What a week it’s been, this first week of motherhood, this first week of my new life.
I warn you now, this is an epic post. I don’t want to forget anything and haven’t had time to diarise it all as intended and this is what I’m using this blog for, a kind of diary that I’m sure I’ll bin after a while but for now I’m determined to keep it up.
Day 0, Birth Day.
What a whirlwind of emotion; excitement, nerves, pain, overwhelming love then back to nerves again. How was I responsible enough to look after a baby 24 hours a day? I usually get to hand them back when they start to whimper, now I’m the one he gets handed back to. Luckily he doesn’t whimper much, in fact he’s as good as gold.
After spending the morning in the delivery room, being able to have a shower and lunch, a visit from Auntie and David (my late mum’s best friend, my surrogate mother), skin to skin time and the first breast feed, which I felt all spaghetti arms over thus being taught the lie down position I chose to adopt for the first couple of days.
I miss my bump, it looks so sad, so empty. I’ll miss those beautiful stirrings, those gentle kicks and fumbles from within. Those hiccups that would wake me every morning and remind me of the life I was carrying within me. That special connection that was just me and him. He was here now. Now a new connection starts and importantly OH gets to feel a connection too now. It must be hard on the fathers through pregnancy. Missing those kicks by seconds, only imagining what it must feel like to feel this life growing inside. I used to always envy men, I will never envy them again, I will never miss that feeling of creating a new life and feeling it grow within. For once I’m glad to be a woman!
I was moved onto the Postnatal ward after lunch as the baby checker had finished rounds for the day and we were still having to await blood results for bean to see of I needed another Anti-D, it turns out Bean has inherited my rare blood type B Negative which means no more anti-D for me! I often wonder whether this is the reason for my miscarriages, perhaps the other babies were positives? We’ll never know!
The day went by in a bit of a haze, a visit from my brother and sister in law (my niece and nephew being refused as they’re school age), very dubious breast feeding advice which consisted of a nursing assistant shoving my nipple into Bean’s mouth… Wtf? I still don’t know what her name was! Nappy changes consisted of desperately trying to get the tarlike meconium off our precious boy’s bottom not that it bothered him, he just chillaxed and let us muddle through in our own good time. Tea time rolled past with barely an acknowledgement just endless minutes staring at our beautiful boy trying to comprehend the enormity of what had just happened to us after so long trying and wanting.
Then came the scary moment OH was told he had to leave. He booked a Prem Inn near by. I was terrified, I was alone with this tiny, fragile, precious life I was still convinced would be taken away from me. I knew I wouldn’t get a wink of sleep, I didn’t care either, if I never slept again I wouldn’t mind if it meant he was safe.
The woman I shared a room with wasn’t talkative at all and her baby cried all evening and into the early hours. I heard her little girl filling her nappy every 10 minutes, this just made me panic more, why wasn’t Bean doing this too? Was there something wrong with him? I checked his nappy at around 2am, clear, then he peed…. In my eye! First rookie error made!
I spent the night with Bean in my bed with me lying on our sides staring into his precious sleeping face. It was about 0330 and there was a bit of commotion coming from behind the curtain. The paediatric registrar was called. The little girl next door was vomiting a lot, green vomit. There was talk of bile in her vomit, bile duct blockages but that filled nappies were good, don’t panic they told her mother. Yeah right! Half an hour later the consultant came in and informed her that they would have to transfer her daughter to Bristol neonatal unit immediately, they didn’t want to take any risks and they couldn’t carry out the relevant tests at Exeter. With that her baby was taken away and she was left to ring her husband and pack. My heart broke for her as she made that phonecall, she was devastated, heartbroken. An hour later she was gone. I hope that they’re all ok.
I didn’t sleep a wink.
Lesson learnt: ALWAYS cover boy parts on removal of nappy.
No name, although we have settled on a VERY short list.
