Monday, 28 December 2009

Christmas Festivities

Happy christmas!!
Christmas has been very different for us this year! I love our usual 'big' family christmasses (as Luke and I are both from big families, christmas tends to be the annual 'get-together'). However, this year, with little Eden only 3 and a half weeks old, we thought it would be best if we didn't travel, especially on christmas day, so it was just the 3 of us christmas morning.

On christmas day, after unintentionally waking up late, we managed to be dressed and ready to go to church within an hour or so, and I'm really glad we made the effort. There were only about 8 of us there, but we all picked carols to sing, and Gerri had prepared some thoughts on the visit of the Magi to baby Jesus. Eden was very good throughout, she loves the singing at church and always quietens down and listens intently.

After a quick feed at home, we walked down the road to Paul and Katty's for christmas dinner. As well as the 'traditional' turkey and trimmings, Katty had prepared a Peruvian traditional christmas rice, made with olives and the special ingredient of a little coca cola, eaten with peaches. We had so much to eat for the first course that it was a couple of hours before we could face christmas pudding, and we didn't even get around to cheese and biscuits!

By Christmas day evening the combination of Eden's unsettled night, and a big meal caught up with me, and I was asleep soon after 9pm (missing most of the Royle family christmas special).

On boxing day we decided to go for a walk round the Common. Last year we'd been visiting my family and had a trip to Droitwich and a family pub lunch on boxing day.

Yesterday we drove up to Reading to see Luke's side of the family, as we'd missed them on christmas day. Luke's aunt was hosting a lunch, and there was lots of extended family there. Eden got to meet her cousins Oscar, Erik, Poppy and Willow. Jasmin, Pip and Imogen couldn't make it unfortunately.

This evening we've had the cheese and biscuits that we couldn't manage on christmas day with Paul and Katty and Simon, coupled with mulled wine.

So christmas has been really different for us, alot quieter than usual, but it's been a lovely experience sharing the festivities with our new baby girl, and not only seeing family, but also having friends play more of a part in our celebrations this year.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas Eve

Today we watched christmas films - Eden and I watched Santa Claus 3 in the morning, then we watched the Nativity this afternoon. We wanted to go to a carol service this evening, but we couldn't find a local one, so watched Carols from Kings on TV instead.

Monday, 21 December 2009

3 weeks old!

Our little girl is 3 weeks old today! Everyday she changes and develops a little. This week she's looking like her Daddy, and is more alert - she studies our faces, turns her head to sound and even seems aware that Flo's nearby. So far Eden's been sleeping pretty well for a newborn - she nods off properly at about midnight, and will wake for a feed at 3:30ish, although has slept through until 6 a couple of times. She's definately had a growth spurt this week too - and is already too long for some of her sleepsuits!

The 3 of us had fun yesterday doing festive things. There was no church in the morning, so we took the rare opportunity to have a 'lie-in' until after 9am (that's late for us) and then took a nice drive around dropping off christmas cards. We walked upto the shops in the sunshine and treated ourselves to a cooked breakfast for lunch and a read of the Sunday papers in the sainsburys cafe. Yesterday evening was the christingle service at church - Eden was awake for half of it and then slept the other half.

We're looking forward to spending our first family christmas together as a 3, later this week...

Thursday, 17 December 2009


Yesterday was the first proper 'playtime' that I had with Eden. Months ago, the first baby item we bought when we found out I was preggers was an Ikea playmat, and yesterday I took it out of it's packaging for the first time. Eden and I had a happy half hour after a feed playing on there - she was more interested in my face over anything else, so I lay by her side and pulled funny faces. She stared intently, and tried to copy sticking her tongue out a couple of times when I did. I've also been introducing her to the sense of touch, by rubbing different materials along her arm.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Eden goes to church

Today was Eden's second visit to church. Last week she was wide awake but peaceful, I think she was enjoying the music, and I had to take her out half way through for a feed. Today she slept through the whole service! She looked very cute in her new pink dress, which Grandma and Grandad had given her. Everyone at church thinks she's beautiful, we do too, but we're biased!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Our beautiful daughter

Eden's one week old today! Part of me still can't believe she's here, and yet I can't imagine life without her. She's gradually starting to become more alert, opening her eyes more, and today has lay happily in her pram with her eyes open, I think she like's the bold pattern on the hood!

We took her out shopping in town today. We went to Asda, Mamas and Papas, Tesco Home, Borders (which is sadly closing down) and finished with a free cup of tea in the Ikea restaurant, uaing our family card. Eden slept soundly through the whole trip!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Eden meets the family

Yesterday Granny and Grandpa Strickland came to visit Eden. She was very peaceful and slept through the whole visit, I think the huge feed just before helped! Eden is number 8 of the grandchildren on the Strickland side!

Today, Grandma and Grandad Weaver visited, with Aunty Jo and Aunty Jess. Eden was very good again and slept through the morning. We popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate. After lunch I gave her a quick feed, and I think she was abit over excited after that as she didn't really sleep in the afternoon.

Everyone was really excited to meet Eden!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Eden's first trip out

Today we took Eden out in her pram for the first time. Just a short walk up to the shops - Luke had to take a library book back. We had a cup of tea in Sainsburys before coming home. Unfortunately, it started to rain and we hadnt thought to pack the rain cover! It's all just part of the learning curve though and Eden didn't get wet.

