It's been a really sad day today, as we had to go through the premature birth of our baby son, who we've called Matthew Hurley. At only 20 weeks, he was too small to cope with life outside the womb, and passed away very shortly afterwards.
Ruth had been feeling uncomfortable all week, and went to bed early last night feeling pretty rough. When we woke up in the morning, Ruth was in a lot of pain and discomfort, and was suffering from some bleeding. We telephoned the hospital and they told her to come in straight away.
We dropped Hannah and Thomas off at Nanny and Grumpy's on the way, and sped along to the maternity unit. By this time, Ruth was sure that it was contractions that she was feeling, and they were already every few minutes.
Not long after our arrival at the hospital, the midwife confirmed that Ruth was giving birth, and that we would lose the baby.
The birth progressed very similarly to the births of Hannah and Thomas - in fact, I think we were in the same room where we gave birth to Thomas! The labour lasted about an hour during the time we were in the hospital, and Matthew was born at 9:10am, weighing a teeny 10 oz.
Matthew did make some small movements during his short life, but never opened his eyes. We could see his heart beating against his tiny frame for about an hour, but that may have just been nervous twitching, rather than signs of life. We think that he looked a lot like his Dad - he definitely had the 'Hurley' look about him!
The midwife was fantastic the whole time, and looked after Ruth and the baby (and the Dad!) very well. They took some hand- and foot-prints of the baby for keepsakes, and also arranged for a couple of photographs to be taken. Although we think the photos are gorgeous, it seems quite macabre to put them on the blog, so we'll just show you the prints that were taken. The scan makes the prints look a lot bigger than they really are - his feet were 3cm long, and his hands just 2cm.
Breaking the sad news to family and friends has been difficult. Hannah burst into tears when we told her, and said that she "really wanted a baby". Thomas isn't really sure what's going on, but can tell something sad has happened.
Matthew stayed with us the whole time we were in the hospital, so we were with him for about six hours in the end. It was amazing to see how perfect he already was - even though he was only 20 weeks old. He had fingernails and toenails, his ears were gorgeous, his feet seemed huge - he'd have been trouble to buy shoes for!
We were only able to spend a short time getting to know him, but he's going to be sorely missed.