We have decided to go for a home-birth and will be renting a birthing-pool for Lu to relax in.
The pool has now arrived and the frame and outer lining set up. There are some photos of it in the gallery.
Lu is starting to feel the first warning contractions and there are other indications that she is on the way to giving birth, but it could still be several days away.
Well, Django has arrived - he's now just over 24 hours old. He's feeding well and gave us six hours sleep last night.
The birth was wonderful - the birthing pool was a livesaver for Lu, and a joy for me (Tom). I spent the last hour with Lu in the pool, helping her with the pushing.
Lu gave birth in the pool. Once the head was out (the most painful bit), the rest of him followed straight away.
In attendance were Vicky and Maria, two of the midwives from the wonderful Orkney team. Vicky was with Lu for all of Monday, and Maria was called when Lu was fully dilated.
Many thanks are also due to Fiona, who came round for Sunday night.
Also present for the birth were Ozzy and Hutch, our housemates from upstairs. Ozzy was official photographer, and Hutch took the part of the awe-struck bystander.
I am planning on having a home birth, but will come into hospital if the midwife feels it is necessary, or if I need more pain relief. I hope to keep as mobile as possible during labour and delivery, using a birthing pool and gas and air for pain relief, and possibly the birthing pool for the birth.
I would like my partner, Tom Melly, to be present during labour and the birth.
I am keen to try and have the birth using only gas and air. However, if I need additional pain relief, I would like to go straight to an epidural. I do not want pethidine under any circumstances. If possible I would prefer a mobile epidural.
I would like to be able to move around whenever I need to. My partner will be helping with massages and support. I am keen to spend as much time as possible in water. I have poor knees and should not be encouraged to adopt positions that would place strain on them.
I would like to keep the option open for having a water-birth, but if I feel uncomfortable with this at the time, there are various alternative positions I would like to try. I do not want to have the baby lying on my back.
I am prepared to have whatever intervention the midwife feels necessary, but ideally would like as little interventions as possible. If I cannot be consulted, my partner understands my wishes in the event of further decisions being required.
Tom would like to cut the cord. I would like the baby delivered onto my stomach and Tom with me and the baby at all times. If I am unconscious, insensible or can be considered deranged, I would like the baby given to Tom.
I would like the syntometrine/ergometrine injection for myself, and the vitamin K injection for the baby.
Because of the home birth, we got a picture of him on the net within an hour. Very recommended. It kept everyone off our back.
Subj: Re: django Date: 14/12/98 11:24:07 GMT From: Yorengo To: TomandLu dearests thinking of you and getting very excited - restraining urge to phone!!! hope lu is ok - naughty max waking her up. its been quite long already and hope lu is not in too much pain.so you cut yourself shaving this morning...huh! part of me thinks that you won't have a chance to do the e mails when django arrives! but hope you can keep me posted I'm at home today so if you need anything or any help please call me.... xxxyvonne Subj: RE: django Date: 14/12/98 12:29:33 GMT From: Monica.Forrester@ccl.com (Monica Forrester) To: firstname.lastname@example.org ('email@example.com') Hi Tom & Lu Good news! Not long to go now. We are keeping our fingers crossed for you! Love from all at CCL Subj: RE: django Date: 14/12/98 15:00:23 GMT From: PKissmeyer@TIGROUP.com (Kissmeyer, Pie) To: firstname.lastname@example.org ('email@example.com') this is the happiest day of my life!! congratulations to you both. When am I allowed to see him? Django - welcome to the world Your granny Subj: Re: django Date: 14/12/98 15:04:21 GMT From: DCMELLY To: TomandLu fab.I'll spread the word kisses all round love di. Subj: Baby Date: 14/12/98 15:13:16 GMT From: firstname.lastname@example.org (SEAN SHARKEY) Reply-to: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom and Lu) Django (is this right spelling) Welcome to the world Mum and Dad Congratulations Lots of Love The Yorkshire People X X X X X X X X X X Subj: Re: django Date: 14/12/98 15:58:34 