OH arrived as soon as he could, in fact he arrived earlier but they wouldn’t let him. More dubious breast feeding ‘advice’ (I use that term in the loosest sense of the word), more shouts of breakfast being ready… I still hadn’t been shown where to go, good thing I had all those cereal bars really. My best friend came to see our precious bean and we waited, waited for the moment we could take our bundle home! The baby checker came at 1030 and bar a swollen testes Bean is fit and well. I am fit and well. We were told we could finally go home. It’s 1230 when we load Bean into his car seat for the very first time and take him on his first car journey to his new home.
The rest of the day went by in a haze, gazing lovingly at this brand new face, in awe that he didn’t cry much and slept LOADS, poking him lots to insure he was ok (sorry Bean) struggling through breast feeding positions (still adopting lateral positioning) then struggling to settle him in his Moses basket … He just doesn’t like it! Why? He came to bed with me, again no more sleep!
Still no name.
MW called and asked Bean’s name, informed her we hadn’t decided on one yet (please read What’s in a Name blog). She came to see me about an hour later marching in telling us what an unusual but lovely name Russell is….. Russell? Wtf? The awkward moment when I tell her that his name will NEVER be Russell. Anyway, more nipple stuffing ensued, details on how to register Bean’s birth and a quick check over to confirm that the gunk at base of Bean’s umbilical stump is quite normal… Who knew it was the process of gangrene that caused the stump to fall off? Then off she went. We wrapped Bean up nice and warm and took him for his very first stroll across the cliffs in his brand new pram. Lots of cooing was received when in Sainsbury’s then back home. Walking after birth is a peculiar sensation, laughing and walking is down right dangerous! You constantly feel the world is going to fall out at any minute!
OHs parents have arrived from Yorkshire, popped in for an hour cuddle with their new grandson and left us in peace.
I think I’m finally getting the hang of this breast feeding malarkey until doom hits…. He won’t stop feeding!
It started at around 0100hrs and just wouldn’t stop! My back hurts, my nipples feel like they’ve been torn off. Woke OH at around 0500 in floods of tears, I thought I was giving Bean colic, that I was somehow over feeding him, he had reflux. Google is an evil thing when you’re stressing out. OH googled symptoms, turns out it’s normal!!
Lesson learnt: set up nightfeed care package of snacks, remotes, drinks and muslins so everything is to hand BEFORE commencing feeding.
Still no name but have no got rid of one option.
I feel like I’ve run a marathon. Everything aches.
A very special midwife Twitter friend confirmed last night as totally normal. Night 3 marathon feed to get the milk in. Nature is truly amazing! He’s sleeping like an absolute lamb now. Grandparents arrived at 9am… I feel like hell! I feel bad they’ve come all this way and I feel so shocking. We make arrangements to meet them for lunch at a cafe in town after Bean’s feed. MW called to check all is well, she has arranged for a visit from the breast feeding support worker to visit who again confirmed the normality of the situation. He is feeding normally during the day.
Arrange to have lunch at 1330. Feed Bean at 1200 for 40 minutes, changed Bean, dressed myself… Even out on some makeup! Half hour to go, can’t settle Bean, feed again, change again, settle Bean in pram. Got to cafe…. Late! Forgot the whole waiting to order, waiting for food preparation, eating said food… Bean started wailing as soon as food arrived. Now we both hate the thought of upsetting others, no one likes a screaming child whilst trying to eat I also wasn’t comfortable at breast feeding at a restaurant table I front of OHs father! What a bloody mistake. Needless to say I won’t be going out for lunch again in a while. Totally my fault. By the time we got home we were all stressed out. Bean had a half hour feed and all was well.
Grandparents stayed away that evening.
HOLY SHIT…. WHERE THE HELL DID THESE BOOBS COME FROM! They are truly spectacular! Dec is actually catching up with Ant. OH is amazed. More bras to be ordered as soon as possible.
Cluster feeding (I’ve learnt that’s what it’s called) commenced at 1900 and pretty much carried on till gone 2300. Bean slept with me again, I don’t care, I need sleep. Who knew the act of baby sucking can send you to sleep!?
