Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Boys!

Left to right: Dylan, Mo & Indi, making music

In a very short time, it will be July 13th, which marks my twin sons' fifth birthday. Hard to believe it's only five years, it feels much longer since they were born.

At 38 weeks, I was in induced labour for about twenty minutes, after problems with the lead twin's heartbeat fluctuating over a series of days, then suddenly the room filled with people and I was handed a consent form for an emergency caesarean section. Dylan's heartbeat, as lead twin, had dropped through the floorboards because of cord compression, and they told me if he wasn't delivered immediately, he would die. It was an awful moment, not least because I'd been hoping to give birth to them naturally.

An incredibly short time later, probably less than half an hour, I was sitting up in a recovery room with two tiny red-faced babies on my chest.

Now they're five years old, and both beautiful, high-spirited and extremely affectionate boys. Mo is the one under the bucket!

Here's the poem I wrote for that birth - and thanks to Anon (see comments below) for showing me how to indent the line!


(for Dylan and Morris)

We do not know you yet, you are nothing
but bone and fluid and mass to us.
They lift you out through your necklace
of cord, slippery and indignant,
and suddenly you’re inspired, all lungs,
pure beetroot. Your brother,
tucked up tight beneath my breast-bone,
does not want to wake. His mild eyes
open in surprise to a world of gowned figures
and white masks.
and emptied from the waist downwards
like a breakfast egg, I lie back
with my arms full of babies. Your father sits
with a perpetual grin on his face
like a man in a Greek comedy.

These lights above the bed are your first stars.
Urgent with milk-haze, you root
for the breast and I gather you in, begin
with your own names.


This poem appears in my second collection, Boudicca & Co, published last year by Salt Publishing.


Anonymous said...

Typing   indents by one letter - about 6 gives a normal first-line indent and about 20 would give you what you need. No angled brackets or spaces, but leave a space between the last   and any words.

Anonymous said...

sorry, it has converted the html What you need to type for one space, is - without the spaces -

& n b s p Close that up and you have it.

Sorlil said...

Happy birthday to your boys, cute picture!

Jane Holland: Editor said...

Thanks Sorlil! I must find a better photo of poor Mo, who is bucket-head here. He refused to take it off for several hours because his brother won the 'whose runner bean seed sprouted the longest shoot' competition! Special needs, you see ... ;)

And thanks Anon - your instructions are clear as mud, but I'll play around, see if something works, if not, do try explaining it again sometime!


Jane Holland said...

Yay! I take it all back, anon, it worked perfectly. No brackets or spaces, just & n b s p repeated like a word along the line until the indent starts at the right point. About 12, I think, was right for this instance.



Anonymous said...

Loved the poem. Congrats to you and the boys.

Not the same Anon as above.

Jane Holland said...

How can I be sure of that? All Anons look alike to me ... :scared expression:

But thanks!

And Sorlil, please note the new photo up now to reveal Mo in all his dark curly glory. This photo is about six months old. His curls are even longer and glossier now!

There's a scene in Angel (US TV series) where Spike mocks the character Angel, saying ' Not the hair. Never the hair!' and that affected male vanity applies to dear Mo and his curls.

I regularly offer to cut his hair, pointing out that he looks like a girl, but he becomes really irate and runs away, protecting his head. 'Not the hair. Never the hair!'

Shades of Samson ...

Ms Baroque said...

Lovely, Jane. Happy birthday to them, and to you!

Amazing isn't it how time seems to fly past while stretching out...

Sorlil said...

ah lovely! I also very much like your poem and plan to purchase your book (when hubbie's next wage packet's in!), is it possible to order a signed copy??

Jane Holland said...

You can order a copy from me for £9 and I'll sign it or personalise it and send it on to you - you can email me for details on janeholland @

That price includes p&p.

Or you could order a copy (probably cheaper!) from Salt Publishing, by following the link on the blog, then post it to me for author signage.

I wouldn't charge you the return postage, as a reward for being one of my most faithful blog readers! Never let it be said that I'm cheap!


There are several lyrical child - baby - pregnancy poems in Boudicca & Co. and if you're into that, best grab a copy while you can. In my next collection I'll be moving into much darker territory ...



Sorlil said...

great, I'll email you for a copy when I'm ready to order! cheers.