Rebekah Kerrigan interviewed in the Neonatal Unit, Ulster Hospital on 13 June 2010 - 'First Hours on Mother Earth'
My name is Rebekah. I was born by caesarian today, 13 June 2010. I'm only five hours old. I hope you like the photograph. It's not my best side and the nappy nearly touches my nose. Smaller sizes, please! My first 'tantrum' and it feels good.
Anyhow, my dad, Ricky, is talking to a young nurse dressed in water blue scrubs. Not my dad, the nurse, silly! Such a beautiful colour. I shall always remember it. In fact, it may become my favourite colour. Ricky looks pale, tired and anxious. I can tell he is kind and clever. Believe me, I can see him. He smiles and waves at me. I'm snug in my little incubator in the neonatal unit.
There's another baby in the unit, too. I'm quite small: four pounds, four ounces. I'm surrounded by monitors and a tube carries milk to my stomach. My mum, Lindsay, is in a side ward recovering from the delivery. My mum looked exhausted as she cradled me so I did my best not to cry too loud. She has lovely, soft hands. Mum needs rest, just like dad. I arrived unexpectedly, but, in truth, I couldn't wait any longer to be born.
My favourite nurse has blonde center-parted hair and a dazzling warm smile. My instinct tells me I will be blessed with charm and beauty, too. I may even be a nurse. Now that the curtain has raised on my life I intend to be kind, courteous, form my life and destiny, and live in harmony with all living things. I will try to remember that the simple things in life are usually the most important.
I've noticed talking can be difficult. Talking sense, I mean. On top of everything else I have to learn how to be relaxed and amusing in conversation, and learn all the social gestures, looks and hidden meanings. I intend to never sulk or make a fool of myself, and spread joy wherever I go. Of course, I expect my parents to discipline me, when necessary, out of general concern and love for me.
I occasionally wonder why some individuals fail to realise I'm a unique individual. I'm a girl like no other girl who has ever lived. Yet some people gaze at me and foolishly say I've my mother's eyes, my brother's nose, my father's legs. I'm not a diva, just making a point. I'm not a carbon copy or a genetic copy of other people. I'm me. REBEKAH KERRIGAN! Guess that counts as a second tantrum.
Well, I have two sisters and a brother. I've acquired the main role and expect to be subject to extremes of sibling jealousy and devotion. When I get out of hospital I'll arouse interest everywhere I go. Meanwhile I'm being looked after by mum and dad and nurses in hospital and they keep me clean, spotless and fed.
I wonder what our house looks like and if it's in a quiet street? How many rooms does it have? Has it got little cupboards and hiding places? The furniture, pictures, the symphonies of smells will be new to me. A newborn world of sounds, colours, lights, odours.
In the weeks, months and years ahead, I'm looking forward to experiencing all kinds of things, like: Christmas and birthday presents, reading books about horses, watching cartoons and films, playing games with my sisters and brother, riding a bicycle, smelling flowers (especially roses), eating food (I wonder if I will like Mexican?), licking ice-cream and lollies, listening to music, dancing, laughing, being read 'bedtime' stories by my parents and grandparents, bathing in warm, bubbly, scented water with lots of toys, throwing small stones into a lake of calm water, chasing butterflies, wearing jewelery, perfume, makeup, finding true friendship and unquestionable love in all its guises.
The nurse is coming to check my oxygen levels. I have to go and pretend I'm asleep. Bye for now.
*Reflections: I am five hours old and the 'baby' of the family. And guess what? I will always be the baby, even when I’m thirty, forty, or sixty! That sounds really old now. I might even be married with children of my own and still be the baby. How strange is that?