Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Tweets, texts and telegrams

june06 006

Grandmothers get anxious during childbirth. When Isaac first rang to tell me that Wendy was having contractions, I told myself I would not text for updates more than every two hours, and I would not phone. I didn’t want to be intrusive or annoying.

For the first evening and then one night of sleep, it wasn’t too hard to restrain myself, but the labour went on and on with no result, and by the second night, if Isaac didn’t respond to my text within half an hour, my mind was ablaze with awful possibilities.

They were so far away, and there was nothing I could do. It doesn’t matter how old your children are, they are still your children. You don’t want harm to come to them, you don’t want their hearts to break.

Isaac works for Twitter, so it isn’t surprising that as well as sending texts to the family, he was tweeting to the world about the arrival of “the bean” (who, by the way, has her very own Twitter account and some of the following tweets are hers, forwarded by Isaac.)

This is a record of Isaac’s tweets…

update: no update. 4:59 AM Jul 30th via Echofon

RT @thebeean: ok let's do this thing. bring it. #hippiehomebirth 8:29 AM Jul 30th via Echofon

    it's going to be a long night. 9:10 AM Jul 30th via Echofon

      there's a whole lot of breathing going on. 11:17 AM Jul 30th via Echofon

        twenty-four hours of labor and no sign of @thebeean 3:33 PM Jul 30th via web from Mission, San Francisco

        refueling (@ Philz Coffee) 5:08 PM Jul 30th via foursquare from Philz Coffee, San Francisco 

        RT @thebeean: this #hippiehomebirth is taking forever. 7:20 PM Jul 30th via Echofon

        still no baby. the @wendyverse being super strong and brave. #hippiehomebirth 10:04 PM Jul 30th via Echofon

          35 hours of labor. come on @thebeean! 2:41 AM Jul 31st via Echofon

          headed to the hospital. this #hippiehomebirth is becoming a #hippiehybridbirth. w00t! 3:28 AM Jul 31st via Echofon

          #hippiehybridbirth formally known as #hippiehomebirth (@ St Luke's Hospital) 3:39 AM Jul 31st via foursquare from Mission, San Francisco 

          settled in to hospital room. @wendyverse doing well but still no sign of @thebeean. 5:11 AM Jul 31st via Echofon

              41 hours of labor and I now know what color hair @thebeean has. or at least what color it has on the tippy top of it's head. 7:58 AM Jul 31st via Echofon

                44 hours of labor and a Cesarian brought me and @wendyverse Lux Hepworth (aka @thebeean), 8lb 4oz & 20.5". 6:29 PM Jul 31st via Echofon

                  RT @thebeean: hello, world 10:56 AM Jul 31st via Echofon

                    thrilled at the arrival of @thebeean and so touched by all the tweets over the last 50 hours. wow. THANK YOU. 9:01 PM Jul 31st via Echofon

                    Back in the 1950s, telegrams were the way to go. Ma’s twin sister lived in Africa, and every time she had a child, my uncle would send a telegram to my Gran.


                    I bet 1950s communications were easier on grandmothers’ nerves, but texts and tweets and emails and Flickr and Skype combine to help close a 5,000-mile-wide chasm in a family. Last night on Skype I saw little Lux and heard her cry, I saw Wendy happy and well, I saw Isaac holding Lux. I am glad I live in 2010, even if it did take me three days to unwind from Wendy’s labour.

                    The photo above is of me holding my grandson Gil.

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