Having Baby Part 2: Birth

Having Baby Part 1: Pre-Labour

Strap yourself in, this is a long one!


My alarm went off at 6.30 am on the morning of Sunday 23rd July. I hadn’t had a lot of sleep the night before so I remember waking up and thinking I was too tired to have a baby. Unfortunately I didn’t have much choice in the matter.

We live only 5 km from the hospital and the quiet Sunday morning traffic meant that it was a nice quick trip. Before we went inside the hospital I asked AJ to take a photo of us together, our last photo of just the two of us before we become a trio!

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I got to the hospital and my Midwife took me straight into a birth suite. They kindly gave me the same room I had been in the night before because I was quite taken with the lovely view.

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Our Midwife was very dry and sarcastic, which was just what we needed because we aren’t the type to take things too seriously. We had no candles, essential oils, music or birth plan. Our only plan was to give birth to bubs safely and with as little pain as possible!

My Midwife read in my file that I wanted an epidural and so she asked if I wanted one before we started the induction or if I wanted to wait until later. Apparently the Anaesthetist wasn’t at the hospital yet and then he had some surgeries to do, so I probably wouldn’t get my epidural until around 9.30 am if I waited. Otherwise, if I was worried about the pain, they could hold off on the induction until I had my epidural. I was being my normal accommodating self and said “Oh it’ll be fine. Let him sleep in, I’ll just have mine when he can fit me in“. You would be guessing right if you thought I might later regret those words.

The Midwife hooked me up to all of the machines to monitor me and the baby and then started the induction by inserting a drip of pitocin. This is a synthetic version of the drug your body would normally produce to start contractions. I was settled in bed with my kindle and AJ got comfortable in the chair by the window with his ipad and we were both feeling pretty relaxed. I don’t think it had sunk in at all that we were having a baby.

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The contractions started pretty quickly, but they were quite manageable and I was still able to keep reading my book. I only had a few chapters left and I was determined to finish it before baby arrived! The midwife laughed every time she walked in to see me reading my book through my contractions. I’m not sure that reading is a common labour technique! I can’t even remember what the stupid book was about now, it feels like a lifetime ago.

The contractions were bad enough that I needed to use gas to get through them. The gas was a useful relaxation tool, but it really didn’t help with the pain at all. I also don’t think I was taking the gas in properly to begin with, but the midwife showed me how to really suck it down and that made me feel much better.

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Sucking down the gas

At some stage in the morning the Obstetrician came in to assess me. She said I was only 2 cm dilated and to just keep doing what I was doing. Unfortunately my Ob wasn’t on call that day, which was a bit disappointing, but the on-call Ob was fine. It really didn’t make a big difference because the Midwives were really managing the labour process and I barely saw the Ob.

After a couple of hours of contractions the pain had steadily increased and I was really looking forward to the epidural. I enquired with the midwife on ETA of the Anaesthetist and she told me that he had been held up in some emergency surgeries and was running behind. It turned out that the Sunday I gave birth was an unusually busy day for the hospital. What luck! By about 10.30 am the pain had reached an unbearable level and I could only lie on my side and suck on the gas to get through the contractions. I found I was most comfortable in bed, I didn’t get up and walk around or get on the fitball or even consider a shower or bath. I just wanted to be on my side and grip the bed rail for dear life.

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Oh the pain!

At 12.00 pm the Anaesthetist finally arrived. I have never been so happy to see anyone in my entire life. It took him about 15 minutes to prep me and insert the epidural in my back, but I felt the effects within minutes. I don’t recall feeling pain or discomfort getting the epidural, to be honest, you could have hit me over the head with a hammer and I wouldn’t have noticed because the contractions were all consuming.

The next two hours were total and utter bliss. I felt no pain at all and I just rested in bed with my book and napped occasionally. I grew confident that this whole birth thing was going to be a piece of cake. My labour was progressing well and AJ and I were pretty much left to relax in the room in peace. AJ even had a sneaky watch of the footy!

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Caught watching the footy while I am in labour!

At about 2.00 pm I started to feel contraction pain again. I thought this must have been breakthrough pain and that I needed to top up the epidural. The Midwife told me I could press the button to increase my dose every 15 minutes and that would help me keep on top of the pain. For about the next hour and a half I fixated on the 15 minute count down to push the pain relief button. Every minute or so I would ask AJ for a time update and despair at how slow time was passing. It was passing even slower than when you are on the stair machine at the gym!

Even when I pushed the button I felt absolutely no pain relief, in fact it was getting worse, but I lived in hope that it would get better. My Midwife assured me that I just needed to keep pushing the button and I shouldn’t feel any pain. I was back on the gas to get me through my contractions and the pain was now much worse than in the morning pre-epidural. The Midwife finally conceded that this wasn’t normal and that she would need to get the Anaesthetist back in to see what was wrong.

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The Anaesthetist had gone home and had to be called back in so it was going to be a wait. I didn’t ask where he lived because I didn’t want to know. I couldn’t deal with it if I found out he lived on the other side of town. I can’t even describe the pain I was in during that time. I retreated back to my position on my side and just stared at the ground groaning and gripping the bed. I even stopped with the gas because I was in too much pain to suck it in and it wasn’t helping anymore.

