Wednesday 24 February 2010

Gorgeousness, and how it came to be

It’s not like in the movies.

Mango decided to make her intentions known on Thursday evening; ET’s waters broke, with contractions following closely behind.

After a quick call to the midwife to let her know it had started, bizarrely, we got ready for bed. This turned out to be as useful as tits on a bull, as the contractions started coming strong and steady, 6, 5, 4 minutes apart.

This continued through the night and when morning dawned the midwife paid a visit to check on progress. Just 2 centimetres dilation, which was hardly enough to have gotten her in there to begin with, never mind get her out.

Following a few hours of strengthening contractions, the midwife called again at lunch time to find a whopping 4 centimetres.

Being time to move to the hospital, the midwife rang ahead, only to discover the first set-back of the day; they had no room. Open nights, tours, and leaflets about their maternity services went out the window as we had to move to hospital option B.

By 4pm, 17 hours in, the contractions continued to thunder in but no progress was being made. Still 4 centimetres. The doctors advised pain relief, with an epidural being the only option that would hold long enough to be of use when the end came and it was most needed.

In an attempt to bring that end nearer, they administered hormones to stimulate the contractions and help speed up the labour.

7pm, 9pm, 11pm all passed with progress slowly being made. Too slowly unfortunately as 24 hours had passed since her waters had broken, increasing the risk of infection.

It was time to get Mango out of there.

The hormones were increased and the contractions cranked up, ET feeling each one through the epidural. Midnight passed, the date and staff shifts changed, and on it went. First 8, then 9 centimetres on the horizon.

A little after 1am the midwife decided that the 9.5 was as far as it was going to go, and even with no urge from the baby to do so, ET had to start pushing.

And push she did.

On and on, over and over, breathing deep and putting more than I could imagine into each push. To no avail.

By 3am, the obstetrician felt the 50-50 chance that she would be born naturally was dwindling fast, and as a last resort she opted for one shot at a vacuum extraction.

Anesthetic was administered for the episiotomy that would have to follow if the extraction worked, equipment was readied, and everyone was braced for one last push.

The push came and the vacuum clattered to the floor, ET and I both convinced the child had been sent flying across the room. She hadn’t, the vacuum couldn’t get enough purchase on her head and had come loose. More than 30 hours after the start, in what felt like a defeat, the OR was readied for a cesarean section.

The moments between the failed vacuum attempt and the OR were the worst kind of limbo. Excited half brains telling us the baby would be out and safe in just a matter of moments, exhausted and anxious half brains imagining all sorts of scenarios in the small hours.

Within minutes ET was wheeled away and prepped, and I was scrubbed up and beside her behind the magic screen. I have no idea what was said, or what was done, just that all of a sudden I was told to stand up and look.

There she was, being lifted from her mother’s belly like a rediscovered buried treasure. Blue grey from head to toe, knees curled up into her chest, wild eyes staring out in front. Some kind of demented Smurf. No crying, no screeching, no wailing, just the crossest of expressions surely swearing revenge for the inconvenience she’d been caused.

She slipped silently into the world at 3:51am, and barely a moment later the Dutch government collapsed. A mere coincidence, surely.

She lay in my arms staring at me, wishing me a violent death until her mother returned. Cuteness ensued, huge eyes transforming from ‘serial killer’ to ‘puppy dog’ with her mammy’s touch.

Much more took place that will probably dissolve faster than ET’s stitches, only visiting our memories before evaporating forever. Only physical evidence of what happened between the night of the 18th and morning of the 20th February 2010 will remain.

That physical evidence is beautiful. Absolutely fucking gorgeous should the overwhelmingly biased truth be told. Long fingers on the end of amusingly active hands, toes that curl and bend with every yawn that comes from the purest mouth I have ever seen, sending milk breath into my face.

Soft but sturdy arms and legs, simultaneously exhibiting her vulnerability, reliance, and potential all in one.

A warm pot belly, rising and falling. Shoulders founding the nape of her neck created by nature to bed my nose and lips where I can kiss and breathe in her smell that I’ve taken to work on my clothes, releasing itself intermittently to remind me that the minutes will pass and soon I’ll breathe the real thing again.

