Leah and Eamon, parents to the gorgeous doll faced Eve share their birth experiences in two candid, hilarious, brave and touching points of view.
As a midwife, I have many special moments that I share with new parents, whether it be teaching them in prenatal classes, supporting them through the delivery or helping them care for their newborn. And although watching a newborn come into the world is quite specular, the part I enjoy the most occurs after the birth. It’s talking to women and their partners about their birthing experience, taking a look back at when two became three (or more!) and life was forever changed.
Perceptions, emotions and experiences, even in the same couple’s birth story, can be vastly different depending on who you speak to (and on who was doing the pushing and who was doing the coffee drinking!)
Getting used to the pregnancy
Nobody prepared me for all the emotional and physical changes! Why didn’t somebody tell me “It’s ok not to feek ok” with all these changes?!
The last month of pregnancy was definitely the hardest, as every twinge or sharp pain would make me think, “Is it happening now?!” I was constantly on edge.
That said, I loved watching my bump growing and feeling my baby moving.. it was amazing!
Normally Leah is quite on the ball, so baby brain definitely took a bit of time getting used to.
The later stages of Leah’s pregnancy were the hardest, she was often quite emotional, moody and on edge… which was all understandable!
Building up to the due date
After nine long months of waiting I felt tired, scared, excited, nervous and anxious. There were lots of questions though, such as:
“Will I be good enough?”
“Am I ready to be a mother?”
“What if something goes wrong during labour?”
“I’m in a different country alone, what if my husband is travelling?”
All of which I forgot about during the labour!
I was very much excited and looking forward to meeting our baby. I was hoping it wasn’t going to be a long labour, I felt quite helpless but was very conscious about trying to appear calm.
PAIN! Like never before! I was lucky to have my husband and mum with me (they were both more nervous than me… their faces told me this), but were very supportive. My midwife, who I could not have done without even though I’d only met her once or twice before, was my rock.
I remember at one point during my labour just wanting the room to be clear and having only her next to me. As if by magic, she knew what I wanted and said all the right things!
Knowing my husband as well as I do, he was very nervous but tried his best to hide his fear and comfort me and remain calm… bless him!
My advice would be to have an open mind regarding pain relief methods in labour. I actually only had basic pain relief, which surprised even myself. Even though it was extremely painful, I’d say it was as painful as I expected it to be.
The hardest thing to see Leah go through was definitely the labour, she did it all without the aid of an epidural so she will forever have my utmost respect after that!
The minute you saw her
“She’s finally here!” Followed by, “Is she healthy? Is she ok?” Then I finally settled on, “She’s perfect.”
My husband said to me, “She is amazing! Well done! …our baby Eve”.
I felt overwhelmed with love for this tiny baby. Of course, I cried and wanted the moment to last forever. Even now nine months on, even through lack of sleep etc… that feeling is still here. PURE unconditional love.
I was overwhelmed with joy, but my instincts were to make sure she was alright first. I remember saying to Leah, “Well done, she’s a beauty!”
Pros and cons between healthcare systems here compared to your home
Pros: The facilities, doctors, nurses, appointments when you wish… everything is so impressive and I highly recommend having a baby in the UAE!
Cons: At home in the UK, we have a midwife that visits for some days up to weeks after. That would have been nice to have instead of having to come back to the hospital so soon after delivery for checkups.
The first weeks
I believe the first six weeks are NOT the hardest! As new parents, you’re on such a high of having this new baby. I believe the hardest weeks came after, once that ‘honeymoon period’ has gone. That is the hardest time. Lack of sleep is without doubt the biggest struggle.
The first few weeks were fun, but incredibly tough as it was just the two of us and we had no help. The equivalent of riding a rollercoaster whilst under the influence of your favorite beverage!
It’s like suddenly, there’s now a little person who totally depends on you. It’s very daunting initially, but you embrace the responsibility instinctively. I’m very much looking forward to having more children.
The resounding emotions have been happiness, but I also have never been so tired in my entire life!
Pre-pregnancy, I had a very high powered role with a lot of responsibility. When I became pregnant I resigned as I felt I could not do both, especially as my job included a lot of travel. I chose not to have a nanny, so it’s difficult being alone when my husband is away for work.
I am very lucky that I don’t have a regular 9-5 job, so I get to spend a lot of time at home. This has been very helpful, especially with no family support, so I find I can devote my free time to my family.
Your life before and your life now
It felt like I was handing my life as I knew it in one hand to God, while he handed me a new one in the other. Obviously at first I was at a crossroads, until I held Eve in my arms. Now I’m just enjoying motherhood and all the ups and downs that come with it.
Yes, I do have a totally opposite lifestyle now and I do have days where I miss the old me. The new me loves being a full time mum to Eve.
Life before a baby meant we did things on a whim as a couple; we went out a lot to socialise, have dinner or go to the cinema. Now, we’re more conscious of the fact we have to be home much earlier and all activities revolve around our baby. However, I don’t feel like I have sacrificed anything and I don’t miss a lot of the things we did before.
The best advice given to you
After all the advice from friends, strangers, parents, in-laws, Doctors ect (which were all great), I found my mother’s advice the best. It was pure, and honest advise…mother really does know best!
“Do your own thing”. That was from a friend of mine. It is very true, because you do tend to get a lot of input from family and friends.
Best advice you can give to new mums and dads
Now I find myself telling expectant parents all the advice I received! Most importantly go with your won gut instincts, YOU will know YOUR baby. You can read and read and read for hours on what to expect, but you will just have to take t as it comes. Try to enjoy it and don’t stress out too much!
Also as a new parents it is very easy to forget about yourself and partner! So make time to get your nails done, read a book, Go on a date-night and talk….most importantly spend time together and make memories with your baby.
Definitely do things your own way! GO with the flow of the whole experience and don’t get bogged down with reading a lot of books and literature about the birth and fatherhood. Your instincts take over and they are usually right!
Now there is a little person who totally depends on us! Very daunting initially, but we’ve embraced the responsibility instinctively. We’re very much looking forward to having more children.