Week 2 with Mini Me
So I thought it was time to share with you my top tips for labour. You may be wondering why given that it wasn’t exactly straightforward but every labour is different, and mine was no exception. Firstly don’t bother looking up how to know when you are in labour. I didn’t have to worry about this given that I was in the hospital the whole time but contractions were not what I expected them to be like. Also people say you’ll know when you are in labour. If I had been at home, I would have had no idea. If you feel something unusual, call the hospital and check in, just incase. Secondly, take the pain relief. It’s worth being aware of your options and if you really want to, write a birth plan but don’t expect it to go the way you plan. Childbirth is unpredictable and unless your child is super advanced and has x-ray vision, they cannot read your birth plan so will do whatever they want anyway. Moving on, many people go on and on about having a natural birth. It doesn’t matter, there are no heros for not taking the pain relief and being a martyr. Your baby doesn’t care. Don’t rule anything out. Especially if you are induced. The midwife told me being induced is about 3 times more painful than naturally going into labour, however I have no way of knowing if this is true, I just know it hurt. I had to have an epidural to bring my blood pressure down but I would have it again. And don’t believe everything you read. I have a mobile epidural so I could still feel when to push. Just take whatever you need. And don’t forget to squeeze your husbands fingers very very hard. That also helps.
Thirdly, be nice to the staff. During my labour there was a lot of medical staff in the room including the most senior people working that night but screaming and swearing at them isn’t helpful. Midwives especially put up with an awful lot but remember they are just doing their job and they are trying their best to help you. If the epidural doesn’t’ work on the first three attempts, it’s not because they’ve done it on purpose. They commented after to me about how polite I was which was nice. Don’t get me wrong, you need to deal with the pain somehow but try and think beforehand how you could do this without shouting at the midwife.
Finally, don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go as planned. I was gutted when breastfeeding didn’t work out, all the pressure that is put on you means if it doesn’t work you will feel awful. Don’t. It doesn’t work for everyone and in some cases like mine there is a physiological reason that is out of everyone’s control. Give it a go but don’t blame yourself if it doesn’t work out. I felt like a rubbish mum during the first week of my baby’s life. I was worn out from the birth and I couldn’t walk or even sit down properly so I relied on my husband in the day and the midwives at night. Get the help you need and if you are not lucky enough to have a super supportive partner ask your family and friends. And don’t let them in without gifts of food. You will need it.
This week we have started getting out and about a bit. We went to register the birth. I was feeling really poorly and was in bed all day but I dragged myself out as I really wanted to go and also did not want my child to live with Yoda as his middle name. We also managed our first family trip out to Rother Valley to see the ducks. Of course mini me slept all the way through and I was a bit over ambitious, I am not as fit as I used to be so could not manage a very long walk but at least we all got some fresh air. Lots of people say going out with a baby is a massive mission but it’s not that bad. Be organised and have your changing bag ready with everything so all you need to do is grab it, grab baby, insert baby into snowsuit and leave. Simples.
￼ ￼ Getting into a routine is something we are finding difficult. I was adamant that a good routine of bath, story, feed and bed was the way forward, if only there were enough hours in the day! Getting us all fed and clothed is a challenge in itself whilst trying to sustain enough hours of sleep. Don’t waste your time reading all the books, just do your best and if you don’t get time to do everything, well your baby doesn’t really care. In fact he would love you all the more if you didn’t force him into the bath but when you have puked, pooed and weed on yourself it’s necessary. I’m sure once he settles into a bit of a routine at night and we get used to being parents we will manage to get something sorted but until then it’s breakfast at midday, dinner at 10pm and who remembers about lunch anyway? Apparently (according to babycentre who are still sending me your are X weeks pregnant updates…) your baby can start to distinguish day and night from about 2 weeks old so we are trying some ques this week. Firstly when it’s daytime (after 8am feed) we are up in the lounge with plenty of noise and light and in the bouncy chair rather than the moses basket. We are using our daytime voices. At 7pm it’s nightime feed followed by bath (much calmer when fed), storytime and cuddle then bed in the moses basket which at this point is in the nursery. This will hopefully get him used to being in there and it’s dark and quiet (time for nightime voices). Mini me does like to sleep a lot in the day so I think he has day and night a bit confused, this is common for babies born in the middle of the night so it’s about altering his routine. It’s only been 2 days so far but it seems to be working so we’ll perservere… ￼ ￼
Top tips for survival postnatal:
Advice: listen to it all then disregard most of it (I am sharing the most useful bits I got with you but what worked for me doesn’t necessarily work for you). You will pick up a few useful tips, especially from midwives but you will also hear a lot of rubbish. Don’t let people tell you what to do, just do what is right for you and your baby.