Cheeks full to bursting, reassuring us she is thriving. Eyes, that while open are so wide and deep I might not make it out alive some day, and while closed dance around to dreams behind almost translucent eyelids.

Hair so startlingly thick and black that I can’t help myself, running it behind her ears, curling it on her neck, cupping her head in the palm of my hand.

Her weight on my arm, the heaviness that ebbs and flows in the crook of my elbow with each one of her sighs, beautiful in itself.

There you have it, gorgeousness, and how it came to be.


Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...





kiss her over and over for auntie lala

Unknown said...

This is such a fucking beautiful, awesome, hysterical post, I cannot even believe it.

Here's to athrú, my friend! Cheers!

Ms. Moon said...

"Shoulders founding the nape of her neck created by nature to bed my nose and lips where I can kiss and breathe in her smell that I’ve taken to work on my clothes, releasing itself intermittently to remind me that the minutes will pass and soon I’ll breathe the real thing again."

Perfect in all ways. The baby and the words about her.

Sending love, as always.

darcie said...

GAH! I'm totally bawling over here! SOOO happy for you guys...SHE IS FINALLY HERE! YAY! What a wonderful documentation of Sanne's birth...Hugs to you and ET - and most of all - that gorgeous babe!

Heather said...

GASP..... would you look at that. What a beauty.

WeaselMomma said...

She's incredible.
I'm glad that Mom, Baby and Dad are all together and well.
Welcome to parenthood.

ManicMammy said...

She is a beauty. What a journey but worth it in the end. Congrats and enjoy. Let the fun begin.

Lorna said...

Gosh, that birth sounds so like my first and yes, all the pain etc is a distant memory now. Delighted all well and hope ET is recovering well xx

Catherine said...

Gah! Tears.

Jenni said...

A wonderful birth story. Thanks for sharing.

Love to you all, xo.

Kori said...

Just sending happy thoughts. Beautiful post, beautiful baby; she has more hair than Owen does!

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Wow, all that hair!... You certainly do a great play-by-play.... Congrats to the both of u -especially to mamasita since she did all the huffing and puffing....

AKA "Meesh" said...

You could write about anything and make it poetry. This one left me breathless!

Mwa said...

Oh, I'm sorry you all had to go through that much trauma. I hope you get lots of people around so ET and you can tell the tale a million times - that was the way I processed the birth of my first.

And what a happy thing that everything turned out okay. Well, I say okay, but I mean perfectly, of course. You describe it all so perfectly.

María said...

Beautiful post, dude.
Beautiful daughter, too.

Anonymous said...


Alle said...

That post was... well was amazing what a lovely way to describe it, it gave me goose bumps and took me back to July 1st 2007, when my beautiful daughter was born after 29hours, awesome job to the both of you she is beautiful.

AnnD said...

I think I've told you over and over how beautiful she is!

Her entry into the world will only serve as a precursor to her future disposition.

I'm so sorry that it had to be so dramatic! But, she is absolute perfection.

Enjoy every moment, don't put her down for a second (unless you want to) and listen to no one who tells you that you will spoil her by holding her so much. You can't spoil something so perfect!

NicEmMOM said...

Beautiful! Brings back vivid memories of both my girls journeys into the world! She is beautiful! Congrats!

Candy said...

That little girl is so lucky to have you as her papa. Well done, all of you, and congrats after such a wait. She is lovely.

Minze said...

This has made the world a bit of a better place. So glad for you guys.

Horse Chick said...

Sanne is Gorgeous!! I love her beautiful hair! No wonder you like to play with it.
As usual, your way with words is truly amazing and I thank you and (ET) for sharing this wonderful journey with us all! Can't wait for more updates and pictures!! Many Blessings to the Fitzgerald Three!!

WhatAboutNovember said...

My dear, you're lovely. Thank you for sharing all of this with us.

She is perfect.

Happy tears.

Bonnie B. said...

Most gorgeous baby girl ever (ssssh! don't tell my 2 daughters I said that)

Again, congratulations to you and ET. And welcome to the bliss of that new baby smell.

Darragh said...

AH Martin - what a great post! She is gorgeous - and this is a lovely lovely piece of writing about her.

My best wishes for your family sir - enjoy the new experience :)

Genuinely delighted for you :)

Steph said...

Wow. Just, wow.

callismama said...

