The week in review: Saturday the 6th of May we had parents over and Emily had ‘show’. We didn’t tell anyone. Sunday we rested (I felt I was coming down with something, so needed to be a bit paranoid!).
After months of talking to him in the morning and in the evening while still in mummy’s tummy, I was about to meet him…
I had told everyone that he had told me he’d be early… He told me this, same as he told me two weeks before the scan he’s a boy and that he would turn in mummy’s tummy despite the fibroids and the consultants assurance it would be a caesarian for sure. Not magic, just baby daddy comms. Smell or movement or what means – I don’t know :-)
Monday 8th of May
Monday morning Emily woke up with very painful contractions. They never reached the correct frequency nor length of the official numbers (longer than 1 min and more more frequent than 5 mins) to go to the hospital but we called midday and were told to wait since first babies are always late (he is due Thursday) and we called again early evening and where told to wait again, but Emily and I agreed we should go in because of the pain and they agree that she could come in to have the pain dealt with, even though they felt he’d be born tomorrow, since ‘all’ new born are born late’ as was repeated.
In the middle of this I submitted a draft version of my PhD 9 Month Report (apt timing). Now I am waiting for time to finish it and to get a build of Author good enough to export it correctly…
Here is Emily in agony on the floor at home. It was time to deal with this:
We drove with normal speed (mostly anyway) to Kingston Hospital and found a parking spot right by the entrance to the Maternity Ward immediately. It was 8pm exactly – I noticed since we pay for parking by the hour and must ourselves know when we parked. The downstairs general area was closed of course so we took the lift up one floor (Emily, in pain: “which floor”?!) of the two floors. We booked her in and at one point Emily was down on all fours around the corner from reception. “We have Emily Ballard here” I heard the receptionist call through, in excruciatingly normal (slow!!!) speed. We were told to go through to triage where Emily lay down on a hospital bed, had two straps around her torso and a ‘digital’ examination quite very soon after getting to the room and the lady then said (I didn’t get everyone’s roles so I don’t really know who was a doctor, nurse or midwife and so on) “your baby is coming right now” so Emily was helped onto a wheelchair and we moved across from he triage room. We had not brought any of the numerous bags from the car so it was easy to go across to the delivery room. In her blue dress she was seated, holding on to the handles with great pain-strength and then her water broke, pouring onto the steps of the wheelchair very much like a contrived movie scene. I’m not sure how I managed to get a picture of this, but here it is:
“Your baby is coming” was what they told us again in the room. Emily got naked (planning on skin-to skin water birth so a top would have ben silly) and asked once on the bed, the big modern delivery bed, if she could be on all fours and of course they said yes. She turned over and they told her to “push!”
She did not have a chance to get any pain medication, it all went to quickly. She could not complete in the original pose and laid on her side, right leg in the air. Then I saw the most wonderful sight I have ever seen in my life: a tiny, orange slice sized piece of what looked like a potato or maybe an artichoke (not sure why I thought that) appearing just a little. There were two midwives in the room, one experienced and one being told things – both very professional. I looked at Emily’s face and back and the emerging human and back again, all the while intensely aware of the absolutely bloody murderous pain my best friend and lover was going through, I then looked back again and his head was out and then back to Emily and when I got back to look at him I just saw a movie slow-motion scene of my son ‘shooting’ out of my wife, covered ever so slightly in that substance stuff, looking red and healthy. They handed him to Emily immediately, with a towel for warmth but immediately with the skin to skin we hold to be so crucial:
That was it.
The first few moments captured in video, since the iPhone 7 has live video: https://player.vimeo.com/video/217562591
Our son was born. Kg 3.180 (7 pounds as Stephen pointed out in an email) 20:54 on the 8th of May 2017. Less than an hour after arriving at the hospital. (!)
I had texted my brother Henning on arrival and my parents had called when we were on the way but we had decided to wait to tell anyone about the hospital until we had booked in to the delivery room and then we had him immediately on arrival! Henning called during delivery and I gave him a ‘I can’t talk right now’ reply and then called him 10 mins later to tell him he’s an uncle.
Rodney and my parents were of course quite surprised at the speed and came down to see us. Rodney got a min with him (the main midwife person was not chuffed he was there) and my parents got hugs form me and a FaceTime video view of their grandson.
Over the next few days quite a few uncles and aunties would meet him through FaceTime, including my brother, the Wolans, Swathee, Sarah, Harsha and Chitose, Janine, Livia, Bjørn, Fleur and the beautiful and shy Asle and Houria:
Basic tests were done on him and Emily received stitches (with anaesthetic of course now – delivered with huge needles), which was a whole heap of more difficult to deal with for me to see her in this type of pain.
Emily then got back onto a wheelchair and I got to ‘drive’ him in his cot-on-wheels to our private room (we were lucky) and there we were, a family of three. The night was spent with him in the cot most of the time, Emily sleeping a little bit, me a bit on the chair which folded out quite well and bit next to Emily. All of us in a new world.
Tuesday 9th of May
Tuesday morning we woke up as parents. I went down the road to pick up some Japanese lunch for us, beaming. More checks, including hearing (he passed with flying colours and I broke down).
The weather had been a bit rotten but today it turned and when we went to the car to drive home, Rodney took the most wonderful picture of Emily and me carrying him in his little car seat (thank you Steve and Saara!), which I had dreamt of for months.
