Rebecca is her name. She was born on Tuesday 16 August, a week before her mother's birthday, but six weeks premature. She's been in an incubator, but she's already breastfeeding, which is great news. They used a steriod during labour to ensure that she'd be breathing when she came out; and when she did, she was bawling, so at least her lungs work. Laura, my sister, said that the world is a different place with Rebecca here. Both she and Andy, the father, are delighted. They sound different, somewhere dreamy.
Laura had been at work all day, complaining of stomach ache as she minded the gallery in Cork. Then on the train she found herself crying amongst all the other passengers uncontrollably. When Andy picked her up from the station in the car, he could tell it was on the way, so they went straight up to the hospital. It was born with little fuss, although the nurse at first didn't realize Laura was in labour. Every time she was examined there was a period of calm; then when the medics left the room the contractions started again - they thought she was having them on!
Laura's going home tomorrow, but the little one - as Moira, the grandmother (and what a grand mother she is) calls her - is staying in hospital for up to another ten days. Laura will keep going back to feed her, though.
So this all makes me an uncle, or a nuncle, as I prefer to say, as the clown in King Lear says. Rebecca Angel her name will be. Not a miracle - don't be ridiculous! Just another ordinary, happy birth; but one closer to home than usual. I look forward to seeing her in mid-December at the end of my first term back studying in Oxford. Maybe by then she won't be quite such a baby dwarf at 4lb 11oz.