Our last post was a few months ago and we thought you might like an update. Our baby boy, Alexander Gray Leakey, was born on 2nd May 2013, just after midnight, weighing just 5lbs 10oz.
Alex decided to join us a little earlier than expected at 35 weeks, rather than 40, and wasn’t due until 1st June. I was still at work and got quite a surprise when my waters broke quite spontaneously in the office! I wasn’t completely surprised however as his head was very low and I had been experiencing some early labour twinges on the previous saturday.
On the day though, Chris happened to be at the funeral of his great uncle, Bob Leakey, aged 98, in North Yorkshire and I had a few hours of being labour without managing to contact Chris! He got there in time though.
Bob Leakey, or Uncle Robert as we knew him, was an extraordinary fellow, born in Kenya, an inventor and engineer, he was once described as ‘the Edmund Hillary of Potholing’ with a colourful history of big underground adventures. I only met him 3 times, but he certainly made an impression and I can’t help feeling that as one great Leakey was being laid to rest another was being born.
Alex is named after my Grandad, my mum’s dad, and he was also a wonderful man, who I have such fond memories of. I hope my Alex will grow up to be as kind and funny as my grandad, and to be as good at drawing, singing, telling stories and giving elephant rides as he was! Having a baby somehow makes you reflect on the great men who have gone before him and you can’t help thinking about the continuity of your family and all the threads that are woven together from both sides.
The labour and birth went very smoothly, taking about 8 hrs from that moment in the office to the midwife laying him on my tummy, and I was able to avoid any interventions and big pain relief. Gravity and breathing helped a lot and a couple of hours of gas and air allowed me to give birth with a few big pushes at 12.27am.
I don’t know if cycling up big mountains improved my pain threshold, but it certainly helped my mental strength, and feeling in control is a big part of labour I believe. It was an incredible experience and once again, I am amazed at what the human body is capable of.
I am glad that we got up at 5am each day back in Malaysia, when we were trying anything to avoid the midday heat. It meant that I knew I could get up early if I really had to and has helped me cope with the lack of sleep and night time feeds.
Our trip also taught us the art of problem solving, with daily challenges being hurled our way. Having a new born is quite similar, although being tired and hungry is easier when it’s just you to worry about and you can tell each other what’s wrong. We are slowly beginning to understand Alex’s different cries. As you figure out one problem, a new one soon presents itself, however as with all things, it’s usually temporary and the words “this too shall pass” frequently echo in my head.
Since his arrival, Alex has been to a wedding in the Lake District and to a book launch at the Oval Cricket ground in London. Oli Broom, who we met on the road in Thailand, cycled from Lords Cricket Ground (UK) to “The Gabba” in Brisbane, Australia to get to The Ashes. We were delighted to be invited to Oli’s book launch ” Cycling to the Ashes” and couldn’t resist putting Alex in his little penny farthing babygro! Oli’s fantastic book is available through Amazon…
Now at 10 weeks old he is starting to smile, coo and his legs are already practicing those pedalling moves! Chris is researching bike trailers and we are saving our pennies to buy one soon. Hopefully we can get out on our bikes, with Alex, for more adventures in a few months time!