Our dear little daughter, born on my mother’s birthday. Smaller than her brother was, but every bit as wonderful.
She isn’t the reason I haven’t been posting here much—that was the craziest four months of my working life—but she might be for the next while.
love her name! congratulations to you all :)
(PS what date was your mum's birthday!?)
Added by Shauna on 4 June 2011.
Thanks, Shauna. That would be telling! (The entire World Wide Web.) But the answer is on Facebook... which is where all the commenting action is nowadays. How things have changed for this poor ol' weblog.
Added by Rory on 4 June 2011.
I feel I owe Isobel (the grown-up Isobel, whenever she discovers this entry) the same lengthy description of her arrival as I wrote for her brother, so here’s an edited account from an email I sent a friend shortly after she was born.
Jane’s blood pressure had been creeping upwards in the last weeks of pregnancy, and after a midwife’s appointment she was sent to hospital for further tests; I went out to meet her there just in case. It settled down that afternoon and after a few hours wait we were sent home, but they wanted to see her again in a couple of days.
A friend had been minding William while Jane was at the GP, and was happy to take him for a sleepover, which meant that we ended up having the evening free. We took advantage of it by going out for one last curry (for a while).
When we went back to the hospital on the appointed afternoon, it soon became clear that Jane’s blood pressure had become high enough that they wouldn’t be sending her home again. Fortunately our friend was able to pick up William from the nursery for a second sleepover, and the three or four others we had on standby were off the hook.
Jane’s blood pressure was above the point where there was a risk of a fit or a stroke, and the protein levels in her urine were up, so there was also a risk of kidney or liver failure. So something had to be done. But her cervix was still completely undilated, so breaking her waters wasn’t going to do much except lead to a long labour that would probably end in a caesarean. She couldn’t have prostaglandins to induce the baby without risking weakening her previous caesarean scar. So the best option was... another caesarean. Which she really hadn’t wanted, but there wasn’t much choice.
Her biggest anxiety was that it took three tries to get the spinal anaesthetic in last time, and might again; but we made all the staff very aware of her previous experience, and at least this time she wouldn’t be in labour during it. We had plenty of time to think about it all, as we had to wait six hours from her last meal at 2 p.m., and then there were emergencies that bumped our slot later and later, until we ended up in theatre close to midnight. The same one we’d been in four years earlier.
One of the staff put on some Natalie Imbruglia. Jane got into position on the bed, sitting up and waiting anxiously for the needle. I sat facing her, mirroring her worried expression.
And then the spinal... didn’t take. Twice. And only worked the third time, when the anaesthetist tried putting in an epidural and then inserting the spinal needle through that. The whole thing was horribly painful for her, because spinal needles are longer than the local anaesthetic could reach in her back, but she hung in there. At least it didn’t end with a general anaesthetic.
The caesarean took much longer than her first as there was scar tissue to deal with; but then there she was, a baby girl, looking just perfect; I could tell right away that she was smaller than her brother was. I got to hold her for her first half an hour, to a wholly inappropriate soundtrack of Neil Diamond.
Even though the build-up wasn’t nearly as protracted as the first time, the re-run of the spinal drama had been enough to crank up the tension, and I still ended up in floods of tears when she was suddenly real and here and safe and healthy.
I stayed with mother and daughter until 3 a.m. before heading home for a few hours’ sleep. I still couldn’t quite believe we had a girl; after growing up with a brother I had come to expect the same for William. But I was delighted to be wrong.
Isobel’s second name is my paternal grandmother’s, which has come back into fashion in Britain lately thanks to Ms Allen. Her first name is simply one that we like, spelled the Scottish way.
Added by Rory on 29 July 2011.