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Holding on for dear life

During this time AJ’s dinner was delivered to the birth suite. A curry. Do you know the last thing you want to smell when you are in the midst of horrific contraction pains? Yep you guessed right, curry. He kept going on about how delicious the curry was and I was close to killing him. Even after they took away his food tray all I could smell was curry.

At 6.00 pm the Anaesthetist finally arrived to review my epidural and discovered that it had fallen out. OMFG!!!!!! Why does this sort of thing happen to me?! Apparently this is quite rare and the Anaesthetist was apologetic. So he prepped me to do the epidural again and then I heard the horrible words “I don’t think it’s worked“. He had missed the vein which meant that most likely the epidural wouldn’t work, but we had to give it 15 minutes to make sure. That was a very long 15 minutes to say the least.

Once it was confirmed that the second epidural didn’t work, the Anaesthetist quickly worked to get the third epidural in for me. The main issue with having it now was that I was in so much pain that is was difficult to hold still to have the needle in my spine. It took all of my strength to stay still through my contractions, but I knew it would be worth it.

The third time was the charm! Thanks to the epidural I was back in a blissful and pain-free state. This was the only time during my labour that I cried a little, not because I was upset, but it was out of pure relief that the pain was over. I felt a bit frazzled by the whole ordeal and, despite the fact I wasn’t in pain anymore, I went back to the gas to calm me down.

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Feeling physically destroyed

After the epidural was put in, my Ob came back in to assess me and said that I was fully dilated and ready to push. I hadn’t seen her since the morning and I had been so focussed on the contractions that I had no idea I was close to having the baby now. My Ob and Midwife got busy prepping for me to push, which gave me about half an hour to rest and try and compose myself after all the epidural drama. I couldn’t believe I was about to have a god damned baby!

At 7.00 pm my Ob said she was ready for me to push. I couldn’t feel anything, so I had no urge to push and couldn’t even feel myself pushing. My Midwife had me pushing in time with my contractions, which I also couldn’t feel, but the machine I was hooked up to told her when they were coming. She wanted me to give 3 big pushes for every contraction. I was so exhausted from the past 24 hours of pre-labour and labour that my pushes were a bit weak. I was even falling asleep in-between pushing because I was completely and utterly exhausted by this point.

After about 45 minutes or so of pushing the baby was crowning and my Ob said matter of factly “I’m going to have to cut you“. The dreaded episiotomy. I couldn’t feel anything, but my stomach still turned as I saw her grab the scissors and start cutting. Ewwww.

I kept pushing but I could tell my pushes were disappointing and we just weren’t getting anywhere. The Ob said she thought we needed to get the vacuum because she didn’t think I was going to be able to push bubs out. By this time I had been in labour and hadn’t eaten anything for 24 hours, so I was just beyond exhausted.

The Ob got the vacuum and instructed me to push. After just three cycles of contractions, and with the help of the vacuum, she pulled out my baby! I remember as she was pulling him out she said the cord was wrapped around his neck and it was lucky she had got him out with the vacuum. Apparently the cord wasn’t tight and didn’t cause any issues, but if we kept going the way we were, it could have become dangerous for bubs.

I don’t remember much after bubs came out. I guess I was in a state of shock. I think they handed bubs to me immediately, but they may have done health checks first, I’m really not sure. AJ told me that he cut the cord, which I don’t remember at all either. I remember holding bubs while the Ob was pulling out my placenta and then stitching me up.

At some point, someone in the room asked if it was a boy or girl and we realised that no one had looked! The Midwife had a quick check and announced that we had a baby boy. AJ later told me that he had seen the sex of the baby when he was passed to me and hadn’t said anything because he was nervous about my reaction as I had explicitly requested a girl! In that moment I didn’t really care if it was a boy or girl, I was just freaked out that I had a baby. I think AJ was a bit concerned about how I would feel about having a boy, so he said “Do you know who would have loved a grandson? Your mum.” and he was completely right.

I was encouraged to bond with the baby straight after he was born, but I was so emotionally and physically exhausted that I didn’t feel like I could hold him. Aside from feeling like I would fall asleep and drop him, I was in a state of shock and couldn’t believe that I had a baby. I was suddenly overcome with nausea and vomiting, AJ kindly took photos of this also, but I was nice enough not to share those with you. I wish I was one of those mothers who immediately bonded and did skin to skin and all those other things you are supposed to do, but it didn’t happen like that for me.

Thank god AJ stepped up and took care of bubs while I got my shit together composed myself. I think he enjoyed the time to bond with bubs and he took the opportunity to play him his first album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by The Smashing Pumpkins.

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AJ had also called all of our families to let them know that bubs had arrived. My dad and step mum got in the car immediately and drove the 3 hours to the hospital and my brother and sister in law from Sydney just happened to be staying with us that weekend. They all arrived at the hospital about 11.00 pm for cuddles with bubs. Once again, I don’t remember a lot about their visit. I think I kept falling asleep and I was happy that there were people to help hold bubs when I knew I wasn’t up to giving him the cuddles he needed.

