On Tuesday the 29th of January, at 3:21 pm, and at 39 weeks’ gestation, my little family welcomed its newest member, in the form of one small and beautiful Chou-fleur, who hurtled into the world so quickly that her sage femme had to make haste to catch her. My husband and I had waited a long time for her arrival, so naturally we were thrilled that she was just as keen to arrive.
After torturing me for the best part of nine months (deciding that keeping down food was an unnecessary luxury that I could very well do without; draining me of as much energy left over from my Chou’s enthusiastic endeavours as she could find to take, and then denying me the respite of sleep; teasing me with a few false starts; and generally worrying me to distraction) my rascally Chou-fleur was finally taken to task by my kind and merciful doctor, who suggested that, since the minx was by this time more than ready to cope in the outside world, I might like to consider a déclenchement. There was nothing to consider. Aside from a brief burst of energy around October (which was used to tile our sitting room floor in time for our Chou’s birthday and the consequent invasion of excited three-year-old revellers) I had spent my expectancy in various states of discomfort and misery. Pregnancy does not suit me – I do not glow (unless the sheen of sweat across a pallid and be-toileted forehead can be said to count), my hair does not shine (except, once again, after a recently emptied stomach), and I have an unflattering tendency to puff. My induction was scheduled for that day fortnight, and I was delighted.
The morning of the 29th arrived. My Chou had been packed off to Grandad’s house the evening before (which excited him far more than the prospect of a baby sibling), leaving me and my husband strangely child-free, a very rare occurrence resulting in an ominously silent house and confusion as to how to pass the time. At nine o’clock I was admitted and billeted, away from the action, in an individual “pre-labour” room. At quarter to eleven I was officially induced. There was now no going back. At quarter to twelve my waters were broken for me, not particularly painful in of itself, but nevertheless making me feel so uncomfortably as though I had wet myself beneath my modesty-preserving hospital gown, whilst my husband looked on innocently above, that I should be reluctant to have to repeat the experience. At quarter to one I was very nearly in labour. At quarter to three I was very definitely in labour. By ten past three I had staggered the length of the corridor to the delivery suite, been installed in a new bed and left once more, with the instruction to summon help if necessary. Necessity immediately followed, and I summoned. Roughly ten minutes later our baby made her appearance. So sudden was her arrival that she must have flustered even my lovely midwife momentarily, since it was only after baby and I found ourselves cuddling together that I remembered we still didn’t know the answer to the most hotly debated question of the past nine months – garçon ou fille? Chou or Chou-fleur? We were not disappointed.
The entire process, from induction to birth, had taken four and a half hours. I am so lucky, and I know it. Lucky to have an uncomplicated, ‘easy’ birth, lucky to have a healthy baby, lucky to have a daughter. Getting to take home a snuggly, squishy baby at the end of nine months is a gift, not a guarantee, and I am so grateful for her.
My Chou is, thankfully, very proud to be a grand frère, and stoically resigned to the fact that she is not a boy, although he does insist on calling her “him”. He finds her rather too loud, refers to her as a “whinge pot” and speaks scathingly of her playing capabilities, but he has helped to change more nappies than Papa and has made it perfectly clear that she has replaced me in his affections as his “best girl”. In turn our Chou-fleur tolerates being mauled by her big brother and appears not to take his indiscreet observations on the contents of her nappy too personally. With our Chou keeping us entertained all day and our Chou-fleur taking over for the night shift, our children, having clearly forged some mutual understanding, certainly know how to spoil their (exhausted) parents. I wouldn’t have it any other way…long may the alliance continue!
Mots du jour:
Chou-fleur – cauliflower sage femme – midwife déclenchement – induction garçon ou fille? Boy or girl? grand frère – big brother