I bring you good news of great joy. My sister, Em gave birth today (which was November 11th in LA) to a beautiful baby boy. Every birth is a miracle but none more so when the mother is 47 years of age.
Em’s gynae history hasn’t been plain sailing and her first child was born just three years ago. We thought she’d done the miraculous when she gave birth at 43. But she never wanted a one-child family, believing a sibling for her gorgeous son would make their family complete. But following Casper’s birth was a difficult path and in the end, she gave away all her baby paraphernalia and adjusted to the idea that her family was complete at three.
And then one Saturday morning I was standing on the sidelines of Alfie’s rugby game when a phone call came in from my father saying one of my sisters was pregnant. It could only have been Em but as she was 46 I could barely believe it. ‘She’s 11 weeks’, my father said and although I was swept away with joy for her, I couldn’t help feeling very tentative at the realisation that she wasn’t yet ‘out of the woods’ and that she had a long, long, long way ahead of her.
We seemed to all live on the razor’s edge through every day and week of her pregnancy, hoping never to get that phone call of adverse news. But the weeks went by and she had all the tests and everything just went absolutely perfectly. Her doctor even told her she was a very boring case. Blessed!
Em’s first son was born at 37 weeks so with her past history and increased age, we were all expecting an early birth. But it didn’t happen. Day after day I checked in with my mother asking, ‘Any news’ but no, there was nothing to report.
But this morning I went and did a swim squad and when I got out of the pool there was a message on my phone saying Em was in labour and at the hospital. I was on stand-by for the announcement – all day. Five hours later my mother gave me the news. Em’s family is complete with a second son. His name is Freddy but more accurately, Frederick Germanicus Selwyn. His father is a history-buff and wanted to have a Roman General’s name in there and quite fitting seeing as he was born on Remembrance Day. My Archie’s middle name is also Selwyn as that is my father’s father name who was a WWII Veteran who spent over four years as a POW in Stalag Luft III.
Now…as for the labour…It started during the day when her son was at pre-school and her husband at work. Thank goodness for Patrick who is a long-standing friend who was able to fill the gap and drive Em to the hospital. Poor Patrick, he doesn’t have children, nor is he married, nor does he have any kind of medical background but anyway, he can drive.
So he drove Em to the hospital but by the time they arrived she was already 5cm dilated and in AGONY and requested a wheelchair and an anaethetist. She did have a natural birth for her firstborn but gave up that idea thinking that at her age, she needn’t put herself through such an ordeal. Unfortunately, for the next few hours Em’s husband had to fight the horrendous LA traffic then battle for a parking space at the hospital so in the meantime, the inexperienced Patrick was in the birthing suite stepping up as the birthing partner with no knowledge or experience. Just minutes before it all got interesting, Em’s husband arrived but everyone forgot to evict Patrick. You’ll be pleased to know he stayed at the other end and not the business end for the delivery. And there he was; a beautiful baby boy weighing a perfect size of 7lbs 12ozs with lots of dark hair and a pretty face.
I wish I could have been in Patrick’s place. But all is not lost, Em and her family of four will be flying to Sydney in around four weeks for a four-week holiday. I’m having them for dinner on Christmas Eve. I’ll post photos of me cuddling that precious bundle – and the food of course!
So my parents quiver is full. They have six granddaughters and eight grandsons and while I have the oldest grandchild, Em has the youngest – and there’s just two decades between them!
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