The Midwives were monitoring bubs and were concerned about his temperature. They asked me if I had hats, socks and extra blankets to keep him warm. I hadn’t bought any of that stuff because it wasn’t on the hospital list they gave me. I immediately felt like a horrible mother. Thank god my sister in law was there because she had all that stuff back at my place that were my nieces hand me downs that she thought I might want, so she raced home and got it for me. I was so, so, so grateful.

Everyone left about midnight. They were all going back to my place to toast bubs with wine and I wished I was going with them. Instead I had to drag my catheter to the bathroom and try to stand up and shower. It was the last thing I felt like doing, but it’s all about getting you on your feet and up and about as soon as possible.

Once I showered I just wanted to curl up in bed and get some sleep. Little did I know that I still had a long night ahead of me…


Up next, our first night with bubs…

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5 Weeks Old

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One thing that comes with being a new mum is lots of advice. Buckets of it. Normally I am a bit of a ‘know it all’ and don’t take kindly to getting unsolicited advice. But, since having Augie, I am just eating up any advice that comes my way. AJ even commented the other day how well I am handling the advice that people give me without cracking the shits. I honestly appreciate every little tidbit that comes my way from friends, colleagues, family, forums and blog readers. I don’t know anything about parenting and people have given me some really great tips that have been absolute life savers!

Age: 5 weeks. Somehow time is flying and dragging at the same time. I’m excited for what is ahead with the little boy, but also don’t want him to change or get bigger. I think every parent feels the same way.

Feeding: I’m still finding my way with feeding. I really would like to keep breast feeding, but he is just so much more settled and happy when I bottle feed. When I do breastfeed it will take about 90 minutes to satisfy him and then he’s over-tired after and grizzly and ends up still needing a bottle. Instead of doing the feed, play, sleep cycle we end up doing feed, play, feed again, sleep. By then he is often over-tired and harder to settle.

I was at the maternal and child health centre this week and the nurse noticed that it looks like he has a tongue tie. I had started to wonder this myself and my friend had also picked up on it just from hearing about my feeding issue through this blog (hello A!). I don’t know why the hospital didn’t check for it when we were having so many feeding problems. She gave me the number of a specialist to see and if it turns out she is right, we’ll have to have the skin under his tongue snipped to fix the issue (cue sobbing mother). My dad told me that I had this issue when I was a baby and apparently it can be hereditary. I can’t get into see the specialist until the end of September, so we’ll just keep persisting until then.

Sleeping routine: I feel like every week we make in-roads on sleep routine with the little guy. It is not without its battles and some days we are pacing up and down the lounge room for hours to settle him. For the most part, he is now consistently sleeping for 2-3 sleep cycles at night. Some nights he’ll sleep from 10.00 pm – 8.00 am (waking twice for a feed) and other nights he’ll sleep from 2.00 am – 8.00 am (waking once for a feed). He does normally start to stir around 6.00 am, but I try to settle him with the dummy to extend the sleep out a bit longer and it is working so far.

The day sleeps are a bit more unpredictable. He normally has a big afternoon sleep of between 2-4 hours, but aside from that, anything can happen. I read that babies his age should only be awake for 60-90 minutes at a time (including feeds). Shit! Some days he is awake for hours and then he has a meltdown in the evening. My focus next week is going to be to work on his day sleep routine to help the little boy get more rest.

Firsts:

  • Staring- OK this sounds like a weird ‘first’ but he can focus on objects now and stare at them. This is good because it helps calm him when I am trying to get him to sleep. Now I understand why baby mobiles were invented.
  • Mimicking- when we play and I pull faces at him he will copy me when I open my mouth and smile.
  • Shower- he had a bit of a nappy accident and I happened to be in the shower when AJ was changing him so he bought him in with me to hose him down. Sorry, that was a bit gross.
  • Mothers group- we had our first mothers group this week. Augie was the first baby to cry of course, thanks buddy! It seemed to go OK, the girls were nice, the babies were cute and hopefully I’ll learn a thing or two about parenting.
  • Turning 1 month- Yay!
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Staring intently!

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Copying mum’s face

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Turning 1 month

Achievements: Making it through the week. It was a tough week for us because AJ was working insanely long hours. He was working his normal 9-5 job and then coming home to work on his business until 4.00 am every night. This is obviously not sustainable for either of us! It is fair to say that we were both a bit snappy by the end of the week. We are working on a solution to try and find a better balance so he can work less and spend more time with bubs (and give me a break). Does buying lottery tickets count as a plan?

Things we have learned: That I can deal with all the gross things that come with having a baby. One of my biggest fears was that I wouldn’t be handle all the ‘bodily fluids’ when I had a baby. Everyone always says that it will be fine when it’s your own, but I am particularly sooky when it comes to these things. Prior to having a baby if anyone even said the word poo or spew I would gag. Once my niece drooled next to me and I told her she was gross and then she started to cry. As everyone predicted, I have been absolutely fine with all the grossness of my own little bub. It honestly doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, he just projectile vomited all over everything 5 minutes ago and I didn’t blink an eye. Obviously I won’t exactly miss it when this stage of parenting ends… whenever that will be!

