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Elwan blogging

by Cyrille Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 07:34:03 AM EST

Elwan Liam Oulom Karim Viossat was born on Saturday the 30th of January at 17h51, in St Thomas Hospital. He weighed 2.950kg and was 53cm tall.

Elwan Liam Oulom Karim Viossat was born on Saturday the 30th of January at 17:51, in St Thomas Hospital. He weighed 2.950kg and was 53cm tall.

Some of you know how many of my working days have to be spent in Paris while Mouna (my wife) and I live in London. Well, January was the epitome of that as I spent all but 5 weekdays (plus a weekend) in France. This packed schedule was in order to have February at home, since we expected the birth of our first child between the 11th and the 18th.

As the month was drawing to a close, I was welcoming the idea of some rest at last so we could be ready for the extension of the family. Only one more hurdle before a good night sleep, did I think whilst on the Eurostar on Friday the 29th: a friend from Cambridge would play a concert on the Saturday in London and we would host him, so I'd just have to wait for his rehearsal to be over so I could open the door for him... Well, the first rehearsal didn't go well so they did it again and it was past 1am when I finally got to bed.

At 2am, Mouna told me that she felt wet but strangely had no contractions, only "like when having very painful periods, every few minutes".
Right, so as you guessed it was firmly established within minutes that:
-her waters had broken and any dreams of sleep should be abandoned
-she'd been having contractions for long enough that by now they were only 5 minutes apart
-she clearly has a higher pain threshold than most.

Initially the hospital suggested that we could wait till morning, but 90 minutes later we were on our way, under the falling snow. They confirmed everything that we suspected -but suggested that we went back home so she could start her labour in a familiar environment, and one that would not use up an NHS bed presumably.
And so we did. We were told to wait for as long as possible, so that next time we'd come we would stay and the labour would be short. We did, but I guess we should have adjusted for Mouna's pain threshold, as well as for the possibility that the day admission would be on a first come first served basis, as opposed to in order of level of agony the women were in (Mouna easily leading on that scale by then) -despite probably arriving after "as long as (humanly) possible", she waited for 100 minutes once there.

By which time labour was well underway. Mouna chose natural birth and keeps saying how glad she is to have made that choice -it's true that the second stage of labour was rather quick for a firstborn. After a while she asked to go into a pool and it proved a very good choice. Which explains how this son of two scuba-divers was born underwater at 17:51, just under two hours after the admission, after 38 weeks of pregnancy. We went back into the room -just opposite Big Ben, quite a nice place to start life if you are a Frenchman in London.

A remarkable feature of the NHS system (at least, remarkable from our cultural perspective) is that, had there been anyone able to perform the hip test in the night team, we would have gone home the very same day. As it was, we left on the next day at noon.

We had agreed on three of his four given names by then, and Mouna nicely agreed on my favourite for the last one moments after we caught some breath. And so he is Elwan (a French name, although we understand now that it's also Berber, meaning "soft light" in Breton) Liam (well, he was born in England) Oulom (Laotian name meaning "source of knowledge", but mostly Mouna's grandfather's name) Karim (Moroccan, as is Mouna's father).

I realise that the man is not reckoned to have a major part in those things, but still I was amazed by the effect of excitement, having been on the verge of collapsing before the sleepless night, I felt quite alert until the very end of the day, which I chose to spend at home.

Since then, we have been together at home. I have not been able to be on leave yet, but then working from home means that at least I get to see them. He is a nice boy. I hope we can soon introduce him to many of us. And, Helen, sorry we didn't have a drink together last weekend, now you know why. At 38 weeks, we were definitely not ready (for example, the portrait lense that I ordered on Colman's advice arrived exactly one day too late for pictures at the maternity), but very, very thrilled. We're quite glad that we'll have those extra few days with him in our arms.

I reckon (or should I say hope) that this instalment will only be the first of many Elwan bloggings.

Elwan looks great, and great should be the congratulations to the parents! (Less to NewLab for the NHS...)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 10:10:05 AM EST
Felicitations and all the best from LEP and family!

