Two weeks overdue and we’d tried everything in the Old Wives Tales Handbook, curry, long walks, pineapple, champagne, the lot.
We even tried completely random things, like a visit to Stockholm’s World Heritage Site graveyard, Skogskyrkogarden (http://www.skogskyrkogarden.stockholm.se/), because let’s face facts, nothing says ‘life’ like a depressing stroll round a graveyard,
*I have to say it is surprisingly beautiful and apparently one of the most visited places in Stockholm – and no, not just by the recently deceased.
This was followed by an afternoon at the exclusive Saltsjobaden Grand Hotel (http://grandsaltsjobaden.se/) and its surrounding swimming lakes in the hope that some tranquillity and sound of children’s laughter might beckon her out. Not a chance.
We even went to Stockholm’s botanical gardens (http://www.bergianska.se/) and you know things are getting desperate when you see me at a botanical garden. I mean, why would you go to a place to look at things being grown? And people pay, actual money, to look at food they can’t even eat? What?
To truly capture my level of interest, the highlight was a giant cauliflower,
Now as impressive as that vegetable undoubtedly is, things needed to happen quickly before we all slipped into insanity. But tragically still nothing, and you know things are bad when the girl in the local cake shop you didn’t even realise spoke English is asking you if the baby has come yet.
It had become clear that Rosalyn was far too comfortable and had no intention whatsoever of coming out on her own so it was time to head to the hospital for an induction.
Now for obvious reasons I’m not going to go into details of the labour process but do want to highlight some observations about having a baby in Sweden,
- Firstly, and I want to be very clear about this, if men had to give birth two things would have happened by now,
- The population of the planet would plummet because men would only do it once. Don’t kid yourself chaps, and I know all sorts of ‘tough lads’ (both imaginary and real), once you’ve seen a child being born you can’t tell me there is a man alive who would go through it a second time if they were the ones doing the heavy lifting. Not a chance.
- Let’s be honest, if men did have to go through the pain of childbirth they would have figured out more effective ways to remove pain from the process by now. It is a fact, men are shits.
- If you are a man reading this and have a child, regardless of your current relationship with the mother you must thank them immediately. Seriously, close this blog and thank them. It’s incredible what they have to go through.
- An epidural is no joke in any language (see point 1 above).
- The midwives all reckoned Rosalyn was one of the most active babies they’d ever seen. In Sweden they constantly monitor the baby with two Pringle box lid sized monitors placed on the mother’s stomach. Rosalyn spent most of the labour trying to kick them off – from the inside! This trend has unfortunately continued and holding her is sometimes akin to trying to wrestle a hungry cat.
- Even the hospitals in Stockholm have ridiculous views. Seriously, in the summer Stockholm must be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
- They really do look after you in Sweden – Part I
We ended up spending four nights in the hospital with 24 hour care available throughout. I had a bed in the same room as Alex, which of course didn’t stop me d**king about on hers,
Three decent cooked meals a day, unlimited visiting hours, my own bed and they only charged me £30 a night. Actually, it may well the best value for money hotel in Stockholm and all you need to do dear reader is get pregnant!
- They really do look after you in Sweden – Part II
I really can’t stress enough how good the care is over here. It’s so good in fact that it needs TWO bullet points. All the midwives were exceptional, whilst the two women who actually delivered Rosalyn, Helene and Marlene, almost God like in ability. The whole time we were in the hospital people were constantly on hand to help with any problems, answer all our stupid questions and generally ease us into the first few days.
For example, on the first night we’d been told to expect to feed Rosalyn 8 times in 24 hours. The fact she came out suckling meant we’d already done 8 feeds within the first few hours! Of course we didn’t know this was a ‘guide’ rather than rule, which led to one very sleepless night as we tried to sooth a new born child with anything other than food – the equivalent of trying to verbally negotiate with a great white shark that’s got its jaw wrapped around your leg.
And what is most amazing is that all of this is standard practice in Sweden. Most parents are kept in the hospital for at least a couple of days after the birth unlike, I’ve been lead to believe, the UK where if you are basically semi-conscious they practically push you out of the hospital first chance they get. Now I’m not a particularly political person but having now been through this experience, that’s insane. Whilst I understand the financial implications involved, surly better provisions should be made for those first few days, I’m sure UK doctors, nurses, midwives and parents would agree.
- Following on from that theme, thank goodness we didn’t get sent straight home because the night after the birth there was a ‘run party’ down road outside our flat!
The Stockholm ‘Midnight Run’ (http://midnattsloppet.com/en/stockholm/) basically followed the same route as Pride a couple of weeks ago and went on till the early hours, all fuelled by live DJ’s booming out hits from ‘Now That’s What I Music 56’ – or whatever it is the kids are listening to these days. This would not have gone down well with a new baby let me tell you – and yes I’m conscious I’m turning into Brendadio.
However, we have pledged to take part next year to mark Rosalyn’s birth, which leads us nicely to…
- And so at 8.29 on Friday 14th August, Rosalyn Freya Hynes was born.
This is quite cool, in Swedish maternity wards they put a pin in the box each time a new baby is born.
Coincidently 8.29 was also the exact time Manchester United kicked off against Aston Villa for their annual three points (check it out fact fans). Now don’t worry I didn’t ask Alex if I could nip out and catch the 2nd half in the pub across the street, because I’d already recorded it! And you all thought Alex was the brains of this operation.
So the birth done here’s a gratuitously excessive montage of photos (I make no apologies),
Some final points,
- Rosalyn IS beautiful
Now I know what you are thinking, ‘everyone thinks their baby is beautiful Fraser’, but let me tell you, Rosalyn is genuinely beautiful. Every midwife in the hospital, every person who’s seen her, even a very random woman on a bus, have all said the same thing, ‘isn’t she’s beautiful’ – so it must be true, right? Seriously though, as one family member has pointed out, ‘most new babies look like Winston Churchill, not her!’
- What’s with the name ‘Freya’?
When we were discussing a middle name we wanted something significant. And Freya works in not just one but three different ways,
- It’s ‘Nordic’.
- She was the goddess of love.
- It’s linked to the origins of the word ‘Friday’.
- What’s with the hair Fraser?
There is a rather excellent homage to the current state of my hair on facebook from the wonderful people at JCDecaux, but basically I am growing a top knot in preparation for the winter and in order to fit in with the locals. I fully appreciate how ridiculous it currently looks.
So there you have it, the first two weeks completed and we still have our sanity. Thanks in no small part by having Alex’s parents on hand day and night, which has made life infinitely more manageable, a big thank you to Brian and Helen. Unfortunately because Rosalyn was so late my own parents missed the birth but will be ‘tagging in’ next weekend for some very excitable Grandparent time!
Finally a massive thank you to everyone who has emailed, sent cards/gifts, commented on Facebook… Much love all.
Two weeks today. Hard to believe really.
Picture of week
Just for the record it not all been ‘butterflies and rainbows’ as this string of sausages you definitely wouldn’t want to throw on a BBQ beautifully illustrates.
Track of the week
(By The) Sleepy Lagoon – Eric Coates
How to explain this and retain any sense we are still cool? Basically this song is the intro to Radio 4’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ which we have listened to religiously through the labour and beyond. It’s extremely calming but if Rosalyn’s first words aren’t, ‘My name is Kirsty Young and tonight’s cast away is…’ I’ll be shocked.
Fraser ‘Dad’ Hynes