Public speaking at emotional times is not my strong point

To say I'm weepy at the moment is an understatement. I was on the skype to Mum last night in a veritable flood of tears. This parenting gig is tough.
Now any of you who were at my wedding ceremony in Cheltenham will know all to well that I have a tendency for the odd tear or two when faced with the task of speaking at a celebration. Well two weeks ago, on Mr Sir's first Sunday (when Nana was also visiting) I was on the rota to do the Church readings. I had practised the reading first thing that morning, reading to him lying in my arms and tears came rolling down my face splashing onto his. By half ten Dr K was giving a feed so Nana and I went along and took up a pew ahead. I went up to the front to do the first reading and stayed for the hymn between the two readings. All fine, Dr K had not made it yet - perhaps they'd not make it in time, which was a shame as I'd hoped to have him there. During that intervening hymn I felt myself going, trembling, failing to get some of the lines out. I was taken back to my Mum's wedding and the reading I did - I was again in floods of tears the hymn before (and probably during the reading too, though I can't fully remember that). Things were not looking good for my second reading. I got up to the lecturn and turned round to see that Dr K had arrived at the back with a swaddle of my son. I was a gone. I struggled through, broken, faltering, welled up with the joy and realisation of being a dad, resonating with the love that Jesus had for his disciples (the reading was about Thomas).
After the service we were greeted by so many of our church family. At 5 days old it was pretty special to have him there and he behaved like a little star, looking frankly angelic asleep in our arms. Most of the ladies admitted that they were equally in sympathy tears as I 'read' - a comment mirrored at my wedding, crying is clearly an effect I have on women. Amusement aside I was so honoured to do that reading and have him there, safe and well after a nine month journey (with a longer 2.5 year journey before that).
Following the service and coffee Nana drove us to the Rosie for a midwife weight check. All good - weight up and heal prick blood test done (returned all clear). We then went to Waitrose for his introduction to nice super market shopping (and only his second ever shop experience after our local greengrocer).
Mr Sir. © Nick Bailey
Welcome to Waitrose shopping

First whole day with a son at home.

A lovely day was had by all. It was magical. We both just had a fantastic day with our son. Nappy changes, plenty of skin to skin time (I just love it, and he seems to copy with my hairy body to [frankly he's pretty hairy too, like a little baby gorilla]), cuddles bounces. A very kind midwife came for our day three check-up including weighing and general advice. Mr Sir's weight had dropped to 3.08 kg - a loss of 9.9%, just within acceptable limits. She also observed he was a tad on the yellow side, something that I'd put down to his Asian ancestry, but apparently not. The midwife went off to collect a machine that goes ping (to test for jaundice) so we took the opportunity for some daylight and a feed outside. The test proved that he's half way to the safety threshold but fine for now. In the evening we went for a walk to see the ducks on the green in the village and then home via the chip shop (as it is Friday). I was a little excited to introduce him to them but the look on their faces was a sight, in China mothers and babies (but especially mothers) do not go outside for the first month, and there were were in a chip shop ordering fish and chips. Oh dear. The evening was spent cooing on twitter.

Day two, much change - he has eyes!

Day two and things were less clear. When I arrived at the hospital this morning after a glorious sunny cycle down via Boots to pick up some nipple cream Mr Sir was a different person. Eyes were open, one better than the other, and he was much more active. Perhaps yesterday was a fluke. He wasn't crying super hard, but just occasionally and I was able to settle him a few times. But certainly the demand level had increased - it wasn't going to be quite as easy as about which I'd first caught a hope's glimmer.
More tests today including his other ear which had still been blocked the day before and he was jabbed with a BCG vaccination due to our Eastern risk factor. Eventually we were discharged and our recently birthed friend came to pick us up as she had a car seat installed. I cycled back via a couple of errands to pick up some supplied from Seoul Plaza. When I got home Dr K was feeding upstairs in our newly created landing. It was such a joy to behold, my wife and child at home.
After his feed, as the sun was just beginning to set I stole him away and popped outside to show him the garden for the first time. To be frank I can't say he was that interested, but I'm sure we can work on his gardening instincts. Having been round the garden twice (it is only tiny after all) I followed my urge to show him the neighbours magnolia which has just exploded into flower. Pretty soon we were visiting my favourite garden center (Histon Plant Sale) and then it was all the way round the block. I later explained to Dr K that this was his favourite walk - I suspect this is how parenting starts: you simply make stuff up about your child, some true and others become true. I must admit, and I doubt this will surprise anyone of you who know me (and particualy annyone who went to my wedding), that I cried all the way round. It was lovely. Actually lovely doesn't cut it, it was perfect, it was joy. Yep, joy. Transcendent happiness, like the feeling God must have for humanity. The love of a father, Oh dear typing this and I've gone again.

First 24 hrs and sleep is clearly on the cards.

