Friday, April 26, 2013

A teenager at last...!

13 years ago I paced the kitchen late at night eating cold creamed rice pudding from a tin. I felt the contractions building and taking away my ability to draw breath but I wasn't ready to admit that you were really on your way. You see you had gone overdue and I had already had a couple of false alarms. The excitement of thinking "This is it!" only to be sent home again to wait. My poor tummy was stretched tight and each day felt like an eternity as we wondered if today would be your birthday.

I had been to the hospital earlier that day and had seen the consultant. As he examined me he made bold and believable statements. He was a man well used to women begging him to look into a crystal ball and predict the future. He shook his head and confidently said "Not today" You weren't engaged yet. You were bouncing around and triggering false contractions but as soon as they started you bounced away again laughing at the chaos that you were causing. Oh little did I know that I was getting a sneak preview of your personality even then.

And so back to the kitchen. The night black outside and my reflection shining back at me from the big window. Tin in one hand and spoon in the other. I wasn't in labour because the big man had said it was so. But if he might just be wrong and I might just be right I would need food to get me through the roller coaster ride to come.

Your Granny was in the kitchen too. She could see from my face all that was happening in my belly. She knew. She tried to suggest I go to the hospital but I stubbornly refused. Not yet. Not till I've finished this creamy and delicious rice. Not till Sian is tucked up in bed. She tried to talk your Dad into persuading me but he couldn't read my face like Granny could. He believed my version and said we would wait a while. Granny made pleading faces at him behind my back. He shrugged and looked back at me, pacing, eating. They thought I couldn't see but the window's reflection was like a mirror letting me watch what they thought was hidden. I grinned as I looked down into the almost empty tin. Just one more spoon... finished.

Eventually I gave in and wearily picked up the overnight bag. I felt butterflies of excitement, contractions that squeezed the air out of my lungs and fear that I was making a nuisance of myself. That I would return home a few hours later belly still stretched tight. Arms empty. Waiting.

I struggled to walk through the dark car-park into the brightly lit Labour ward. They showed me immediately to a birthing room and gave me a hospital gown. I stood there at the edge of the bed in the gown, my hands gripped the mattress so hard I thought I would surely puncture it with my fingers. The Midwife passed me the gas and air and I gasped deeply from it with eyes screwed shut. Hot tears pricked my eyeballs. As the pain passed I let down the mouthpiece and apologised. "I'm so sorry, I'm not in labour, it's just Braxton Hicks, The consultant said..."

"The consultant was wrong darling, you are well dilated, not long to go...."

I lay on the bed as the midwife checked me over, listened to your heartbeat and filled in the paperwork. I needed to push. She paused what she was doing to check me again and you were well on your way! She rang the bell for back up. You were born as the second midwife ran into the room to find the first opening the birthing pack at a million miles an hour. "What happened?" said the first "Why didn't you call me in time" "There was no warning, She just came out" said the second as they swaddled you up tight and put a tiny knitted cap over your head. They placed you in an incubator to warm you up. I watched it all from my end of the bed in bemusement.  I still hadn't quite accepted I was really in labour and now it was all over.

When your sister had arrived two years before we had chosen one Welsh and one Irish name for her. Sian and Molly. After her birth I was so exhausted that when your Dad said she looked like a Sian and that Molly would be perfect as her middle name. I just nodded. I'd have agreed to anything at that moment.

So now it was time to give you your name. We had chosen a Welsh name and an Irish name. Rhiannon and Sinead. This time I had said all through the pregnancy that I would give you the Irish name as your first name and the Welsh name as your middle one. Your Dad looked at me with those twinkling eyes of his and said "She looks like a Rhiannon" And so it was that he got his way again and we find ourselves with a beautiful teenager called Rhiannon Sinead Baynham. A girl that melts our hearts with humour. That fills our house with laughter. A girl who is a whirlwind of crazy leaving trails of mess and destruction behind her. A girl that broke all the molds and will always be an individual.

A girl who fills my phone with selfies and my heart with love.

Happy Birthday beautiful.


6 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. This is absolutely beautiful, Gina!! You are such a wonderful writer and it is so evident that it comes straight from your heart!! Happy belated birthday to your daughter. She's lovely!! :-)

  2. Gina you always bring a tear to my eye! And how the hell do you remember all these things!!! Hope Rhiannon had a great birthday only one more big birthday left this year now!! Speak soon xxx another beautiful girl you and mr b have produced xx

  3. Gina you always bring a tear to my eye! And how the hell do you remember all these things!!! Hope Rhiannon had a great birthday only one more big birthday left this year now!! Speak soon xxx another beautiful girl you and mr b have produced xx

  4. what a beautiful post

  5. What an absolute hymn of love for your beloved daughter. I experienced the same 'hurry' for my second one, so between tears I smiled too.

  6. How sweet! I love both first and middle names of your beautiful daughters Gina! How bless you all are to have each other! Hope it was the most happiest of birthdays!