Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Early days {the 4th trimester} {Part 1}

The babies have arrived, so what’s next?

After lots of cuddles, tears, routine checks, possibly the best shower of your life (seriously better than a post ‘I’ve just crawled through 10 feet of mud’ shower) and copious amounts of tea and toast we were all cleared to move to the maternity ward at 2:30am on Sunday morning (a bit like getting in from the craziest night out you’ve ever had).  Then went straight to bed to recover right?  Ha.  Hahahahahhaha.  This is one Saturday night hangover that won’t be slept off.  We decided it would be best for Mr H to go home and get some sleep so he could be more use the next day (poor man had had a hard day and can’t cope without sleep….!) and leave the babies to me and the midwives. 

Your body has been through a hugely traumatic experience and your emotions are shot.  You still can’t get your head around what’s just happened in the last 24 hours  (even though you've been preparing for months) and you’re on a massive comedown from the copious amounts of painkillers pumped into your system.  All you want to do is curl up into a little ball and sleep for the next 12 hours.  But now you have these two little people sharing a cot next to your bed who you simply can’t stop staring at in wonder.  You know them but they are new to you.  Strangers you’re yet to get to know.  Part of you but somehow so alien. 

Just as your eyelids drop a baby lets out a heart retching cry.  Your mummy instincts kick in and you’re up with your baby in your arms before you can say more tea and toast please.  This tiny little being so fragile and, apparently, not at all happy with life out in the big wide world.  His brother still sleeping peacefully.  Is he still breathing.  Is he warm enough?  What if he’s too warm?  Is he hungry?  Does he need a new nappy?  How do you even change a nappy?  How do you know what this new little person wants?  Why aren’t my mummy instincts working?!

You ring the buzzer and in comes the midwife (thank the Lord for midwives! In fact thank the Lord for all hospital staff!).  She helps you feed, change his nappy and puts your mind at rest.  Ok so the baby is sleeping again.  Time for more staring.  Your eyelids drop.  The other baby wakes.  Welcome to the 4th trimester. 

Needless to say those early days were a bit of  blur.  We were in hospital for 5 days and after O dropped too much weight we were put on a strict 3 hourly feed schedule.  To be honest I loved the routine!  I felt like I had some control over this completely new and chaotic life.  Alarm set for 11:40pm, wake up, potter to the hospital feeding room, sterilise equipment and take tub of previous expressed milk out of the fridge.  Back to babies, wake them up, change nappies (to their tandem chorus of ‘why have you woken me up’ in A minor), ring the midwife buzzer, tandem breast feed by 12am (with some help from the midwife), then top up with expressed milk cup feed.  Attempt to wind babies (aka the impossible task), quick cuddle and put back down back to sleep by 12:50.  Express for 30 mins.  Wash up equipment, label and put expressed milk in the fridge.  Back to room and in bed by 1:40.  Alarm set for 2:40.  Repeat.  Forever. 

Ok so maybe not forever but this basically became our life for the foreseeable future.  Our babies fed every three hours for months.  We changed their nappies after every feed.   We had a system, worked as a team, slept whenever possible.  We could do this! 

But apparently hospitals are full of fairy dust that makes babies sleep.  Coming home was a different story!  (watch out for part 2 coming soon!)
Two little sausage rolls

Top Tips:

-          Everyone says this but seriously get as much sleep and rest before your baby/babies arrive because newborns are HARDWORK!

-          Pack your hospital bag early and try to keep it packed i.e. have a spare deodorant rather than expecting to remember to throw in the one you use every day last minute

-          As you approach your due date it’s nice to have a bit of a pamper but try to be relaxed about keeping your dignity

-          Buy a maternity/nursing bra with a bit of room – by approx.. day 3 your boobs will think they’re getting ready to audition for a FHM shoot

-          Make the most out of the hospital staff – they are amazing and a fountain of knowledge and experience

-          Try to get out of your hospital room to potter around the ward everyday – my favourite time of day was breakfast.  I’d wheel the babies out to the day room in their cot and eat my body weight in toast.  After a long night it was a.maz.ing.  Plus gives you an opportunity to meet expectant and new mums and have a good natter and feel a bit more yourself again

-          Think carefully about how you want to share your news and who you’d like to visit you in hospital.  You may think you can’t wait to show off your new bundle/bundles of joy but don’t underestimate how you may feel post birth i.e. like you’ve been 10 rounds with Mike Tyson

Top buy:

-          V-pillow.  Seriously the best thing I ever bought.  Great during pregnancy for your aching back and to use as a maternity pillow between your legs or under your huge bump at night and ideal for feeding in the early days.  I still use mine to prop the babies up to feed and now they’re sitting up I use them as a buffer in case they topple over.  And you can pick them up quite cheap from amazon! 

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