Welcome to the World Gracie Alaska Melody Hart

Gracie Alaska Melody Hart
Daughter of Neil and Alex Hart
Born on the 14th May 2011, at Farnborough Hospital,
Weighing 9lb 5oz, Sister to Jake (9) and Ruby (6)

eil and Alex met at a pool party in Kingston Upon Thames, and their first child, Jake, now nine, wasn’t quite a planned event. “It was less of a decision, and more of an accident!” Says Alex. “We were deeply in love,” adds husband Neil, “so we decided to let nature take its course.”
Fast forward nine years, and Neil and Alex, who now live in Chislehurst, were on baby number three. “We were excited and overwhelmed when we found out,” says Alex, “and surprised that it had happened so quickly.” In December they had a blood test to determine the sex of the baby and were very happy to be told that it would be a second daughter. “It was an amazing Christmas present!”
Alex, who is a primary school teacher, found the pregnancy tiring, though having had two children already, she at least knew what to expect. “I was pretty exhausted by about five months – but a great deal calmer than I had been in my previous pregnancies.” And Neil also found things easier third time around. “I was relieved to find myself far more included by the various professionals we saw than I had been with our first – when I’d often been made to feel surplus to requirements, or even blamed, as the father!”
Being old hands, Neil and Alex were well equipped for Gracie’s arrival, though Alex believes it’s impossible to be truly prepared. “I don’t think you can ever be ready, if you think you are, then you haven’t thought of something. I did lots of laundry, cleaning and rearranging. Also sorting and many trips to the charity shop – to wage war on my hoarder husband and son!”
Gracie was clearly in no hurry to make her entrance into the world, and Alex had to be induced two weeks after her due date. “It was just as well that I was, with that birth weight!” Neil was present at the birth – though he was not quite as focused as Alex might ideally have liked. “Neil was tweeting, much to my annoyance! But he was there, which was some comfort. The birth was reasonably grim – let’s just say I was pleased it was over.”
“As a father,” says Neil, “it’s really important to be there, but I have to say that most of the time there was little, if anything, that I could do to help – hence the tweeting!”
The stress of the birth was soon forgotten, when Neil and Alex met their new daughter for the first time. “Once calm descended, we were totally smitten,” says Neil, “and I was incredibly proud and in absolute awe of Alex.”
Alex and Neil were keen to get back to their two older children, Jake and Ruby, as soon as possible. “I was so pleased to escape the hospital,” says Alex, “even though I couldn’t remember how to strap in the car seat and I could barely walk.”
Settled at home with baby Gracie, Alex and Neil are now well and truly back in the swing of things. “It’s amazing how quickly you take the return of stress and sleep deprivation in your stride,” says Neil. “We just enjoy spending as much time with our children as we can and bank as much patience as possible, whenever possible – it’s the most valuable commodity known to any parent.”
“We’re a larger, happier, family, now,” concludes Alex.

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