Appearance: The first thing most people comment on when they see Augie is his lovely lashes. AJ has thick eyelashes (why do men always have better lashes than us girls?) so I hope he takes after his dad. He still has dark blue eyes, but they do often look more grey and so I wonder if they are getting darker. I have brown eyes and AJ has grey/green eyes so I doubt they will stay blue. I think he is getting more dark hair on the back of his head, just not the front, so he is left with a bit of a mullet look right now. A very cute mullet of course.

Mummy update: The most important thing for me to make it through everyday is that I need to have a shower and make my bed. I can’t function if I don’t do those two things in the morning. It doesn’t sound that difficult, but it can be quite a stealth operation to get that done. Next it would be great to add in making myself a cup of tea, I’ll try that next week. 🙂

4 Weeks Old

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I am not sure if I am supposed to say this, but I have feelings of regret about having a baby almost every day. It’s not that I regret having my little boy, it’s that I miss my old lifestyle and sense of freedom. I am loving being a mum, more than I thought I would to be honest, but I really miss just doing whatever I want too.

The other day we were out and about with Augie and I was exhausted and I was so relieved to get home… only to realise that I still had to be responsible for a baby when I got home. Feed him, change him, bath him, hold him and be up with him all night. I couldn’t just come home and lay on the couch and watch Netflix.

I’m not sure if regret is the right word, because I wouldn’t change a thing, it’s more just missing my old lifestyle. I guess it’s only been 4 weeks and I just need time to adjust to my new lifestyle. One day he’ll be big enough to bring me a glass of wine so that is something to look forward to!

Age: 4 weeks old. Almost a month now. Sob.

Feeding: We have increased his formula this week to 90 – 120 mls per bottle feed and he is guzzling it down. We only give him formula 3 or 4 times a day, normally in the evening and early morning, during the day I persist with breast feeding. I was finding that trying to breastfeed him at night was just wearing us both down because it can take hours and we were both getting frustrated and over-tired, so now I go straight for the bottle for night feeds and it is making us both much happier.

Sleeping routine: I don’t want to jinx myself here, but I think we are getting somewhere with his sleep routine. The start of this week was particularly bad and I was really struggling with sleep deprivation. Then a friend told me about the Masada Sleep School and I looked into and remembered I had another friend who had used it years ago and loved it. Augie is too young to attend yet (I think he needs to be 6 weeks old) but I did a bit of research into what they do there and tried to use the techniques myself. I found this blog quite handy and I also looked into other sleep techniques like Save our Sleep and picked up a few tips that would work for our family.

The main issue for us was that I was just feeding on demand 24/7 and not implementing any routine for him. I was so worried about him getting enough food that I was feeding constantly, even when no milk was being produced, which was a complete waste of time and energy. He would breastfeed for 2 hours and then dose for 20 minutes, then feed for another hour and dose for an hour… on and off all day. It was exhausting for both of us. Now if I give him a feed about 10.00 – 11.00 pm he will sleep for a couple of hours, then wake for a change and feed about 1.00 am, then sleep for 3-4 hours and then wake for a change and feed again between 5.00 – 6.00 am. He does wake up a little in-between and get a bit grizzly, but I just give him his dummy and it will normally calm him and he’ll go back to sleep.

I also make sure I keep the room dark, limit my interaction with him (not singing and playing), put the heater on in the room so it’s nice and warm and also use a Love to Dream swaddle that stops him from waking himself up when he startles.

From here the hope is that I can keep extending his sleep until he is sleeping through the night. That would be wonderful, but for now I am just super happy with the 3-4 hour stretch we are getting now.

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Love to Dream swaddle which seems to help him sleep

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Letting mum get some sleep!

Firsts:

  • Interaction- the biggest change this week is that between feeding and sleeping he will stay awake and look at his surroundings. He will just lay on the couch next to me or sit in his bouncer and stare around the room quietly for about an hour at a time. It is very cute!
  • Using a dummy- I have tried to get him to use a dummy previously, but he wasn’t very good at it, but now he seems to have got the hang of it better. I know a lot of parents are against dummies, but he just loves to suck and it really soothes him, so I am ok with that.
  • Manicure- He has been scratching himself pretty badly and I didn’t know what to do. I was a bit nervous to cut them or chew them (which was what a few people suggested) but one day he was sleeping soundly on my lap and I thought I would try and file them carefully and it worked!
  • Smile- ok so most people say that real smiles don’t happen until about 6 weeks, but a couple of mornings this week after he had a good sleep we have been playing while I change his nappy and I swear to god I saw real smiles (not just gas). His whole face lit up and he seemed like he was just so happy.
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Holding his dummy in himself

Achievements: Well I don’t know if this is an achievement… but I had my first alcoholic drink since baby. Oh man it was so good. I only had one drink because I still really need to keep my wits about me, but I am looking forward to summer and enjoying a few more cold beers!

