Thursday, 18 September 2014

Twelve Short Months: what I wish I had known then

We arrived home with a three day old baby. I was still crippled with pain and discomfort from the cesarean. L was feeding lots but very well. My milk hadn't come in yet. 

We were in the eye of the storm. That quiet bit when you think danger has passed but in fact you're still in the middle of the drama and should be preparing for another direct hit. 

Father's Day passed in a happy mood of cuddles and feeding and the slight discomfort of milk coming in. I was on the the pain killers and thought the increasing pain was par for the course. After a feast of, much missed while pregnant, sushi, I attempted to go to bed with L around 8pm. She was by my side of the bed for easy night feeding access. 

On our first night home in a hand knit and next to our bed, it was hard not to
stay awake watching her. 

 At some point in the night I was suddenly in excruciating pain. I had to kneel on the bed on my arms and knees to relieve pressure in my stomach, on my scar. The paracetamol was not doing anything to help the pain. My milk was in and I was hot to the touch. My nipples were still adjusting to the sucking and I seriously dreaded L wanting back on.

Through tears a visit for the next day was arranged. My mum and sister arrived in the morning with pain killers, a manual breast pump and hugs of support. I felt like a failure four days in, I felt like I had made a huge mistake. I wanted everything to just stop. 

I knew about the baby blues. 

I knew about milk coming in day. 

I knew newborns were demanding. 

I didn't know I was strong enough to do it. 

I didn't know just how quickly the difficult phase would pass. 

I didn't know just how amazing friends and family could be at that time. 

It took me three weeks through pain, recovery, feeding issues, days stuck in bed, days constantly feeding, showers of vomit, colic screaming and weeks of feeling housebound to come out the other side ready to hit parenting in between the eyes. 

Sleeping on me during one of the most fractious days we had.

When you get through those first tough weeks you can face nearly anything parenting chucks at you. It is a baptism of fire to the toughest job imaginable but the only one with the massive rewards of being a parent. You see what also happens after those first few weeks is that baby starts to recognise you better, they start to smile at you. And really nothing else beats it, and really that is just the start.

Smiling at the baby in the mirror. I kept this toy close by
when we went out for weeks after this reaction.

You discover that you had friends you didn't know where there until you're emailing at 3am about another night feed. 

You find that watching your partner hold, play and love your baby is just about the most magical thing imaginable. 

You realise that while it felt like torture it was worth it for this little miracle of life which you really did grow, no matter how hard it is to get your head around. 
Sleeping on Daddy. Always a pleasure to watch.
So what I wish I had known then was just how strong I really was, how strong we all really are as parents. That and that I would never be able to listen to Katy Perry's Eye of the Tiger without crying. Ever