GMT From: Yorengo To: TomandLu Dear Tom and Lu and Django BIGGEST AND WARMEST CONGRATULATIONS SO EXCITED FOR YOU - ME AND KASEH CAT ARE HAVING A CELEBRATORY HUG!!!! and I'm going all weak and goey and weepy in this nicest possible way . Trying to access the pic but my aol carrier is behaving v badly and keeps cutting me off! hope to look later...meanwhile hope you are all doing well and not to exhausted . When is it ok to phone??? big xxxxxs hugsxxxxxxxxxx yvonne Subj: RE: django picture Date: 14/12/98 16:46:13 GMT From: PKissmeyer@TIGROUP.com (Kissmeyer, Pie) To: email@example.com ('firstname.lastname@example.org') Django you are a stunning little boy - don't tell me you have red hair like your granny? How much do you weigh? tons of love granny Subj: RE: django Date: 14/12/98 17:13:56 GMT From: Monica.Forrester@ccl.com (Monica Forrester) To: email@example.com ('firstname.lastname@example.org') BIG CONGRATULATIONS!! We hope mother and son are doing fine. Looking at your email messages you survived this quite well! Love from all at CCL Subj: Re: django Date: 14/12/98 20:18:49 GMT From: email@example.com (Mark Upton) To: firstname.lastname@example.org File: dancer.exe (196101 bytes) DL Time (28800 bps): 2 minutes what a beautiful picture! can't wait to meet baby django. This saturday would be good. How was the birth? I am sending you all a little dancing friend. Subj: welcome django Date: 14/12/98 21:58:25 GMT From: Josonn To: TomandLu Good work Lu! It looks and sounds like you had a beautiful birth. Thank you Tom for keeping us up-to-the-minute. What a miracle it all is, from the biological mystery of conception through the electronic wonder of a gorgeous picture rocketing one-third the distance round the earth almost instantenously. What a world Django has been born into. I think he is a lucky little fellow. Congratulations! I hope you all get some well-deserved sleep, and that Lu will not be too sore to sit up and be worshipped. All our love to the 3 of you, J & J Subj: Date: 15/12/98 13:09:58 GMT From: PKissmeyer@TIGROUP.com (Kissmeyer, Pie) To: email@example.com ('firstname.lastname@example.org') Well Django, my little water baby how do you feel today! Lu & Tom, Your card was on the mat when I got home - that was prophetic. Hope both of you have had some rest. See you tomorrow Love Pie xxxxxx
Django has had an inguinal right hernia since his fifth week. This is a condition where a loop of the gut falls into the testicles through a hole in stomach wall and has to be coaxed back into place on a regular basis. This is not as weird as it sounds, but I'm not going to go into the biology of it all.
The condition needs minor surgery to repair, and we were due to see a paediatrician in a few weeks.
However, on Tuesday the 9th of March, at about 6 o'clock in the evening, the hernia became stuck when the stomach muscles squeezed the hole shut, trapping the loop of gut in the testicles and risking that it might become twisted, which would eventually lead to it necrosing.
Hutch from upstairs kindly drove us to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and Django was taken to paediatric A&E.
He was given a muscle relaxant and pethadine in the hope that the muscles would relax enough to push the loop back into the stomach. Despite several attempts, it would not move.
The surgeon on call was then brought in since it looked like they might have to operate that night. It had been hoped to avoid this since the operation is more straightforward when the loop is not trapped, and is safely in the stomach.
However, when the surgeon arrived, she poked a prodded for a minute, gave one very firm push, Django screamed like a loon and the hernia was home.
They gave him a day to for the site to calm down, and then on Thursday mid-morning he was taken through to surgery for the operation.
They repaired the hernia on the right side, checked for any problems on the left (none), and then closed up.
We collected him from the recovery room an hour later. By coincidence, when I then went to fetch me and Lu some sandwiches, a jazz band in the foyer was playing a medley by Django Rheinhardt.
The next morning we were able to take him home. He ran a slight temperature for 24 hours, but the site remained clean, and he is now (Sunday) pretty much back to normal.
I would like to thank the wonderful staff at the Chelsea and Westminster, particularily the nursing staff on Neptune ward, Mr Madden's surgical team, and the paediatric a&e team.
