On Babies (After Birth)

22nd March 2018. I had just given birth. When he was born, my son was 7lbs 13oz and 53cm tall. My emotions were all over the place. I kept looking down at the tiny, gunky person lying on my chest. My brain couldn’t quite seem to figure out that this tiny person was the same person that I had been growing for the last nine months. I looked at his tiny feet and thought about how these were the same tiny feet that had been kicking me in the ribs in previous weeks. All those nights I had laid mindlessly stroking my growing belly, it was because this little person was growing inside it. I felt the immediate rush of love that everyone says most people feel but I still couldn’t believe that he was mine. I made him (and I guess hubby had a small part in it to). It was a very overwhelming feeling and I know I wasn’t the only one with tears in my eyes. Straight away though I started to wonder if I was good enough to do this. Could I be a mother. Could I be the kind of mother that this perfect little man deserved. Would I be able to give him everything he needed. Would I even know what he needed. How on earth was I going to do this? I didn’t really have time to dwell on any feelings as the next few hours were a whirlwind of other emotions and contacting family and friends and baby cuddles and checks.

I had always intended on breast feeding before I gave birth and the little man obviously had the natural rooting instinct however when it came to actually latching on, he seemed to struggle a bit. He was very sleepy and wouldn’t open his mouth wide enough and when he did the poor soul kept on sucking his bottom lip in and sucking on that instead. The midwives were lovely and kept on reassuring me and telling me to keep trying. I on the other hand was worrying. I didn’t know how long baby was allowed to not eat for. At one point a midwife came in and helped me hand express some colostrum. I was surprisingy more okay with another person handling my boob in this way than I thought I would be. I also found it slightly painful. In the end she only managed to get a few drops so it was hardly even worth it really. I kept on trying at least every hour to help him figure out how to latch and get something to eat but I was getting very stressed. Between trying to hold him in the right position, keep his bottom lip out of his mouth, getting him to open his mouth wide enough and my biggest concern… trying not to smother the poor kid with the rest of my boob… I was getting very frustrated. Time was ticking on and baby still hadn’t eaten yet.

I managed to go for a shower and freshen up just before the midwife came to help us move into our proper room for the night. My mum stayed with me for the night as we decided it would be best for hubby to go home and be with the dog on his last night as an “only child”. Once everyone else had left, one of the midwives came in to speak to me about little mans feeding. It was one of the midwives who I had seen a few times throughout my pregnancy for various reasons. To my surprise she recognised me! She asked me about continuing to breast feed or whether I would mind giving him a bottle. She asked if it was stressing me out more that I wasn’t managing to breast feed yet or that he hadn’t eaten. She was right that I was more bothered he hadn’t eaten yet and I knew that he really should have had at least something by now. The midwife suggested that if I wanted to then I could keep trying to latch him before each feed but that I could give him a bottle now so that I would know he had at least eaten something. I kept trying for the next three feeds but baby and me still couldn’t seem to figure it out. He hardly even wanted to take the bottle and I had to get the midwives to help me with that as well. So my breast feeding journey ended.

I don’t think I got any proper sleep that night because all I could do was look at my little love to make sure he was still okay. By the time I did manage to finally pass out I was having to wake back up to give the little man another feed. I know my mum didn’t get any sleep that night either because all she had to sleep on was an uncomfortable, squeaky recliner chair that kept pinging forwards if she didn’t distribute her weight correctly.

The next day we were going home. Hubby arrived bright and early and so did my mother in law. We spent most of the day waiting for midwifes and doctors to come and check us over and make sure that we were both okay to go home. Little love was pretty chill throughout his exams whilst I sat anxiously waiting for them to tell me if he had passed them or not. Whilst he was getting his hip test done he cried so hard that I really thought something was wrong. I started crying with him and the very nice midwife tried to reassure me that he was okay. I tried to reassure her that I understood that babies cry and it wasn’t necessarily because she was hurting him and the tests needed to be done so it was okay. Thankfully he seemed to be totally fine. The only thing that seemed “wrong” was that he had to wait to be checked by a paediatrician in regards to his little boy bits because they weren’t sure if both his testicles were there. We were then told that we would get a letter through the post with a referral for an ultrasound to check his bits but not to worry too much about it.

Finally it was time to go home. I sat in the back of the car with baby and on route we took him for his first trip to McDonald’s. I suddenly realised that over the past few days I had hardly eaten anything. I had picked at crisps and chocolate but especially since my little love was born I hadn’t had a meal. My eyes were obviously bigger than my belly and I didn’t eat much of my McDonald’s either.

Of all the things I had been the most nervous about during my whole pregnancy, and what it would be like after birth, what our dog would be like with the baby made me the least nervous. I came in first as it had been longer since I had seen him. As soon as I walked in the door, I burst in to tears. I was so happy to see him and he seemed just as happy to see me. His wagging tail and the fact he was bouncing up and down told me so. He was my little bit of normal after such a crazy couple of days. He was lovely with the baby, just slightly over enthusiastic. He sniffed at the baby so hard and nudged at him. Luckily we managed to save the baby from his salmon breath kisses. I’m not too sure if the dog realised the tiny human was here to stay though. To be honest I’m not even sure if it had even sunk in with me yet that he was here to stay!

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