Coping with ten weeks of tears… Warning: this blog requires ear plugs. #Part One
This week little P has her half birthday. ‘Where has the time gone?’ feels like it should trip off the tongue next. But you know what? Up until recently, it’s happened in slo-mo compared to blinking and missing my first maternity leave.
The first ten weeks of her little life were some of the hardest of mine. And the longest. It sounds awful to say it but they couldn’t go fast enough. She was such an unhappy baby…
I had a planned C section back in April. The weirdest thing ever! I had given birth to M naturally 3 years ago, but as it was a complicated birth I was offered a C-section this time. Picking your child’s birth date is a surreal experience. We were sitting in the consultant’s office when he pulls up a calendar on his computer and says, “OK so this is the week we’re looking at for your delivery, any date in particular you’d like?”. We were baffled and pulled out our diary to check plans (like we had any!) and childcare options and also ran the dates around our mouths to see what would sound nice. Totally bizarre. Anyway, the whole C-section and recovery period is another blog post entirely as it knocked me for six.
Little P was born in the morning. We were overjoyed to have a healthy little girl and I sobbed myself silly with happiness when I held her for the first time. After a day of feeding, cuddling and feeling on top of the world, I wasn’t prepared for that first night in hospital on my own with her. You know how most people tell stories of how awful the sleeping is on the postnatal ward because of screaming babies, exhausted mental mums and the like? Well that described Little P and I. All the other mums and babies on my shared ward were silent, the odd snuffle, shush or lamp coming on. But my baby just didn’t stop crying. And I found being totally bedbound and unable to pick her up after surgery so upsetting. I had to ring my hospital alarm for someone to give her to me, or change her nappy even. So every 10 minutes pretty much.
Whatever I did, she just wouldn’t stop. The lead midwife took pity on me at one point as I burst into tears at 3am, in pain, unable to calm her and having not had a wink of sleep, and took her from me for 45 mins. She was so kind. I remember her saying “I can’t feed her for you my darling, but I can give her cuddles and let you have a sleep.” When she brought her back for food she sighed ‘what a windy little one you have!’ and confessed she hadn’t really stopped crying, but been bounced around by all the midwives in the meantime.
By the time Mr MM arrived first thing I was a total mess. He came 15 minutes after the ward opened to visitors and I was beside myself, still unable to move much and having been watching the door and the seconds tick by since 8am, biting my wobbly lip. They even sent the baby blues people round as I kept randomly bursting into tears (very unlike me), and I could tell he was really worried about me. I put it down to complete lack of sleep and crazy hormones though, and after the kind staff let him stay over the second night, I got a bit of sleep and felt stronger the next day.
Anyway, we got through those first two nights together and by day three we were home.
We had a two week honeymoon period of newborn eating and sleeping, and an amazing Wednesday I remember when Mr MM was on paternity leave, M was at nursery all day and we decided to just bunker down in the lounge and Netflix it up. Little P would wake for food, then a cuddle, then go back to sleep and I thought I had the ‘easier second baby’ thing nailed… that day was bliss.
Even more heavenly in hindsight, because pretty much the same time that Mr MM went back to work, Little P decided it was time to remind me how she started life off that night in the hospital by turning psycho baby on me. She genuinely didn’t stop crying for eight weeks. She’d cry:
– in the car
– in the buggy
– in her cot
– in my arms
– on the boob
– on the bottle
– on her back
– on her front
– being bounced
– being left
– on her playmat
– INSIDE MY HEAD
M was only at nursery one and a half days a week, so poor big brother also spent most of the time shouting over her crying to be heard, asking why she was in fact crying again, or telling me he couldn’t hear his music in the car because Little P was screaming so loud. I often had to tell him ‘I honestly don’t know’ and try to change the subject. Or ask him for ideas on her problem actually! But it really was a struggle and I felt huge guilt for him adapting to his new life as not only one of two, but also as brother of a very loud and upset little sister (and Mummy at times!).
Pause. Deep breath.
It’s interesting as while I’m writing this, so much more detail than I thought I’d remember has come flooding back, so in an effort to prevent your eyes glazing over or deciding you’ll never have (more) kids, I’ll continue the post here with some of the reasons why we think she was so unsettled, and how it’s been since… There is a happy ending I’m pleased to say!