Although the ultrasound technicians had very confidently predicted, based on an initial sonogram, that my new grandchild would be a granddaughter, I wasn’t about to buy anything pink until she actually arrived. I’d heard enough stories of surprises (and disappointments) as a result of such predictions. So when my son-in-law called last Monday, March 30, saying “It’s a girl!” I was both thrilled and relieved. And it turns out he wasn’t being entirely tongue-in-cheek, as he and my daughter were privately reserving judgment as well, though they’d only just managed to come up with a boy’s name before they headed for the hospital.
Unlike my labors, my daughter’s was neither short nor easy—twelve hours before she went to the hospital, and twenty-four grueling hours after arriving—and in the end, instead of a calm midwife delivery in a birthing suite, she delivered “in theater” (in an operating room) with surgeons standing by ready for the presumed-inevitable cesarean section. Miraculously, she was finally able to deliver naturally, and, as you can see, the result was adorable.
She has nothing but good things to say about England’s National Health Service, as she received attentive, competent, caring care at every juncture. On the ward after her delivery, as the attendants were about to leave, she said, “I think I’m blacking out.” When she next opened her eyes, her bed was surrounded by nurses, interns, midwives, and residents, including several who were supposed to have just gone off shift.
She is also very grateful for the UK’s paternity leave policies, which have allowed her husband to stay home for two weeks to help her get settled in with their new daughter. As you can see from the photo, they are bonding very well!