When I think back to December, and all of the excitement I felt when my sister and brother-in-law announced their pregnancy to us, I still get butterflies. It was one of the most precious moments of my life. We were sitting around their table – me, Mam, Dad and my boyfriend – and just as her husband was filling our glasses with some fizz – not out of the ordinary when eating with them – my sister stopped him and said, “only a little for me, it’s bad for the baby.”
In that moment, our lives changed forever. Our conversation – I couldn’t tell you now what were talking about – stopped. There was a moment of silence as we digested what she had just told us. That moment of silence didn’t last long. We shot up from our seats. There were tears; there were handshakes and hugs; there was happiness.
This continued throughout the next 7 months. The first time the baby kicked, the first scan photo, finding out the sex, throwing a baby shower, seeing the nursery! It was an amazing time.
I’m very close to my sister and was delighted that her pregnancy was progressing so well! She continued to be radiant and beautiful throughout. We all joked on about him arriving easy and potentially early because her bump was pretty big and we all had a lot of plans – including one of my best friends wedding – around the due date. He didn’t come early though and when it got to the 1st July we all braced ourselves. Nothing. 2nd of July… nothing.
Nothing until the 10th of July when my sister started having early labor pains. She was sent home from the hospital the following day. Then on the morning of 12th she went in. I was at work that day. My Mam and her husband went with her and I used up almost all of my mobile data in one day staying in touch with them. Throughout the day I got various updates. It wasn’t going as well as we all thought and hoped it would. This baby was taking his time. At 4.30 I got sent home early. I couldn’t focus on my job and I wanted to see my Dad as he had been on his own all day and being exactly like me, I knew he would be worrying and going crazy! So my boyfriend picked me up and off we went.
We couldn’t believe it was taking so long. My poor sister had been at this for 3 days! We settled on the couch though, positive that it wouldn’t be much longer!
By 10PM there was still no baby. We went home. I had work the next day and didn’t have any clean clothes with me. I couldn’t go to bed though. I was far too worried and needed to know that they were okay. So I lay on the couch watching films and talking with two of my best friends – one in Leeds, one in Wales – who were trying to keep me calm and reassure me. Just after midnight – that’s right, we’re into a 4th day – my Mam phoned to tell me that it wouldn’t be much longer, she was finally ready!
When my phone rang again, I tried to steady myself, it was time!
It wasn’t time. It had been about an hour since I last heard from my Mam. The baby still wasn’t coming. They were taking my sister down to theater, potentially for a C-section if they couldn’t manage any other way. Me being me, I went into panic mode. I was in tears. I sent my Dad a message to make sure he was okay and then I informed the girls that were still up, even though they were miles away from me, what was going on. Then I went and woke my boyfriend up and we sat together. I kept being told that everything would be alright. But at that moment, until I knew that they were both safe, nothing would console me. Not everyone has a close relationship with their sister like I do, but there are people out there who see will understand.
2.25AM. My phone rings. It’s my Dad. I answer and all he says is “he’s here.” I breath out the biggest sigh of relief. Naturally, I cry. I ask if he’s okay? Are they okay? Yes, both healthy and safe. In that moment we are thanking our lucky stars that he is finally here. When I get off the phone I deliver the great news to the two girls. I am so thankful for them. They didn’t have to be up with me but they did. Thank you. It meant the world to me.
I cry with happiness and relief and finally get into bed. By this time it’s 4AM.
At work the next day, I am so unfocused. I know I get to meet him later on. I can’t wait. I have refused to see photos of him because I am so excited and want the first time I see him to be the first time I can hold him!
When I get to the hospital, I struggle to contain myself. However, when I walk in the room I hug my brother-in-law who is waiting for us at the door, then I go straight to my sister, before I even look at the baby. I just need to hold her for a moment. To tell her that I’m so happy she’s okay and that I love her.
I know a lot of amazing, strong women – our own mother one of them, and I can’t thank her enough for being there with them – but in that moment she was strongest, most beautiful woman in the world. How she was still functioning was beyond but then it occurred to me a few days later that she had no choice. She had had major surgery and basically no sleep in over 4 days and she didn’t get recovery time. She has this tiny little life that she and her husband are responsible for and they took it their stride!
People had told me that having my nephew would be amazing. They told me to be prepared to fall for him the instant I laid eyes on him. I made sure that through the pregnancy, I had contact with the bump – I spoke to him every time I saw them, and would sit with my hand on him in an attempt to bond wit him. I still don’t feel like I was prepared enough. They were right – I did fall for him straight away – but I never knew I could love something so tiny, this much. That I could have such a strong connection even though this was the first time I was holding him.
I felt like when I sat with him in my arms, he knew who I was. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. He fills me with joy and hope and pride every time I see him.
His parents are amazing. Naturals! And our parents are so proud and happy!
To my Sister and her husband, I would like to say, on behalf of our family, we are all proud of you. Thank you for bringing him into our lives.