Congratualtions!! She IS beautiful...absolutely gorgeous!

Shauna said...

Heartfelt congratulations to you and your wife. She's a gorgeous little mite.

Alyssa said...

You are so blessed with this talent for writing! I want to steal some of your phrases to describe your new daughter to describe my own children. What a way with words. Absolutely beautiful post and I am so excited for you and ET!

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy for you!! What a ride!

I haven't seen her stats mentioned yet ???

Jenn said...


Both post and daughter.

April said...

Fucking gorgeous is right!

Jo Beaufoix said...

One day she will read this and fill up, as myself and Miss E (9) have. So so pleased for you. She is perfect and beautiful and you're going to be wicked parents. (Wicked in a good way.) Beautifully written as usual mate. Much love to you all.

Wanderlust said...

I love the way you tell it. Congratulations. She is beautiful.

Rikki said...

Wow. That was BY FAR the most wonderful post you have ever written. She is so loved.

Rob Monroe said...

Furriest Mango I've ever seen.

Your storytelling is amazing. Thank you for sharing your story.

You're not all that biased, that's one beautiful baby.

Congrats to all three of you!

Iota said...

Beautiful - both the writing and the baby.

I'm sorry about the experience of the day and a half that preceded her arrival.

Chic Mama said...

What a beautiful momento you have of her birth with your writing. She is gorgeous!

People in the Sun said...


(although the first thing my boy did when he was pulled out of his mother's belly was pee on the nurse, so RESPECT)

(And I always thought they left me behind the curtain until they were taking him out was because he didn't really come out of there. I mean, he did, but only after they put him there. They put him there to spy on me in accordance with the wishes of their alien overlords. I don't trust him.)

merinz said...

You are in love, all over again! Isn't it the most amazing feeling. To describe that feeling when you first look at the face of your newborn........ you have done well!
The smell of them, and the softness of their skin......
A beautiful post.

Steph(anie) said...

This may be the best thing I've ever read :)

Susanica said...

Wow. Some parts of your story sound so familiar. The decision to do the c-section and then that horrible wait. So stressful. I don't think you've posted her height and weight yet right? Is it only we American's who seem to think that is so important to get out there?

I hope ET is recovering well. What a journey you two have been on! And what a great end (and beginning) in Sanne! -M

tiff(threeringcircus) said...

and so a new love story begins.
Besotted is the word that comes to mind.

AnnB said...

Well done all three of you - wishing you all a beautiful life together. Long may you bask in the awe of it all!

Anonymous said...

X Box, if you don't go and write a book about this, that and what's ahead you have to be the stupidest irishman I know. You are sitting on a goldmine!
In the words or Mr Nike

That was so beautiful. Love to you all xxx

Rebecca said...

Love her chubby cheeks. They are adorable....

Anonymous said...

Wow dude, what an amazing story - may this set a precedence for the rest of her life... she doing what she will in her own sweet time while people frantically bow to her every need!! Women, wha?!?

You're going to be an excellent Da. :)

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for years, through every up and down...

and this is the ONLY time I have ever actually sat here and cried.

Just beautiful.


Deb said...


Ali said...

Goodness me, what a story. Poor ET, I hope she's recovering well.

She is utterly, utterly beautiful. You were pretty much born to be a daddy, I reckon. Your words are filled with such joy.

Foster Mama said...

Just beautiful!!!! Congrats!!!!

Light said...

Wow what a long labor...but beautiful outcome! Congratulations!

Manuel said...

so so happy for you all....

and city got duffed out of the should do the lotto!

J from Ireland said...

This has me sobbing. I am so happy. You sound over the moon. Your poor wife, well done to her. Beautiful ending. Again soooo happy for you both.

Steve said...

Ah, that falling in love moment. Unforgettable.

And she's beautiful.

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

"just that all of a sudden I was told to stand up and look."

and you were all 'but I AM standing up' and they shook their heads in sympathy that this child will be taller than you by years end.

{Time is up buddy. Back to the bitch. Can't have you going soft on us}

Kelly said...

Congratulations. It is the most amazing moment, thanks for sharing!

Veronica Foale said...

She is amazing. Absolutely amazing and gorgeous.

Also ET - strong strong woman to go through the labour she did. She is amazing too.

WhatAboutNovember said...

