The evening of 1 August 04

Leo had just been born, and had fed a little. With Mother and Baby settled, i went outside to make the phone calls…

As soon as i got outside, the phone rang – a text from Jenny saying she and Mum and Dad were going in to see a film, and she’d have her phone on silent vibrate. I call but no answer. I later find out the phone shot off her lap and she had to creep under the seat in front to get it.
Called the Mitchells – they were driving back from a day out. I spoke briefly to Ian, who repeated the key details to Lynda. Then i tried to call my parents again.
Eventually spoke to Jenny – who had hauled mum and dad out of the cinema. She put mum on, who was soon crying with happiness so i spoke to Dad. Then i went back in to the hospital.
Claire had to stay in; while we got everything sorted to move onto the ward went out to make other calls. Spoke to the Mitchells in more detail, sent texts to everyone on the list!
Spoke to Anna, who burst into tears straight afterwards, we later discovered. Spoke to Richard who was already in a pub but got himself hammered in celebration.
It did feel weird – i’d left them alone upstairs and i was talking about it to other people. I was reporting facts without having really taken them in myself. I didn’t miss them so much as feel puzzled by the fact that outside seemed so ordinary. Everyone was unaware of how my life had changed: there were no dancing girls, or fireworks.
After Claire and Leo were settled for the night, i left – about 11.00. It was very odd leaving them – very difficult in fact. But it was nice thinking that they would be sleeping side by side and that Claire would be starting to grow into a mother. It felt odd that I was thinking more of Claire than Leo, but i was more used to thinking about Claire – and Leo hadn’t been inside me for all that time. So I ignored that, and trusted that i wasn’t supposed to be feeling any particular way.
I called my parents to say ‘come down’, Dad said they couldn’t as they’d been drinkning Champagne. Then got a text – they’d woken Jenny up to drive them down! When i got home i had some Pesto pasta and did the washing up. With some old near-flat tonic i had a G&T – and put the washing on again from that morning!
Mum and Dad arrived slightly tipsy, Jenny tired and sober. We had more Champagne and i babbled non-stop about the birth! I was in shock, i think. I don’t feel i took it in at all. I did know of my awe for what Claire had done. I always knew she was tough and fit, but had no idea how strong she really was.
After they left, about 2.00, i hung out the washing on a warm moonless night, and looked at the stars. I felt tired, peaceful, and very, very aware that this was my last night of sleep for a while. Not that I found it easy to sleep. One long mother of a day.
Next morning I washed up, washed the floors and tidied up before getting off to the hospital to pick them up.


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