8 Weeks Old

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Age: 8 weeks.

This is when Augie goes through his second “Leap” in development where he will be able to recognise patterns, discover his hands and feets and be fascinated with light. Tick, tick, tick. He just loves staring at our shutter blinds and also the wood banister feature in our stairs. He has also started to try and move his hands and legs with intent. Previously he was just flapping about, but now he is reaching out to tap me or his toys with his hands, pushing away his bottle when he is full, trying to keep the dummy in his mouth with his hand and kicking his little legs around.

I’ve also noticed he is more sensitive to noise now. He used to sleep through anything, but now loud noises will startle him awake. I’m still trying to make as much noise as possible to get him used to it, but some days you just need him to stay asleep and you tip toe around him, until his clumsy dad inevitably drops something or bangs the door…

He is also really communicating with us by making all sorts of noises. We have great conversations! I am such a tragic, but it is so much fun to watch these little developments.

This leap was supposed to cause him to be clingy, cranky and cry more. Lucky for us, I can’t say I noticed nay major difference in his behaviour. I think he was a little fussy some days, but probably just normal stuff for a newborn. So far, so good.

Feeding: No big changes with feeding routine, we are just ticking along nicely with mixed feeding. I did take him off Infants Friend for a day to see if it was actually making any difference and he vomited a fair bit that day, so it must be doing more than I thought for his reflux.

Sleeping routine: He is still sleeping from 8.00 pm – 7.00 am, waking up about 4.00 am for a feed. I could not be happier with this situation! I feel so grateful that he is sleeping well and it makes him such a happier little boy. One night this week he actually slept all the way through. I woke about 6.00 am in full panic when I realised he hadn’t woken for a bottle. I felt terrible that he must be starving, but he was fine.

Firsts:

  • Forgetting the baby: I went in to pay for petrol at the service station and completely forgot I had a baby left in the back of my car. AJ was in the queue in the connecting coffee shop and was looking at me like I was crazy. I thought it was because he is overly paranoid about leaving the car when someone might want the petrol bay. Then he raced back to the car before he even ordered a coffee. Turns out it was because I probably shouldn’t leave a screaming baby alone in an unlocked  care at a busy service station. Shit.
  • Visit to dad’s farm: We drove the 4 hours to AJ’s mum’s in the country and took the little guy to visit the farm.

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Achievements: Getting some healthy cooking done and starting walking. I made a couple of easy breakfast/snack meals that I can grab while I have my hands full with the little guy. Some days I don’t get a chance to eat until 3.00 pm, which isn’t good for my breast milk supply. We also started doing evening walks when AJ gets home from work, it’s still a bit bloody cold, but hopefully spring weather will kick in eventually.

Banana Muffins (I added toasted pecans and flaxseed)
Muesli bars (I swapped blueberries for cranberries and left out the chocolate)

Things we have learned: The dummy fixes everything. I have one of those suckers on every floor of my house, in the car, in the pram and in my handbag. The only problem is when it falls out of his mouth while he is sleeping and I have to constantly go upstairs to put it back in. Come on August, get those hands working and put it back in your mouth yourself!

Appearance: He is looking less like a little newborn and more like a baby… if that makes sense? He is also so much stronger and can hold himself up in my arms instead of crumpling up. Unfortunately he can also launch himself out of my arms if I don’t hold on tight.

Mummy update: Every week I seem to get myself and bubs into a better routine. It has been slow going, and there is still a way to go, but we are getting there. Routine really helps me feel like I have got my shit together and improves my mental health. It’s a double edged sword though because my days can feel very repetitive when it’s just me and bubs all day and it is just feed, change, sleep (and cry) all day long. I would say that it is this repetitiveness that I find the hardest right now. I go through one feed, change, sleep (and cry) cycle and just do it all over again… and again… Lucky he is cute.

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7 Weeks Old

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This has been a really tough week for me, not as a mum, but just in general. Sadly, my gran passed away this week. She was my mum’s mum and Augie’s last remaining great grandparent. She had been in a nursing home for a long time and due to all the flu deaths in nursing homes this winter, I wasn’t able to take Augie to visit her until he had his vaccinations. He was due to have his vaccinations on Wednesday and she passed away Wednesday morning. I was just devastated.

