Friday, November 10, 2006

Born in the Bathroom

The children have been much taken with the idea of visiting England, since Granny and Grandpa’s visit to us. It suddenly seems like a possibility that we’ll be able to go the year after next, with the help of the grandparents’ enormous air-miles credit earned by visiting us over the years. Our son has worked out how old they’ll all be and is planning on being a brilliant soccer player by then, so he’ll be able to impress the children in Granny and Grandpa’s village with his prowess.

Overheard this morning at breakfast time:

Son:”I remember England cos I’ve lived there”

Daughter: ”I know England too, I was born there. You’ve never been to England. You were born here.”

Youngest retorts emphatically: “I wasn’t born here, I was born in Suzie’s bathroom!”

This is one incontrovertible fact that she can cling to, in the face of their one-upmanship. She knows exactly where she was born, can go and see the spot any day she wants.

She is the child that bridges our old life with the new. She was conceived on our last night together in our London house. We knew we wanted a third child, but were waiting, to be sensible, until we got settled over here in South Africa. I really didn’t want to move continents while pregnant. On our last night we threw caution to the winds, after all we’d be there soon, so let fate decide. Fate did. I was pregnant while moving, but only just and I didn’t yet know it.

We were very happy to have number three on the way but it did rather put pressure on us to get our house built as soon as possible. My sister-in law had very generously vacated her cottage and moved into our caravan on the farm until our house would be ready. We thought it would take six months, so might just be finished in time for our baby to be born in our new house. Very neat, or so we thought. In the way of all building projects though, it took much longer than expected (and of course cost more, never believe anyone who tells you different!). The foundations were laid in autumn, poles and roof went up next, but for the walls we had to wait until the harvest brought fresh straw bales in November. What was available in winter had already been exposed to the elements for too long and musty straw isn’t the best thing to build your house with. So we waited and while we waited youngest’s due date approached.

We planned a home birth and found a wonderful, confidence-inspiring midwife. My older daughter had been born at home in London, so that made it easier to envisage a home birth on a farm at least 40 minutes from the hospital. We did wonder slightly what we would do with the kids in the small, open-plan cottage while the birth was going on, but my two sisters-in-law would be able to whisk them off if necessary. In the end there was no need to worry. The contractions started at the children’s bedtime. We told them to go to sleep, it would take a long time till their sister arrived. So they did.

We summoned the midwife straight away and she made it here with half an hour to spare, as our youngest daughter arrived in under an hour and a half...in Suzie’s bathroom. The children miraculously slept through all the groans and moans and comings and goings. Our midwife did brilliantly. Having seen how fast things were going she’d told her partner not to bother coming and oversaw the whole birth and welcoming of the new baby serenely, warmly and unhurriedly. My sisters-in-law were able to come straight over and see their new niece while she was still attached to me and then hold her while I was being seen to. Then a bath by candlelight for me and the baby. The children woke up the next morning to find their baby sister had arrived and could get straight into bed with us. It was such a wonderful experience for all of us, made easier for me because it was so quick..if we’d planned a hospital birth she might well have been born in the car!

All this to say that she might not have experienced England yet, but she has very strong roots here on our farm...in Suzie’s bathroom!


4 comments:

  1. What a beautiful story. My four-year-old is also very proud that she was "born in the bedroom" and I hope Ollie will be too, one day. He is the only one of our three to be born in Germany, so we have a similar pattern going to you!

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  2. Fantastic story. You sound like such a happy family.

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  3. What a nice story. My two were born in different countries as well; the second in a warm bath at a birthing center, surrounded by family and attended by a midwife - an experience I'd recommend to anyone!

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  4. fantastic story! of course one can only have exceptional stories when living a life in the exceptions. Well done on both.

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