UK

Dads tell tales of dashing to baby's birth

Image copyright Mick Solomon
Image caption Mick Solomon had to dash to Japan from the UK to witness the birth of his daughter Mikie

After tennis star Andy Murray said he would leave Sunday's Australian Open final if his wife went into early labour, fathers have been contacting the BBC to tell their tales of dashing to make the birth of their child.

Their stories include a race against the clock along the south coast, a woman in labour "crossing her legs" to await her serviceman husband's return, and how one soon-to-be-dad spent his trip halfway around the world listening to all of Lady Gaga's albums.

Mick Solomon, a business consultant from Bath, was in the UK when he got a phone call from his Japanese wife Yukie, who was in Japan at that time with her family.

"I was ready to fly out to join her for the birth early in 2011, when five weeks early her waters suddenly broke, and I got a phone call urging me to get on a plane," Mick said.

So he hopped on the next flight, getting acquainted with "the entire Lady Gaga back catalogue" during the 12-hour trip from London to Tokyo.

The length to which fathers go to see their child's birth

Upon arrival, Yukie's parents rushed Mick to the hospital in time for the birth. "You wouldn't have it any other way, it's the best thing that has ever happened to me," he said.

Image copyright Mark Hiscock
Image caption Hannah Hiscock went into labour unexpectedly while on holiday in Cornwall

The new baby was called Mikie, a combination of her parent's names "which just happens to be a popular Japanese girl's name".

Mick added: "I think things have changed a lot over last 40 years, fathers were expected to stay away.

"People of my generation want to be there, we have no idea what we are doing but we do want to be there. I feel sorry for the ones who don't want to be there and are forced to attend."

Mark Hiscock, 35, a software engineer from Southampton, only just managed to make it to the birth of his son - quite literally with only a few minutes to spare.

His wife Hannah, 32, who is a children's community nurse, was on holiday in Cornwall in April 2010 when she went into early labour, at 35 weeks, with the couple's first child.

"I was at home in Southampton fast asleep, enjoying a nice lie in, when the door bell went," Mark said. "My brother-in-law was at the door and told me we had to go now.

"I grabbed a bag and four hours later we made it to the Royal Cornwall hospital in Truro. I dashed from the car park into the maternity unit and my son Owen was born - I made it with 10 minutes to spare."

Image copyright Mark Hiscock
Image caption Owen Hiscock caused his father panic when he decided to be born miles away in Cornwall

Mark says Owen is now nearly six and that the family return to Cornwall on holiday every year, to return to his birth county. He and his wife now have a second boy called James. "We made very certain that there was no travelling from 34 weeks onwards," he added.

John, 48, from the West Midlands, who asked that his real name not be used, cancelled a business trip to see his first and only child be born 12 years ago.

But he believes there was a price to pay for choosing this family moment over his career.

"I work for a Japanese company, and this [decision] was quietly accepted by my management.

"I have no doubt that this was largely the reason that I have not been promoted in the 12 years since then. It is known that I once put my family before the company."

However, John has no regrets over his decision.

"If I had my time again I would change nothing. The greatest experience of my life has been the birth of my child and it is something that no father should have to miss."

Labour intensive

David, 33, from Hampshire, had to negotiate a lengthy journey back to the UK from Afghanistan - where he was serving with the RAF - to see his first child being born in 2012.

He had negotiated early leave to be with his wife Hannah, 33, so he set off on his journey back, three weeks before their child's due date.

However, things did not go to plan.

"Whilst on the final leg of the journey home, from Cyprus to Brize Norton, my wife went into labour," David said.

"I didn't know about it until I arrived home to find out she'd been 'crossing her legs' for the last five hours. I dumped my bags and we got straight in the car and went to the hospital.

"I was still decompressing from being out in Afghanistan, and wanted a bit of time to get my head around being a father, but Charlie had other ideas."

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