Our son Albert was born in the early hours of last Friday. My memories of the actual birth are basically too surreal to relate in any meaningful way, but the cliches list themselves: terror, elation, (over)protectiveness, and a sense everything was being reshuffled at a cellular level.
Albie wasn’t too well for his first few hours in the world, so we experienced firsthand the NHS at its calm, committed best. Several times we caught ourselves in tears at the unthinking kindness of midwives, and every day we were in hospital, we acknowledged our luck at having a health system that gives so much, as well as the fear of knowing it might not always be this way. Nurses, midwives and paediatricians are doing little miracles every day – if you know one, give them a hug from us.
Looking at him now, a week on, some things keep repeating themselves. The fact that just over nine months ago he was the size of a poppy seed, a speck of matter that snuggled into my wife’s womb lining and started its weird mitotic processes; that his fingers and toes are impossible; that his head is so fragile; that his crying isn’t heard but felt, a physical pain; that in a weird way, Google serves as a third parent; and that while the weight of responsibility doesn’t seem unnatural per se, it’s definitely been sprung on us. It feels a bit like something inside has twisted and locked.
The rest of my thoughts and worries are again too private, or mostly impossible to articulate, but we’re very happy. And tired. And tearful.
As for writing, and news – not a lot’s going on. (As one writer friend said back in February: the challenge now won’t be finding the time to write anything, but mustering the inclination to write at all.) That said, Graft edits are in and done (Angry Robot kindly shuffled things about to accommodate impending parenthood), which means advanced reading copies are about ready to drop. This is scary and relieving: there’s no more to be done, nothing more you can do, and because you’ve lost all perspective, you almost have to dissociate yourself from three years of work and simply get on with it.
In the meantime, I’m cracking on with novel three, which is so far delving into urban exploration, steeplejacking, sleazy journalism and directed panspermia theory. A fiver says there’ll be some birth metaphors in there.