About 22 hours ago, a purple scrunched up bundle of girl took her first wee breaths as two delighted parents looked on. A few seconds later she let out those first few breaths with an almighty wail, the likes of which had, until then, never reached her father’s ears.
Nuala was in labour for about 20 hours and gave birth to Felicity Máire Indira
McKeever Moraes at 1:45pm Thai time. (Timeline of events recorded below for those interested). Nuala was amazing, and though I’ve heard plenty of husbands talk about their wives with supreme admiration after birth, I wasn’t prepared for Nuala’s unwavering bravery and poise.
In wild contrast to provincial Thai hospital practice, I was allowed into the
‘labour room’ (which we, thankfully, had sole use of) as well as the delivery room – though I did have to dress like a doctor for that part. We were blessed with a lovely nurse, with fairly good English and excellent empathy who was very supportive of a natural birth. Our friend Tatha, member of the foreign-lay-missionary-who-gave-birth-in-Ranong club, was with us throughout providing crucial Thai-English translation. Last but not least, another member of our community, Ian John, was always on hand to run off on errands, bring me some lunch, and celebrate with a drink. It really was a great team effort.
At 3.2Kg (7lbs) and an APGAR score of 29/30, Felicity is healthy and happy and rapidly learing new things – so far she can cry, suck, pee, poo, yawn, sneeze and hiccup! But basically she’s doing brilliantly with the gentle help of her mummy and with a little playful mocking from daddy.
A few here are curious about her name so here is a bit more on them: Felicity comes from Latin for ‘happiness’ or ‘joy’ and is the name of two saints –
Felicity of Rome and Felicity of Carthage. Máire is the Gaelic form of Mary, the mother of Jesus and probably warrants no further explanation. Indira is Sanskrit for ‘brilliant’ or ‘splendid’. McKeever and Moraes are of course the names of our families.
Over the last few years of marriage, I’ve been often quietly proud of how smooth and efficient a team Nuala and I are. Whether its organizing a wedding, catching a train in Pakistan, finding a snow-covered castle in Iran, buying a painting in Damascus or managing our students in Ranong, we know and anticipate each other’s thoughts and actions. Earlier today we had a similarly daunting situation – cleaning up a sticky black tar-like substance that Felicity had managed to fill her nappy with. At that moment, I realized that we’ve still got a long way to go! We’re really going to need to become a truly harmonious team in the weeks and years ahead.
To all our family and friends around the world, we miss you, but appreciate all your prayers and messages. We’d love to introduce you to our little daughter soon – so come and visit! Keep up the support and prayers. More photos:
P.S. Labour timeline (Supplementary reading):
00:00 (Midnight): Contractions 5 mins apart – leave for hospital
00:20: Nuala changed into hospital gown
00:58: Back home to wait for labour to progress (hospital gown returned)
07:39: Nuala examined by Dr and sent to hospital
08:00 Arrive at hospital and changed into (new) hospital gown.
08:50:Nuala hooked upto Oxygen at hospital
09:05: Nuala is put on an IV drip
09:22 Andrew asks to try out oxygen
09:22: Andrew is denied oxygen
11:35: Syntocyn injection to speed up contractions
12:50: Membranes artificially ruptured
13:09: Nuala taken to delivery room
13:10:Andrew, masquerading as a doctor, enters the delivery room
13:45: Felicity is born
13:45: Felicity cries her head off