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.