Ok, so the pregnancy was officially over – the baby was born and was breathing actual air. We had a tangible product after nine months of manufacturing, but with no warranty or distance-selling regulations we had to take care of it. The first step was to get Evelyn home safely from the maternity ward and driving with a newborn did not come without its worries…
Shit – we have to drive with a newborn in the car
Kate and I had nine months of planning and preparation for bringing the baby home. We had the nursery decorated, clothes organised and meticulously stored in the new baby-furniture. There was a baby-changing station downstairs and upstairs. We even went so far as to have white noise tracks on standby, just in case.
With all this in mind, it shocked me how unprepared I was for the drive home. You just don’t plan for this sort of thing, do you? Up to now Kate had been both Evelyn’s chauffeur and vehicle, but now she’d been ejected it was down to me to put her in this metal box and speed along, inches from certain death.
That bloody car seat
I’m sat here shaking my head at the memory of this.
We bought an isofix base/car seat combination – the base fixes into place and stays there, the seat is removable and clicks on to the base for convenience. We had to have it checked by Mothercare before we were able to purchase it (patronising, in my opinion). The 16-year-old-looking girl confirmed that the base was fitted correctly. It was all going fine.
Fine, that is, right until it came to me removing it to take it into the ward.
I spent over 25 minutes trying to remove the seat from the base. Literally, not figuratively, LITERALLY over 25 minutes. Passers by would hear muted screams of frustrations and muffled “FUCKSAKE”s. It sounded like a preview of what they’d hear in the delivery suites. It wasn’t my finest hour.
Now, most people who had tried something this simple for 25 minutes would be relieved when they’d finally achieved it. Not me. All my anger and frustration warps instantly into a crushing disappointment in myself.
I reckon I clicked it back into place and removed it a good 8 – 10 times just to lower my average time.
I managed to calm myself on the way back into the hospital. It was too soon to laugh at myself yet, but I was breathing normally at least. I had a slight surge of panic in case I’d loosened the base by struggling with it so much. Fear not, though, the thing latches on stronger than the African guys selling handbags on holiday once you’ve made eye contact.
I got back to Kate and Evelyn and gave Kate a quick shake of my head when she looked at me with that “where’ve you been?” look. We got Evelyn into the seat with surprising ease. She looked ridiculous – far too small to be a human being.
In a matter of a day we’d witnessed Evelyn being born, dressed in pure white cotton clothes and softly sleeping for hours. Seeing her in a bulky metal and plastic car seat was a stark contrast, for some reason the impurity of it made me slightly uneasy.
Being a November baby, it meant we had to wrap her up pretty warm. All those layers gave the illusion that she had no actual joints in her limbs. She lay there like some kind of baby robot.
“Right”, I thought to myself as we were ready to set off, “you have to drive carefully. Like you’re driving with a full bucket of water without trying to spill any – or a pencil standing on its end that you’re trying to keep upright”.
These are things that were actually going through my head – what an idiot!
At this point, though, my concerns weren’t surrounding Evelyn. I was fully aware that Kate had given birth just hours previously. I’m not well versed on how fast things “get back to normal” down there after childbirth so I didn’t want to go over a speed bump too fast and have Kate give birth to her internal organs.I didn't want to go over a speed bump too fast and have Kate give birth to her internal organs Click To Tweet
I set off at a snail’s pace – we only had four miles to travel – the odds were in our favour, so to speak. Third gear was the highest I got for two miles.
If mother Theresa lived to be 130, this is how she would drive at that age.If mother Theresa lived to be 130, this is how she would drive at that age. Click To Tweet
But it wiped the dinosaurs out
At about the halfway point I suddenly became very aware of random natural disasters and other potential hazards.
“What if a meteor hits the car?” I ask Kate, hoping she will laugh at me and call me ridiculous, “it’s a physical possibility”. She just did that “ha, oh Mark” thing she does. That didn’t tell me anything. I wanted to hear that she wasn’t worried about this damn meteor! I glared at her in the rear-view mirror for the tenth of a second I was willing to take my eyes off the road for.
If I turned the car too fast would all the blood rush to one side of the baby? I don’t want a daughter that looks like a barcode.
Finally, we’re in a bloody metal box – there are a million and one different systems at play here, all working together so the thing reacts to my inputs. How much do we actually know about the whole thing? I put way too much faith into this brake pedal, it holds my family’s life in its sweaty rubbery ribbed palm.
“My family” – heh, I liked the sound of that.
Home sweet h…CHECK EVERYTHING
We got home safely, which was amazing considering my mild panic attack for the whole journey. We got ourselves settled and sat down – I resisted the urge to tell Kate to sit on a triple-folded towel (grey couch. Fabric, not leather).
We checked the thermostat again, her blankets, clothes, the sturdiness of her moses basket (as if she was about to breakdance in there). We checked everything twice.
Kate and I looked at each other and we both got up off the couch. We meandered over to the moses basket and just stared at Evelyn – Kate rested her head on my shoulder and we smiled at this tiny life that had just been introduced to us. We were now a family, our task of propagating the species was (partly) complete. Standing there content, Kate whispered “She’s just so beautiful”.
It was at this point Evelyn let rip with the manliest of farts. It wasn’t tiny. There was nothing mouse-like about it. It ended with a clap rather than a rising tone and a humorous door-creak. It was a fart that said “yeah, put a pint of lager in my next bottle, none of that baby crap!”.