Diana was very excited. Andrew? Well, he was 11 and horrified. His immediate reaction was hilarious and is remembered by all - "Oh God how gross. If it is a girl I am leaving." I still grin when I remember his words and I can still see his face. Priceless. My street cred was somewhat elevated when 2 more Mums of boys in his school year also announced they were having surprise babies, and I moved from gross to sainthood, because I was going to have the first baby. You have to think like an 11 year old here!
He and Diana came up with the names. Jessica for a girl (Murder She Wrote was a favourite at the time) and David for a boy. I had no idea what I was having because I chose not to find out - I love surprises! So when I went into labour 2 weeks early, I called my friends, Jane and Lynda- both had been nurses once upon a time before babies, and we spent the day playing card games in my lounge while timing contractions. Listening to Queen in concert on a video. As one does. Singing loudly. There may have been chocolate involved. They had arrived around lunch time, and by approaching midnight, they looked at each other and asked each other exactly when last they had delivered babies, and decided that maybe I should decamp to the hospital immediately.
So off we went. Geoff too. He was home for the birth. He was there when Diana was born, but in Norway when Andrew arrived. The obstetrician, who happened to be Lynda's Dad, delivered all my babies, but he was away at his holiday home, and not due back for a couple of days, but fortunately, as we arrived, Jane spotted a friend of ours who was also an obstetrician in the corridor. He was delivering another baby but agreed to deliver mine if necessary, so we were all sorted. The girls stayed outside and Geoff and I paced about the labour ward, and then towards dawn, in walked my own doctor. A miracle. He had a feeling he should come back early, so he did. Just as well, because within an hour or so, David made his entrance. 23 hours after labour began. The earliest and smallest of my babies. (It is really strange how my first labour was 6 hours, the second, 11, and the third 23. Just as well we stopped then, because I hate to think what the next one would have been.....)
The kids thought he looked like ET. I thought he was beautiful. I still look at the photos, and have NO idea what they were seeing. He was gorgeous. And ours. And we could not have been happier. Do you know that the nurses at the hospital said that I had to bath him in front of them before I could go home? I stayed in a week. Well, firstly, I looked at them and said, excuse me, I have 2 children. I am quite capable of bathing my baby. Oh we need to check, they said. I think not. I did ask if they were parents. No. Not one of them. I rest my case. I did not bath him while there. Good grief. I could have given lessons in the art of bathing a newborn. My other 2 had survived after all.
However, my week long stay was wonderful. I had one of those private rooms, with my own bathroom, tv, and a balcony where my meals were served, with a view of the mountain. It is a wonder I did not stay there 2 weeks. Or 3. And my son, the big brother? He adored his baby brother on sight. And all his friends brought him little presents, including a ninja head band, because all baby boys need ninja head bands, of course. So sweet! And they queued up to hold him. He became the class favourite. Actually, by the time he was one, I think he thought he was 12. He was so used to being with the big boys.
And his big sister thought he was the best too. She was a second mother to him, and just loved helping and carrying him about. I was really fortunate. In a sense, David has always had what must seem like 2 sets of parents, you see. From his earliest memory, Andrew and Diana have been the height of adults. But he has always been surrounded by people who love him to bits.
When I found out I was expecting him, I said - I think there is something really special about this baby. I just hope I live long enough to find out exactly what it is. I just had a feeling, you know. And now here I am with that "baby", who is a man, 22, and towers over us all. He is in the process of making life-changing decisions, and is just such a blessing. I love him to bits. And I cannot wait to see what he does next.
He really is special.