Preparation for parenthood is not just a matter of reading books and decorating the nursery. Here are 12 simple tests for expectant parents to take to prepare themselves for the real-life experience of being a mother or father.
1. Women: to prepare for maternity, put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front. Leave it there for 9 months. After 9 months, take out 10% of the beans. Men: to prepare for paternity, go to the local chemist,tip the contents of your wallet on the counter, and tell the pharmacist to help himself. Then go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office. Go home. Pick up the paper. Read it for the last time.
2. Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels, and how they have allowed their children to run riot. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior. Enjoy it - it'll be the last time in your life that you have all the answers.
3. To discover how the nights will feel, walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 lbs. At 10pm put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, till 1am. Put the alarm on for 3am. As you can't get back to sleep get up at 2am and make a drink. Go to bed at 2:45am. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark until 4am. Put the alarm on for 5am. Get up. Make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.
4. Can you stand the mess children make? To find out, first smear Marmite onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. Hide a fish finger behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. Stick your fingers in the flowerbeds then rub them on the clean walls. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?
5. Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems: first buy an octopus and a string bag. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that none of the arms hang out. Time allowed for this - all morning.
6. Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and a pot of paint turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet tube. Using only sellotape and a piece of foil, turn it into a Christmas cracker. Last, take a milk container, a ping pong ball, and empty packet of Coco Pops and make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. Congratulations. You have just qualified for a place in the playgroup committee.
7. Forget the Peugeot 205 and buy a Sierra. And don't think you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that. Buy a choc ice and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a 20p piece. Stick it in the cassette player. Take a family-size packet of chocolate biscuits. Mash them down the back seats. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. There. Perfect.
8. Get ready to go out. Wait outside the toilet for half an hour. Go out the front door. Come in again. Go out. Come back in. Go out again. Walk down the front path. Walk back up it. Walk down it again. Walk very slowly down the road for 5 minutes. Stop to inspect minutely every cigarette end, piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way. Retrace your steps. Scream that you've had as much as you can stand, until the neighbours come out and stare at you. Give up and go back into the house. You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.
9. Always repeat everything you say at least five times.
10. Go to your local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child - a fully grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goats eat or destroy. Until you can easily accomplish this do not even contemplate having children.
11. Hollow out a melon. Make a small hole in the side. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. Now get a bowl of soggy Weetabix and attempt to spoon it into the swaying melon by pretending to be an aeroplane. Continue until half the Weetabix is gone. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor. You are now ready to feed a 12-month old baby.
12. Learn the names of every character from Postman Pat, Fireman Sam and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When you find yourself singing 'Postman Pat' at work, you finally qualify as a parent.
|Django's Heartbeat, Sunday 13 December, 1998 (in the womb) format: WAV|
|"Nuages" by Django Reinhardt format: MIDI|
We were listening to this Bob Dylan song a lot just before Django's birth and, being a right old pair of softies, it became his first lullaby. The only trouble was that none of us could get even half way through it without bursting into tears.
If you've got RealAudio installed, there's a link to a clip from it at the end of the lyrics.
Nobody 'Cept You - Bob Dylan 1991 There's nothing 'round here I believe in 'Cept you, yeah you And there's nothing to me that's sacred 'Cept you, yeah you You're the one that reaches me You're the one that I admire Every time we meet together My soul feels like it's on fire Nothing matters to me And there's nothing I desire 'Cept you, yeah you Nothing 'round here I care to try for 'Cept you, yeah you Got nothing left to live or die for 'Cept you, yeah you There's a hymn I used to hear In the churches all the time Make me feel so good inside So peaceful, so sublime And there's nothing to remind me of that Old familiar chime 'Cept you, uh huh you Used to play in the cemetery Dance and sing and run when I was a child Never seemed strange But now I just pass mournfully by That place where the bones of life are piled I know somethin' has changed I'm a stranger here and no one sees me 'Cept you, yeah you Nothing much matters or seems to please me 'Cept you, yeah you Nothing hypnotizes me Or holds me in a spell Everything runs by me Just like water from a well Everybody wants my attention Ev'rybody's got something to sell 'Cept you, yeah you
Real Audio Excerpt (copyright www.bobdylan.com)