Just reread it. Phenomenal.

IrishNYC said...

She's absolutely beautiful.

My sympathies to ET. I labored as long only to have a c-section as well. She'll be herself soon enough.

Poppy said...

Oh my...look at all that beautiful hair!!!!

She's a beauty!

Congrats to you & ET :)

River said...

I'm going to br re-reading this post...oh, probably forever. Such a sweet description of your beautiful Sanne.
Ouch on the failed vacuum attempt.
ET is holding up okay?

Anonymous said...

After all that you both have been through to get to this point one would say that this is the end of the story is only the beginning!!
You inspire, delight and bring us to tears with your amazing writing skills. This is one lucky wee lass to be gorgeous and have you as a Daddy. Best wishes to a beautiful family !!

Anonymous said...

JEEZ! Thanks for for having me in tears with that beautiful post. Babies have the best smell ever, and they make you want to kiss and cuddle them and never stop. Can feel the pride and love you have for little Sanne, gorgeous babes! Please dont ever stop writing. Again, congrats to you and ET and welcome little one to a world where you will be much loved. Mwah, mwah and MWAH! Yolande, SOUTH AFRICA.

Anonymous said...

JEEZ! Thanks for for having me in tears with that beautiful post. Babies have the best smell ever, and they make you want to kiss and cuddle them and never stop. Can feel the pride and love you have for little Sanne, gorgeous babes! Please dont ever stop writing. Again, congrats to you and ET and welcome little one to a world where you will be much loved. Mwah, mwah and MWAH! Yolande, SOUTH AFRICA.

Not From Lapland said...

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful! congratulations to the three of you.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous. Just Gorgeous

Martin said...

@Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] - Stalker.

@Kate - Awww ;-P

@Ms. Moon - Right back at you mama moon.

@darcie - hahaha

@Heather - isn't she!

@WeaselMomma - thanks!

@ManicMammy - she is, she is.

@Lorna - thanks!

@Catherine - ya wally!

@Jenni - :-)

@Kori - aw poor fella, haha

@Chrissy - She did a great job

@AKA "Meesh" - awwww.

@Mwa - perfect indeed!

@María - *sniff* yes!

@hairyfarmerfamily - *grimaces*

@Alle - thank you!

@AnnD - Funny, I'm already quite conscious of doing that too much!

@NicEmMOM - thanks!

@Candy - thank you!

@Minze - this bit is better anyway, thats for sure ;-)

@Horse Chick - Awwwww

@WhatAboutNovember - Awww, thanks.

@Bonnie B. - you did NOT say that, hahaha.

@Darragh - Cheers Darragh.

@Steph - :-)

@callismama - Hi stranger, thanks.

@sky girl - thank you

@Alyssa - You might want to skip the demented smurf bit.

@Christa -, I'm not going there ;-)

@Jenn - thanks!

@April - yeah!

@Jo Beaufoix - Awwwwww

@kbxmas - thank you

@Rikki - and so so so loud...

@RobMonroe - thanks sir.

@Iota - nothing to be sorry for, it was time well spent!

@Chic Mama - thanks

@People in the Sun - it's what they put in there instead I'm worried about.

@merinz - thanks!

@Steph(anie) - I think you need to find a library ;-)

@Susanica - it had slipped my mind, I will though.

@tiff(threeringcircus) - :-) She came home in her yellow booties.

@AnnB - Thanks!

@Anonymous - thanks, get someone to be willing to publish it first!

@Rebecca - edible!

@K8 the Gr8 - wha! Da! very Roddy Doyle ;-) oh jaysus, me fanny!

@livingrightnow - Finally! ;-P

@Deb - awww

@Ali - she's doing good, thank you.

@Foster Mama - thanks!

@Light - very beautiful!

@Manuel - I actually intend to for this weekend, could be the one.

@J from Ireland - Thanks!

@Steve - Cheers!

@Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo - 'back'to bitch... you fool no one.

@Kelly - thanks.

@Veronica - She did great, really.

@WhatAboutNovember - Awww

@IrishNYC - :-)

@Poppy - MY hair!

@River - everyone is settling back well, thanks.

@Anonymous - Aw thank you.

@Yolande - Thanks :-)

@Heather - Thank you.

