Monday, 24 June 2019

Introducing Eden Ruth

You outshined the best there was, rewrote who I could be.
When I heard your cry ring out it showed me what real strength could be.
When I held you for the first time I knew I had to survive.
A Single Tear - Converge

At long last I am thrilled to introduce you to our baby girl, Eden Ruth, born on May 10th 2019. Becoming a mama has been the most amazing and intense thing I've ever done - needless to say, it's turned my world upside down. I'm loving every minute (yes, even the nappy changes and middle of the night feeds - I can't help being in constant awe of this perfect, tiny human we created) and I can't wait to share more of our adventures here. We're all doing well and Jamie and I are enjoying embracing the shift in dynamic, parents to our beautiful baby, a family of three.

Every story has a beginning and Eden's was a little different than we had expected. So I wanted to share some of her birth story here as I found reading others' stories very helpful during my pregnancy. I hope this might help anybody who may face a similar situation to know that a birth which doesn't follow your original preferences can still be magical.


Eden's birth story
They say to make birth preferences, not a plan, and I kept this in mind the whole of my pregnancy but I'll admit that I took this to mean that things may change when I was in labour - I didn't ever consider that we might not even get that far. For the entirety of my pregnancy Jamie and I had prepared for a natural home birth. Despite having always found the concept of labour and birth terrifying (fear of tearing in particular, which is understandably very common) a Caesarean was my worst nightmare. I didn't want to go to hospital at all - we'd been on a tour of the maternity unit and despite the staff being lovely and the facilities being great I instinctively felt that it wasn't for me: the thought of ending up there filled me with dread. We'd prepared for Shroomie's birth by taking Hypnobirthing classes - I'd read a lot about home birthing and dedicated a lot of time to relaxation and meditative practices alongside using positive affirmations, all designed to tap into during labour. I felt positive and calm about facing labour when the time came.

Then, at 36 weeks, we discovered that Shroomie was breech after being head down at all previous appointments. We tried everything we could think of to get baby in the right position - I spent hours in inverted positions, followed by an unsuccessful ECV at 38 weeks (where doctors manually try to turn the baby using their hands on my abdomen). The staff discussed our options with us and explained why they'd advise against attempting a natural breech delivery, and we agreed to book in for an elective Caesarean. (It's really strange choosing your baby's birthday!) In the mean time we tried alternative methods including hypnotherapy and moxibustion - still no luck. The Caesarean was booked for a couple of days before our due date and I worried about going into labour before this date if Shroomie didn't turn, as breech births can progress very quickly and are much higher risk. It took a while to come to terms with needing surgery and I felt very emotional that we didn't have any luck with turning baby - part of me still hoped that we'd get to the labour ward that morning and discover that Shroomie had turned for us last minute as they perform a scan to check this on the morning of the operation, but no luck.

However, despite the fact that I was terrified, it was also a wonderful feeling to suddenly know that we were about the meet our baby. In the theatre we got to put on a CD of our choice (we opted for Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II by Earth which created a hypnotic and magical atmosphere) and the team were fantastic, so kind and reassuring. It wasn't that long (though it felt like forever) until I felt a hard push on my stomach (it's very strange being numb to pain but still feeling movement) and then we heard a cry. Our Shroomie was here. We just looked at each other, and before we knew it the nurse came around the screen holding our baby. Beforehand I'd found it hard to imagine what they might look like but as soon as I saw our baby it all made sense. Bigger and a little chunkier than I'd imagined, with lots of hair which I did visualise, and then a moment of realisation: it's a girl. Our daughter. Jamie put a hat on her to keep her warm and she was put between us, for the closest we could get to skin to skin while I was being sewn back together. We'd been in agreement for the previous few weeks that we liked the name Eden Ruth for a girl and upon meeting her we knew it was right for her. She lay between us and was surprisingly calm, her hands on my face while we spoke to her. When the operation was finished, Jamie was taken away to change out of his scrubs, Eden was placed in my arms for the first time, and we met back in the observation bay. This was where we first got to try skin to skin and breastfeeding, both of which were very important to us - as well as being brought tea, toast and water which were so utterly welcome after so much time fasting. In the end, where we had her (or indeed anything else in the world at that moment) didn't matter at all - we were both so thrilled she was here, that she'd arrived safely and we were totally in love.

It's been six weeks now and my recovery wasn't as bad as I was expecting. We stayed in hospital for two nights which was the right decision both for breastfeeding support and pain relief. When we took Eden home I was lucky to have lots of help from Jamie and our families, and by now I'm feeling pretty much able to do most things again. And I can now echo what everyone else was telling me: once baby is here you are so overwhelmed you forget all about the birth circumstances as all you can think about is the baby in your arms.

I hope to share more of our journey soon, but as a tired new mama I'm going to wrap this up. Welcome baby girl, we're so happy and lucky to have you here.

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4 comments

  1. Congratulations to you both! She's beautiful and I absolutely adore the name. I'm sorry you weren't able to have the birth you'd hoped for, but I'm sure now she's here happy and healthy you don't mind so much. I'm glad to hear you're recovering well, and hope it hasn't been too painful for you. Well done, Mama! xx

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    1. Thank you so much Louise! Absolutely, we are so lucky that she is happy and healthy - that's all that matters! xx

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  2. Congratulations to you both, Eden is beautiful! xx

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