Human-centred decisions

Imogen Kit Oliver Stephen

Imogen wearing a green hat shortly after being born. My finger is stroking her chest.

In late January our second daughter Imogen was born.

Imogen, Alex and me smiling the theatre shortly after Imogen was born

The whole experience has been a big contrast compared to the birth of her older sister. Following the emergency C-section experience last time, Alex pushed for a planned C-section. It’s incredible how much calmer the whole process was.

Our first daughter arrived two and a half weeks early. On top of the challenges that brought for her as a baby, it meant that we were less prepared at home than we planned to be. This time, as well as being more experienced (and relaxed) parents, we had all the kit we need, and it was all set up.

In terms of the birth itself, it felt unusual to have it scheduled in the diary! However things were still not so straightforward. At 5pm the day before our original slot, Alex received a phone call to say it would be postponed for a few days. We got an extra weekend as a family of three to prepare ourselves for our new arrival.

When the day finally arrived, things happened in quick succession, but at a manageable pace. We got to hospital at 7am, were in theatre before 9am, and Imogen was born just before 10am.

Imogen lying asleep in her crib, with hands partially obscuring her face

Immediately, we were struck by the similarities to her big sister. But we also quickly picked up on some differences. For one thing, she cried as soon as she was born, which her sister did not. Over time, she has gradually asserted her own firm identity.

Our first daughter was born at the height of lockdown in 2020. I was unable to stay at hospital after she was born. So it was incredible to have the opportunity to spend more time with my newborn daughter in her first few days this time around.

Me holding Imogen in the hospital ward while balancing a tin of sweets on her

The other big difference has been looking after a baby while you already have a 3-year-old. Many parents of two have told me that the toddler is more challenging to look after, and I have always been struck by how babies fade into the background whenever there is a toddler on the scene.

Considering how life-changing we found it looking after our first baby, the thought that our toddler might be more difficult filled me with dread. Of course, the reality is that they are equally difficult, but in very different ways and requiring different patterns of work.

Isobel proudly cuddling Imogen in the hospital ward

Our first daughter has been asking for more than a year to have a baby sister. She is beaming with pride to be a big sister and is showing a lot of interest and care, even getting stuck into nappy changes!

The past few weeks have been tiring, but deeply rewarding. Our family of four is now complete. If the next few years are anything like the past few years, we are going to have the most incredible time.

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Comments

2 responses to “Imogen Kit Oliver Stephen”

  1. Welcome little Imogen and congratulation!
    Hopefully this time you don’t break anything Stephen and enjoy the whole full-on experience 😉

  2. Thank you Stéphanie! I will wrap myself in bubble wrap to ensure I don’t break any bones this time!

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