We survived the first week. Not that I thought we wouldn’t but it wasn’t your average week. At least it wasn’t mine. And it was kind of surreal in a way. Like I was totally removed from everything that had come before. I was away from home spending almost the whole week inside the maternity ward (I actually got to stay an extra day…probably because I ended up crying in front of the right people…the positive of day 4 blues!). I wasn’t consumed with thoughts of oh, wow, I really have a child now though. Instead, it was like you’d been there for ages except I didn’t really know anything about you or how to “be” with you.
Everything has been new this week. Learning to feed you, to bathe you and get you to sleep. Its a relatively small list for a whole week but each task can be amazingly time consuming and complicated. Especially the breast feeding. I am luckier than many in that it seems I have ample supply (of colostrum at least) and you are not without the ability to suck (even with my “large nipples”!) however combining the two has been a challenge. Firstly, because you were born in the late afternoon so I only had 8 hours of “day 1”. Secondly, you pretty much went straight into the special care nursery due to fluid on the lungs and were kept overnight so we lost bonding time in “day 2” as well. I am told these were contributing factors to the delay in my milk coming in. And thirdly, you are apparently a slack tart. I’m just saying. After having an IV drip and later on, some formula, the reward for effort just wasn’t there on the breast for you and on more than one occasion, you quickly gave up.
So I spent a significant amount of time feeling frustrated in hospital. Frustrated that my milk hadn’t fully come in because the midwives said you would probably feed better then. Frustrated that I often couldn’t get you to latch properly (or couldn’t figure out when you were latched properly). And frustrated that when I did get you to latch on correctly, you only seemed happy to feed for a few minutes before you’d start grizzling and throwing your head back. I got to the point a couple of times when I wasn’t doing either of us any good so we gave you formula. Either in the bottle (which you guzzled down) or through a “line in” where you were sucking at the breast which had the line attached. It was clear at these times that sucking wasn’t your problem because you were able to actually pull the formula through the line in without assistance! So the whole feeding thing was frustrating. I was also slightly frustrated by the lack of sleep and lack of company.
The lack of sleep was mostly my own fault. I didn’t sleep every time you slept which I should have. Especially because you slept like a trooper. In fact, you slept so much that I got a little worried about you. On more than one occasion I walked you up to the nursery to say I know that it sounds crazy to complain about a sleeping baby but should I wake you to try and feed or just leave you be? The first time I asked, the nurse said to wake you, the second time, it was suggested that I let you wake when you were ready. Which also frustrated me because at the time, I didn’t understand why I was getting different answers. I eventually figured out that it kind of depends on the previous 24 hour period.
The lack of company thing was just unfortunate. A mixture of we were not as prepared as we could have been which meant that your dad did a lot of driving around for last minute things he wanted, the fact that your dad had to go home to look after the puppy and the fact that your dad got sick just after you were born. Reuben and change mats aside, after you arrived, everything finally caught up with Sparky and he came down with something contagious. Something that meant he could come to the hospital but he shouldn’t touch you or breathe over you. He wasn’t allowed in the nursery or at the classes and so he ended up spending less time at the hospital and less time with us than he otherwise would have. He did spend the night of “day 4” with us (cause I was a bit of a mess that day) but apart from that, he was without us as much as if not more than he was with us.
So a routine during this week was pretty much an impossibility. Every day was different and the only thing that vaguely resembled a recurring pattern for me was the hospital meal times. And depending on your mood at the time, I wasn’t always available to eat those meals anyway. I think i learned what I needed to so I could come home and stay sane though. I can’t say i feel an overwhelming sense of motherhood yet however. I feel like I’m in training still. Like i have “L” plates on. I assume that I will retain some degree of that feeling for the next 20 years at least but at the moment its like I am still figuring out how to be “your” mum as well as “a” mum.
Being your mum is pretty cool though. Noticing those things that make you mine. You are already a master at raising one eyebrow like you are saying c’mon, are you serious? Your dad hates that I do that. You also quirk your top lip like me which makes you look like you’re sneering at something. You’re dad hates that as well. Now all I need to teach you is how to wiggle your ears without touching them and how to flare your nostrils and you’ll be all set to annoy your dad whenever you want. Which will be dead easy because you have him wrapped around your little finger already…Apparently you can’t consciously smile yet but you already show signs of lifting one side of your mouth before the other on your happy face, just like me when I am trying not to smile. That makes your dad laugh.
We haven’t figured out who you look like yet although the family all seems to feel that you take after your dad more than me. Time will tell I guess. We are eager to watch you grow though.