One day, very soon, I will not be able to remember this mind-blowing week. The whole week already is a blur of breastfeeding and being tired. So I wanted to capture it before it was completely gone.
After a sleep in recovery, with my brand new baby sleeping on my chest, and our hero sleeping in a chair beside me, we were taken to the ward. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to go straight to the birthing centre like I’d wanted, but thankful that the spinal block meant I couldn’t feel the stitches for several more hours. Our mums joined us on the ward, and I talked incessantly about how incredible it had been to give birth. As the feeling came back in my legs, I become more aware of how sore and tired I was, but the euphoria of having just brought a baby girl into the world made it far more bearable. My pulse rate had been high, and remained high, so the hospital kept me in for even longer. Finally, I was able to get up for a shower. Thankfully, the ward midwife suggested Angus come with me. I couldn’t even stand up in the shower, my body was just so tired. I slumped over the shower rail as Angus held the water over my tailbone, which had just started to really hurt, and then washed me. Then he got onto the bed beside me, and the three of us slept. Someone had put a nappy on Baby, which was a very good thing, because she did her first little poo. I had several tests done, and any midwives, nurses and doctors come to talk to me, and I don’t remember any of it, because I was drifting in and out of sleep. Eventually, a doctor came to talk to us about staying because my pulse was still high, but wasn’t very convincing about why we should stay and basically just said they were covering their butts, so we decided to leave. The birthing centre we wanted to go to was full, but they were able to put us in the observation suite, with one other couple. The first night was pretty hard, she was very, very hungry and we didn’t really know what we were doing. Thankfully, the maternity aides were happy to come and help us as often as we needed. She wouldn’t settle in the cot, so at about 3am, we finally got some sleep with her cradled in my arms.
The birthing centre got even more busy, so we decided to go home. Angus’s mum is a lactation consultant and was happy to stay for a few more days, so we essentially had our own private maternity aide, and we knew we’d be more comfortable at home. Getting her in and out of the car was interesting. We had Angus’s two door truck, so he had to practically lift me into the back seat, and then pass the baby (in her car seat) through the window to me, and I buckled her up. Angus’s younger siblings had all come down to meet the new baby, so they were there when we got home, and were smitten. Angus’s sister had cooked dinner, which we all ate together, and then Angus, Baby and I went to bed. She woke every hour or so for a feed, and we had to wake Angus’s mum up a couple of times for help. At about 3am, she settled in our bed and then didn’t wake up until 7am.
Angus’s siblings were gone by the time we woke up. We got up at about 8am, and I came out and sat in my chair and fed her while Angus and our mums ran around after me. My mum went into town to buy her some clothes, because she was too tiny to fit any of the clothes we had for her. She also brought us back some lunch, and then had to go home, which was sad. We got a visit from the midwife who works on my midwife’s off days, and she did the heel prick test. I was feeding Baby while she did it, and she only cried for a second, but I thought my heart was going to fall out of my mouth. I don’t really remember a whole lot else about this day, except that I was feeling quite overwhelmed at her neediness and total reliance on me. I realised that she not only was utterly dependent on me for survival, but also that she trusted me completely.That night, Angus and I argued twice about latching her on for breastfeeding, and I ended up in tears both times. The first time, he went and got his mum, who brought me food and sat with me while I fed the baby, while Angus cooled off out in the lounge. The second time, Angus managed to catch himself in time, went and got me something to eat, and then sat with me. He’s just as tired as I am.
When trying to feed her, she latched on and then pulled off and burst a blood blister. My entire nipple was covered in blood, which she bobbed her face in a few times before latching on again. If I’d been reluctant to breastfeed because of sore nipples before, now I was almost terrified. It’s very difficult, mentally, to bring yourself to invite someone to suck on a grazed and now bleeding part of your body. Angus’s mum showed him an instructional video on latching, so he learnt how to help me latch her on. We had a good night, she fed a lot, but with Angus now able to really help me, I didn’t spend nearly as much time trying to latch her on, and neither of us got as stressed out. We got through to 5am without needing to get Angus’s mum to come and help.
She did a poo, so Angus changed her nappy, and while he was changing her, she did an explosive poo which got on Angus’s shorts, the couch, and the carpet. So he and his mum (I was in the toilet, which takes a whole lot longer then usual now, due to the stitches) took all her clothes off, got her cleaned up, and lay her out on the ground in the sun (inside) for a few minutes. She was loving it. She then had her first bath, which she also absolutely loved. As soon as she got out, she became ravenously hungry, so I wrapped her up in her towel and fed her, meaning to dry and change her afterwards. This was at 10:30am. At about 11:15am, she hadn’t finished eating, and weed on me, so I got Angus to put a nappy on her. She was hungry again straight away. We didn’t have time to dry and dress her. My midwife and student midwife arrived at about 11:30am, and I discovered that according to my hospital notes, my labour only last 2 hours and 50 minutes (this is crazy, I was in pain long before then). She fed until about 3pm, when I finally managed to get away for a shower. She was hungry again when I got out of the shower. She fed almost continuously until about 7:30pm, and then had a bit of a longer sleep that night, which was nice. We managed to make it through the whole night without needing to get Angus’s mum, so we felt quite proud of ourselves.
Feeding her that morning, I started to sing the Red Nose Day song (“You make the whole world smile with your little button nose”) and burst into tears at the thought of her dying. Angus came back into our room to find me sobbing over her. He comforted me, and then helped me to see that it was a little bit funny. Angus’s mum had to leave, which was sad and scary. Now we were really on our own. Angus set up the lap top, and got a whole bunch of movies, so that I would have something to do while feeding her all day. She feeds constantly, and it’s very easy to get bored and lonely when all I can do is sit there. Our neighbours bought over some chicken pasta for dinner, which was restaurant quality. We went to church that night, where everyone who prayed for us through my induction got to meet the baby they were praying for. Well, they got to see her back. I fed her on the couch at the back during the service, and then she fell asleep flopped over my tummy. I was reluctant to move her, because if she woke hungry, I’d have to feed her on my sore side, which I wanted to wait until we got home to do.
We woke up feeling quite proud of ourselves again, having made it through a night entirely on our own. I watched movies and fed her all morning, and then my midwife, student midwife, mum and step dad all arrived at the same time. I had been anxiously awaiting the midwives’ visit, to see how much she weighed. She’d been eating so much, I thought for sure she wouldn’t have lost any weight, though the midwife assured me a small amount of weight loss was normal. My little muncher had put on 130 grams! I feel quite accomplished, and very proud of our little family. She fed continuously through out the day, and gave us little snippets of several hours sleep during the night. The hardest part of motherhood, I have found, is how desperately she needs me. I am her life. This is both humbling and overwhelming.