First Person - with Gordon Holmes

Gordon Holmes, Fife Free Press
Gordon Holmes, Fife Free Press

SO that’s now twice I’ve done something I didn’t think I would ever do.

Something that no-one who has known me during the past 40 odd years would have believed possible.

Five weeks ago I witnessed the birth of my second child, cut umbilical cord number two, and welcomed Little Miss Holmes into the family.

Fortunately everything went fairly smoothly and baby and mum were soon over the ordeal - although I’m sure S will not forget the ‘double epidural’ incident in a hurry - and the next day they came home.

And I’ve not had a full night’s sleep since...

I realise I’m preaching to the converted here among those of you who are parents but I really had forgotten how tiring a new baby is, and it’s only been two years since the first one!

I am in what would be regarded as an ‘older’ age group for new fatherhood and while I have never needed a lot of sleep to get by, night after night of just snatching a couple of hours here and there does take its toll - hence the permanently glazed expression and suitcases under my eyes.

At least this zombie parent phase shouldn’t last too long if Little Miss follows the pattern of her big brother who was sleeping through the night by eight weeks, though this might be a false hope as she already gives the impression she has a mind of her own and I’m sure has the timings of her feeds and nappy changes all figured out to cause maximum disruption!

Ah, nappies, receptacles of what must be the most toxic waste material known to man - yet it’s amazing how quickly you become immune to the effects.

And I don’t care what anyone says, it’s a lot harder second time around, especially with an active two-year-old demanding attention as well - just trying to get out the door requires military precision planning, fortunately Sergeant Major S is a tactical expert in this field!

Having a girl this time hasn’t been any different so far but there is one aspect particular to the gender looming large which I know I am not prepared for - tights.

I think I may have a phobia about them in general (now there’s one for my therapist...) but the thought of trying to put them on a little baby fills me with an unnatural anxiety.

On a more serious note, the new arrival enabled me to see the new maternity unit at the Vic in operation and very impressive it was too. The delivery rooms were spacious and just the right temperature and the staff friendly and professional at all times.

They are still having teething problems, as is to be expected, but I can only go on my own observations obviously and I have nothing but praise for the midwives, doctors, anaesthetists and other staff who helped S through a long but ultimately fulfilling experience.

While there are too many to name individually, I would like to thank in particular Gillian, Tracey and Isobel for their patience and care, and most importantly, provision of the best tasting toast and tea ever!

Something else that struck me was how quickly information is now disseminated in the modern world.

We were able to text those closest to us the good news almost straight away and within a few hours I had posted a picture of Little Miss on Facebook (using my ‘much too smart for me’ phone), when even a few years ago the only way to let people know would have been a round of phone calls and a notice in the paper.

And you don’t think the world’s shrinking? Well, I don’t have that many friends on Facebook compared to most folk but within a couple of days of posting the news, I had received messages of congratulations back from Scotland, England, USA, Slovenia, Botswana, Hong Kong and Estonia!

Anyway, time now to try and catch up on some sleep - just hope no-one at work notices...