I'm a dad. Not 100% feeling it just yet, but when I got to the hospital this morning I was excited to see him. Cycling home last night though, the panic mixed emotion did give rise to the tempting thought that I could just keep cycling and put off the future... But I'm well pleased I didn't, he was really quite gorgeous.
I cycled into the hospital in the morning and found Dr K with Mr Sir having survived the night. He was sleepy but had managed to latch for some feeding attempts. He'd also done a good few meconium poos. Pretty soon it was time to change his nappy again. (not my first time; I'd given him his first nappy with the help of the midwife the night last night after his initial mec explosion that happened skin-to-skin on Dr K [such tar]). In fact I noticed him as it happened and when I checked there was an epic amount of black sticky mess. This cleaned up fairly nicely and soon a new clean shiny nappy was on ready to go on. And with perfect timing the gates of Mordor oozed forth its sticky goo all over the clean nappy. A second clean and finally we were there with a fully nappied baby.
Lots of things happened over the day. We were expecting to be discharged, but eventually it was clear they wanted Dr K in for extra monitoring. Tests were done before I'd arrived, and then his hearing while I was there. I's held him as Dr K nipped out for some lunch. Pretty much he just slept while the sun shone outside and we just rested with him (I had a bit of a migraine, but not unexpected due to the trauma of yesterday, frankly I'm fairly confident he must have had one too having seen his head crushed like a Toblerone as he was born). This evening, after celebrating his first 24 hours de-wombed, I was back home with the cat, had some dahl and fixed the TV.
Some of the things I've learnt today include that the way I curl up in bed is a remnant of my gestation and early life. I woke this morning from a dream in which it wasn't clear if that I had not just been born, my arms were up round my head just like Mr Sir has arms. The second, rather intimate, discovery is that it turns out it is completely normal to have that strange linear scar-type line down the length of my penis. Either that or it's genetic. And I was even prouder of Dr K for coping so well with his feeding and care, she looked like a proper mum, it was incredible. My first message from her this morning was to say how she's spent a good part of the wee small hours simply adoring him - my heart oozed a bit like Mr Sir's rear, but in a good way.

A son is born.

He is here. My little son, born this evening at 17:29 by a mum with only a paracetamol taken four hours previous. Our midwife Hannah was really good, she was quote blunt and strong willed but pushed us through it and got our chap born without any tareing. Massive joy and I was weeping uncontrollably as he was brought out and up for his first skin to skin cuddle. Incredible experience, challenging, but Dr K really just did a fabulous job. Wow. Our little chap, Mr Sir, is a bit of a cutie. More to come no doubt (will try not to drone on too much like a soppy first time dad).

labour is well established; good lord this is intense

Dr K is in labour. E by gum this is heavy. But she is doing really really well. Lots of breathing out, quite a bit of horsey noises and at times almost meditative. Looking like it will be today. I'd just like to say good luck, we're all counting on her.

One more night of silence.

No progress was made on the birthing today other than a natural course of things. Instead a day spent outside in the delicious first warm day of spring. It was just so fulfilling to be out all day. Then in the evening I went down to the hospital to visit Dr K and we walked out along a footpath she had explored earlier. There we sat, eating some nut bibimbap and watching a rather splendid sunset; the sun sinking behind the trees on the horizon. Perhaps the one (?) advantage of a flat landscape, it was a bit like an ocean sunset. Glorious, sitting there together as a couple on perhaps the final day of this previous life, we felt so happy.
Now it's another night back home for me and then work tomorrow. Bit weird as I was hoping to be on holiday now (by holiday I mean paternity leave). Hopefully I can be a little productive while I wait for any news. The next stage is to break the waters which should encourage a natural labour, but that could still take another 24 hrs. Unlikely, I suspect, seeing as how things are progressing, but then you never know. There's a three ladies in the wait and over the bank holiday I think they've been quite happy for them not to go into labour. Tomorrow might be a little different with the Doctors back in force.
I'm super proud of Dr K already and feel ready now for this next step. I shall miss the quiet and miss the bump, the sleep too as well as our peaceful shared current life (and when I express this I see concerned look on peoples faces followed by their urge to try and convince me I'm wrong and that it will be fabulous), but I definitely feel I have made the full journey from doubt and worry to preparation and... I was going to say excitement, that's not quite right, not exactly excitement but rather perhaps 'peace'. Still, should get to sleep and some rest before it's all change please, all change.

Digging while I wait

Not wanting to let a glorious (exceedingly rare) Bank Holiday Monday go to waste, and while still waiting for Dr K to give me the call to come in (still not yet), I've dug over the vegetable patch in preparation for... for... well, perhaps for growing some vegetables. Quite how conducive having a baby is to vegetable growing I can't yet know. But here's hoping for some planning opportunities ahead and even some shared bonding - father and son in the garden. I guess for a year or so it will be mostly me doing all the work. I wonder if I can have him in the sling while I dig?
Digging the vegetable patch. © Nick Bailey
gardening in labour limbo

Getting close now. Was that my final good night sleep?

I left Dr K in the hospital last night as there is no accommodation for partners (and also there is not much for me to do yet). I came home ate and, after sorting out my Toppy PVR which was having a channel crisis and installing the update to MyStuff 6.6 TAP I went to bed. I slept. I woke. A glorious morning met my eyes (far beyond the expectation of the BBC Weather forecast) - is this the day that I become a Dad for real? Update is that Dr K wasn't induced in the end, but looks like she's slipping into labour naturally (hurrah for the collective intuition of her and the staff nurse who decided to temper the doctors desire to push on). Labour is not established yet, and while I wait for the call in I can recharge my batteries a little out here in the garden in the glorious sunshine. I've taken our visiting cat for a walk round the garden - literally on a leash, I've not let him loose as I really don't want him to escape and wonder back to his owner's place.

Cambridge by bus: at the very best it is much slower than by bike.

This afternoon we have had an impromptu trip to the Rosie hospital in Addenbrooks, which from where we live is highly inconvenient to reach. The bus took 45 minutes and that was with also zero traffic. By bike it is in the region of 30 to 35 minutes (even when 37 weeks pregnant). We are here for a repeat blood test and hoping that they will not recommend inducing the delivery. Fingers crossed.

Splish Splash!

Repost from 2004

Had a first go at trying to capture those beautiful water droplet images you see. Set my D70 up in the kitchen on my tripod with desk lamp shining on one of my Chinese bowls. Then standing over the setup, I tried to drop drips into the bowl while clicking my remote control to take the images. Some success of which a couple are here for your viewing pleasure:

A coloured drop in the ocean

Classic water droplet

Drop a la 'Crown Paint'