A development today is that Eden has started sleeping in her moses basket and pram, rather than only in our arms. We're hoping we'll be able to settle her in the moses basket tonight, which will mean a better night's sleep for all of us.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Eden Rose Strickland is born!

Our beautiful little baby girl has arrived!
She was born at home on Monday 30th November 2009, at 5:52am.

My contractions started at 11pm on Sunday night. Prior to this, I'd had severe backache all day Saturday, then no other signs that Eden was on her way until the contractions started Sunday night, so it caught me abit by surprise when it all started.

We'd settled into bed Sunday evening at 10pm, then just before 11pm, I felt a 'pop', got up to go to the loo and my waters had broken. The contractions were coming regularly every 10 minutes from the first one. At first, I was in denial that labour had started, so we left it an hour before caling the hospital to let them know what had happened and that I had a planned homebirth. The midwife asked me to call back in an hour (1am) to let her know how everything was progressing.

After getting off the phone to her, Luke pottered around downstairs, tidying up and getting the living room ready. I'd made a list in advance of things we needed to get ready. We put Friends on in the background to pass the time, and I just sat and practised my breathing, timing contractions. About half an hour later, contractions were coming every 2-5 minutes and were getting more intense, so Luke called the hospital back and they said they'd send a midwife round straight away, although she'd be driving over from the other side of town so may take a little while.

I continued to breathe through contractions and Luke helped me put the TENs machine on. I could only cope with it on a really low setting, higher settings were much too tingly and uncomfortable, so I didnt find the TENS all that helpful for pain relief, but kept it on anyway. Luke started preparing the birth pool. The midewife, Anne, arrived about 45 minutes later (1:15am?). I was getting to the point where I was really having to focus on my breathing to see me through each contraction. She did all her initial checks and then examined me - I was 3cm. I was in quite alot of pain, but it was too early to use gas and air, and the pool wasnt filled yet. Luke did a fantastic job filling up the birth pool - using the boiler, kettle and pans on the hob! He had to keep this up pretty much constantly from this point onwards.

An hour later, I couldnt cope anymore with the pain. I couldnt get comfortable, my contractions were pretty much constant, giving me very little time to rest and relax between each one. I'd estimate they were coming every 1-2 minutes, as Anne couldnt always finish her check on the baby's heartbeat, which takes 1 minute. I started pleading to be taken up to the hospital and given an epidural and/or caesarian - anything to make the pain stop! Anne didn't quite know what to do, as only an hour ago I'd only been 3cm, so she thought another examination might help in the decision. Surprisingly, I'd gone from 3cm to 7cm in an hour (usually it's 1cm an hour). The birthpool was ready (just about) so I got in. The relief!! It was amazing.

I was able to relax in the pool. I had my own space. The comfiest position was on my knees, with my body draped over the side of the pool, and my head resting on the top. I kept my eyes closed for most of the time, and was able to just focus and almost drift into semi-consciousness this way. My contractions slowed a little, which gave me time to relax inbetween. I started to become quite vocal through each contraction, but found focussing on the noise helped ease the pain abit.

About an hour and a half later, I asked for gas and air, I was starting to feel really uncomfortable and was finding it really hard to resist pushing. Anne suggested another examination, and I was found to be 10cm and could start pushing! I got back in the pool and again stayed on my knees leaning over the side. Being able to push gave me a boost in itself that I was nearly there, and able to focus my energies on something positive - getting the baby out! The second midwife, Alison arrived. I could feel the head coming down, but then it would slide back up again. Then I started to feel stinging, and knew I was nearly there. I just kept listening to my body, having confidence that it knew what to do. I asked again for gas and air, but Anne said it was too late really, and better to just see it through and focus all my concentration on pushing. The head eventually stopped sliding back up, and Anne used a mirror and torch to show Luke the head crowning. Their exclamations spurred me on. With the next couple of contractions and pushes, the head was out, and I had a weird sensation of the baby turning. My eyes were still closed and I was abit disorientated, and started shouting for help, as it all felt so strange and I felt out of control. Within seconds though, Anne had turned me over onto my back and with the next push the baby's body slid out from under me. I reached down, and with Anne's help we lifted her head out of the water. I checked and exclaimed 'It's a girl!' to Luke, who had been watching from the other side of the pool. I was so happy I went into smiley 'chuckly' mode, and the baby and I had a lovely cuddle in the pool. Luke said 'Hello Eden' and Alison took some family photographs for us.

After afew minutes, Eden was wrapped in a towel and handed to Luke, and Anne and Alison helped me out of the pool. I had a small second degree tear, that they thought was best to stitch up. While Anne sorted out the equipment for this, Alison helped me put Eden to the breast and she fed straight away for 10 minutes or so. While Anne stitched up, Alison wrote up the notes and cleaned and dressed Eden. She weighed 8lb 8 1/2 oz's! We were all surprised how big she was!

Then Alison left, and Luke helped me have a bath, and I had some porridge. Anne saw us up to bed and made sure we were well before leaving.

From start to finish, labour was jut under 7 hours. Both midwives said it was a surprisingly smooth and quick labour for a first birth, and were impressed with how well I coped with the pain - managing without any drugs or gas and air. For me, I had confidence in my body and am so pleased I gave the birth at home a go, it's an amazing feeling to know I did it!

Our beautiful little girl is here, and we are both overjoyed! We spent the rest of yesterday relaxing in bed. It was so lovely to all be in our own home from the start. This is only the beginning of a fantastic new adventure into parenthood for us!