Labour pains: Giving birth to Guy Smiley


It was urgent. Too urgent and too quiet. My memories of Lolly’s birth are of feeling absolutely terrified, pain-stricken and out of control. She was so big! So puffy. So drained of colour. Where her sister had been the tiniest little purple waif with protests loud and obvious, the LGBB was large, pasty and deathly silent. They whisked her off my chest almost as fast as they had whisked her sister off – her sister, who had been ten weeks early and in need of immediate medical support. Minutes passed before I caught sight of Lolly.

Both my baby girls were “worked” on after birth. It was Lolly who got the breathing assistance and didn’t utter a sound. Ellanor came out fighting and protecting herself with cries and impressive thrashing of limbs. And Lolly sauntered out, quite bemused by the whole thing. I remember finally glimpsing her face and seeing her little button nose and her eyes, blessedly open. She was fine. But she wasn’t crying. I guess she didn’t feel the need.

Lolly has been the same, pretty much, ever since. Impressive in an entirely different manner to her sister, who had an urgent, quick life to live with a brief time to make her mark and deliver her message on us.

When I put the LGBB’s baby scrapbook together, I cut out the two concerned-looking midwives’ faces. They haunt me still. Those moments of not being told, of them concentrating so hard on her over there on that other table, they forgot to tell me she was alive and breathing.


What very nearly was… Avoided. Blessedly avoided.

You’re supposed to forget all of that. The human condition dictates that we must try not to focus on “the past” or “bad stuff”. I disagree. I think there is too much brushing over of things of great importance, events of deep cellular memory, and it is this that causes depression. But *shrug* who am I to pontificate? I am as I am. I do as I do. This means that sometimes I will focus on the past in order to heal my future. I’m completely satisfied with that.

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Lolly’s dramatic entrance ensured her arrival, two and a half years after her sister’s death, was memorable. And then some, the cheeky minx. It heralded the beginning of her story and set me up to truly take notice of her, in her own right. The original poker player, with those perpetually pursed lips belying what she was thinking. The joyous spirit eager to crack a joke or be entertained, always ready for a laugh or some fun. The kid is so buoyant I can’t help but bounce along too in her presence. She has honestly been the healing balm we needed after all the death and devastation her Dad and I have suffered.

When people see a six year-old today, they just see a happy child with a mum and a dad and no siblings. It’s no secret but it’s not something you blurt out to every person in the street. On the occasions where people have stopped a while and just a snippet of our story has come out, the more in-tune strangers will unanimously say, “Wow, so she really is a miracle.”

Yes. She bloody is. I often have to remind myself. Perhaps it’s just that I’d sooner forget. It IS an absolute miracle she made it through the genetic landmines of her father’s chromosomal rearrangement to arrive here fully formed and mentally intact, dodged the congenital heart defects that our union has a 1:200 chance of creating, survived a life-threatening birth involving the cord around her neck and me pushing her out when I wasn’t fully dilated (did I mention I wasn’t given any drugs? it wasn’t for lack of screaming for them, I PROMISE)… when chances were higher that she would not be “compatible with life”.


And today, our little Girl Smiley turns six.

Check out her guitar moves in the video below…













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