So that was that. You have a baby and then the people who look after you at the hospital let you go home. On your own. With a baby. Gulp!
The first few weeks with our baby were a steep learning curve. We thought we were prepared for a baby but how can you be? We had all the gear and no idea! How can you train for this? Plan for this? It’s an emotional and physical roller coaster where you get your picture taken and you look all windswept and shellshocked with a bit of giddy excitement mixed in before you think you’re going to throw up.
Nothing could’ve prepared us for the tiredness. It was overwhelming. The arguments when you can’t settle your baby and you get all stressed out and snap at each other as you’re frustrated one of you doesn’t have the answer. The cluster feeding, the nappy changing, the baby sick, the getting settled after a feed. THE WIND. Nobody said it would be your greatest achievement to get your tiny bundle of joy to produce a burp! And you weren’t always motivated by their wellbeing but for the goal that burps = hope of sleep!
Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Everything centres around this 5 letter dirty word. And we both weren’t doing well without sleep. We have this thing in our house called the T-DONS. It stands for the dark of night syndrome. This is the feeling that in the darkest hours when you have to deal with something and you can’t sleep or you feel ill or you feel like the world is falling apart. Basically it’s anytime you’re unnecessarily worried about something that when the bright of day arrives you realise you were a) being silly b) being paranoid c) being a bozo d) all of the above and you need a good shake to realise life is good, everything can be achieved and you’re a bozo and you can laugh. There were so many T-DONS.
Sleep when they sleep? Are you taking the Mick? No matter how you get them to sleep, you put them down all soft and gentle, your arm is stuck under them all Janice and chandler like and you do ninja moves to get away from them and make it to the nearest sleep object (which often became the nursery carpet) and the little bugger cries just as you close your eyes. They know you’ve abandoned them temporarily to rest. THEY BLOODY WELL KNOW.
All of this while your body feels like it’s been hit by a bus. You can’t sit down for the pain. Peeing stings from your cuts and grazes and the agony that comes with pooing is so intense your feet are doing a little dance, you’ve got beads of sweat running down your forehead, you have to strip because you’re so hot and you’re frightened to move in case you make the pain worse. Nobody tells you about the pooing.
The hormones and emotion have you on cloud 9 one minute so blessed and happy to have your little family and this cute little baby looking up at you with big bright eyes then you’re overwhelmed with the feeling of dread that you can’t deal with the responsibility, the lack of sleep or that your life will never be how it was and you can still really remember your old life so this feels so hard. Everything is hard. I have the T-DONS!
Newborn days do mean different things to each other. I remember the battle with breastfeeding. The battle was only with myself as baby G took to it so well and gained weight (they call it ‘thriving’ in baby land) but I was so tired. So so tired and wondered if this was my life. I would be feeding a baby forever and never have any time to myself. I couldn’t see that it would end and then I would miss it. I also could see how much L wanted to give our baby a bottle. At first she was worried she wouldn’t have a bond with our baby (in hindsight I know she would say that was silly as her bond with our babies is SO STRONG) but at the time you don’t know what is to come. I remember that first bottle L gave baby G. She cried. She was over the moon and so emotional to be feeding our little poppet. We filmed it. I cried. Not for her happiness but for pure sadness and guilt. We were giving our baby a bottle and every bone in my body was telling me I should be feeding her and I also felt guilt. Pure motherhood guilt that our baby should be breastfed. Crazy what goes through your mind in newborn life. T-DONS.
The baby poo. My goodness it’s constant. I think we counted 14 nappies one night. There was the poonami day which covered baby G from the nipples to the knees, the days of pellets and worries of constipation and the middle of the night nappy free explosion which managed to projectile to the opposite wall. At least we got a laugh out of that even though we both had the T-DONS.
And p@#s off COLIC. You can go do one. I never want to hear from you again.
We were like coiled springs for a few weeks. Every time a little squeak came out of that moses basket one of us was up fussing. Constantly second guessing our own ability to take care of a tiny human. The noises they make in the early days are so loud and strange that you’re constantly worried they’re not breathing right even though we had this state-of-the-art baby monitoring system which gave us their temp, sound and also if they were breathing. The only thing it didn’t do was let us sleep and relax as we sat there watching it constantly even though the ACTUAL baby was less than 3 metres away in the same room. We were total brand new first time parent bozos and I am actually embrassed/ashamed of how ridiculous we were. We were not cool. We did everything by the book, there was wet cotton wool and not a baby wipe in sight, there were regular breathing checks, there were too many cute outfit changes when only a drop of bodily fluid had been spilled, there was that ‘im-a-new-parent-stupid-arse-with-a-shiny-new-nappy-bag-with-all-these-awesome-compartments-for-keeping-baby-paraphernalia-that-we-will-never-use-and-discard-a-year-from-now’ phase, there was a 10 minute routine to double check and triple check the installation of the car seat and so many more idiotic fresh parent rabbit in the headlight moments but thankfully we maybe saved some face by getting through the entire season of breaking bad in those early weeks. Baby G would even perk up when she heard the theme tune. We were still cool!