Here is me enjoying a beer and halal snack pack while holding bubs. Easy done!

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Things we have learned: Online grocery shopping is the only way now! For the last two weeks we have been trying to get to Coles, but it’s always too hard with the little guy because he will finally be asleep or he’ll be crying or it’s too cold outside or it’s too busy or we just can’t be fucked. We have no food in the house, one day I ate three slices of cheese and a muesli bar for lunch because that was all we had (which isn’t much when you have breastfeeding level hunger!). I finally had a brainwave and realised I should do an online grocery order. It’s amazing. What the hell took me so long?!

Appearance: Everyone keeps saying that he looks like he has filled out a bit more now. He did gain a couple of hundred grams at his check up this week. He now weighs 3.4 kilos, which still only puts him at the 7th percentile for weight unfortunately. I guess someone has to be at the bottom? He also gained a centimetre in length and is 52 cm long now too. I feel like he is definitely growing because some of his newborn size clothes are getting pretty snug. It seems to mostly be because he has very long legs and massive feet though. These photos were taken not long after he was born when my sister in law was holding him, his feet are probably even bigger now!

Mummy update: I am just going to go ahead and be honest here… I am still experiencing pelvic floor issues after my episiotomy. This week, completely out of nowhere, I totally wet my pants. OMFG. I didn’t even need to go to the toilet… it just happened. I am just walking into my house after taking Augie for a walk in the pram and suddenly I have wet myself. I have been doing my pelvic floor exercises like crazy, but obviously I am still not quite there. I see my obstetrician in a couple of weeks so I guess I’ll discuss it with her then. Now, lets never speak of this humiliation again!!!

3 Weeks Old

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This week I had to pack up the premie outfits that August was wearing as he has grown too big for them. Sob! He was so small when he was born that AJ and my dad had to run out and buy some premie outfits for him because the newborn clothes were too big. It was seriously heartbreaking to pack up the little outfits that are too small for him now. I didn’t realise how much I would love an itty bitty newborn baby. I thought newborns would be a bit boring, but they are quite intoxicating. I am excited to watch him grow up, but I can’t bear it at the same time. Oh god, this part of parenting is so hard.

AJ had to go back to work this week. He only had two weeks off and the first week we were in the hospital, so it felt like it went by so quickly. Unfortunately he started a new job earlier this year so it wasn’t good timing for him to take off any extra time. If I was ever to do this again, I would definitely want him to take more time off, you really need an extra pair of hands at home for a month if possible. Plus it is killing him that he is missing out on so much while he is at work.

Speaking of doing this again, I have to admit that I finally understand why people have more than one baby. I surprised myself by thinking that I could handle having another one of these cute little bubs… I always thought people that had more than one baby were crazy because it would just be too much work. But, I could see maybe see myself wanting to do this again one day. That is a very big maybe (or maybe I am just sleep deprived and not thinking clearly).

Age: 3 Weeks

Feeding: I saw the child and maternal health nurse again this week and we weighed bubs and he is measuring below the 10th percentile for weight. He is only weighing 3.17 kilos, which is less than the nurse had hoped. I was pretty devastated because we had been working so hard on his feeding. Some days he will be feeding from me from 5.00 pm until 2.00 am pretty much non-stop. He will fall asleep for 20 or 30 minutes occasionally, but wake up and start sucking again. In between we give him formula because it seems clear that breast milk is not satisfying him. I’d probably look to switch to formula exclusively so that I could be sure he was getting enough food, but he tends to vomit a lot after formula, so that won’t help either.

It is a pretty exhausting feeding schedule and I’m sad that it obviously isn’t working and worried that the poor boy is hungry. I honestly don’t know what else I can do except keep trying.

Sleeping routine: Not much has changed this week, he still doesn’t have any sort of sleep routine. I am trying to put together a good night time routine for him, but he just doesn’t want to sleep at night yet. I hear about babies that sleep for 3 or 4 hours at night and it just sounds like a dream. He will sleep for a maximum of about 45 minutes at night and that is while he is feeding from me, so it’s hard for me to get any sleep. At the moment I actually feel a bit apprehensive as the evening arrives because I am dreading the night time craziness. I just have to remember that this won’t be forever!

Firsts:

 

  • Leaving him- AJ worked from home one day and so I took the opportunity to go and get my nails done. I ended up being gone for a few hours and they didn’t even miss me!
  • Taking him out on my own- after another sleepless night I decided to try a product called Infants Friend that I had heard was good, so I nervously put bubs in the pram and walked two blocks to the pharmacy. I was honestly more scared than the first time I drove a car! Side note- Infants Friend is not working! 😦
  • Funeral- sadly bubs had to attend a funeral this week. My mum’s younger brother passed away unexpectedly at the age of 49 and the funeral was this week. August was very well behaved and all his aunts and uncles and cousins on my mum’s side were delighted to meet him, despite the horrible circumstances. It was a long and hard day and I was impressed with how well the little guy did.
  • Football game- we took bubs to a football game in Geelong. My team (Cats) were playing AJ’s team (Tigers) and I had free tickets through my work, so it was too good an opportunity to pass up. He was good as gold for the whole game, until the last 10 minutes when he suddenly started to lose his temper… but so was AJ because his team was losing, so we took off and got out of there before bubs (and AJ) had a meltdown.

