant milestone… and had our first baby!

As a photographer, I couldn’t help but want to document this miraculous event, so above is the slideshow of this little fella’s entrance into the world.

(I set it to a song I recorded this week, while unable to visit my wife & son in hospital, using Apple’s ‘Garage Band’ app. It’s a cover of ‘Peaches & Cream’ by John Butler Trio about becoming a new parent)

One thing I want to do before sharing this tale, is to thank the NHS enough for all their incredible support!

Last Thursday, a day after we finally all came home to roost, we joined our cul-de-sac in a huge cheer to the NHS (and even fired off a champagne cork to toast their amazing work).

Giving birth in the middle of a Coronavirus Pandemic lockdown surprisingly never made our ‘birth plan!’ But it didn’t stop a brilliant standard of midwife support in & out of hospital, before and after the birth. The team at Leeds General Infirmary were fab. It’s amazing seeing how the country has managed to keep rolling on through, with good humour and optimism.

Our story began on the Friday evening, having just got back from walking Kyra the dog, and having started to feel a few contractions…

We settled down with tea and popped on a reminder of our Up & Down Breathing from our ‘Hypnobirthing’ lessons.

I initially thought this’d be a bit hippy dippy, but was one of the best things we learned to help calmly bring our little babe into the world, and our practitioner Cari Summerhill did a cracking job of teaching us everything over Skype.

We also loved our NCT experience with our course leader Fleur – which due to Coronavirus, started in a room socialising with real people (remember these?) and ended up done via Zoom. We loved the online chats and have a great group to share poo pics with as we go forward… 😉 

As evening set in, we bedded down, lit some candles and between contractions we read the advice and promises our guests had written for us at our wedding.

We also hung Lynsey’s baby shower bunting around the room and had a few photos of the strong women in Lynsey’s life for inspiration…

It was lovely seeing how our pooch cuddled up to Lynsey while she was having contractions.

Now with Coronavirus having postponed the majority of my summer’s weddings until next year, my camera hasn’t seen a lot of action this year! So it was a lovely opportunity to document the legacy of this magical evening.

Respecting the intimacy, being supportive, creating art and telling a story all felt very similar to photographing a wedding, to be honest. (The completely silent Sony A9 camera really helped not disturb things).

… and I’ll tell you what; seeing a woman go through this process doesn’t half give one a new found respect for womankind and mothers the world around!

As day turned to night, the reality of what was going to happen started to dawn!

The stage was set, and the birth bag repacked, and repacked again.

Watching the birth process was probably the closest I felt to us humans just being glorified animals. The process is so natural and animalistic, and Lynsey did great.

We actually blamed the contractions on this lovely tune I’d discovered on Spotify by Frank Sinatra called ‘Nice ‘n’ Easy’. It’s a lovely song, so was added to our ‘Puffling Playlist’!

My little bro popped over as the pressure mounted, to collect the pooch, and Lyns took to swinging off things and whistling…

When contractions were close enough, the LGI Maternity Assessment Centre suggested we come in…

We’d been told that Coronavirus measures meant I wouldn’t be allowed in the Maternity Assessment Centre, but could join Lynsey in the Delivery Suite.

That night, Lynsey spent three and a half difficult hours labouring alone in a ward I couldn’t be on, while I waited in the hall / kipped in the car.

Not ideal, and yet another way Corvid19 made this process tougher than it could be.

Look at this trooper…

At around 5.40am I was called and joined Lyns in the delivery suite to witness the miracle of birth…

And only around 35minutes later, at 6.16am our little chap was naturally delivered!

I couldn’t be prouder of my amazing wife, and our lovely baby boy.

Look at those tiny fingers!

First things first: a bit of skin-to-skin cuddle time, with tea and toast!

Then we popped him on the scales and he weighed in at a healthy 6lbs 5oz. Fingers and toes all accounted for.

So why Puffling?!

Well, we once learned on a trip up to Bempton Cliffs in North Yorkshire that baby Puffins are adorably called ‘Pufflings’, so that’s what we’ve called this little gent throughout the pregnancy.

It was at this stage that I again had to leave these guys … this time for for 4 long days!

It turned out he had some blood issues that needed attention, and with Lyns on Post Natal, he was admitted to Neo Natal and put on a wee drip. It was’t easy again not being able to visit, but she used this time to get some amazing support from midwives for feeding and understanding how this little chap ticks.

(It was during this time I decided to record the soundtrack song to occupy myself)

And before I knew it, last Thursday I was collecting team Aldrick to take them home…

It’s been a big deal for me trying to name this gent. It sounds a bit over the top, but apart from proposing to my wife, I didn’t realise this naming decision would be loaded with such gravity.

Obviously, I’m disappointed we couldn’t wait May the 4th, and named him Luke, Palpatine or Jar Jar. 

But after spending a few days with the guy, we’ve decided to call our little heir ‘Lenny Indiana Aldrick’.

Welcome to the world, little man! We love you very much. x

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