We spent the first 9 weeks of Pip’s life struggling. Really struggling. She wouldn’t sleep, she struggled to eat, she cried constantly and we could not soothe her. She would ball her fists and scrunch up her legs, and scream. Inconsolably. It was awful. Beyond anything that I could have imagined during the pregnancy.
We were getting no sleep. She would sleep for maybe a couple of hours lying on our chests cause she couldn’t stand to be on her back. But then we couldn’t sleep for fear of her falling off.
Those were long and difficult nights.
I was never daft enough to think that parenting would be easy, and having a newborn was easy. But I never expected it to be that difficult. I sat and cried because she was in pain and I couldn’t help. I couldn’t soothe her and I didn’t know what to do. No, I didn’t think I could do it, I didn’t think I could parent. I asked if we could take her back to the hospital so someone better than me could help her, I asked if I could go back to the hospital so someone could help me.
And that partially explains my absence from the blog because I’ve been struggling with this.
Struggling because my baby ended up in the NICU, struggling to recover from my EMC, struggling to establish breastfeeding after being apart and with a tongue tie, struggling because my baby was in pain and I couldn’t work out why.
We thought it was wind from the tongue tie, we thought it was colic, reflux, we went through the options. We went to the hospital, they thought it was the antibiotics I was taking for Mastitis. The midwife suggested I cut out dairy, the GP thought it was colic and prescribed Infacol, the next thought it was reflux. I then ate a pizza and she had projectile pooping (my daughter, not the GP), so the dairy was cut out again.
Throughout this I had so much support. Not only from the husband and family, but from an amazing community of women, including Amber of Atomic Amber, Kelly of Tootsie’s and more. It does take a village and I’m not sure I could have done it without mine.
It wasn’t until we had a nappy with significant blood in it that the doctors began to think that she did have an allergy. Now we have measures in place; I’m now on a dairy free, soya free and nut free diet. Unfortunately, that’s quite difficult as a vegetarian who is also gluten free, but we will get there. It’s made such a difference to our lives, and Pippin’s.
She’s a smiley, happy, contented little baby. She can play now, and lie in her cot talking to us, and sleep. We still have bad days, I am still learning what affects her, plus now things are different we are having to learn about each other all over again. Her routines are different, her cries are different, and, now she has had her tongue tie done, the way she feeds is different.
I expected to get back on the horse, so to speak, really quickly after becoming a mum. I was going to take two weeks and then get back into work, I didn’t want to take myself out of the game. I wasn’t realistic, I put too much pressure on. Two weeks post partum I was still on antibiotics from the birth and having a daily injection to prevent blood clots.
I think I thought the first few weeks would be sweetness and light, tiring yes, but an enjoyable time as we settled into being a family of three. In reality we had a week together at home before the husband went back to work, we were sleep deprived and I couldn’t manage to climb into our shower unassisted due to a bloody great hole in my abdomen, even if Pippin had left my breasts alone long enough for me to get one. It has taken some doing to abandon my idea of what this was going to be like, and I am not there yet.
I feel guilty that I haven’t enjoyed it more, haven’t taken more photos. Honestly? I think the first few weeks are about surviving and there’s no shame in that.