Achievements: I survived the first week at home on my own with a baby. We also had a couple of day trips, which I was pretty nervous about and would have preferred to stay inside in my safe bubble, but we all coped pretty well.

Things we have learned: I’ve learned why parents are always running late. Just as we are about to leave the house the little boy will need to be changed or decide he desperately needs a feed or I need to run up and down the stairs 20 times getting all the last minute things we need for him. Not to mention that it takes me twice as long to get ready while I am juggling him. I absolutely hate running late so I just need to be more organised!

The other day I had to put him on the floor next to my ensuite while I did my make up. He was perfectly happy watching me get ready. AJ got a sneaky snap of my questionable parenting!

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Appearance: Despite the fact that he is still small in size for his age, I think he looks a bit less like a tiny newborn and more like a baby this week. If that makes sense? The last bit of his umbilical cord came off this week too. That was good because, let’s face it, it was a little bit gross.

I need to do something about his nails soon too. He loves touching his face and sucking on his hands and he keeps scratching himself. He is making me look like a negligent mother!

Mummy update: I am surprised by how well I am coping (if I do say so myself ha ha). AJ keeps saying that we need to ask someone to come and stay and help me out because he’s worried about me. I think he just feels bad that he has had to go back to work, but I really don’t feel like I need the help. If my mum was around, of course I would have her stay with me to help with bubs and the housework, but I wouldn’t want to ask anyone else really. Plus, I think I am doing just fine.

I am still besotted by the little guy. He loves to grab my hair while he is feeding this week. I am guessing I will find this less cute pretty soon because he is a strong little boy, but right now I find it adorable.

2 Weeks Old

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This has been our first week at home with our little August. AJ has had this week off work so it has been lovely for us to hang out as a family. He is going back to work next week and I am already dreading it. I especially feel bad that he has to miss out on time with the little guy.

AJ keeps telling people that he can’t believe how maternal and motherly I am. He must have thought I was going to be a horrible mother because he seems to be shocked that I am caring for the baby LOL! I guess I understand it because I was never the type to go gaga over babies or talk about being a mum. I can be rather sarcastic and my own dad told me the other day that I can come across as stand-offish… thanks dad!

One thing I learnt after my mum was sick and I cared for her at home until she died in my arms is that I enjoy looking after people. I find a lot of real value in looking after someone who needs you. Much, much, much more than I did doing 9-5 office work (no surprise there). In fact, I almost considered changing careers after my mum died so that I could do something more hands that helps people. Ultimately I didn’t think I had the constitution to do it all day, every day. It’s hard work and can break your heart a million times a day.

But, I absolutely love caring for little Augie. Despite the fact he won’t sleep at night and that he vomits or pees on me every day… he is just a delight and I am having a ball with him.

Age: 2 Weeks

Feeding: I am cluster feeding at the moment, which means I am basically feeding on demand. Apparently newborns can’t have too much breastmilk, so I am just feeding him whenever he wants it and trying to fatten him up. I don’t think my milk supply is very plentiful so it feels like I am feeding all of the time and he is still hungry. I am topping up with formula, but he tends to vomit up the formula and then he is still hungry. I don’t know if it’s because he has wind or if I am feeding him too fast or if it’s the type of formula I am buying or is he just a spewy baby?

The child and maternal health nurse came to visit this week at home to check up on us. She weighed August and he had gained 200 grams so we are getting somewhere. I felt so relieved that he had gained a good amount of weight. All of the hard work feeding him is hopefully paying off.

Sleeping routine: There is absolutely no routine. He will sleep for a maximum of about 90 minutes if we are lucky, except for in the afternoons when he’ll normally have a decent 3-4 hour sleep. This is the time I can run around and do washing, sterilise bottles, clean the house and try and write this blog. I know I should try and sleep then, but it’s the only time I can get shit done!

Firsts:

  • Bath at home- we don’t have a bath, so we bought a baby bath and successfully bathed him in the kitchen. He feels so tiny and slippery in my hands. Scary!
  • Outing in the carrier- my dad came for a visit and we took bubs for a walk around our new neighbourhood in his Baby Bjorn carrier. It was a bit scary at first putting him in the carrier, it felt like he was just going to drop out. We secured him in and he was very happy to be tucked up next to AJ’s chest while we walked around.
  • Trip to Ikea- it is never too soon to start shopping at Ikea! AJ had him strapped to his chest while we walked around and bubs (and AJ) got plenty of attention from fellow shoppers. AJ loved it!
  • Outing in the pram- the pram finally arrived this week and my dad and step mum were visiting again and so we tucked bubs in and tested it out. The pram is great and bubs just slept the whole time while we walked him.
  • Cafe visit- when we went for a walk with dad and my step mum we stopped at a local cafe for brunch. He snoozed the whole time in his pram and let his mum enjoy her eggs benedict. Good boy.
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My dad and step mum taking Augie for a walk in the pram

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Augie’s first time in the carrier with his dad

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First bath at home

Achievements: We survived our first week at home with bubs. It’s kind of weird to return home from the hospital with a tiny baby and realise you are expected to look after it all by yourself. I have no idea what I am doing, but we are working it out together. Lucky he’s a patient little bub.

