My experiences with babies number 3 and 4 weren't quite so dramatic but still quite speedy once labour really got going. When the Midwife accidentally broke my waters as she checked my progress during labour last July, neither her or I anticipated that Ethan would make an appearance just 20 minutes later. Simon, who had been sent to get me some breakfast, thankfully arrived back in the room just in the nick of time!
Similarly, the speed at which I was discharged from hospital following the births of all 3 boys was also a bit like lightning. In fact, on all three occasions I was back home within 4 hours of their births! For some people this may have been excessively quick but, after the traumatic 3 weeks we had spent with Rebecca in the neonatal intensive care unit all those years ago, I was more than happy to get them home straight away.
Taking Ethan from the hospital, back to our Surrey home was a bitter sweet moment - although we were fortunate enough to return to our family home over the Summer months, it is no longer the place that we actually live in for most of the year. As a result, Ethan doesn't actually have his own beautifully decorated bedroom there, and we had the bare minimum of baby accessories waiting for him, as the bulk of his things were waiting for him back in our villa in Qatar.
Just an hour or so after we walked through the front door, I somehow found myself alone with all four children for the entire afternoon/early evening. I had thought this would be alright when I agreed that Simon could go to the music festival he had got a ticket for, as I knew that newborn babies often sleep pretty much constantly for the first 24 hours.....but this wasn't the case for Ethan - he decided to cry constantly!
In fact he cried non stop for pretty much the whole of the first week!!
I wish I could say I enjoyed the party but actually it was extremely stressful trying to play host to 50 or so people while not just feeling ill, but also suffering the after effects of having just given birth! Many people had not seen us for almost a year as we had only recently returned to the UK after 10 months away so it should have been a lovely occasion. However many friends and family were of course seeing Ethan for the first time too so he unfortunately got completely overstimulated and I ended up upstairs alone with a screaming baby while the party carried on downstairs and out in the garden. In fact I was a terrible host so I am extremely grateful to those few family members and friends that helped out with the food and cleared up some of the mess for me.
In order to return to Qatar, we had to organise Ethan's passport and this entailed a day trip to the Passport office in London to ensure it was received in time. We decided to take the train and make a proper day of it, so at barely 2 weeks old, Ethan got to go up on the London Eye and have a bus tour around the sights of the Capital!
We wanted the children to enjoy their Summer back in England and so the next few weeks were packed full of activities and our feet hardly touched the ground.
Some 10 hours later we were walking through the door of our villa in Doha and introducing Ethan to his second home. However, the truth is that, although I see Doha as our second, and temporary home, Ethan will spend the majority of his early years here, and the beautiful home we have in England will be nothing more to him than a place he sometimes visits and the place he first saw out of his newborn eyes. Furthermore, his grandparents, aunties, uncles, nieces and nephews will sadly be strangers, the harsh reality of a family living an ex-pat life.