What a rollercoaster ride these first 10 weeks has been. People tell you that the first few weeks will be tough, but my gosh, nothing can quite prepare you for what this little bundle of mixed emotions has in store for you!
We came home from the hospital just under 12 hours after Matt was born. I was excited and couldn’t wait to get to our cosy London flat and start life as our new family. The journey home in the car (where all the action had happened only a few hours ago!) was wonderful. I sat in the back watching over our sweet sleeping baby in his car seat. I couldn’t stop staring at his perfect face and beautifully pouted lips. His soft skin and immaculately formed fingers with their tiny finger nails.His frowny face! This was the little soul that had been growing inside of me for the last forty weeks. The kicks I felt daily, the hiccups and movements; this is him, this is my love. The drive home certainly felt a lot quicker than the drive there!
When we arrived home with our brand new baby boy, it all felt so much more real. This was it- Donal and I are now in charge of raising this little soul. What a heart warming and daunting thought at the same time. There’s so much you can do to help prepare beforehand; we attended antenatal classes, read numerous books and online forums, which are all great- but to be honest- nothing can quite prepare you entirely. In the end, nothing can beat good old fashioned experience and maternal instinct. As the weeks have gone on, I feel more confident as a mother and feel so blessed to observe how our boy has grown and thrived.
Donal was home with Matthew and I for the first week, which was really lovely, as we both grew in confidence and learned along the way. He was fantastic at helping out, from bringing me countless glasses of water and cups of tea, to cooking dinner and nappy changes; the help was amazing and I really don’t think I would have coped without his support. I take my hat off to anyone who has to do it alone.
It was tough, I won’t lie. As I decided to breastfeed, this meant that our baby was feeding every couple of hours- if not more. It was particularly challenging at night, when I felt so exhausted, I could barely keep my eyes open. the pain was dreadful at first, my nipples were so sensitive, just the slightest touch of fabric against them was agony. Thank heavens for nipple cream. After a couple of weeks, I actually got used to it and the pain subsided . And at 10 weeks, he is still feeding every 2-3 hours at night and more frequently during the day, but somehow it seems more manageable. My body is probably just accustomed to being sleep deprived!
We have a Chicco next-to-me crib which has been a god send. We have the sides pulled away and the crib is attached to our bed, so during night feeds- I can simply pick him up and feed immediately. In the early days, I would get out of bed and feed him in the lounge, but I found he’d then take ages to settle back down to sleep. Now, he drifts nicely into dreamland after a good old burp. (Well, most of the time!) He still loves lying on our chests and loves to be cuddled and held.
One thing that Matt disliked so much at the start was having his nappy changed. What a nightmare! He would scream blue murder every time, unless he was half asleep. I would say a little prayer before each change and just hope for the best. I felt really sorry for the neighbours! Hopefully the walls are somewhat soundproof. I’m so pleased to say that he’s a changed man (excuse the pun!) when it comes to nappy time. He loves his changing mat and gives us the biggest smiles. Thank goodness some things have become easier!
I feel so blessed to have had my dear mom come and help out. She arrived 5 days after Matt was born and stayed for two weeks. It was wonderful having her here to help. Cooking me breakfast every day, allowing me to sleep during the day, giving advice, those dreaded nappy changes and just being there to listen and hug when I felt low. My soul needed her so much and when she had to go back to SA, I was so sad. But felt so grateful for the ‘kick start’ at being a mom. We still chat and message every day, my mom is a wonderful, gentle human whom I love and treasure with my whole heart.
All in all, our sweet son is doing so well. His last weigh in- he was a whopping 5.7kg at 6 weeks; making him happily cruising along the 75% percentile line. We always knew he was going to be a big boy- just look at his daddy and uncles.
As I mentioned before, things are getting easier, and when he shows us his beaming smile, my heart sings with joy. It makes all those late night feeds and challenging moments so worth while.