So let’s go back to the early days. At 7 weeks Reflux was diagnosed and life started to get back on track. Feeds stayed down, screaming died down and we all got a bit (just a bit) more sleep. I finally felt like we were getting somewhere. I fondly refer to these days as AG – After Gavison. It was a revelation. We were still no closer to the illusive sleeping through, but there was a small glimmer of hope.
When I hit the 3 months mark it felt like a major achievement. The first two months were a blur, but by the third month, things were getting better. (Little did I know what month 4 had in store for us!) We went on holiday, had blocks of sleep in up to 6 hours (amazing) and Mummy was much less frazzled, but still cried quite a lot!
I remember taking this photo of her at 3 Months old and feeling jubilant. We had survived. We were all alive (just). I remember one friend saying to me about childbirth, ‘Just keep telling yourself, you’re not going to die’ and her new baby advice was ‘Just keep her alive!’ So far so good. Seeing that cheeky smile made the tough times fade into the background. Suddenly she was a little person. She had emotions, interaction and suddenly it all clicked. I remember the first time she giggled. I accidently tickled her when taking off her vest – the sound of her laughter is quite honestly the most perfect sound I have ever heard. She laughs every day now, but that first laugh will forever ring in my heart. It’s the laughs that get us through the tears.
As all new parents will know it is a massive learning curve. I could use all types of clichés (I would NEVER use it’s been a roller-coaster as that is my ultimate cringe cliché – aka everyone on X-Factor, Big Brother uses it and it drives me mad) But it has been the steepest learning curve of my life. And with Reflux it is just that little bit steeper and sometimes rears off the track! It makes University essay all-nighters, Work meetings with hangovers, Repping visits on one hours sleep and every other ‘Worst day of my life’ seem like a complete walk in the park.
I never expected the amount of vomit.
I never expected the sleep deprivation to be so horrendously crippling.
I never expected her to feed so often.
I clearly didn’t do enough research.
I am one of those annoying people who got pregnant first try and so despite wanting a baby for years, had actually done very little (i.e none) reading on babies and pregnancy. I didn’t have the books, I had never heard of Mumsnet and so I was launched into a world that I had no comprehension of. I was ‘Auntie’ and Godmother to several of my friends children and so thought I had loads of experience. Hmmmm a day trip to the park, a babychino in Costa and return to their Mums… Yeah, that’s the same!
Anyway, we were three months in. I had muddled through and I was doing a pretty good job. There had been A LOT of tears (mine not the baby’s) A LOT of sick – mine during pregnancy and hers with the lovely reflux. A LOT of nappies and a ridiculous amount of feeds.
I cannot believe how naive I was.
I honestly didn’t realise how often I’d have to feed her. Every 2-3 hours What? There’s me thinking that bottle feeding was the easier option. What did I know?
So here are my biggest parenting fails in those glorious first three months – there’s been many more since. And so as not to be a glass half full kind of person, some wins too… It’s not all bad. I’d love to hear yours as well to add to my next addition of the Spewzilla Chronicles.
The Snow Globe
Have you ever fantasised about living in a snow globe? The picture perfect setting of snow gently drifting all around with a perfect family scene in the background. One way to achieve this is washing a size 3 nappy! Yes, I did it. In the wash it went with a basket full of baby clothes. When I opened the drum door, the laundry room (sounds posher than it really is) became our own little snow globe. The joy of standing shaking every miniature piece of clothing as a flurry of a disintegrated pampers fills the air. Ho Ho Hopeless…
Bump and Sick
Returning from a long journey. Carrying the baby upstairs and to avoid another trip downstairs carrying your bag in the other arm. You stumble into the nursery and misjudge the width of your arms plus baby plus bag… and the baby’s head gets knocked against the door. (Only very gently please don’t alert Childline) She looks at you as she decides how to react… after a moment in time freeze frame delay, the bottom lip starts to wobble, following by a gut wretching howl (As if you didn’t feel guilty enough already). She cries. And cries. Then she heaves. Oh God. She heaves and up it comes. Wretch after wretch of cottage cheese. After a week of sick free suddenly she vomits in Olympic Gold Medal style and it’s all your fault. PLUS to top it off, the Nanna Police have dressed her, (My Dad’s affectionate name for a very caring and cautious Nanna) so she has layer after layer of clothes. As each layer is peeled off the cottage cheese smears across her head. The poor thing – eyes, ears, nose…. caked in it – And it’s all your fault! Epic fail.
Free the wee
So, we were a few days in (I couldn’t possibly remember which day) and I’m changing another nappy. I peel back the nappy, the nappy bag is already on hand. (Back them I was so keen, now nappies just get rolled up and lobbed on the floor) I remove the nappy, roll and place it in the bag then start to wipe her little moo moo/fairy/flower *insert word of personal choice* And then she wees. It goes everywhere. Her lovely outfit is getting soaked …. It’s running off the edge of the mat… Trying to mop up with a baby wipe is completely futile. Then, my other half pops his head round the door and adds the supportive phrase, ‘Oh you’ve not learned yet have you?’ he smugly points out, ‘Always have the new nappy ready.’ I realise now with rational thoughts and far less hormones that this was in fact an observation not a criticism of my parenting ability. BUT in at moment I wanted to kill him. I had failed. I didn’t know how to change a nappy. I was A TERRIBLE mother. So of course I cried. I refrained from killing the other half but a part of me crumbled.
God those first few days are tough and make the tiny things seem like epic fails. This was all put into perspective when my sister and Dad made the same mistake when on nappy duty. So she has christened us all! Phew!
On the subject of nappies…. That first nappy. Everyone had gone. Daddy had gone home, the midwives have left you to it. It’s the middle of the night and you are alone with your new born baby. She is wrapped in layers of vests, babygrow, cardigans, swadlled in blankets. It’s time for the first nappy. OH MY GOD, it was like being on the Crystal Maze. How could something so tiny be so complicated? (I had mocked the baby class idea where you would learn how to change a nappy and how to feed.) I couldn’t fit the nappy under all the layers whilst also negotiating the belly button area with the cord and giant clip. It wasn’t until the next morning when a midwife showed me how to angle down the tapes and roll down the nappy that we got into our stride – maybe I should have gone to the class.
I used to religiously use the changing stand at all times and would shudder at the thought of changing her anywhere else. By three months in I could deftly deal with a nappy in any given situation. Here are a few wins.
Being able to judge the angle of the towel in order to expertly catch the poo blast that erupts after a bath. It’s the only time in my life I have ever caught anything! Good job I did or it would have hit the curtains.
When it first hit me that I’d have to negotiate the pram up and down our huge front step, I considered moving or having a ramp fitted like the old lady next door. Seriously, how was I supposed to manage it? It was like taking a pram up Everest. I also needed a degree in mechanics to work out how to open and close the bloody thing.
For the first two weeks the other half did all the pram manoeuvring. But then when he went back to work I had to step up. Visions of her falling out, dropping her, letting go and her rolling into the street… I soon got the hang of it.
Now I am a pro. I can whip that bugaboo up and down any given step and it is in and out of the car in record time. Pramic over.
So, three months in and we were winning. I’m sure the parenting fails will carry on but as long as there are more wins we will all keep on smiling.
What are you best fails? I’d love to hear from you.
Thank you to all of the Mums that have contributed to the last Spewzilla Chronicles. If you would like to feature in next month’s edition GET IN TOUCH!
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Our blog is written by an amazing Mum and this is her personal account of Living with Reflux. In this blog she has shared stories from other families. Should you have any concerns regarding the health of your child please consult your medical professional. (www.livingwithreflux.org)