Yesterday was your birthday.
We waited and waited for you to arrive, but you were so comfortable tucked up in the warm peace of my bump. But whilst you kicked and jabbed and hiccuped to your happy heart’s content, I was struggling. I didn’t know it at the time, but your sizeable weight was the reason I was in pain walking, lying or sitting. Turning over in bed made me yelp. Every step felt like my waters would break from the pressure. Contractions started and faltered. Every night I timed them with a mixture of nerves and excitement, only for them to stop as soon as I climbed into bed for the night.
But still, we waited.
Your cot sat in our room, ready for us to swaddle you inside. The hospital bag lay ready on the floor, ready to pick up in a hurry. Your clothes washed and folded in your new chest of drawers.
We were ready. So ready. And so excited.
At my last obstetrician’s appointment, we made a decision. If you hadn’t arrived by Friday, we would check into the hospital at midnight to be induced. I wanted you to come naturally, but you were big. My body was getting to the end of what it could do. I needed to sleep again, to walk without pain, and to deliver you naturally without complications. You would be born on Saturday 17th September. We had a date.
And as the day drew closer, our excitement grew.
The 3rd January seemed such a long time ago; the day we found out you were growing inside me. We’d had so long to get ready, yet it still seemed surreal that we would be meeting you within days. A girl baby. Our last baby. The last pregnancy. And the beginning of our future as a family of five.
Friday arrived and I knew it was the last time I’d kiss your brothers goodnight as a mother of two. As a mother of just boys. As I kissed them, I inhaled their sleepy scent and was taken straight back to the day each of them was born. Both induced births, we had waited for them too – and it had been so worth it. So very worth it.
As I kissed them, I was reminded about the fluidity of time. About how i would soon be kissing you goodnight as a two year old, as a four year old, as a little person excited about their next day at school – a person that seemed so far removed from the jabbing, kicking, hiccuper in my womb.
We sat down to dinner and I could barely eat from excitement. Fireworks started up on the beach for Eid – the last session of five nights. And for the first time, your brothers heard and came running out their room. We watched the night sky light up, sparkle, boom and crackle together – together, as a family of four, but so nearly five. A celebration of you nearly being here.
And then it was time to throw those last things into the suitcase, climb into a bath to watch my bump dance for the last time, and then make our way to hospital. Joining the traffic as just another car – but wanting to shout in excitement ‘we’re off to have a baby!’ as we pulled away from our car park. Not just another car – but in our eyes, the very most important car on the road.
And so, it began.
I will save your birth story for another time – but you are here now.
Yesterday was your birthday.
You are here, with your beautiful chubby cheeks, scarlet bow lips, and warm, milky newborn smell that we are drinking in like a drug. Your brothers have already come to meet you twice and stroked you in awe, in amazement that the giant bump strapped to their Mummy’s front really did turn into a baby sister. Just like we always promised.
They blinked in amazement, they smiled with twinkling eyes, they stroked you affectionately, and then they pressed buttons on my hospital bed and wailed with hilarity when I was nearly thrown off it with force.
Chaotic, but wonderful – as we were together, for the very first time, as a family of five.
My beautiful Mabel; yesterday was your birthday.
And how special and truly precious that seems right now.
Now we are beginning our life together, as a family of five.
Photos by Natalie Robinson Photographer