Well Alpine Baby is here! Our beautiful girl made her way into the world at the end of March, bringing with her a sense of family completeness, total happiness, and constant sleeplessness.
She’s already a true Daddy’s Girl – with a headful of dark brown hair she looks nothing like me or either of my other children, and I’m constantly waiting to be stopped in the street and accused of kidnapping her whenever Alpine Papa’s not with us.
This isn’t a blog post about my ‘birth story’ (can’t stand those blogs, sorry…why would you want the detailed ins and outs of how I pushed a 3.6kg sprog through my nether regions?). For those who are interested though, all you need to know is that all went fine – she arrived nice and quickly after a speedy dash across the mountains at 4.00am. We had had beautiful warm sunshine here for at least a month, and so we were ‘delighted’ when the snow returned on the very night we had to rush to hospital. But thanks to Alpine Papa’s calm and capable driving (despite my swearing at him every time a contraction hit) we got there in one piece – I didn’t give birth in the car, we didn’t spin off the road down a treacherous ravine, and we didn’t need to dig the car out of any snow drifts.
I know, I know, how dull…
I managed to avoid the French obsession with sticking an epidural needle into anyone who waddles into the delivery suite, and was pleased to convince a couple of midwives that TENS machines are really the way forward (they’ve not heard of them here – one of my midwives had said that he’d known someone once upon a time who’d written their thesis on these machines at college, but he had never actually seen one…). They don’t seem to have heard of gas and air, either, and unfortunately my attempts to score some contraband bottles on e-Bay in advance were unsuccessful. But no matter, Alpine Baby popped out quickly enough, and I didn’t even have time to bemoan my decision to give birth in such foreign climes. Much.
And the last month has already (somehow) passed quickly by, without me getting chance to catch my breath or accept the reality that now we are a family of five – “une famille nombreuse”.
Alpine Girl spends most of her days eating, sleeping and pooing, and most of her nights eating, screaming, and pooing. I have lost count of how many times she has thrown up in my hair, just after I’ve washed it. Or projectile-pooed on my trousers, just after I’ve got dressed. Leaving the house is a mission, but staying in is often just as painful. Between me and Alpine Baby we go through about seven changes of clothes a day, which is actually quite handy because the constant loud vibrations of the washing machine in the bathroom provide a perfect hiding place where I can lock myself away in the dark and drown out the noise of my three little darlings.
It’s impossible to get anything done due to constant interruptions from one child or another: the kettle usually has to be boiled at least three times before I manage to make a cup of tea, and then the tea, once made, rarely gets drunk. And forget trying to watch anything on TV in the evening – Alpine Baby starts her screaming sessions at 8.30pm precisely, and nothing must stand in the way of this routine.
But, weirdly, we’re coping. Just about, but we’re coping. The house is a tip of course, but all children are still alive, and are even fed, washed and entertained on a regular(ish) basis. I have (so far) managed to avoid: (1) answering the door with my boobs hanging out; (2) leaving a child at home, in the car or in the supermarket car park (this last one was a close shave); or (3) falling asleep in my dinner. I’m back on my bike and back walking in the hills (relishing the peace and quiet as I leave the kids with Alpine Papa for an hour or two), and Alpine Family are also back out all together again – scaring all the wildlife away as we tramp through the forest as noisily and chaotically as possible, just as we do everything else in life.
Alpine Girl and Alpine Boy both love their new little sister, despite the fact that she doesn’t actually do anything yet (except for the aforementioned eating, pooing and screaming).
And, even in my constantly exhausted state, I can already see the nine circles of pregnancy hell and the however many nights of screaming are totally worth it – our little girl and our new life are just perfect. And maybe one day soon I might even find time for a shower.
Or maybe not.