I woke Wednesday morning, before I knew she passed away, and felt really stressed about Augie’s vaccinations that evening. I considered cancelling and putting them off a week, but the only thing that stopped me was that I really wanted to take him to visit my gran that weekend. We were really close my entire life and it was really important to me that she got to meet my son. Especially because my mum is no longer with us and my gran is the closest connection to my mum.

I feel so guilty that I didn’t take August to meet my gran now. Maybe I was being overly cautious, would it really have mattered? I guess I’ll never know. With my uncle passing away last month, it’s been a difficult time. It feels like all the pieces of my mum are gone now.

So after receiving this sad news I didn’t end up taking August to have his vaccinations that evening. I was already nervous about taking him anyway (because I can’t bear to see him in pain, not because I am anti-vax!) and so I was just too upset to handle it that night. I was getting them done through the council in a group session and so now I missed that opportunity I need to find a doctor to get them done privately. I don’t have a doctor in the new suburb I moved to recently, but one of the girls at my mothers group gave me a recommendation so I’ll get them done next week.

Age: 7 weeks old. He certainly seems to have a lot of character for such a little boy. He keeps me entertained all day with his funny faces.

Feeding: I’m still mixed feeding and the little boy is taking 150ml bottles after breastfeeding. I’ll breastfeed for about an hour per session and he is still starving, so he clearly isn’t getting much milk. During the nights I am exclusively bottle feeding so that I can get some sleep, otherwise his feeds take hours. It seems to be working for us.

Sleeping routine: This week Augie naturally dropped his 11.00 pm and 1.30 am feeds, which meant he was sleeping from approximately 8.00 pm – 4.00 am straight. OMG this is amazing! I am a bit scared to get too excited about this great sleeping pattern because I have heard horror stories about regression, but I am enjoying it while I can.

His day sleeping is a bit all over the place though. He was consistently sleeping in the afternoon, but some days he’ll have a big morning sleep instead. Some days he will only have mini sleeps throughout the day and get cranky and over-tired. This makes it really hard to plan out my day and leave the house. I still won’t complain because the most important thing is that we are both getting sleep at night!

Firsts:

  • Recognising us- On Thursday night AJ told me that it seemed like Augie recognised him when I passed him over, but I doubted it… Then on Friday morning I put Augie in bed with AJ while I had a shower and when I got out and saw them in bed, I decided they looked so cosy that I was going to get back in for a cuddle. When he saw me his whole face lit up and he was smiling uncontrollably. It was very cute.
  • Tram ride- I braved Melbourne’s public transport system and took Augie on his first tram ride. We live in an inner city suburb and I am a nervous city driver, so I rely heavily on public transport. I was pretty bloody nervous about taking him on the tram, but it wasn’t too hard in the end. AJ helped me on the first leg of the journey, but I was on my own for the trip back. Everyone told me that people would offer to help me with the pram… nope, no one offered to help me at all LOL! I managed though and Augie behaved himself so it was fine.
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First tram trip!

Achievements: Making it to my 6 week check up. I have found getting out and about on my own with bubs a little bit stressful, so I was dreading this appointment. I hate having to be somewhere at set times because Augie’s routine is so unreliable. Even trying to get to the supermarket can take me two hours because he will decide he needs a feed as I am walking out the door, then he needs a nappy change and then a sleep… And what if he projectile vomits or I need to change a dirty nappy? These things freak me out a bit. Hence why I am becoming a bit of a shut in. Lucky for me I have had plenty of visitors and I can walk around my neighbourhood with Augie until I get more confident with taking him out on my own.

Things we have learned: That our social life is dead for now. We can’t go to the restaurants and shows and events that we used to. We really wanted to go to the footy on Friday night to watch the Richmond v Geelong final, but of course we have nowhere to leave the little guy and he can’t be out in the freezing night with 95,000 other people at a stadium. This is probably the hardest adjustment for us because we really like to do things together. Of course we can come up with new things to do as a family, but we are missing our old lifestyle quite a bit.

