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Royal baby watch ends for local Anglophiles

Published 10:18 am, Tuesday, July 23, 2013
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From the moment she awoke to news that Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton had gone into labor, Sheri Burgess' day largely consisted of paying tight attention to social media and TV, hoping to hear word that the new royal baby had entered the world.

Burgess, 46, of Wilton, has been an Anglophile since the 1980s, and even traveled to England for the royal wedding of Middleton and England's Prince William. Like many of her ilk, Burgess spent Monday monitoring Facebook, Twitter and the seemingly ceaseless televised coverage of the Royal Baby Watch.

Her vigil ended late Monday afternoon, when it was announced that Middleton had given birth to an 8 pound, 6 ounce baby boy.

Though Burgess had been hoping for a girl, she was still elated about the birth. "I'm just glad they had a healthy baby," she said. "It's exciting."

Throughout the region, fans of the royal family toasted its newest member. Lisa Whitmore, who runs the Newtown store UK Gourmet with her husband, Nigel, said her customers have been beside themselves about the royal baby over the last few weeks. The store has been selling Heir to the Throne Scones, made by local eatery Daily Fare, in anticipation of the blessed event.

UK Gourmet has also ordered various items, which should arrive in a few weeks, commemorating the event. Whitmore said that not only has the royal birth been good for business, it's also a positive, fun event for Britain watchers.

"It's just something happy to talk about," she said. "They're just such a special couple."

Other Anglophiles glued to the TV Monday included Carol Timpanelli of Trumbull. Timpanelli caters English teas through her business, the Royal Tea Co., and had been hotly anticipating the birth. Now that the prince is here, "I think my friends and I will have a little get-together where we raise a cup to the duchess and the royal family."

The little prince is third in line to the throne, behind his grandfather, Prince Charles, and his daddy, William. The birth has historical significance, said Ramona Garcia, part-time librarian at Fairfield Public Library and Fairfield Woods Library. Garcia also has a Ph.D. in history, and has given several local talks on English history, which is a main area of interest for her. She said the royal birth marks the first time since 1893 that England's monarch and three generations of descendants have been alive at once.

Reports that Middleton was in labor surfaced around 2:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, and the announcement of the actual birth came shortly after 3:30 p.m. It's unclear how long she was actually in labor, but experts said it can be a lengthy process for first-time moms like the duchess.

The first stage of labor, in which the mother's cervix starts dilating in preparation for delivery, can last anywhere from 16 to 24 hours, said Dr. Lisa Fusco, a Shelton obstetrician-gynecologist. Once the mom is fully dilated and starts to push, delivery can take another two to three hours, depending on whether the woman has been given an epidural.

If it turns out that Middleton was in labor 12 hours or more, that would not be unusual, said Dr. Daryl Wieland, associate director of Stamford Hospital's ob-gyn residency program.

"Labor is called labor for a reason," she said.

It's also unclear how far along Middleton's labor was when she arrived at the hospital. But Dr. Steven Laifer, chief of Bridgeport Hospital's section of obstetrics and gynecology, guessed she was probably fairly early in the process.

"She's Kate Middleton," he said. "She's not going to just sit around."

acuda@ctpost.com; 203-330-6290; twitter.com/AmandaCuda; http://blog.ctnews.com/whatthehealth/