Days 2 and 3….
Before I gave birth I carried around under my arm my metaphorical book on how to be a good mother and I attended the antenatal classes with an excited look on my face as I glanced round at all the other mums. We all thought we were going to do it in the perfect way, in the correct way and we were all full of that pregnant lady anticipatory glow.
Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing and there is no perfect way, it doesn’t take a genius to work that out. (Clearly I’m not a genius as it took me a long time to figure that out!)
So, moving on to the few days we spent in hospital. The husband had to leave on the second and third night so the Baby and I were on our own. I think he wanted to stay but the bloody awful chairs that they give them to sleep on were so uncomfortable I couldn’t bear to let him.
Neither of us knew what to do and I don’t think he had expected the near constant tears and worry that greeted us as soon as the baby arrived.
In our heads the baby would pop out smiling and laughing, happy to join us in the world and we would all ease into family life in a few short days.
Those nights alone with the baby listening to other women give birth were long and lonely. I had my beautiful baby girl who I (literally) couldn’t put down and I was so proud, but in the hospital, ladies with snugly new babies are two a penny so the congratulatory greetings from everyone who entered them room never quite felt sincere. (Is that too harsh?)
I remember that we had a little fridge in the room, which was probably not meant for us to use, but it was brilliant as it was so hot in that bloody room. I kept the big bar of chocolate that my sister told me to pack and some bananas and water in there, the mother in law also brought some sandwiches which tasted like the best thing I have ever eaten! That was a really good thing. The hospital food was not really up to much, although better than some other wards, so I was grateful to have some snacks of my own.
So, anyway, the breastfeeding saga continues with every single midwife (I must have gone though at least 15 by the time we left) having a different suggestion of how to make it easier (some of the suggestions were not actually different to the midwife before, but it was a different person saying it, so to them I assume that’s what counts).Eventually a fairly brisk lady comes in and muttered that I needed a pump and promptly wheeled in a monstrosity of a breast pump and told me I must do it for half and hour every few hours.
The machine was the pits, I felt exactly like an artificially inseminated dairy cow. With a pump on both breasts at once and the husband thinking it was hilarious to turn it up really high as my hands were occupied, meaning I was squirming and squealing with tears rolling down my face not knowing whether to laugh or cry. (This joke went in quite a long time and made him giggle like a little schoolboy every time.)
I ended up laughing because it seemed like every time I turned the dreaded pump on every bloody Tom, Dick and Harry wanted to come in and I ended up sitting there bearing all to the cleaner, the Bounty woman and every trainee medical professional that went past. Eventually I lost track of who did what and I didn’t really care.
Seriously though, those 30mins every 3 hours were abysmal and I hated them, but I wanted to breastfeed so I did it.
Then the brisk lady came back and asked me how many mls I had pumped. I just looked blankly and proudly presented her the few drops that I had eeked out. Her face said it all. This was going to be a long road ahead….
After the third night I was desperate to leave and we were dying to get our little girl home and show her the world and take her to all our favourite places! (Not that the jaundice meant she was ever awake, but when she woke up we wanted to do those things!)
So, I dragged myself into the shower and put some make up on (very badly) and scraped back my matted hair into a bobble and when the morning midwife came in I was standing there with the baby and my bags packed and announced we were ready to go home. (This was about 6am in reality!) There was no messing with me, I meant business.
We needed to have lost no more than 8% of the baby’s birth weight in order to go home. We lost 8.7%, but with the promise that I would syringe her formula and continue pumping they agreed to let us leave ( I am not sure so would have taken no for an answer at that point)
So by 10.05am we were on our way (the other halves are allowed in at 10am) Ha ha.
We got her home after a very slow drive home (quite the opposite to the drive to the hospital!) and sat her in the car seat in the middle of the floor……ready for our adventure to begin!