Things we have learned: You need to cover his little doodle when you change him or you will get caught in the line of fire. Boys…

Appearance: I added this in so I could comment on how Augie is changing physically. I didn’t expect him to change so quickly. Sob!

Weight: 3.07 kilos

He has dark blue eyes and a light splattering of medium brown hair, yet he looks really fair in some light. I really expected him to come out with dark eyes and a heap of dark hair and olive skin like both AJ and I had when we were born. It was such a surprise to meet this fair little guy. He looks nothing like me at all! I think he looks a bit like AJ, particularly when he pulls his little frowny face (which is all the time). A lot of people say that he doesn’t look like either of us, which I can understand too, it’s really only when he pulls faces that I can see AJ in him.

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Frowny face!

Mummy update: I am still recovering pretty well, but I really don’t have much time to think about it. I am doing my pelvic floor exercises like crazy to try and fix those particular issues. I hope it isn’t too little, too late! The fact that I have to sit on my arse all day and night feeding bubs is not the most comfortable position on my stitches. The doctor told me I should be laying down more to take the pressure off, but that is a bit hard with this demanding little bubba.

I find it so strange that straight after you give birth, which is so hard on your body, you are then responsible for this tiny person who just demands so much of you. It is a lot to take on all at once. Normally after enduring so much physically you would be required to rest and recuperate, not have the life sucked out of you by this little creature. Lucky he is cute and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

1 Week Old

I stole this weekly update from AKL’s blog, I hope you don’t mind! 🙂

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Age: 1 week

Feeding: Well this has been a disaster. The poor little guy is just not getting enough milk and he’s crying all the time because he is so hungry. It is breaking my heart.

The hospital has a breast feeding room open 14 hours a day with lactation consultants to assist you feed your baby. The lactation consultants are really helpful, but it seems I just don’t have enough milk for him. The midwives put me on a grueling feeding schedule that is 30 minutes breast feeding on each side, then feeding him the milk I had previously expressed with a syringe, then topping him up with formula. After this, I have to express milk in readiness for the next feed. The whole thing takes over 2 hours and it has to be done at least every 4 hours. So this leaves me about 90 minutes to sleep, eat, drink, go to the toilet, see visitors and rest in between. Doing this 24/7 and still not getting enough milk for him is quite devastating. I really don’t give a shit about breast feeding, I just want him to have food, I don’t care where it comes from!

The midwife weighs him on Thursday morning (day 5) before we are supposed to be discharged to go home. The poor little boy has lost more than 10% of his birth weight, so they ask us to stay in another night and try and get on top of things before we leave.

This is the first time I start to feel genuinely upset. I can see the midwives and pediatrician are concerned about bubs and also me and I feel close to tears. Also because I haven’t slept in 5 days because the poor baby is crying all night from hunger. They almost send me over the edge when they look at me all worried and ask if my mum is around to help me when I get home.

I spend the next 24 hours feeding bubs and the good news is that he gains weight overnight and we are allowed to go home. Phew. As soon as I get home I feel  much more relaxed and a lot of the stress disappears. I keep breastfeeding bubs, but I increase his formula to take the pressure off me and make sure he gets enough food. There is no doubt about it, midwives and nurses are very judgey about using formula. One doctor even referred to it as “the F word”. Being home and not having to worry about their judgement is a big relief.

Sleeping routine: Well given all the feeding issues, it’s fair to say there is not much sleep happening, let alone a routine!

Firsts: Everything is a first this week. What an amazing week!

  • First bath- AJ gave bubs his first bath at the hospital, which the poor little boy didn’t enjoy too much.
  • First time peeing on us- first of many unfortunately!
  • Meeting his family for the first time- his cousins, aunts, uncles and grand parents were very excited to meet him.
  • First car trip- home from the hospital which he seemed to enjoy. I sat in the back with him and he just slept the whole time.
  • First outing- on the way home from the hospital we stopped at Baby Bunting to buy a bassinet for the bedroom. We had originally planned for bubs to be in a cot in the nursery (next to our room), but the poor little guy has been coughing up mucous a lot and I was worried about him choking, so I want him next to me in my bedroom. Paranoid mum already!
  • First night at home- sleepless, as expected!
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First car ride

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Peeing on AJ

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Meeting his cousin

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AJ bathing bubs

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First morning at home

Achievements: Pushing a baby out of my body felt like a pretty big achievement.

