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Edna’s little blessing: ‘Meet my boss babe’

After a dramatic birth that almost broke her, the Celebrity Treasure Island favourite introduces her beautiful wee boy
Pictures: Amalia Osborne

When Woman’s Day catches up with Edna Swart and her delicious new arrival Astyn, it’s four weeks to the day since he made his dramatic entry into the world.

Today, as her son snoozes, the reality star and skincare entrepreneur is bubbly and glowing as she shares the joys of being a mum, but it was a different story a month ago.

While recounting Astyn’s birth, she admits it’s the first time she’s been able to speak about his traumatic delivery without crying.

“I get very emotional talking to my family and friends about what happened,” shares the 34-year-old Celebrity Treasure Island and BossBabes star. “Talking to them has been my therapy and has helped me find some peace with it.

The CTI bikini babe was a fan favourite.

“Midwives probably laugh when they hear expectant mums say they have a birth plan, but I had one. His birth was not what I expected it to be!”

Edna says she naively expected to have a trouble-free delivery after a breezy pregnancy. She was already 14 weeks when she found out she was expecting. The remainder of her pregnancy was just as uncomplicated.

The first sign that the birth might not be a straightforward process only came when she started feeling waves of heaviness in her bottom and lower spine, as opposed to her stomach, one afternoon.

The following morning, Edna’s mucous plug fell out. She immediately called her obstetrician, who confirmed it was the beginning of labour, though the baby wasn’t necessarily coming soon.

Edna phoned her husband, Hirepool manager Reid, 29, who rushed home from work to be with her. The couple then remained chilled, expecting a long wait. They were so relaxed, in fact, that one of Edna’s team members from her Ed&I skincare company remained at the house to work.

At 1.30pm, Edna’s waters broke dramatically in their lounge. “It was like a scene from a movie,” she laughs. “There was water everywhere!”

Despite the lack of stomach contractions, the intense back pain persisted. The couple decided to try to relax, even going to Burger King for dinner. “It was my last meal before motherhood, then I thought I’d shred after this child!” she grins.

But the pain intensified, so she and Reid battled peak-hour traffic to get to the hospital, where Edna’s contractions ramped up, but she still wasn’t dilating.

The night brought more complications. Edna developed a fever and had to be put on antibiotics when it was found that Astyn had passed meconium (his first stool) in the amniotic fluid, giving the star an infection. Doctors also discovered Astyn was lying spine to spine with his mother. This explains why Edna was experiencing such excruciating pain.

Edna Swart holding baby Astyn

“I couldn’t sleep that night,” she remembers. “All I could do was listen to my baby’s heartbeat to make sure it was stable. Poor Reid was in the chair next to me. He didn’t want to leave my side.”

After pushing for an hour with no success, it was discovered Astyn’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, causing his heartbeat to drop. The medical team swiftly decided on an emergency Caesarean.

“I really didn’t want a C-section, but it became clear it was the only option,” says Edna, her voice breaking with emotion. “Within minutes, I was prepped and taken to the operating room. It all happened so fast.”

Astyn came into the world with a cry at 3.42am on 19 April, weighing 3.42kg and with a full head of black hair.

“He’s got my hair and olive skin, and Reid’s big blue eyes!” smiles Edna, although the moment was bittersweet.

“I didn’t get the calm, natural birth or the skin-to-skin contact I’d looked forward to my entire pregnancy,” she shares. “Not being the first to hold him broke my heart, but seeing him healthy and hearing his cry was the most beautiful sound. I’m a believer in counting your blessings and looking at the light, not the darkness, so I’m glad I’m here and baby’s safe.”

In the days after the birth, Edna says she didn’t look or feel like herself.

“It was a lot,” she confides “Looking in the mirror while I was wearing a diaper and all swollen because of all the fluids they pumped into me, it really broke me.

“Then because I’d been cut open for the C-section, I wasn’t able to change his diapers or get up to him when he was crying… My hormones were running high and I had all the emotions. It was definitely testing.”

Her husband had to take the lead on caring for their newborn son in his first week. Edna admits she felt deflated as that’s what she wanted to do as a mum.

Edna Swart standing with husband Reid while he holds baby Astyn
Edna says husband Reid’s the best dad. “He does more than me!”

She says, “Reid was really thrown in the deep end. He did so well though, and I swear he does more than me. Like with diaper changing and getting up with me every night. When I saw him as a father and the way he stepped up when I couldn’t be there, it blew my mind. I fell in love with him all over again.”

Edna’s mother-in-law Tania comes three days a week to help with Astyn and household chores. It gives the new mum time to work on Ed&I. The entrepreneur took two weeks off to recover from birth and enjoy the newborn bubble with Astyn, but she’s since eased back into her role as managing director and CEO.

Edna’s team works from her home, which allows her to be present for Astyn when he’s awake. This way she ensures she doesn’t miss those precious early moments. “Sometimes I still feel guilty,” she admits, “but what I’m doing now will allow him a better life one day.”

Edna Swart and Courtenay Louise on Shortland Street
Edna appeared pregnant on Shorty with pal Courtenay.

A budding actress, Edna recently reappeared on Shortland Street as Kelsey Bowers. She’s receptionist Monique Strutter’s best friend, who’s played by her real-life mate, fellow Treasure Island castaway and newlywed Courtenay Louise.

She filmed these scenes while pregnant. Shorty storyliners wrote her baby bump into the show, giving her a unique souvenir of that special time in her life.

She smiles, “It’s really cool to see these videos and remember that time.”

Edna had previously thought her birth mum would fly over from South Africa to meet Astyn and spend a few months with her grandson, but plans have since changed. Now Edna, Reid, Astyn and Reid’s family have booked a family adventure to Africa just after Christmas.

Edna Swart standing with husband Reid while he holds baby Astyn
The family of three are off on holiday to South Africa.

“We’ll take Astyn to meet my birth mum and then go on safari,” says Edna. “I’m excited to show him where his mother’s from. There’s 13 of us going for three weeks. It’s a bucket-list trip for Reid’s family and it will be great for us to have support for baby too.”

But that’s a long way away yet. In the meantime, the proud parents are just soaking up every moment of getting to know their son.

“Astyn is meeting all his milestones and he’s such a happy, chilled baby,” Edna says proudly. “We’re not thinking of a second child – we’re one and done. I’ve never been maternal, which I think comes from the fact that I was adopted and had issues growing up. But that’s for a book I’ll write one day.

“Now I have this beautiful son and I’m happy with just one child. Reid feels the same way. We are very content as this family of three.”

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