As I lay here, looking down at my sweet baby in his Moses basket.. I wonder how on earth I became so lucky to deserve such a gorgeous child. Yes, it’s 12:25am and I have had a maximum of 4 hours sleep every night since he’s been born, somehow seeing my son smile at me fuels my energy to keep going and going.
Motherhood has tried and tested my patience and made me cry like a baby (no pun intended) but it has also been the most amazing nine weeks of my entire life. And life before Archie – empty. He has filled the hole I always had and filled my heart with joy.
Archie came home with us when he was a day old. 8lb 15oz of perfection. His grandparents and auntie and uncle awaited his arrival and he was marveled at for hours that night. No body could keep their eyes off him. Then all of a sudden – a week had passed. Visitors, midwives and health visitors came and went, the days merged into one, and sleep no longer existed. Not because Archie kept us up all night – because he didn’t, not really. He woke every three hours religiously for his feeds but in between I couldn’t help but watch him breathe and twitch in his sleep. Sometimes he even laughed and smiled in his sleep.
Two weeks and three hundred and seventy nine pictures later, the dreaded c-word kicked in. COLIC. Every night at 5pm, Archie would have his feed and then would scream for about five hours. Of course, it was typical that Daniel left for work at 5pm, so it was just me, Archie and the colic left in the flat. Archie would cry in my arms, sometimes would get so upset he would choke…and I would cry too – hysterically. Google was probably my worst enemy at this stage. ‘why won’t my baby stop crying?’ came up with a million different answers that I didn’t want to self diagnose, so a trip to the doctors it was! To my horror, there isn’t much anyone can do for babies with colic, it just goes away with time. I read somewhere that one baby had colic for 6 months. You can imagine how terrified I was. ‘is this what being a mum is like?’ I kept thinking to myself. ‘how can I enjoy being a mum when I dread every evening?’ it was hard..I’m not going to sugar coat it. It amazed me how people come out the other end, but they just do.
Archie attracted attention where ever he went, and he still does. Those big blue eyes and chubby cheeks definitely makes the ladies coo over him. I absolutely love showing him off, getting him dressed up in cute little outfits and taking him out with me. I have an overwhelming sense of pride beaming out of my skin.
The one silly thing that Daniel and I found hard was sharing our boy. Since the first day we brought him home, he has been so lucky to have so many people that love him dearly and want to be around him all of the time. Daniel and I, both parents for the first time – began getting jealous and protective over our son, because it was new to us too. We wanted to push the pushchair, change every nappy and soothe him when he cried, but because we were surrounded by family most of the time, there were plenty of hands that wanted to too. I don’t really know if everybody goes through this, or whether we are just very protective parents but we just wanted to do everything for him. We have since learned that we need time to ourselves and we need to let Archie have time with people besides us. I think getting the balance right can be very challenging to us newbie parents.
Breastfeeding. One of the most natural things a mother could do. So why is it so bloody difficult? The first couple of days were fine – toe curling but fine. Archie only needed a tiny tiny amount of colostrum to fill his little belly.But once my milk came in, that’s when the trouble started. The night it happened at about 3AM, my boobs were so swollen and sore that Archie couldn’t get anything out. So I tried hand expressing, like what I was doing with the colostrum but that didn’t work, then I tried nipple shields and they were an epic fail. Archie was getting more and more distressed so I tried the breast pump and luckily it worked, and also relieved the discomfort I was experiencing. Safe to say that Archie loved the bottle, and guzzled the expressed milk down in no time. The only down side, was that we got into the habit of expressing milk for going out – so that I didn’t have to breastfeed in public.
I know that I shouldn’t have felt embarrassed or worried about what people would think, but I did. I think I breastfed Archie twice in public, that was it. And that was because I absolutely had to. So after a couple of days of Archie drinking out of his bottle, he wasn’t very compliant with the boob. He would latch on for about five minutes and then scream and scream. We had got him too used to bottles!! After this, I expressed every single bottle for him so that he was still getting breast milk. It took me about five minutes to fill a 5oz bottle which was pretty good – luckily. But it was so difficult to prepare for the day if we were going out, I would just be a milk machine for the morning, filling bottle after bottle. Safe to say my hands were crippled afterwards. After 6 weeks of purely expressing bottles, enough was enough and I decided to put Archie on formula. It took a long time for my milk to disappear, and I would soak through so many bras and breast pads, that is the beauty of breastfeeding. It’s messy business.
Exhaustion will hit like a ton of bricks, and the claws will come out ready to attack the closes person to you. Unfortunately, Daniel was in the firing line. He managed to sleep through Archie’s coo’s and gurgles and cries when he was ready for his night feeds, so I was getting up to do them all. As I stood rocking and singing to my over tired baby that wouldn’t fall back to sleep, I found myself giving peaceful sleeping Daniel, daggers from across the room. ‘why does he get to bloody sleep all night’ in the mornings (6am) I would be up again with Archie, and Daniel would still be blissfully sleeping. So occasionally I would shake Daniel, wake him up and pass Archie to him and disappear into the bath. Then he would get a mouthful from me about how tired I am and how unfair it is that he gets double the amount of sleep than me. Guilty me would reflect in the bath and apologise to Daniel after I realised that I was being completely unreasonable. I’ve got to give it to him, he has dealt with my moods really well – sleep deprived, hormonal new mums aren’t always a joy to be around!
8 weeks of Archie, and it’s time for the immunisations. The dreaded triple jab. I cradled my happy little boy in the surgery, as he innocently looked around the room at the bright lights and colours. Little did he know that the nurse standing in front of him was about to cause him a lot of pain. Yep – he screamed the place down. My heart broke into tiny pieces as he wailed again and again after each injection. His little legs kicking and his watery eyes looking into mine for reassurance. This is it – a tiny human looking up at me…his mummy…for reassurance, for guidance, for love.
Being a mummy has proven so far to be tough and absolutely amazing. Tough because of the sleepless nights, the worry and the heartbreak of not being able to help him when he is in pain. But seeing my angel in the bath, trying to swim and laugh, seeing him look up at me and smile, hearing him gurgle as he tries to speak to me, watching him watching the world go by makes the tough times disappear.
So yes, it’s 12:25am, my baby son is wide awake, I haven’t slept a full nights sleep since he has been born, I’ve gained 2 stone, I have stretch marks, saggy skin, rings under my eyes, unwashed laundry and unwashed dishes but life couldn’t be more perfect.
Thank you so much for reading,
Lots of love, Laura & Archie