Things we have learned: Too much to even list!!!!! I had no idea how to hold a baby, breastfeed, change a nappy, swaddle, soothe, burp, express milk. I don’t want to pretend that I am some mother earth type (because I am not!) but it really felt quite natural and wasn’t hard. Except for breastfeeding of course… my body was not cooperating at all.

Mummy update: I have recovered really well from the birth. I had to have an episiotomy during labour (ouch), but I am finding the pain quite manageable with panadol, neurofen and ice packs. My only issue is that my bladder and brain are not communicating well anymore… Why didn’t I do my pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy? Shit.

More photos from Augie’s first week…

Having Baby Part 1: Pre-Labour

I really want to write down my birth story so I remember how it all happened because it is already becoming a blur. Skip over if this stuff bores the hell out of you, I don’t blame you! It’ll be in a few parts because the little guy is not cooperating with giving me any time in front of my computer right now. Who knew babies were so bloody needy…


The Wednesday before I gave birth I saw my obstetrician for a check up. I was just two days off my due date so she did a stretch and sweep which is a simple procedure that can help initiate labour. She said she only sort of did one because my cervix was still pretty closed up but that I was 1 cm dilated, which is a bit of a start.

Next we discussed plans to get bubs out of me. She didn’t want me to go too far over my due date as it carries an increased risk of stillbirth so she looked in her diary and found when she was next in the labour ward and booked me in for an induction. This way I would guarantee that she would be there for my full delivery. So I was scheduled for an induction on Thursday 27th July… if bubs didn’t arrive before that time.

I left my appointment feeling pretty normal and like bubs wasn’t anywhere near arriving. Now I had an induction date, I kind of just assumed that would be when I would meet bubs. Over the next few days life continued as normal. I was busy running around unpacking the house, doing copious trips to Kmart and setting up for baby. I didn’t tell anyone (except AJ of course) about the planned induction because it was still a week away and a lot can happen in a week!

On Saturday 22nd we had a lazy morning at home with my brother, sister in law and niece, Penelope, who had arrived from Sydney to stay with us for the weekend. We spent the day chasing around after Penelope who is 9 months old and a crazy little bundle of energy. By that evening I was seriously wondering what I had got myself into, no matter how cute Penelope is, this baby stuff was starting to look way too exhausting. I guess it was too late to turn back now…

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AJ with Penelope and my sister in law

My house guests went out for dinner with friends and so AJ and I enjoyed a quiet night in with Uber Eats and Netflix. Then, at 9.15 pm, half way through the final episode of Master of None and after eating a mac and cheese burger and a Halal snack pack (big mistake!) I felt a weird pop between my legs. My sister in law had told me that when her waters broke she felt a pop, so I suspected what had happened right away. I froze and just held my legs together tightly while I quietly panicked. I seriously wondered if I could hold it in if I stayed really still. Then I decided I better make a dash for the bathroom upstairs before I ruined the couch.

I really wasn’t expecting my waters to break because in all my classes and research it seemed that most women had contractions as their first symptom of labour and the big waters breaking moment you see in movies is less likely. I had also been told that when your waters break it is normally a slow trickle. Well mine was more like a waterfall. A massive waterfall! We called the hospital and they asked me to come in for assessment. I asked if I could have a shower first to clean up, but it was pointless because my waters just kept flowing… it was messy to say the least. Even as I was walking from the hospital carpark to the admissions desk I was trying to mop up with paper towel as I leaked everywhere. I was so glad this was happening late on Saturday night and no one was around to witness me wetting myself in public.

We got to the hospital and they set me up in a birth suite for monitoring. I felt fairly certain that I wouldn’t be having a baby that night as I had no contractions yet. The hospital monitored me and bubs for about 90 minutes and they confirmed that I was not in labour. But, because my waters had broken, the hospital decided to induce me the next morning. We made a plan for me to come back at 7.30 am on Sunday to have a god damn baby!

When we got home my sister in law was waiting up for us because she had heard us go out earlier. I knew she would have heard us leave, so I had text her to say we were just getting a check up. I was trying to downplay things, but obviously she knew something was happening. I didn’t tell her that my waters had broken or that I was being induced, I just wanted to keep things to myself to lessen the pressure that I was already feeling. I am surprised she didn’t cotton on when AJ went knocking on her door for extra towels (as we keep our spare towels in the guest room) after I had soaked through every towel in our bathroom!

We didn’t get home until around midnight and I was starting to have pretty regular and painful cramps. My main concern was having another shower to wash and dry my hair in readiness for the next day. My hair was super greasy and I was terrified that I wouldn’t have time to get myself together before baby arrived. So I showered, but by the time I finished washing my hair my cramps had escalated and I was in quite a bit of pain. I had to get AJ to blow dry my hair because I really wasn’t up to it. I thought this was the start of contractions, but little did I know that these cramps were just niggles in comparison to real contractions!

The hospital had sent me home with sleeping tablets and Panadeine Forte so that I could try and get some sleep before the big day. Between the cramps, the leaking waters and the fact I was about to have a baby, I didn’t get much sleep that night.

To be continued…

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Being monitored at the hospital

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The view from the hospital room