@corymbia - Aw thanks.

AnnD said...

There is no "too much" when it comes to holding your much-anticipated little baby!

Keep up the good work Daddy! :O)

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) said...

Thankfully she got Mom's looks - beautiful!

C said...

I got no toher words..Congratulations...Its been a long journey, and I was lucky to be a part of it...she is BEAUTIFUL...

Geeks in Rome said...

what a harrowing adventure!!
I love how she knew at once you were the enemy ;)

Mango!! so plump and juicy. A big kiss to her from us. You two deserve this soooo much!!! It's finally real!

Redneck Mommy said...

She is so very beautiful.

Congratulations to you and your wife.

She is devine.

Siobhan said...

Probably one of the best posts I've ever read. Your love for her and your wife is seeping through the screen. Beautiful. What an amazing blessing, and what a gorgeous little girl! Congrats again.

Mo said...

Oh! Congratulations!


Sue said...

Oh, tears... I don't know what is more beautiful -- that child or your description of her.

Such love, such joy. So very glad she has found you.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful post - it's made me more than a wee bit teary. She is so, so perfect!

areyoukiddingme said...

It's good to be in love! She is gorgeous...and while she might appear to prefer mama, it's only so she can wrap you even more tightly around her finger.

Sorry it came down to the C-section. That does suck - especially after all that work. :(

tomi said...

She is gorgeous and that hair! xoxo

Congratulations to you and ET :)

Tracey said...

A belated congratulations to both of you! About fucking time, too :)

Slamdunk said...

Congrats on the new arrival.

Hilary (Maya Papaya) said...

This is the most beautiful post I've ever read. Honestly.


Chris Mancini said...

Make sure you put this post in a scrapbook for her. She'll look back and go Daaaaad... Congrats and great post.

jojo said...

congratulations, I knew three years ago on cre8buzz, this day would come. I am now in utter envy as I have finally found my real love and my tubes are tied :-(. Outstanding!

Martin said...

@AnnD - it's a killer!

@Quickroute - kiss arse

@Chhandita - thank you!

@Geeks in Rome - she certainly is

@Tanis - thank you :-)

@Siobhan - Aw thanks.

@Mo and Will - Thank you guys.

@Sue - Thanks Sue, take care.

@alylala - she is :-)

@areyoukiddingme - All's well that ends well

@tomi - the hair is great ;-)

@Tracey - language! this is a family show.

@Slamdunk - thank you.

@Hilary (Maya Papaya) - Awwww

@Chris Mancini - thanks sir

@jojo - Thank you, and good luck

Blues said...

Beautifully written. She is gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Has a child ever been more wanted or so much work gone into her arrival?

What a precious soul she is!

I hope ET is healing well and quickly!

Chelsea Lietz said...

as always, beautifully written. It renewed my gratitude for your blessing, and for my own! She is beautiful, congrats.

Martin said...

@Blues - Thank you :-)

@Hyphen Mama - I believe there have been millions. Just ones who's fathers arent pains the arse to write abot it ;-)

@Chelsea Lietz - Thanks!

steph said...

I'm only catching up now on your first week but WOW! what a treat!

This post is simply GORGEOUS!

And Sanne looks totally and utterly adorable.

Happy sleeps, mate!

B said...

Why'd you buy the newborn babby a wig?

Martin said...

@steph - Thanks :-)

@B - It's a disguise to protect her identity ;-)

hotmamamia said...







Ain't life


Martin said...

@hotmamamia - It certainly is

Malky B. said...

Congratulations! I've been out of the loop lately but wanted to wish you a belated congratulations. She's beautiful. Enjoy every minute of her babyhood. It goes by so fast.

Martin said...

@Malky B. - Thank you :-)

candicem said...

I'm terribly late but offering my congratulations! I love a great birth story and this is certainly one, bringing me to tears as I read.

(I can't believe the hair on her!!) :)

Martin said...

@Candicem - Thanks, nuts isn't it

EG said...

I don't know if you'll ever see this - I guess it's been about a year since I read your blog so I missed some excitement, didn't I?

Well, this post is everything. With my #2 I had a 40 hour labor then a c-section. But who cares? I'd do it a thousand times for my boy.

I love this post.

Martin said...

@EG - I see it ;-)
Thank you.