At around 3am, Richard (Kate’s partner), arrived with the news they’d given birth to a little girl, except she wasn’t little—8 pounds and 10 ounces (3.7kgs)—quite enormous by any standards but especially considering how petite my sister is.
I went up to visit them with my parents at around 5am, and I can truly say it was a life changing experience at that point, as until then, my sister’s pregnancy had all seemed just a little bit surreal, despite her ever expanding belly.
Already a colossus of a baby, her head had the cone shape of a newborn, and her first smearing of dark auburn hair was still partly caked with blood. As I held her, she kicked her feet, and at just a few hours old, those feet had some real power behind them.
Kate was visibly exhausted from the twelve-hour labour, and it was all she could do to lie there. Richard told us how vocal she’d been during the birth, including telling her doctor he was fired, and of how she’d come close to performing the standard operation of all birthing mothers and almost removed a couple of his fingers during a contraction.
After barely an hour with my new niece, I had to go back to my parent’s home and prepare to catch the train to Melbourne, and ultimately my flight on to Canberra. As the train rocked eastwards into a brilliant pink and orange sunrise that engulfed the sky, I thought it fitting that such a brilliant morning be the first to greet the new arrival.
I tried desperately to keep my eyes open until the colour had faded from the sky, but to no avail, and as I drifted into sleep I thought about the previous nine months, and the amazing thing my sister had just done. I felt overwhelmed by a singular emotion I’d never been conscious of feeling for anyone before.
I was proud of her.