Friday, 20 September 2013

Motherhood - things I now know

Here I am, at the end of my first week alone as a mum of two tiny people. We all survived and I feel, as I’m sure many parents do, inordinately proud. Every little task I perform feels like a major achievement. Yesterday I cleaned the bathroom (Monkey “helped” me mop the floor), vac’d and mopped the floors and did 3 loads of laundry. I felt like a superwoman! And really, considering how little sleep I get, and that there is a small person basically trying to undo everything I do, it is pretty impressive.

I am going to say something controversial though. I hate breastfeeding. HATE it. I am so disappointed that my experience with it this time around has not been better, but I blame my children. They must be broken. They are missing some sort of mouth/boob compatibility gene or have not read the manual. Whatever, they clearly have no regard for my nipples. I think the nipple thrush has cleared up, but Chicken won’t open her little beak wide enough, and clamps down with the force of an industrial vice. It hurts. But I’m a stubborn old mule and I’m not ready to give up just yet. So I just curse and cry and suffer through the pain 5 times a day. She better appreciate it when she’s older. It’s OK, I’ll remind her often. In speeches. Like at her 21st birthday party and her wedding.

So I am by no means an expert, but here are a few things I have learnt that seem worthy of passing on:

  • The hardest lesson I have learnt was to DO NOTHING.  Babies will cry – and you don’t always have to DO SOMETHING to stop it. This revelation was such a long time coming with my first child – I ended up eventually going through the pain of “control-crying” which is the extreme version of DO NOTHING - and I still find myself resisting it. There is that mothering instinct that means I cannot stand to hear my babies cry and I feel responsible to DO SOMETHING to ease their distress. But I remind myself that it is actually important to allow them to settle themselves sometimes (as long there is nothing actually wrong with them, like being hungry or wet etc). Doing nothing when your baby is crying seems inherently wrong but by constantly cuddling, rocking or soothing the baby I think they come to depend on it. In any case, it becomes out of your control when it’s your 2nd child – there is so much to do that by the time I get free to check on my crying babe she has often settled herself – woo hoo!

  • Everything always seems better in the morning.  At 1, 2, or 3 or even 4am I have been sitting on the sofa crying while my baby fails to latch properly, or pacing the floor patting her back, shhhhhhing, trying not to trip over with tiredness, everything seems so much more dramatic. I begin to wonder if Chicken has colic, or croup, or reflux, or that she is failing to thrive, and I consider all sorts of extreme measures… like taping her dummy to her face to keep it in… But once day breaks - even though getting up then seems harder than ever – after the coffee takes hold, I realise she is fine, I am fine, and we will all be fine. And following on from that point:

  • Find time/a way to take a shower every day. This was another epiphany for me. It would sound like a basic human right, I know, but not for a mother of a newborn. I went for more than 24 hours without a shower and when you have sticky toddler fingers all over you, and you’re being drooled on and sneezed on and spewed on all day, a hot shower is HEAVEN. So I felt like a new woman after having one and I resolved to ensure I manage a shower in the first half of the day, every day. Even when I get spewed on almost instantly afterwards, I still feel better for having had that hot water rush over my face. 

  • Breakfast television is SO bad it’s almost good. And the hosts are invariably, female: over-coiffured airheads, male: dumb but funny. I love watching the male hosts pretend to be interested in the latest fashion trends, tummy controlling shapewear and age-defying make-up. The best ones manage to do it with a cheeky, tongue in cheek irony  - as in “How fascinating?!”

That is enough words of wisdom for this post. I’m off to take a shower.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Preggers no more!!

We made it! Both baby and I survived the birth intact and are now fit and well. The relief I felt as soon as she was out was overwhelming. And it is so nice not to be waiting anymore!

Having a c-section is quite surreal, and more than a little bit scary, but overall I rate the experience as a thousand times preferable to my vaginal birth one. The anaesthetist we had was awesome, he was chatting away with us in the prep and had a wicked sense of humour, so it really helped eased our tension. Then throughout the op he was keeping me informed but also distracting me with tales of how he was doing tequila shots with my OB the night before – ridiculous, as my OB is this lovely, quiet, Church-going soul who probably doesn’t touch alcohol. It was all over in a couple of hours and apart from being intensely itchy from the anaesthetic for 24 hours afterwards, I felt pretty good.

Upon arriving home I ensured I had the catch-up feast of soft/smelly cheeses, salamis and port. And seeing as I no longer have a night/day division in my life, only grabbing snatches of sleep where I can, I figure it’s fair game to drink wine anytime, so long as it’s post feeding the baby.

Chicken (my nickname for baby girl) is a dream baby really. She had a couple of really unsettled nights in hospital, and since I’ve been home out of 3 weeks she’s only had one bad one in terms of sleeplessness, so the odds are pretty good.

On the other hand, I’ve had mastitis and then nipple thrush as a result of the antibiotic treatment, which progressed to ductal thrush, which is as painful as it sounds. This breastfeeding malarkey is really not as easy as it looks. I’ve been mainlining the Panadol and coffee.

My mother-in-law was brilliant, looking after the Monkey while we were in hospital and keeping him happy since we’ve been home. But she left yesterday so now I face the daunting prospect of managing alone!  She was keeping on top of the cleaning, cooking and laundry so god only knows how badly things will fall apart, but most of all I am dreading when the Monkey realises she is not coming back (so far he hasn’t really noticed, but it’s only a matter of time). It will break my heart to see him pine for her.

But OMG both kidlets are actually sleeping at the moment so gonna go have a shower – more updates to come.