Arnica: excellent tip from the midwife to help with bruising in delicate areas. NOT the cream, boots do a pillule you can take orally. Something else to add to the morning cocktail of drugs for breakfast…
Lavender oil: a few drops in the bath really help with soreness. Anything else hurt like hell but everyone is different.
Presents: tell people what you want. It is lovely that so many people want to buy you things but if you don’t make suggestions you will end up with a lot of clothes! The best (most useful) present we received was from my friend with an 11 week old baby who gave us a beautiful box full of useful things like nappies, wipes, cotton wool, hand cream, nipple cream etc. Having just gone through where we are she is in the best position to know exactly what we needed. Best of all was the infacol which helps bring up (or down!) trapped wind. Very useful after an hour of fruitless burping at 4am!
Visitors: spread out your visitors and write them in the calendar so you don’t double book. Don’t have more than one set in a day. And only let them in if year come with food. Seriously, food is the best present anyone can bring you! Also, decide in advance when you want visitors. For us, afternoon is best as it gives us the morning to get us both fed, washed and dressed. This takes a lot longer than you expect at first!
Rest: get plenty and don’t try too much, especially if you have a complicated birth or stitches (or both). Share the workload, that’s what paternity leave is for.
Leaking: you will leak a lot. Aside from the obvious your boobs will leak, you will probably cry a bit and you will sweat like a fat lass in a chip shop. Leaking everywhere! Arm yourself with plenty of breast pads, maternity pads and deodorant. Also don’t bother wrapping up warm, you will melt. Obviously you still need to wrap up your baby. Bonus of all the leaking: watch the weight drop off and the giant limbs disappear before your eyes…
The recurring nightmare: I’m not sure whether it is me or the husband who started it but I know a few people who have had similar… We literally take it in turns every other night to dream that the baby is in the bed, trapped inside the duvet cover. I suppose we hear the baby make a noise and it works into our dream, we end up cradling the duvet then half wake up and can’t find the baby. We have both woken up shouting at the other to find the baby in the bed. It’s almost funny now but trust me, it wasn’t at first. This is why I don’t agree with cosleeping. It’s so dangerous for so many reasons, and just the thought of it gives me nightmares… Funny what sleep deprevatiom can do to you so beware, get as much sleep as possible whenever you can and take it in turns to get up otherwise you will go a teeny bit mad (or madder in this case).
Today, as I am writing this it is mini me’s first snow although as with all other firsts, he is sleeping through it. We are taking him into hubbys work today to bask in admiration from his adoring fans so it’s a good job we did get him a small snowsuit. It just about fits and I am sure soon his head will grow into the hood part rather than the neck!
Ok, maybe you’re right…
So when are you planning on number 2? Ah, the dreaded question for many of us and particularly for me. This is a very emotional subject for me at the moment, most likely because I am still a wee bit hormone heavy. It’s what everyone seems to ask, or I should say I am adding it to the list of seemingly inoffencive but actually rather rude questions along side are you breastfeeding, is he sleeping through yet and how much weight have you got to lose… But this is probably the one that bothers me most. We always wanted 2. I never wanted mini me to be an only child like me. But then pregnancy was not what I expected, and childbirth, whilst quick, nearly finished me off and it could well go that way again. So what to do?
