Xanthe; is a sea nymph in Greek mythology; one of the daughters of Oceanus. Meaning ‘Golden One’ in ancient Greek, derived from the Greek word for yellow, beginning with ‘X’ it is pronounced as if it were a ‘Z’
In October 2017 our baby girl entered the world; but most importantly, entered our family. I’ve purposely taken my time to write this post, (Yes seven months) because I wanted to immerse myself into life with our newborn properly ensuring that I didn’t miss a second with our baby, even the tough parts. I wanted to focus on Xanthe, Jake and I but also on the other children, strengthening their bonds with our new baby too because well, you don’t get this time back, do you?
We named her Xanthe Robyn; a pretty yet distinctive name, chosen together by both Jake and I to reflect who we hope will be a determined and smart yet, individual little girl. Xanthe means ‘Golden One’ in Greek, a sweet meaning and because the name begins with an X, we think it’s pretty cool too.
Xanthe was born by elective c-section. This was ‘elected’ not by me but my Consultant Gynecologist. After two emergency c-sections it turns out the hospital aren’t too keen on any attempt at a VBAC; the risk of rupture and scar tissue problems are far too high apparently. Whilst I wanted the opportunity of choice within the birth plan, I accepted it because the most important thing was our baby’s safe arrival. It’s very strange knowing the date of your baby’s birth from around the twelve week mark though, but fairly useful in terms of organising practicalities such as childcare all the same! We kept to it ourselves though, I didn’t want everyone knowing our baby’s (likely) birthday until nearer the time. It was strange this time though, there was no going ten days ‘overdue’ with no sign of a baby, like with Willow’s birth, that was not much fun at all!
One thing we didn’t know was our baby’s gender and until the moment Xanthe was born, I genuinely thought she would be a boy. I remember Jake looking at me, smiling widely as he told me ‘It’s a little girl!’ He knew because he had watched our baby being born over the top of the blue screen (I’d watched a lot of it too, via the light fitting reflection above.. quite interesting actually watching your own body be cut open, yet not feeling a thing!) Jake also told me that our baby girl had hair, but quickly mentioned it was not as much as we’d expected. We’d been told at the last growth scan some four weeks before that there was a LOT of hair on our baby’s head. I laid there began wondering what our daughter looked like, but within seconds the midwife passed her over to me so I could see for myself- just as I’d requested before we’d gone into theatre. Immediately, I gave her skin to skin and it was magical, Xanthe was so alert and she was able to follow the natural instinct to locate, latch on, and breastfeed within minutes. I recall laying on the bed, chatting to Jake, both of us staring at Xanthe in awe. I just couldn’t believe she was here. Our baby was here and we had had a girl!
Luckily for us all, Xanthe’s birth was exactly the perfect moment we wanted and something that I felt I’d not had the chance of previously which had, rightly or wrongly always niggled at me. Don’t get me wrong I am full of gratitude for my babies and their healthy lives and I don’t feel less of a woman because none of my three babies were born naturally, because BIRTH IS BIRTH but I have always yearned for a drama-free, euphoric, birth all the same. I could go on, but the upshot is, I am grateful. Really grateful! The anaesthetic team were truly wonderful and even during a few small issues with my heart rate, they remained vigilant, caring and professional. Once Xanthe was born, they even suggested they take a few photographs as I delivered the placenta and was sewn back together; something I will be eternally thankful of!
Emotionally wise I think as a family we were all ready to meet Xanthe, but all a little apprehensive of the way in which she would change our lives. Even with your third child, the unknown is still fairly unsettling. Yes you know all the customs, regulations and the practices of parenting, you’re intimately familiar with the changes your post-partum body brings, you know what to expect with a newborn and you can change a nappy with your eyes closed, blindfolded in fact. But, a new baby still opens you up to vulnerability and for that reason I wanted to make sure I was prepared as much as I possibly could be, especially as our baby was about to change our family dynamic, rather significantly!
Fast forward seven months and Xanthe has settled into our family perfectly. All the children love her and she has in many ways provided a bond that has made us all stronger as a unit. The sleepless nights are (very) difficult and the work that is involved juggling everyone’s needs can be tough but ultimately Xanthe has made all our relationships, better and has been clear catalyst for growth of our love for each other. I will talk more about how Xanthe has changed our lives again soon, but for now, here are some photographs of our beautiful daughter.