Carmen joins the family!

Early morning, on a long day
On 04 May, Rali visited her physician in London. Her due date was 07 May, and all conditions were good, so the doctor suggested scheduling the birth in order to avoid any last-minute scrambling to get things ready. Since 05 May was a popular date for births (apparently a lot of English mums wanted "05/05/05" birthdays for their children), we chose Friday, 06 May. Rali's physician worked at the Portland Hospital, which has a reputation as a celebrity hospital, with the likes of Victoria Beckham and Madonna giving birth there. Fortunately, the biggest celebrity on 06 May was a beautiful Bulgarian journalist, so the only paparazzo in sight was Rich. Just after we checked in, here's Rali in the delivery suite.

A bun with a view
As the morning wore on and contractions didn't really intensify, Rali sent Rich out for a snack, and she enjoyed a cinnamon bun with a view over Regents Park to the north.

Enduring a contraction
The hours went by, and the contractions got stronger and stronger. This shot was from about 20 minutes before the birth, when the contractions were quite painful. Rali elected not to use any anesthetic again, the same decision she'd made for Kristof and Kelvin's births.

Just 12 minutes old...
At the end of the ordeal, out came Carmen, looking radiantly beautiful in a newborn sort of way. She weighed exactly 3 kilograms (about 6 pounds, 10 ounces) and was 48 centimeters (about 18-3/4 inches) long. She and Rali made it through the birth in great shape. In this photo, she's just 12 minutes old.

Dealing well with the news
After Rali and Carmen were stable, Rich went back to the apartment to relieve the babysitter and tell Kristof and Kelvin about their new little sister. The boys were delighted. Rich gave them a quick snack before they walked over to the hospital to visit Rali and Carmen.

Can we take her home?
The boys were on their best behavior when they met Carmen. Both asked politely whether they could kiss her head, and they did, carefully.

Checking out the young lady
About 90 minutes after the birth, Rali and Carmen were transferred to a regular room, and Kristof and Kelvin helped move their things to the new room. Carmen had a late lunch, then took a nap. The boys were fascinated by their tiny sleeping sister.

At the end of the day...
It was a long and arduous day for Carmen, but she finished it in great shape!

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