People always say, ‘oh, you forgot about the pain of childbirth.’ No. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that pain. Also, let me just say, life with a newborn is such a learning curve! Newborns are hard work!
Those first moments after birth
I do remember the very moment that he was born (exactly 14 days over his due date!) We were parents! This tiny little pink bundle was thrust onto my chest and we just looked at each other, blinking, both a bit shell shocked I think. He had been back to back and refused to come out so they’d had to use forceps to get him out.
As we were staring at each other, I was waiting for that moment. You know the moment where you get that unbelievable rush of love for that tiny human that you grew and just birthed. But I’ll be completely honest with you, I didn’t get it right then (just to be clear, I do absolutely love the socks off the little monkey!)
Before I knew it, he had been whisked away again, to be cleaned up and checked over. I couldn’t wait to hear that first little baby cry. But it didn’t come. It felt like we waited an eternity but he didn’t cry. I remember asking Daz over and over, is he okay, is he okay? He was absolutely fine, but in all of the photos of this time, our little one looked thoroughly pissed off. I think I would too though if I had just been pulled out of my nice, snuggly warm home of 9 months!
Me and Baby J were taken to another ward to be checked over and I attempted to breastfeed him. He would not latch though and so I spent a lovely half an hour with a midwife with my boobs out trying our hardest to extract some liquid gold colostrum. Who said mum life wasn’t glamorous?!
Left alone with the baby
Daz had decided that he would go home that night so that he could shower and get a good nights sleep, ready for the next day. I remember being pretty annoyed! I had just been through this pretty major thing of GIVING BIRTH, not sleeping and in some serious pain still and he wants to leave me. Alone. With a newborn baby, that I’ll be honest, I was scared of. I was terrified of doing something wrong. Holding him incorrectly, hurting him accidentally, not knowing what he wants.
But off Daz went, leaving me and Baby J and the other new mums and crying, newborn babies. To be fair, I can’t blame him really. He hadn’t had any sleep for about 3 days and hadn’t showered in that time either as there were no facilities there for dads. He also wouldn’t have an actual bed to sleep in. So, yeah, I guess I understand. A bit.
Even though I was so, so tired I was terrified of falling asleep. What if something happened to him in the night? He might stop breathing? Someone might steal him? I couldn’t risk it. Obviously, I did end up dozing off a few times but would wake up with a jolt and instantly check the cot to make sure he was okay. I think I checked every 3 minutes or so that he was still breathing.
Feeding a newborn
Baby J had hardly eaten since he’d been born so I’d been trying and trying to get some milk in him. I was still trying breastfeeding and we’d also tried him on a bottle but he just was not interested. The experts say to do lots of skin to skin contact and this will soothe baby and encourage breastfeeding. I did not enjoy the skin to skin, mainly because we were in the middle of a heatwave in July and the hospital must have been 1,000°c. We would just both end up in a sweaty, sticky mess.
The next night we were still in hospital and I was just trying to feed Baby J again when he vomited this clear, mucous type liquid everywhere. In an absolute panic, I called the midwives, convinced that there was something terribly wrong with him. The midwives reassured me that this was normal for a newborn. He was just getting the last of the stuff off of his lungs from being in the womb. I couldn’t relax though, what if this happened and I was asleep and he choked on it?
That night, I tried so hard to stay awake but I dozed off and the next thing I know I can hear him being sick! I picked him up quickly and called the midwives again in floods of tears. At that moment I had no idea how I was going to do this. How was I going to be a mum? How could I keep this incredible little miracle alive? I would never sleep again.
The next morning I had managed to pick myself up and made it my mission to get Baby J feeding. We finally managed it with the help of nipple shields and we were allowed home!!
Going Home As A New Family
Once me, Daz and Baby J were home I wasn’t sure what to do. We put him in his Moses basket and sat down. What do we do? I needed to unpack my hospital bag so off I went to do that but all of a sudden I was hit with waves of emotions. I had packed this bag during pregnancy and now here I am unpacking, with my baby downstairs with my husband.
Due to Baby J not eating much, he hadn’t had many wet nappies so the hospital had told us to keep an eye on it, and if he didn’t have a wee, to give them a call. Well, when we checked his nappy and saw that he had done a wee me and Daz just burst into tears and hugged each other. I had never been so happy for someone having a wee! I think we were both a bit emotional and drained.
The first few weeks at home with a newborn
That first week with Baby J are a blur. The few weeks really. A lovely, emotional, crazy blur. I remember in that first week, it would take us all day to eat one meal and to have a shower. At 11 pm we would sit down, exhausted. How did people normally cope with a newborn?? How could people have more than one child? Would this ever get easier? Would I ever be able to have anything that resembles a normal life ever again? Yes, is the answer, but it didn’t feel it at the time.
What happens to your body after giving birth
Now, what made those early weeks more fun was the great things that happened to my body after childbirth. Some I had expected, some no one told me about.
- My legs and feet swelled, massively! I looked like I was suffering from elephantiasis. And it was soo painful. That lasted for a good 3-4 days
- Breastfeeding pain. Milk coming in and a mum and baby with no idea what they’re doing. Thankfully we managed to pick up breastfeeding quite quickly after we got home but there were a few weeks of sore, dry and cracked nipples. Ouch. Also related to breastfeeding, the pain of engorged boobs and the fact that all my bubba had to do was blink and my boobs would start leaking uncontrollably. That was fun.
- Episiotomy pain and healing. I don’t think that I need to say more, do you?
- Now, this last one is embarrassing but you know everything else, right? So I know a lot of women suffer from a weak bladder after giving birth, but for me, I couldn’t stop farting. I would never dream of farting in front of even my own husband before all this, let alone strangers, but all of a sudden I had lost control of that. I would fart whenever the need took hold of me and there was nothing I was able to do to stop it. So yeah, that was fun. (Just to clarify, I have completely regained control of bodily functions now.)
For the complete list of what to expect, make sure you check out my post What Happens To Your Body After Giving Birth.
To help with the healing process of everything, my midwife had suggested that I take a bath as opposed to shower. Alright, no problem. No, it was a big problem for one little person. Baby J could be fully asleep and settled but as soon as I touched that water he’d be awake and we’d have a screaming, crying baby on our hands. It was from this that we found out he was a rock head. Daz would play him ‘Walk’ by the Foo Fighters and dance around the living room and Baby J would settle and sleep again. That song still calms him down now.
Life with a newborn is a learning curve
Things definitely got easier and we were soon able to eat and shower like normal people. And just when you start to get the hang of this parenting malarkey, something will happen to make you realise that actually, you don’t have a clue what you’re doing. But believe me, every tired, worn out, difficult, stressful, emotional second of this journey it so totally worth it. I honestly would go through the pain of labour every single day for that little man.
It would be interesting to hear other people’s experience/thoughts of life with a newborn so if you want to, please leave a comment! ☺️