31 March 2016

Rumer's Story, part 13

Berlin and a name!

Friday 19th to Tuesday 23rd June 2015
25 weeks pregnant

So we arrived at the hotel and checked in. We'd chosen the hotel because it had a vegan breakfast and a vegetarian restaurant attached (we always plan around the food) but it was a way out of town and not the most convenient. We ate that first night in the restaurant attached to the hotel - Bistro Bardot - and went to bed, not before checking in on the baby with the sonicaid. We knew she was a girl now, but we'd not yet named her. Our foray into the name books on our journey had got us to the letter B in name book number one.

We'd had plans for Berlin - it really is an interesting place - but we got up the next morning without much motivation and decided to head to the Jewish Museum. I have a long-standing interest in Holocaust and Jewish history, and we thought we should do something indoors since it was raining. As it turned out, it was the only attraction we'd visit in Berlin. We ate breakfast in the hotel - it was amazing, with vegan croissants! Also a variety of vegetarian meats, cheeses, hot dishes, breads and salads. We ate (a lot), then listened to the baby again, found the tram stop and took the tram to the metro, although we couldn't figure out the tickets.

Vegan breakfast at Bistro Bardot: croissant, melon, vegan 'meats', coffee, orange juice.
Vegan breakfast at the hotel!

At the metro station, we got tickets and then took a train and walked to the Jewish Museum. It was fine - crowded - but we so much lacked any interest in anything that it was a rather depressing trip. We got the bus back, looked round the vegan supermarket Veganz, ate some lunch from there and bought some shoes so that I'd have something to wear when we went out that evening. We went out to eat at Kopps, a really nice vegetarian restaurant. One of the things I liked about the trip was that it felt like we were taking the baby away and feeding her the food she might never get to taste independently.

The next day, we'd planned to go out again. We'd even planned a trip out for a vegan breakfast buffet elsewhere, as they only happened on weekends and it was Sunday, but we couldn't be bothered. We ate in the hotel and hung around there. Then, as it was a better day, we found a park to go to on the tram. The park was dusty and not terribly grassy; we watched a casual volleyball game and various dogs. We went through our name book (still the first one), getting a bit further. Then got bored and headed back to the hotel. We decided to stop on the way at Ohlala, a vegan French p√Ętisserie, where we ate a croque monsieur and the most delicious vegan cakes we'd ever tasted. That night we ate at the Lucky Leek, yet another great vegetarian restaurant. I had the five-course menu and Chris had a three-course one with an extra course and a different wine for each course. He was stuffed and I was fine. We walked back to the hotel to walk off the food. This, as you can see, was a holiday very much about eating!

Vegan 'cream cake' from Ohlala - whipped 'cream', chocolate, caramel.
'Cake' at Ohlala

And Monday came along with drizzly rain. Not a good day for the park, so we went out and sat in a square and watched a small child dig a hole under a swing, then headed to a local coffee shop where we drafted our stillbirth plan: melancholy times, but it was good to work on it, to think what we did and didn't want. We decided that we did want a doula; that we'd like castings if possible; that we'd want photos, but that we didn't want a lock of hair; that I wanted to try without high-level pain relief; and that ideally we'd like to have the baby at home. We also talked about home burial, which solidified as an idea with us at this point. We headed back to the hotel for reading and naps, and then ate in the hotel. Eventually, that evening, we went to the vegan supermarket to satisfy my craving for chocolate, and we drank smoothies and continued our journey though the name book. We made a plan to buy the baby something from Berlin the next day.

Final day: we decided to hit the toy shops; we wanted old-fashioned type toy shops. and we ended up in the pouring rain in a small shopping mall that had a toy shop we'd found online. We browsed the toys, but weren't sure what to get. We liked some wooden letters with which to spell out her name, but she didn't yet have one. So we decided to get a coffee downstairs, and we went through our names again. We made a shortlist from the book we had been through, and added Rumer as a possibility, as I liked it and it wasn't in the book. Chris thought at the time that the spelling Ruma was also worth considering. We crossed out names and ended up with the following:
  • Caroline (shortened to Callie)
  • Deryn
  • Lorna
  • Maeve
  • Nell
  • Ottilie
  • Rumer/Ruma
  • Seren

I'd been devoted to Seren for a while. I thought this baby was probably a Seren; Chris liked it too but wasn't quite so keen. We both thought that, as she may not even be born alive, we should cross off any name that had a short form, as people would only know one or the other. That ruled out one of our longer-term favourites: Callie. So we were left with Rumer (we decided that we both preferred this spelling), and after that, I reluctantly crossed out Seren, with Nell another favourite of mine. Nell is really a short form too.

We'd initially planned to give the baby my surname. We considered that both surnames would have worked with Nell, but we preferred Rumer. Rumer Roper would not have worked, so we gave her Chris's surname and my middle name (a family name), so she became Rumer Louise Gomez.

So back we headed to the toy shop and bought an R, an L and a G to spell out her initials. We also bought two wooden moons: one large, for our home, and one small, to hang over Rumer's grave. We were planning a death, not a life. We went back, planning on lunch in the French p√Ętisserie and cakes for the journey, and then back to the hotel to collect bags and a taxi to the airport.

And that's what we did: more croque monsieurs - or, as I skipped the 'ham', a cheese toastie in my case - also cakes to eat and cakes to take away. A wander back to the hotel, browsing another toy store on the way, and then bags, airport...should have been plane and home but we had too many bags, so we had to upgrade in order to take all our bags as hand luggage. But it worked well for us in the end.

The security man questioned the sonicaid on the way through, wanting to know what it was, but we made it through and onto the plane which was really quiet. We ate our cakes, read our books and arrived in London 20 minutes earlier than planned. Train home and back to our new real life...

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