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 12:00:21 PM EST
Congrats to the three of you.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 12:23:56 PM EST
Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!! He looks so handsome and I am everytime amazed how perfect babies are, from head to toes. I wish you all lots of happiness together - besides the challenges that come with being a family. :-)
by Fran on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 12:35:25 PM EST
Forgot, and of course I hope you are using your camera extensively and share the pictures here.
by Fran on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 12:36:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah well, I guess we'll get our camera training that way.

The second to last is thanks to Colman (well, the last one also uses the new lense but its specificities are less obvious there). I went for maximum aperture on the new lense, and I think it worked quite well.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 02:01:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for letting us know

and what a cute wee bairn!

by PeWi on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 01:30:17 PM EST
"which explains how this son of two scuba-divers was born underwater"

What a great phrase.  congratulations again to you both.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 01:44:04 PM EST
Congratulations to the young man and the happy parents!
by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 01:59:45 PM EST
Dear Cyrille, thanks so much for this beautiful diary and sharing your joy with us.  I'm not generally a girl who goes gaga over babies, but currently I'm dealing with aging parents and end-of-life issues.  Somewhere along the way, I forgot how healing beginnings can be.  I find myself incredibly moved and refreshed for being included here and thank you deeply.

Congratulations to you all and please give my best to Mouna, whose initial experience closely mirrored my own, right down to the dates (my son was due on Feb. 14th, scheduled for mandatory c-section the 2nd, born on Jan. 31 -- he's in his 20s now).

I look forward to, hopefully, meeting you both again at the next meetup and being introduced to little Elwan.

Just one minor quibble -- isn't Liam an Irish name?

(sorry, I had to do that.  It wouldn't be a proper ET introduction without a PN alert)

He's beautiful.  I wish you all the utmost happiness.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 03:46:37 PM EST
Congratulations  :)
by Sassafras on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 05:07:28 PM EST
Well done! A lovely looking boy.

I see he checked in on my mother's birthday, too.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 06:45:12 PM EST
Congratulations to your family. I am glad you are able to be with them at the beginning of Elwan' life in the world.  He looks very calm, alert and content snuggled against your skin inside your shirt in the last pic. How we remember the birth of our son and the first few hours! I hope your wife is able to get some much needed rest, and yourself as well. We had my mother with us and she was a great help and comfort to all three of us.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:26:41 PM EST
a true classic.

One quibble - you are quite a bit stronger than you look if your baby weighs 2950kg.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 09:33:55 PM EST
It took me a while to figure out what you meant ;-)

My being French sometimes shows in funny ways.
Edited now: 2.950 used to appear as 2,950.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 04:36:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Congratulations ! Elwan is so cute !

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:51:12 AM EST
Congratulations!  Elwan looks gorgeous.  You'll be putting the new camera to good use, no doubt!
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 03:49:24 AM EST
Congratulations Cyrille!
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 06:38:54 AM EST

So is he going to be French or english ?

And don't worry about the drink, in the current weather I'm tending to stay local. I'm sure we'll catch up meet the newest ETer when it warms up.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:59:12 PM EST
Apparently, he can't be English. If we'd lived in the country for over 5 years he would be.

And I thought he wouldn't be automatically French, being born abroad, but it seems I was ill-informed. Or maybe it's one of those laws that hasn't had its application decree just yet. Whatever, the consulate said he was French.

I wouldn't have minded dual citizenship, but if it takes 5 years it's unlikely to happen, even for a potential sibling. And I'm not sure Elwan could get it even then without losing his French citizenship.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 02:40:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
welcome to planet earth, Elwan!

you picked a funny time to come, but we'll do our best...

congratulations parents, he looks wonderful, whatever his nationality!

cyrille, you going to change your sig now? :)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 07:29:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess I should...

(note as I reckon the changes backdate: for a long while it was Brecht's ominous warning "The womb that spawned that thing is fertile yet", which in this context reads funny. Maybe spawned that boy, and will be fertile again soon hopefully, but it doesn't work all that well as a quote then).

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 08:09:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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