Today, 25 years and about nine hours ago, my second child, also a son, was born at Addington Hospital in Durban, after a very long labour. He arrived at about 00:20, just as I was about to be taken up to theatre for a Caesarian.
I was attended by a lovely midwife, a woman in her late forties, who had come to midwifery late in life, so Richard was her first delivery. I’d been begging for a C-section after hours and hours of labour, but just as the doctor agreed to give me one, and set the drip up, I must have relaxed cos Richard came almost immediately after that. The midwife didn’t even have time to put her gloves on, the attending doctor told her (I later heard) “Bugger the gloves, CATCH the baby!!” 🙂 She was so overwhelmed with her first delivery she cried, and so did I and I remember her saying what a very pretty baby Richard was.
Because of t he very long labour and the fact that I had a Rhesus negative problem, Richard was taken straight to neonatal ICU, a floor or two below the maternity ward at the time. His blood was tested every hour, by a needle prick on his heel, and I spent most of my time (as much as I was allowed) in the ICU. I remember the night the family came to see him, Antony was about 4 and he couldn’t get over how cute (and small) Richard’s feet were. So despite it being an anxious time with Rich being in ICU, I felt very happy and contented with my new baby. I remember when he was allowed back in the ward, feeding him at night while watching the harbour lights as I had a magnificent view from a few floors up.
Richard was always a sensitive baby who turned into an extremely friendly and happy child (he was brought up by my sister and my brother-in-law as I have said before). He loved getting new clothes, from a very young age. I remember when his Granny Rita sent him some winter clothes – he was about 2 – how he insisted on putting them on and viewing himself in the mirror, too sweet.
Typical of how smartly Richard liked to dress, from small
That same afternoon I took some lovely pics of him in the late afternoon sun, on his lovely long eyelashes and beautiful face, they still remain some of the best portraits I have ever taken. I think my sister still has them, must ask her about them now that I think of them again.
Twenty five years have passed since the day he was born, in some ways those years have passed in a flash, in others the years are slowed down and appear in my mind’s eye as a film or set of photographs, of all the stages of his life. Although a highly complex individual, he’s always been a happy chappy, even tempered and steady in his ways, very loving and caring and loyal to those he loves, polite and professional in his work ethic (to a T, it may be said – whatever he does he does very, very well).
Richard and I at his second Christmas – Widenham
He’s also one of those multi-talented people, good at whatever he turns his hand to. He’s done some beautiful pottery, is a fantastic and passionate dancer, brilliant firedancer, an excellent singer, very funny and gifted in the humour department, in fact, as Ant and I once said to one another, we don’t really think there is anything Richard cannot do, and do very well.
Dancing the cha-cha to Let’s Get Loud
Richard and Granny Rita
They say the eyes are the window to the soul.
Richard has a most beautiful, pure and caring soul and I am not saying that cos I am his mother.
Happy Birthday my sweet, talented, beautiful son! I feel honoured that I was chosen to bring you into this world.
I’ve watched you grow into a fine young man, and although I miss you terribly since you went to the UK I think that’s the best move you could have made and I am proud of all you have achieved since you have been there, almost a year now.
I wish you every happiness for the rest of your remarkable life; can only imagine you’ll live to be a hundred and ninety, eccentric and original as all hell, as you have always been.