We settled well at home. My parents and Rodney was there for a while, Jose came later. A calm and magical atmosphere.
Wednesday 10th of May
Home all day. Some sleep, mostly feeding and sleeping and us smiling. We have started watching ‘Elementary’ which is the NY based modern (still in production) Sherlock Holmes series and pretty much every night we have managed to watch an episode a night even after he was born, which I consider a major parenting achievement! Oh, and yes, the show is with Lucy Liu (two connections to us right there) and Johnny Lee Miller who it turns out was born in Kingston and therefore most likely at the same hospital as baby boy!
At night when he gets grouchy I carry him and do a silly dance so as to go up and down a lot and sing a song about “this is your house, this is your home, this is your living room, this is your table…” and so on. Lovely.
Thursday 11th of May
Henning arrived from Spain and it was lovely. We were worried overnight about him getting enough milk, something which turned out to be ok but took us a few days to learn all the details about. Breast feeding is not simple! First there was the colostrum and then the milk, with a transition period where we stressed he was not getting enough, so he got one tiny bottle of formula. Which is ok.
Enamul visited us, health visitor came and I saw Jane for a brief time at the local Starbucks.
Author build arrived, with real progress, but nothing the next day and now they are getting a new guy to work on it. Let’s see how it goes…
Friday 12th of May
The Sadanas came to visit, with gifts and advice and food, which was most appreciated. We were so happy to see them and to get their perspectives on all this, particularly the breastfeeding. We were worried about his red blotches but both Nathalie and Kirsten (both of whom we texted pictures to) said it’s skin meets air. Spoiler alert: By one week old he’d be completely clear.
Then we walked to the park!!!! Adam joined us and Rodney came by at the end, bringing lovely Suzu Japanese dinner.
Saturday 13th of May
We woke up this morning to Emily’s birthday and of course I felt guilty that I had not gotten her anything… I’ll have to be very creative later but I simply could not see beyond the event horizon of our son being born. Henning and Jose arrived with presents and then mum and dad. Here is (one of 3!) cakes:
The new ‘grand’ parents each got to sit with him properly for the first time and I got a picture of each of them, head-on, with the SONY RX100V. Just beautiful. Printed out in monochrome A3 but I think I’ll have to upgrade to the Sony Alpha A7R II but that is another story… Here they are after a Fuji based processing which I’m getting happy with for colour pictures:
Earlier we got interrupted by a couple from Spain coming for a viewing to buy the flat. I buzzed them in but thought they were going to the neighbours to closed the door in their face! All was cleared up. They have a 6 month old and it was all very nice. Before that we had the second visit from the health visitor – all is well.
Rodney came later and the girls are due as well.
And today, we have named him! We named him Edgar Kazu Ballard Hegland. This name ‘Edgar’ has no real history for us, so it’s a fresh start but we spent quite a lot of time thinking about my good friend and former teacher Ed, so I am very happy we could name him Ed but not Edward because there is also a close friend called Edward in our lives. His middle name is the first of Emily’s mother’s name, which was ‘Kazuko’.
Today the sun is out, people are on the river, there is a football game on and Rodney is now on the terrace putting together the giant storage box. It’s all quite perfect. It really is.
Swathee and Saara came over for dinner. Silly Deliveroo and Basilico but lovely lovely evening.
Sunday 14th of May
Today was Henning’s birthday so Edgar had his first real drive and it was all nice and easy, to see Henning and Jose with my parents. Henning BBQ’d the perfect burger and was the perfect host.
Rodney came later for dinner; Caesar salad from a Waitrose package with Swathee and Nathalie mains + leftover pizza. Serious yum daal from Swathee mum.
Tomorrow he will be one week old. So far not as much poo as hoped for but good amount of pee and lots and lots of drinking.
Late this evening his umbilical cord dropped and all the little red on his skin went away :-)
And later still a massive poo!
Monday 16th of May
Today Edgar is one week old!
We had a wonderful daddy-son nap on the sofa which mommy took a picture of:
Changing him and caring for him is such a joy – as a dad I am very happy to help since I can’t do any of the milk feeding of course. I expect it’ll get harder in later years, with tantrums and such, but now it’s simply wonderful :-)
Emily slept for about 3 hours continuously this morning which was a new experience for her. It’s a bit rainy and cold outside but it’s perfectly snug here at home and he is even resting in his buggy on his own for a period!
Our very first buggy trip outside was to the GP to register him, where we coincidentally met our two doctors outside which was nice. Tim treated us to a coffee at Tintos which has gotten very nice, including giving away food and coffee to anyone who cannot afford it. Nice.
Tim and Edgar hit it off:
On the way back we stopped off at the local fishmonger, then went on to buy some bread for the dinner and it started to rain so I carried him inside my green coat (which has a nifty waist tie to make it stay closer) and Edgar went inside it to be carried through the rain. Here is a picture of me with a seriously wonky smile – how could anything be more wonderful than this?!
Dinner was cod and salad and plenty of ice-tea in a salad bowl. And Grand Daddy Rodney taking his role seriously:
I end his first week with a picture of his mother reading this blog post, in the same spot as the first picture in this post, in our living room, but no longer on the floor in pain, rather on the rocking chair feeling very very well indeed:
& So. To life!