Lesson learnt: Never make arrangements that aren’t flexible. Never underestimate the power of a newborn bowel movement. Have Lansinoh to hand 24/7.
Grandparents arrived at 9am, feel like shit, paint on smile… Apparently I look like shit despite smile painting! Oh well!
Midwife rang, she’ll be here late morning. Grandparents leave on a mission to buy a baby changing unit. With all the will in the world we’ve had to bow down to it. I’m sickened by the fact that once you add baby to any piece of furniture it gives the manufacturers carte Blanche to add a couple of zeros to the product price. Baby changing chest of drawers £300+, normal chest of drawers £100. Set of 3 shelves £40+, basic changing unit £100+.
Wait in all day… No visit. Friend pops in to visit at 1430 at the same time Bean decides he’s hungry, at the same time grandparents arrive with a fabulous Mamas and Papas changing unit and stories of bartering (it’s the Yorkshire way), at the same time the MW arrives… For Lord’s sake! Friend and GPs ushered off.
More nipple shoving and telling me to relax when feeding… I’ve always had a shoulder issue, my ballet teacher used to despair of my raised shoulders, turns out I do it whilst breast feeding too. I’m finding it easier to relax and get comfortable when feeding on the right, but the left foxes me still. Anyway, MW happy with Bean. Meconium now totally gone and yellow poos apparently are causing much joy. Raised my concerns over whether he was getting enough milk to which she reassured me if he wasn’t ‘he’d let me know’. Discussed Moses basket, she thinks it could be because it’s cold in there are coming from me, advises warming blankets.
Friend returns for some quality time. GPs arrive with Thai takeaway (much more sensible than pub meal which was my first idea). Cluster feeding starts at 1900 and continues till way past 2300. Feel bad for GPs, had to run off to bedroom to find comfortable feeding position and left them all to it in lounge.
On a positive note… The blanket warming worked. NEVER have we leapt into bed and fallen asleep so quickly in our lives… I’m beginning to realise romance is dead and buried for a while. Sleep is where it’s at!
Good night feeds ensued, I’m finally getting used to the cross cradle position.
Lesson learnt; WARM BLANKETS! Cold tea isn’t so bad after all. Make up is a real luxury
Still no name, will we ever decide?
It’s my exceptional Daddy’s 78th birthday. He’s had a rough year medically and I hope he gets to enjoy today. I miss him. I wish he could see his beautiful grandson and have a cuddle. He lives up country you see and was diagnosed with myeloma on the same day I had my 12 week scan. We will take Bean on a road trip in the new year to see his Grandad Petitt when we feel a bit more ‘up to it’. Until then I shall tweet Bean’s progress and send daily photos. This is the beauty of the technological age, miles are bridged in seconds, it doesn’t quite replace physical closeness but it’s better than nothing.
We fully intend on having a name for Bean by the end of the day. A birthday present for my Dad.
Top and tailed bean and changed nappy to discover umbilical cord is now OFF!!!! HUZZAH!!!!!
Not only is it off it managed to migrate to Bean’s shoulder blade, bless him. I feel like he’s reached his first milestone. The last remaining connection of me to him has now been removed. He is now completely his own being. It puts me in mind of the Daemons in Philip Pullman’s Golden Compass books. I feel quite sad, I cried, how stupid. I should be glad we don’t have to panic about ripping it off accidentally but this has just confirmed how quickly time flies and I’m scared that I’ll blink and he’ll be a teenager, an adult, married with babes of his own before I have chance to acknowledge any of it.
Pull myself together.
Grandparents arrive at 0900. Look and feel like shit, given up caring! Couple of hours cuddle time and they set off back home. It’s been lovely to see them and I am very grateful but I’m kinda glad we can just relax now as a family before OH has to return to work.