Appearance: The little guy seems to be gaining weight well. I weighed him at mother’s group and he weighed 4.3 kilos. This still puts him at only the 11th percentile, but he is gaining the right amount of weight each week and he is definitely looking nice and healthy. Everyone is noticing how much his face and little tummy have filled out now. Funnily enough, the chubbier he gets, the more people say he is starting to look like me. Should I take offence? Ha ha!

Mummy update: This is the week I put a stop to my out of control eating. I was obviously using the whole baby thing as an excuse to eat as much as I wanted and I was starting to feel pretty crappy. I ate so well in my pregnancy for the health of bubs and then I just stopped right away as soon as I had the baby. I don’t want to put my health on the back burner just because I had a baby, if anything, it’s more important than ever.

I was eating blocks of chocolate, cakes and packs of biscuits every day because I was so tired that I needed a sugar hit. It’s hard to make good choices when I have my hands full with the little one, but I am feeling better already. I am certainly not being perfect with my eating and I don’t want to be either. I am still breastfeeding so it’s important I eat enough to keep up my supply and my energy. I just want to eat foods that make my body feel good and will hopefully help me lose some weight eventually too. I want to lose about 10-15 kilos, so it’s going to take a long time and I don’t want to sacrifice my entire lifestyle, so it’ll be slow and steady.

6 Weeks Old

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I go through days when I really think I have a good handle on this whole motherhood thing. Other days not so much. It’s funny how quickly a newborn baby can bring you down to earth. The good days do seem to outnumber the bad now. Even on the bad days I know that it’s just a bad day and it will pass.

Age: 6 weeks. This week he started to move into 000 size clothing. On Sunday night I packed up most of his newborn clothes and put them aside. Why is this so heartbreaking?

Feeding: This week I tried changing Augie’s formula because I heard that can help with vomiting and he has always been a bit of a spewy baby. He was on S26 (which is what they gave him at the hospital) and I changed to Nan Comfort. Over the next 24 hours he had some, well let’s just say tummy troubles… I had a friend visiting and he projectile vomited twice and made quite a mess of his nappy (in a very loud and embarrassing way). I don’t think my friend will be in a hurry to have kids after witnessing his performance. That day I had what I call my first trifecta. I got spewed on, peed on and pooed on all in one day… and more than once. In saying that, I do think the new formula helped eventually as he has been much less spewy this week. Or maybe it was just a coincidence and he is growing out of that stage.

I have been continuing my mixed feeding, but I am finding that I am slowly doing more bottles to keep him full because my breast milk supply must be diminishing. I really hope I can get this tongue tie sorted and that I can keep breastfeeding because I enjoy it much more than I thought I would. It is such a special time with Augie and my heart bursts with love when he nuzzles into me and reaches up with his little fist while he is feeding. In the beginning I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to breastfeed. It sounded painful and awkward and just a bit strange, which I know seems immature, but now I’ll be sad if I need to stop so soon.

Sleeping routine: This is an ever-evolving process. The good news is that every week we seem to get a bit better. I’m managing to get him down to bed earlier in the evening now. When he first got home we weren’t getting him to bed until about 2.00 am (and he didn’t stay there long!). Now we are getting him to bed about 8.00 pm. When he starts fussing I take him upstairs, put his sleep suit on him and then rock in the rocking chair until he calms down. We read and sing until he calms down and then I put him in his bassinet. This doesn’t always go smoothly, but for the most part we are getting him to sleep. It does still feel like every sleep I get him down for is like winning a battle. Then only a few hours later I have to repeat the process. It is relentless!

I learned an awesome new sleep trick this week. I was watching YouTube videos on getting babies to sleep and got a lot of ideas. None of them actually worked on Augie unfortunately. But I took inspiration from one of them and stroked down his nose gently. His eyes follow my finger down his nose and forces his eyes to close. This only works when he is already really tired and he is fighting sleep, but it does work!