Well here are the pros:
A sibling for mini me Getting the most out of ‘family’ tickets Having everything we need already That brotherly love that no one is going to get otherwise There will always be someone to play with No only child syndrome The complications will be planned for this time If we waited for a few years mini me will be at nursery/school so there wouldn’t be much extra childcare costs I could have a perfectly normal pregnancy and birth next time
Here are the cons:
I was sick most of my pregnancy and couldn’t work The same thing could happen again I could be in a very serious condition during childbirth and leave my mini me without a mum to grow up with I am still on medication and have to have regular check ups I still contain a million pounds of fluid and wee like a racehorse Recovery is long I already have a VERY LARGE scar and don’t want another I already wee a bit during aqua aerobics despite the pelvic floor exercises I practise religiously It would cost more for holidays and things and we might not always be able to afford as much And here’s the killer, twins run in my family…
At first, because of the nature of mini me’s entrance into the world we both thought we never wanted another. But things would be different if we did, for a start it would be assumed I could be equally as sick again and would be planned for this time with an induction or c-section at 37 weeks and medication from the start. When I look at mini me it seems impossible to think of loving something else just as much, but then I am bowled over by just how much I love him. I’ve stopped giving away baby things, just in case. Because whilst we may not have another baby, and if we do, it won’t be for a good few years, I cannot seem to make my mind up for sure and I cannot bear to just give everything away. I think the answer for now is I am too emotional to rule anything out for sure. If you ask me, and I say probably not, don’t just assume I am jaded by the trauma of ‘everyday’ birth. Most people don’t have a birth like mine and if you were there you would probably say never again, but you know what they say. Never say never.
Week 19 Death to the dummy
It is with regret that I am informing you of my decision to leave. I have dedicated several months of my life to you selflessly but the time has come for me to move on. It’s not me, it’s you. Lately you have just become too dependant on me and I feel used and tied down. You are too needy. I am sorry but my decision is final, I’m leaving you.
Yes it has been a big decision for us but we have decided it is time to lose the dummy. I am a big advocate for all the massive advantages of dummies but we ran into a large problem of late. Mini me has been waking up as much as 15 times a night crying for his dummy and we’ve opted for it to go instead of living in a permanent zombie state. We started with a few dummy free days and then went completely cold turkey. We had a couple of bad nights with 30 minute crying fits but now we are getting a peaceful night! I also believe now is the best time on the basis that object permanence has not yet developed so out of sight out of mind, as far as mini me is concerned the dummy no longer exists. As sad as I am to see it go so early (as it was such a useful tool) I don’t regret not having to fight a walking talking child with months of hardship other mums describe from from older babies, so goodbye dummy, thanks for the memories. Top tip? We swapped dummy for bunny and have so far avoided thumb and finger sucking. Hoping it stays that way! Although bunny does have some crusty sections that have been a bit chewed. Poor bunny.
Aww is he good? The dreaded question that is currently doing my head in. I mean what exactly are you supposed to say? No? He’s an awful child? Do you want him? Even if that was true (which by the way it isn’t before you start calling social services) no one would dream of saying. He is a BABY! He doesn’t choose whether or not to be good. He is good though, just saying.
Why dads do best: ever seen that episode of the Simpsons where homer is fun dad? That’s a bit how I feel sometimes. Dads often forget how easy it is to go to work, come back, play with baby and then put him to bed, whilst mum cleans baby, feeds baby, changes baby, amuses baby, feeds baby some more, cleans up sick, changes babies clothes, changes own clothes, feeds baby again. There isn’t much time for fun mum. And how does your baby repay you? Probably by making ‘dada’ their first word (there’s time yet and yes I do spend all day repeating mama over and over again). I am making a conscious effort not to fall into this trap by spending less time on inferior priorities such as housework, hairwashing and generally looking alive to make more time for play. Selfishly I want to be fun mum too. I want mini me to think I’m fun and laugh along with me, but I must admit being a mum and being fun mum too is tiring, maybe it should be left to fun dad after all.
￼ ￼Finding a childminder
This week I have found out I will be going back to work part time for 3 days a week. I feel this is a really good balance of working to a) bring in some money and b) keep a bit of my own identity as a person rather than just being a mummy (not that I don’t love being a mummy but I am other things too). Also it totally minimises our childcare as hubby can do 3 late shifts a week so it’s only 3 afternoons with a childminder which is affordable. And so the search begins. Will it be easy? Have you met me? I am so anally retentive about some things it’s not even a joke. Plus I am a teacher. I know how OfSted works. Will anyone be good enough for my first born son? Most likely not. I have ruled out anything rated below good (and will be asking those people what they are doing to become outstanding) and anyone with dogs, no offence to dogs but I just don’t trust them. I wouldn’t want mini me to ever be left alone with one. I can see this being a lengthy process… Probably with the question are you me? No? Then you just won’t do… Unless of course you are actually Mary Poppins. You are? Well put that lamp in your bag and I’ll believe you…
Practically perfect in every way.
Follow more tales from Voirrey on her own blog at http://yummymummydiaries.blog.com/