Hello everyone. Did you miss me?
I’ve been kind of busy doing this mum thing and believe it or not, our little Jellybean is almost 6 months old. Yep. It’s six months since I last was blogging… moaning away about how I was over pregnancy and just wanted to meet our baby girl. And just a few days later along she came. Baby OC.
The last 6 months have been a rollercoaster. Where do I even start? I think if I could sum it up I’d put it like this: Motherhood is THE Hardest. Job. In the world.
Also… the MOST. Rewarding. Job. In the world.
I’m going to try and break it down month by month in a summary of the experiences and emotions I’ve had. This first blog will feature Month 1.
Month 1 –
Labour was long… and, I’m not going to lie, painful. Those of you who haven’t done it, shouldn’t let that put you off – there is also a feeling of great empowerment and amazement that comes with it. The first part of my labour was exactly as I’d wanted – natural, relaxed and I can recall most of it. The second part was excruciating, fearful, foggy and seemed to last a lifetime. I’ll try and do a blog devoted to the birth story another time – but suffice to say I ended up in emergency C Section – which looking back I’m quite sad about but at the time I was totally fine with. When they decided I had to go into surgery I was just impatient for it all to be over and hold my baby girl.So when she eventually came out I felt like the happiest person on the planet.
Admittedly I also felt like the most drugged out of their head person…
In those initial days we felt elated. It was the most amazing thing that had happened to us – you feel like you’re the only people to have ever experienced this feeling while at the same time also knowing you’ve joined the club of people who can ONLY know how this feels as they’ve also had their own children.
You really feel the love in those early days – between husband and wife for this amazing creature you created, between family for this new addition, between friends who are so happy for you. We had so many special people visit to meet her and while some people say having guests in those initial days is hard work, I felt totally the opposite: a) it’s a welcome distraction when you’re having a tough day – someone else will hold the baby for a few minutes. And b) it makes you feel extra special.
And in the early days the sleep deprivation matters not. Firstly because you’re still on a natural, biologically invented for the occasion, high. Secondly, because you are both on parental leave.
By the end of the first week I remember Mr OC having cabin fever and me starting to cry because I couldn’t have cuddles with Maxy (one of our cats) that I used to have. The overwhelming change to your life starts to become noticeable in the smallest and shittiest of ways. And it’s at that point that you often get those “Shit, what did I do” feelings as it dawns on you all the things you have lost in gaining a beautiful baby. Namely for me, my freedom, my body which (despite having evacuated the small human that had taken over it for the last 9 months) was still feeling the effects pregnancy and of course, birth. You bleed and bleed and bleed. Your boobs hurt and all you are is basically a cow to your baby – a milk machine sponsored by ‘No Sleep Inc.’
The midwives are all over you in these first few days, and while this is fun at first (I love to be the patient), this soon fades away when you’re suddenly under pressure to make your baby put on weight, produce this many wet nappies, ensure baby will latch on properly, reduce jaundice, oh and that’s all while you try to eat, sleep and recover from a major surgical procedure. And they’re all on the watch out for you getting PND (post natal depression) and they give you advice like “try to watch the news” or “sleep when the baby sleeps” but advice is coming at you from all angles in those early weeks and, man, it gets confusing.
The weird thing is, that newborns actually sleep LOTS – but this somehow doesn’t make those first few weeks any easier. Or not for me they didn’t. My prominent memories are struggling with hormones and learning to accept that my life had completely changed – I come second and this tiny, helpless human is in charge.
For the first two weeks I had my mum here and I honestly don’t know how I’d have done it without her – especially having ended up in a Caesarean Section. I’m not one for shying away from what needs to be done but when you lose sensation in a part of your body, and you have a huge wound that needs to heal you pay attention when the doctors say, no lifting heavy things, no driving and generally take it easy for the first 6 weeks. 6 weeks! I remember one of the key things I was looking forward to at the end of my pregnancy was being able to get around normally again. Now, not only had I lost that, I couldn’t even drive! At least my legs and feet had shrunk back to normal size. Of course, my belly hadn’t. Still hasn’t. And my hip is still buggered from pregnancy. And my feet. Sigh.
Yet, every milestone – that first smile, the putting on of weight, the outgrowing those first babygrows – felt like an amazing step. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a lot of adjusting in those first few weeks, a lot of tears, a lot of lost sleep and anxiety. But there are also so many things that warm your heart to the very core of you. There’d have to be, or nature’s way would fail and you’d never have kids again. Seriously.
And I remember as she hit the 1 month mark that she started letting me put her down to sleep again. It was at that point I realised that nothing is permanent. She was happy to be put down when she first came out, and after she overcame her developmental milestones, she started to nap and be put down to sleep again. If I will take one thing, one note of advice into any future newborn baby dealings I have – it will be that you just keep trucking because just when you think you really, REALLY can’t take it anymore, things will suddenly change and get better. And something else will become your focus, and you will forget you were so hung up on wind, or colic, or naps, or putting baby down or whatever it might have been. Find a way to get through, get through it and come out the other side. Every time it’s feeling really bad repeat the mantra ‘This too shall pass’.
Month 2 coming soon…