… It’s very real!
Busy Baby (BB) was born on March 5. She was born at home, she came too quickly for us to make it to the hospital. Or, we weren’t willing to try and make it as I was 9cm dilated when the midwife came. I’m forever grateful for my midwife!!
Having BB was the hardest thing I have ever done. She’s 6 weeks old tomorrow. And yes, I do love her. She’s doing well and I am recovering like a champ. The reality of being a new mother isn’t something anyone could have ever prepared me for. Pregnancy and childbirth -even an unmedicated birth like mine- are the easy part.
At first it’s surreal. And painful. They put her on me and left her there till after she nursed. My head couldn’t wrap itself around it: this pink slippery thing, covered in vernix, amniotic fluid and a bit of my blood was my daughter. The pain was worst on the second day: muscles hurt, I had 4 stitches in my underworld (given my push time of 12 minutes for a first baby it could have been so much worse)… And my pelvic floor was both useless and painful. It took me a few days to be able to walk down the stairs!
We had a postpartum nurse. That’s one of the best parts of Dutch maternity care: you get a nurse for 8 days post partum, who is at your house for 6 hours a day. She was lovely. And she took good care of us, and taught us stuff about BB without being pushy.
Still. Between hormones (Hello Baby Blues) and adjusting to having a newborn who is completely dependent upon you… I cried about every other day. There were times when I just wanted to leave. Or throw her in the bin almost. It was almost too much for me to bear. I felt trapped: all I did was mother this little monster. Remember, I am used to working hard. And here I was, nursing and doing nothing else. It got better after I got sick when she was 3 weeks old. I was so scared that she would get sick too. Breast milk protected her. I started feeling that motherly love then.
Don’t worry. She still drives me nuts ever so often. I don’t know how she knows to start crying just as I want to get something to eat. Or how it’s even possible that she wants to be held the entire day.
I don’t think anyone can prepare you for the reality of breastfeeding. It was hell in the beginning. I was crying from the pain, and everyone has something to say. It got better. Mostly it’s easier than formula. Just whip out a boob and baby is happy.
I didn’t expect to be closer to my mum after having a baby. She’s the only one who could relate to my breastfeeding issues. That, and she’s in love with BB. Of course, BB already knows to behave with her grandma and saves her drama for us.
TDH is a fantastic father. I can’t imagine doing this without him. He bathes her, takes care of her when I want to go out or simply because he’s her dad. He changes nappies, talks to her, plays with her and feeds her bottles of pumped milk.
Nobody really warned me about the confusion associated with the various parenting maffias. I just want to know how to get something done. I don’t believe there is a ‘best’ way for most things. It started when I emailed the breastfeeding centre to ask about a pump… And getting a telling off as a response: not supposed to pump in the first six weeks, and if it’s necessary I need to rent a hospital grade pump. Oh glory. It won’t end any time soon. It’s impossible to find straight forward information on anything. And I simply don’t have the patience to do hour long searches on dummies or deal with people who are shocked that I give her 100ml in a bottle if she’s that hungry.
Oh. I also didn’t fully realise what a post partum body would be like. I knew, I am a doctor. But never during the phase of “yay no periods for 9 months” did I realise I’d have a period for 6 weeks to make up for that. Or, how painful ill-fitting bras can be in the early weeks of breastfeeding…. And how impossible it is to find comfortable ones if you ended up with a 32H… Or how you still don’t fit in normal clothes…. Despite looking like you should. Oh. Did I mention there’s milk coming out of my boobs? And I am hungry all the time?
It’s as if I am only fully ‘grown up’ after having BB. It has changed me. As if it’s in my nature as a woman to be a mother. If that makes sense.
Little BB, TDH and I are figuring out this whole thing. For the past 6 weeks I only thought ‘never again’. But we survived, and who knows, we might even be stupid enough to do it again.