April six years ago, 2007, my thesis supervisor got back from a conference trip to find I had done no work on our latest venture the entire two weeks he was away. Instead, I had spent the time falling in love with a certain Greek by the name of Olga.1
Just a week short of April this year we got married.
And three days ago as I write this, at 12:30pm on the 22nd of April 2013, Olga gave birth to our son Manolis Manu de Jager (Μανώλης Μάνου ντε Γιάγκερ). He weighed 3670g and was 52cm long at birth; both he and Olga are healthy and strong, and all three of us are deliriously happy.
April gets a pass from me.
Sunday night Olga started feeling things were happening, and we drove to Agios Loukas clinic (where the gynecologist who had been seeing Olga was attending another birth). We arrived about 1am, but the contractions had already started at 9 or so, so all told the labour was around 15 hours. It turns out that wee Manu had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck four times, so whenever Olga pushed him out a bit the cord would pull him straight back in. (This sounds terribly dangerous but is apparently not necessarily life-threatening: he doesn’t need to breathe until after emerging, after all, and the nurses were quick to unwrap him when he did arrive.) Just as they were at the point of deciding to employ tongs (which would also mean minor but not at all pleasant surgery), something in his position shifted and Olga’s pushes started taking effect. He came out blue, rapidly turned white, then flushed a most vivid and beautiful pink — all of which I am assured is perfectly normal. (I saw the birth from the head of the bed, but missed some details at the crucial moment because as he started to become visible I burst into cascades of tears.) It took quite a while for them to pronounce Olga healthy and ready to go to our room, but a little over an hour later he had his first meal at her breast.
We’ve brought him home to Olga’s parents’ house in Katerini, and as I type this in bed he is dozing on top of Olga beside me, as she peers over him to read a book. On parenting.
- He accepted this explanation with surprising good grace. [↪]