I don’t know

That seems to be the answer to most questions I get asked these days, and I get asked a lot of questions.

Massive post today, because Mark is home and has taken the baby for a little while, and I have some uninterrupted time at the computer.

The boy seems to be doing really well, he has put on another 460gm in the last 2 weeks, so he is now just under 4kg. Swim nappies don’t seem to come in sizes under 4kg, so that is a milestone I am looking forward to reaching so that we can start swimming lessons.

As Inigo becomes more alert, he also seems to be becoming more needy, and I seem to have less and less time to do the things I need to do. I’m doing a minimum of two loads of washing a day now (I really can’t believe how much laundry a baby can generate – sorry about the cliché), and even taking a few minutes to hang it on the line can often be more than he can tolerate. He’ll sleep peacefully for hours as long as I am hovering over him, but he wakes up screaming if I move more than a few feet away. Baby radar. Amazing.

I can’t really think of anything to say about the experience of being a mother that hasn’t already been said, and far more eloquently than I could ever say it. One thing I will say is that I adore him, and that really does go a long way towards making the insomnia and exhaustion worth it. Before he was born I was concerned about two things – that I wouldn’t “bond” with him, and that he would cry incessantly and drive me to drink. Frankly, no-one would believe that the baby was to blame for my alcoholism, but you get the idea.

So far, both of these fears have proved groundless. My first look at him left me cold – but he was covered in poo and had a yellow acrylic beanie on his head. And I was still vomiting at the time, so I can hardly be blamed for not falling instantaneously in love. After a few hours in the recovery room, I was wheeled up to see him and allowed to spend some time touching him. I was still paralysed from the boobs down, and on a hospital trolley, and he was facing away from me, but it was important that Mark and I had some time on our own with him. I was pretty much brain dead after what I had been through, and softly stroking my baby’s arm was an amazing experience.

Since I couldn’t walk around, the midwives took a picture of him for me, and printed it on the office laser printer, so that I had a picture of him that I could look at through the night. Mark stuck it up under the clock so I could see it without turning my head. That picture was incredibly helpful in getting through that first night.

It was a few days before it really sunk in to me just how sick he was. For the first few days I was thinking that we would be out of hospital in just a few days, but by monday I realised that we were lucky to even be at Hornsby Hospital – if I hadn’t trusted my instincts and gone in to hospital when I did, then we might have been in a very different situation. Hornsby doesn’t have a “real” intensive care unit for newborns, just an emergency transfer room for babies that need to be taken to a hospital that does. That is where Inigo was taken as soon as he was born, and luckily the decision was made that he could be cared for there instead of being transferred.

I am still pretty much in shock about the birth experience. I had thought I was ok about having the surgery, and very happy that Inigo was born as healthy as he was because of the choices that the doctors made. But a little part of me still feels like I have been run over by a freight train, and I think it is realistic to acknowledge that I am going to feel like that for a little while.

As for the crying, I read a book called “The Happiest Baby on the Block” (thanks for the loan Karen!), and also bought the DVD. Highly recommended – it gave me the confidence to deal with Inigo’s crying, rather than let it turn me into a quivering mess. He still cries, but 50% of the time I can either identify the reason and rectify the problem, and 40% of the time he is just “having a whinge”, and the DVD gave me tips for managing it that work to calm him very quickly. About 10% of the time he just cries, and I can’t seem to help, but a big fart or a omit will usually make him happy again.

He is vomiting rather a lot, and we are going to see another paediatrician for a second opinion about the treatment. THe first doctor gave us pills to crush up and syringe to him, but they had an enteric coating, and seemed to make him as unhappy as the vomiting.

Was going to add some pictures and links, but the baby is crying – anon!