MW arrived at 1200 for Bean’s heel prick test which he bore brilliantly. SO proud of my boy, luckily for him he bleeds better than I do and only needed to be pricked once. I, on the other hand felt I’d been stabbed in the heart! He now weighs 3200g which is a loss of 220g, well within the 10% guideline so all is looking good. I raise concerns over my left breast (Dec) as it isn’t going soft after epic feeds, she thinks I may have a blocked duct and advises a hot bath and massage. Later this seems to help, thankfully!
Cards and gifts are pouring in from all over. Twitter friends are showering us with presents and cards, people we’ve never met yet mean so much to us, it’s so moving I can’t quite believe it!
We have a name! FINALLY!
Please meet Noah Ace.
Noah: Derived from the Hebrew name נוֹחַ (Noach) meaning “rest, comfort”
Ace: From the English word meaning “highest rank, excellence”
Both beautifully fitting! We really don’t care what anyone else thinks, I’m closing my ears to the Red Dwarf and Ace Ventura referrals, I think people who make petty jokes about things like this childish. I don’t care what they think. We love it and it beats George! 😉
Cluster feeding continues, just have to accept this and get through it as best as I can. Slept with us again tonight.
Lessons learnt; Some people can be quite hurtful in expressing opinions they should keep to themselves. Tea really isn’t that bad when cold. Eating one handed whilst juggling a feeding baby is becoming easier by the day. Give in to co-sleeping, it’s the only way.
Good night’s sleep was had by all, even managed to settle Noah in the basket after early morning feed so could leap back into bed and have a nice cuddle. Feels very weird without a bump in the way but I have to admit I relish being able to sleep on my left side and ON MY BACK! Total heaven! I loved being pregnant, but I don’t miss the uncomfortable nights.
Cluster feeding seems to have snuck into the daytime now which I find easier to deal with, at least you don’t feel quite so isolated. Have spent the majority of the day watching Christmas films and feeling guilty that I still haven’t got round to writing thank you cards although I have managed to nip out and buy my Dad a birthday card from Noah (now he has a name). Still haven’t managed to sort out a present though which I feel bad about. Who knew babies absorbed so much of your time? I take back all that I said about babies not having to change your life too much, it’s more than I can manage to drink a hot cup of tea and get breakfast and a bath before midday.
I shall rename myself Waynetta! I won’t care either! I have a feeling when the OH returns to work I’ll still be in my pyjamas when he returns home covered in baby sick with nappy bags stuck to the back of legs. Yes nappy bags… We have real nappies, we do, but Noah is so tiny the things swamp him so we’ve bowed down to disposables for the time being. I do however buy the best Eco nappy I could find. No gels or plastics involved just paper pulp so they biodegrade quicker, this won’t continue for much longer I hope, as soon as he grows into his real nappies!
Have panicked myself over the quantity and colour of Noah’s poos. He managed to fill 4 nappies in 10 minutes tonight. Now I’m convinced he’s got some sort of food poisoning because I ate a chilli last night. We’ve googled it, nothing! It’s all about the yellow poos apparently. Thank GOD for Twitter, there are some amazing people out there, a wealth of information. It’s all normal, means he’s getting enough milk (another thing I’ve been worrying about). I’m an emotional wreck today. I’m fine in the day, come the evening I feel sick with nerves, it’s like homesickness. I feel everything I’m doing is wrong. I’m swimming against the tide and don’t have anyone to ask for a hand. I want my mum. I want to ask her all the things new mums ask their mums advice on. I want her to give me a cuddle like it’s my turn to cuddle Noah. I know this is my hormones, I know it’ll pass but it feels so shitty right now. OH is amazing, he’s so supportive and I feel awful for him, he’s been usurped by a 7Iber!
I’m blinded by love. My sole purpose in life is to now raise this precious gift of ours to the best of my ability, to bring him up to respect others, be kind and thoughtful and to achieve all he wants to achieve.
Lessons learnt: You can never watch too many films in one day. ‘Nipping out’ no longer exists. Cluster feeding is going to last FOREVER… get used to it! Don’t beat yourself up about going against all you had decided not to do, it really doesn’t matter. Don’t even try to hold back the tears, it’s impossible!