This is when he is trolling me and pretending to be asleep:

Firsts:

  • Father’s Day- I put Augie in bed with AJ for a cuddle and bought him coffee in bed and gave him some cute books from Augie. Then I made us pancakes for breakfast. I don’t think we’ll make a big deal about mother’s or fathers day, just family breakfast and that’s about it. It’s not something that is really important to either of us.
  • Visit to Poppy’s- we took the little guy up to visit my dad and step mum in the country. It’s fair to say they were pretty excited to show Augie around home. He slept for the entire 7 and a half hours return car trip and was an absolute angel. I think he likes the car. I must confess that I am being crazy mum and sitting in the back with him so I can settle him if he cries, but also because I have more leg room back there. The bloody car seat is taking up all the leg room of the front passenger seat. Who knew having a baby would be such a sacrifice?!
  • Book- we read Augie his first bedtime book: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. I don’t think he has any interest in books yet, but he did seem to find it calming when we read to him. I absolutely loved reading to him and I can’t wait until he is bigger and is actually interested in books.
  • Tantrum- he threw a little shit fit in the supermarket and I had to get myself out of there before I even had a chance to buy my Tim Tams. Thanks Augie!

Achievements: The best thing I have done is get myself into a good routine. This week I started getting up half an hour before AJ so that I can have a shower and get dressed. AJ will cuddle with Augie in bed and then change his nappy before he has to get ready for work. Then I sit in my rocking chair and breastfeed for about an hour or so. I do another nappy change and play with bubs. Mornings are his happiest time and he laughs and plays while I change him. I take way too long to change his nappy because we are normally having way too much fun. Then we come downstairs, I make myself a cup of tea and make a bottle for him and listen to podcasts or music while we feed. It’s a simple routine, but it sets us up for a good day. Next step is adding a morning walk into the routine, but maybe when the weather warms up a little bit, it’s been horrible this week.

Speaking of podcasts, I’ve been listening to this one on the first year with a baby, it’s been really helpful so far.

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Play time on the change mat!

Things we have learned: I now fully understand the term witching hour. Every single night around 5.00 pm, my sweet little baby turns into a grizzly little monster. Is this why it’s considered acceptable to start drinking wine at 5.00 pm?

Appearance: He hair is getting darker and thickening up now. It’s still a fair way off a full head of hair, but he’s getting there. Everyone keeps commenting that he is filling out more and looking much healthier. I haven’t had him weighed this week, but I’ll do it at mother’s group next week. Who would have thought it was so exciting to gain weight!

Mummy update: OK, I think it’s officially time I start focussing on eating healthy again. I’ve given myself a 6 week pass after bubs was born to eat whatever I want and I am now feeling the effects. I did so well with my healthy eating during pregnancy and now it’s gone to shit and my clothes don’t fit. I haven’t got on the scales, but I have probably gained more in that 6 weeks than I did during 9 months of pregnancy. Unlike Augie, I am good at gaining weight. I better get this under control before summer hits.

56

Dear mum,

I know that you would forgive me for writing this letter a week late. Now that I have a newborn baby I seem to be late for everything. I am sure that you would find it hilarious to see me turning into you!

Just one month and one day before your 56th birthday I gave birth to a little boy. Your second grandchild, both bubs born in the past year. I named my little boy August to honour you. Your birthday is in August and the entire month reminds me of you. Even though he will now have to answer the same question for the rest of his life:

Were you born in August?
“No”
Then why are you called August?

Sorry Augie!

Having a baby has made me discover entire new ways to grieve you.

Every day I look at August and all I can think about is how hard it must have been for you to be sick and know that you were leaving us kids. I love him so much and my biggest fear is not being here for him. Then I burst into tears because I feel so bad that you had to go through that. It’s only now that I can understand the torment you must have gone through.

Most of all I am just heart broken that you have missed out on being in your grandkids lives. They are the sweetest little people and you would love them more than anything in the entire world. Being a grandmother to them would have been the best time of your life.

Oh and I could really do with your help mum! I don’t know anything about being a parent and I just really wish you were here to help me through it. Even though, let’s face it, I am sure some days you would annoy the hell out of me with your advice.

I made you a birthday cake this year. I like to think August helped me, and he kind of did because he had a long sleep and let me bake. I am looking forward to baking a cake for you every year with Augie, it’ll be a lovely tradition for us to remember you. Plus, you know me… any excuse for cake!

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Happy Birthday mum. Please know that you are missed in so many ways, every single day. Never more so than this past year.

Love ya mum.

xxoo

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Read 54

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…

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!!!