Getting the Wrong Baby

All I have to do is see the rhododendron coming into bloom at the bottom of our garden every May and I find myself thinking about the grand arrival of our first (and only) baby on May 24, 1995.


I was about as unmaternal as is possible and certainly wasn’t one of those people who went around begging to be ‘let hold the new baby.’

I had a C-Section under general anesthetic, for medical reasons, and  got a bleary eyed glance at ‘baby’ shortly after he was born when I was hauled out of deep ‘sleep’ by a kindly nurse.

I was stunned by what I saw. He was more like a ‘little old man’ than a couple -of- minutes-old baby. If anything, he reminded me of  a leprechaun.

Some hours later, a nurse came bustling into the ward and thrust a little bundle, wrapped up in one of those white baby blankets, into my arms. One glance at a big baby face  and I felt a wave of absolute repulsion sweeping over me. I just about managed not to drop this alien on the floor.

As politely as possible, I explained that this wasn’t my little old man baby. I fumbled around on the alien’s wrist for the identity thingy but my vision was still a bit wonky and I couldn’t read it properly. By now, I’d handed the alien back to nurse who was checking the wristband against my chart at the end of the bed.

She let out a little squeak and hot-footed it out of the ward. It seemed like an eternity before she re-appeared with my ‘little leprechaun’ who snuggled up and met my gaze with a sense of belonging I can’t even begin to describe.