It seems I've given birth to a schizophrenic baby - calm, content, sleepy even sometimes by day - the antichrist in nappies by night. To be fair it isn't all Toby's fault, his reflux really seems to bother him at night and his newborn flailing limbs (which pretty much fight every swaddle done) wake him a lot in his crib.
This means Mummy is quite literally Toby's bed.
This means Mummy begins to resent the day coming to pass and the evening drawing in, for she knows its another night of no sleep for anyone, apart from the occasional baby catnap from the babe in arms and grumpy husband by her side. At least, he might still be by her side, she couldn't tell you because her arms are filled with a) baby b) a numbness from holding a 9lb 8oz baby.
Today we had a doctor's appointment and (finally) got some medication for the reflux (by medication, its essentially a thicker feed so hopefully he won't keep regurgitating it) so fingers crossed this a turning point.
its a funny thing though, and it reminds me a little of uni and boarding school, you dont sleep all night and are so dogged tired that you plan to sleep all day (fat chance!) then the next day its almost like you have forgotten that you didnt sleep. Certainly you aren't energetic ... but you just get on.
So, tonight, with a swaddle tighter than a newborn babygro on my heifer of a boy, we sleep ...?
And so, here we are. Toby has been on the planet in external form for 2 weeks today. He came with a broken stomach valve which makes him a loose cannon after meals (which, lets face it, is most of the the time with a newborn) so much so that I have decided to invest in a cheap child friendly wardrobe from Asdas and Sainsburys ... except we havent managed to get to one without Toby being triumphantly sick and changing our plans. We have managed one meal out with friends, Paul has left the house without us for 4 hours and tomorrow he's planning a whole evening out to Ikea and we will be alone.
The first 5 days home from the hospital were hell, but the memory, thanks to mother nature, is blurred. There were midwives and on-call doctors and new words like infacol and possetting. Somewhere in all this my bump disappeared, and the full extent of my stretchmarks could be admired. My stitches were taken out. I brushed my hair and teeth on the same morning.
I was expressing for the first 10 days, and my very hungry boy was feeding every 2 hours. i was told he couldnt be taking enough but then i showed a midwife how much i was expressing and he was eating and it was decided he had to latch on soon or else i'd never sleep again. the trouble with expressing is everything takes twice as long, so both of us were up and not getting sleep. after 10 days, enough was enough and we decided to get a breastfeeding counsellor in to get him to feed. she did enough faffing about and trying to latch him on but it was abundantly clear to both of us that Toby's jaw didnt extend down far enough to get the nipple in and it would be a while, if at all, before he did. Another midwife, lovely girl and a scrapbooker, came to help us wind him in such a way that didnt disturb his reflux (the throwing up problem) and we decided that forumla was the way to go. Its not like i've given up breastfeeding, more that Toby never started.However I'll have great fun telling all the boobie nazis out there its because i wanted to eat peanut m and ms again ;)
This was a turning point, suddenly Toby was sleeping longer so normal life of sorts could return (by that I mean I didnt have a pump permenantly fixed to me) although The Hub and I found ourselves relegated to our on sofa as he is just tooo loud to sleep next to. He is going in his own nursery as soon as the blackout blinds arrive.Babies sound like they are on the brink of death at all times and this is too hard to sleep through, never mind what SIDS recommendations about having the baby in your room for 6 months might be.
I'm pants at feeding him and winding him but I'm good at comforting and getting him to drop off to sleep. Paul is far better at the other stuff. Case in point, he's just been sick on his chair - which only ever seems to happen when he's in my care.
In all honestly, I've found it hard to bond with him - his long and slightly complicated entry into the world had a profound effect on both of us, ie we were both to knackered to have that kodak moment and bond right at the beginning - as its hard to appreciate the beauty of something willing to cover you in secondhand hot milk without any notice, I couldnt pick him up or do anything with him unassisted for the first 48 hours and my confidence with him diminishes if i dont get enough sleep. I'm not entirely heartless and some sort of cruella da ville though, i love him and feel protective towards him, just he still seems like a stranger in my house.
We havent got anyone familywise living close by and it would impose to ask any of our babyless friends to sit with him so we can sleep or tidy up, so we soldier on - everyday it gets a bit easier and we still have our sense of humour most of the time. It would help if he wasnt so sicky and hiccupy - its also hard to bond with something likely to shower you with aptimal first milk than love - and we have to remind each other that he isn't actually Stewie from Family Guy but just a baby being a baby.
This morning, at 4am, I found Paul by the crib saying 'so noisy, I cant sleep, he cant sleep, why doesnt he just sleep' with a look so reminiscent of Groundskeeper Willie I feared for his sanity. Apparently we will look back on this and laugh. And we did, by 11am, after some more sleep. Then it was my turn for histrionics as Toby threw up down my back and in my hair.
I am more grateful and in admiration for Paul than I ever have been. At the same time, I also know who's little swimmer is responsible for this new title i have been bestowed. 'Mummy'. She with the sick down her back.
Toby Oscar Ford, bringer of chaos, harbinger of puke, cute as a button. Our son.
The bump finally landed after a bit of a journey, and finally some surgery, at 2.10am on Tuesday 27th June. Due to a distressed bubba the birth plan had to take a left at the traffic lights but I'm confident we did all we could, and the hypnorbirthing was *amazing*. I'll post my birth story here once I've finished processing it - and sometime between a feed and a change - but here is my baby boy's first week on Planet Earth ...