Monday, June 21, 2010

Baby food

AS I write this I can barely type, hardly speak and have just finished my first proper meal for about 36 hours. P*ssed again? Not a bit of it.
I've just spent the longest day of the year experiencing one of the most wonderful moments of my life... being at the birth of my daughter Olivia.
Many of you may have been aware that although we didn't know what the sex of our new child was going to be, I had been pretty convinced we would have a boy to carry on the Rippers dynasty. To that end, I have been talking all manner of boy things to the baby bump, like England's pathetic show so far in the World Cup, how my unborn child was destined to spend their life wallowing in the misery that comes with being a gashead and that should a posting come up with the Barmy Army they should sign up straight away.
Today, though, was the moment for home truths. Mrs Rippers and I left the house at 7am for the relatively short drive to Southmead Hospital, found the perfect parking place and checked in at the delivery suite.
As readers of this blog are no doubt aware, stubborn baby Rippers was steadfastly refusing to turn around and therefore was lying with head against poor mum's ribcage and bum facing in the direction the head should be. Hence, a week ahead of schedule we had been booked in for a c-section.
Mrs R wasn't too happy about it, feeling she would miss out on the extra chance to "bond" with baby during labour. I hesitated to mention she would also miss out on hours of agonising pain, and the feeling of having to squeeze a basketball through the eye of a needle.
The Southmead staff were absolutely first class. They warned us that things may take a little while to happen - particularly if an emergency caesarian came along - and at one stage we were half expecting to come back the next day with two people having gone in and no sign of anyone coming to fetch us.
Then, just before 12.30, our mouths dropped through the floor and our stomachs started to churn. It was our turn!
Well, when I say our turn, all I had to do was wheel the cases along to a storage room, then sit holding Mrs Rippers hand as they tore away her modesty, stripping her down, attaching various drips to her, painting her body like some Glastonbury hippy and giving her a short back and sides in a place where most hairdressers would fear to venture.
Finally, as she started to lose all feeling in her lower half, the surgeons entered and a curtain was erected in front of us so we couldn't see all the gory goings on.
I continued to talk quietly to Mrs R and the anaethetist while all manner of surgical operations were going on at the other end of the bed.
Then, in quicker time than either myself or my lovely wife could envisage, suddenly a little, wrinkly, beautiful, minature human being was shown to us over the curtain. A bit purple, I grant you, and protesting about such a rude awakening, but the baby was definitely here, clocking in at 1.55pm.
Then came the words that took me back only slightly. "It's a girl!"
Oh no! Many more years of being outvoted and ganged up against in my own home. How soon would she want an I-Phone, car insurance and, god forbid, a boyfriend? After all, I know what those boys are like. I used to be one.
Mrs Rippers and I had to quickly ditch the chosen name Cody for one more suited for the sex of our new-born. And looking into her eyes for the first time we both agreed - Olivia Jasmine.
After that we were transfered to a kind of holding room where Mrs R learnt how to feed the baby and I then dressed her for the first time in all her new clothes.
Eventually we were moved to the ward and, when the midwives departed to attend to more needy cases, we were suddenly left with this cute little bundle, totally dependant on us.
Twice, I'll have you know, I even instigated nappy changes while Mrs Rippers carried out the kind of tasks I was ill equipped for - despite the size of my man boobs.
And I admit it was only when I left the two of them to bond at 8pm that night I realised the enormity of what had taken place.
Holy Moly, I'm a dad again!

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