This sweet family happens to our neighbours and friends. We are often given fresh eggs from their chickens. Little Jocelyn was born about 3 weeks before Cavanaugh, and Louise and I have spent many days commiserating celebrating as we navigate new motherhood together. It’s so much easier with friends (and lots of coffee and cake). Being right in the forest is a photographer’s dream, there is an endless choice of whimsical places. These images were taken in the field behind Louise and Nathan’s house, and their fairytale back garden.
A boy. A lovely, sweet cheeked, kissable baby boy. It’s been 4 weeks since this guy came onto the scene, and I would be a liar to try to describe it as complete bliss. It has come with A LOT of challenges that neither one of us were prepared for at all. But we love this little person more than I can describe.
When I was about 22 weeks pregnant we went for the anatomy scan where they check all the vital organs and you can find out the sex of your baby if you choose. At this scan we found out that our little person (not yet knowing if he was a boy or a girl) had a problem with one of his kidneys. This triggered other scans and we eventually got to the conclusion that his left kidney was multi cystic, and by 26 weeks there was very little left of it. His other kidney was growing big and strong, actually bigger than it normally would be as it was compensating for the other kidney. We both felt sad, and like our little one was getting a bit of a bum start in life, but ultimately, after talking with the consultant we felt assured that it wasn’t actually that big of deal. Lots of people have only one kidney, and many people choose to donate a kidney, because you only really need one. We dubbed his other kidney the Super Kidney for doing the work of 2 and being so much bigger, and we moved on.
When we moved down to where we live now near the New Forest I had my heart set on giving birth at the New Forest Birth Centre. Having been there a couple times for my midwife appointments and having a tour of the beautiful birthing suites, it seemed like a very quiet and peaceful place to bring a new person into the world. But with our little one’s kidney situation, it took a bit of convincing for me to be allowed to give birth there. The birth centre is midwife run, and there aren’t any doctors. They do only very low risk, natural births, and if something comes up, or you decide that you want any kind of pain relief or other intervention, you need to be transferred to the hospital, a 10 minute drive away. And although my pregnancy was very low risk, and I was healthy and a perfect candidate for it, Cav’s kidney sent up a red flag. So we needed the permission of 3 different consultants to sign off on me giving birth there. Ultimately, each consultant agreed that having one kidney did not pose danger to the birthing process, and so it shouldn’t dictate where I gave birth.
Never in this process have I felt like a hardcore, “I have to have a natural birth”, kind of person. In my mind there is nothing wrong with getting the pain relief you feel like you need. My approach to pregnancy, birth, and now parenting are all a bit the same, you have to do what works for you, and it’s all hard enough without the judgement of other people. Having a natural, medication free birth is something I wanted, but more than anything I wanted a healthy baby. Although I never ruled it out, the idea of an epidural and not being able to feel my legs, or be able to move around and get into a better position if needed made me nervous. That being said, I never took any options out of my arsenal. When I went over my birth plan with my midwife, she asked me about all the interventions and methods of pain relief and my answer to almost all of them was, “I prefer not to, but I don’t want to take anything off the table.”
Cavanaugh was born at 1509 on the 22nd of October after 17 hours of labour. He was 6lbs 8oz, and came out backwards (not breeched, but back to back) and hand first. I used gas and air as a method of pain relief, but in all honesty it didn’t relieve anything. Labour is fu****g hard work. There were times when I sincerely doubted myself and my body’s ability to get this baby out, especially towards the end when I was so exhausted and my contractions became weaker and further apart. Luckily I had an amazing husband who was with me, and encouraged me through it all, as well as a really great team of midwives. I can’t recommend the birth centre and the lovely ladies who work there enough.
When Cav finally came out, I just pulled him to my chest and didn’t check right away to see if he was a boy or a girl. I was so surprised and thrilled with having a boy. We chose not to find out the sex beforehand, and if I did it again, I would do the exact same thing. It was such a sweet moment finding out after so much hard work.
Here he is, at 4 weeks old. Our sweet little love. We call him Cav.
As of today I’m considered full term. 37 weeks, which means baby could potentially come at any time. I could, however, also wait another 5 weeks. I’m hoping it’s not 5 more weeks, but I’m happy to let him/her stay in there as long as needed.
I can’t really complain too much about this pregnancy (actually, I could, but I know I’ve had it pretty easy compared to what others go through, so I’ll save my complaining). It’s been relatively smooth, and so far we know that the Little Thorne (or the little wriggler, as Eliot call it) is healthy and happy.
We decided to keep finding out the sex a surprise, and although right now I’m more curious than ever, I’m really happy we did. Eliot thinks boy, and I’ve taken the girl stance just to even things out, we’re 100% sure one of us is right.
But honestly, no crazy “mummy” senses, and can honestly say I have no idea. I don’t trust any of the old wives tales. We have 3 names picked out for each boy and girl, but I think we probably won’t decide on a final name until we’ve seen him/her.
My due date is almost, exactly to the day, 9 years that I fell really hard for this guy I’m now married to.
Our beginning was very fairy tale-esque. Since then we’ve been on some amazing adventures together. We’ve had some lows, and I’m thankful for what was learned, not only about myself, but about us in those times. We’ve also had some brilliant amazing highs.
I find it cliche to refer to him as my best friend, because I feel like it simplifies it too much. Also, I have best friends whose relationships I treasure in a completely different way. Yes, friendship is a huge part of our relationship, but what we share goes so much deeper than that, and we’ve come to depend on on another in a way that can’t be summed up with one word or expression. I’m sure most of my friends who are married or have long term partners would agree with this.
In the last 9 years we have created a really beautiful life, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about introducing another person into this symbiotic existence we have going.
Of course, it’s not just “another person,” but it’s a little being who’ll depend on us for everything, and whom, before even meeting, we both already care about so much.
It complicates things. Of course I’m worried about being a new parent, and making the right decisions, and keeping this person safe without sheltering him/her too much from the world. But when I think about it all, I feel like together, with what we can provide as parents, and what we both bring to the table in terms of life and experience, things will be okay. We’ll be okay, in that respect.
What I’m most concerned with, is how our relationship to each other will change. I like love it how it is right now. We’ve spent 9 years getting to know each other, growing up, and shaping this life into what we both want it to be. We have only ever had to worry about making one another happy. Because of this we wavered for quite a while on whether or not having a baby was something we actually wanted.
We decided it IS something we want, and we have embraced this hand in hand with excitement. But I will always treasure the time we had, just the 2 of us, and everything that allowed us to do and the way it strengthened our bond. And my hope is that when times do get tough and we start second guessing every decision we’ve ever made, we can draw from that, and it makes us better partners and parents.