Males may not be overly interested in this post, females may not be either but if you are ok about reading some gushy words related to the little guy that stole my heart (plus some honest reflections on how hellish life as a new mum initially was) then please do read on – if not, then on Monday I promise to have returned to more regular content!
When I finally came up out of the fog of the first 6 weeks (hmmm, maybe more like 10 weeks) I was blown away by the love that you can have for such a little speck of a human being. Who would have thought that your heart could almost burst with love? So much so that you actually don’t mind getting up in the middle of the night once, twice, three times, as you get to hold that precious bundle that we made, WE MADE!!!!!
I have to say that the first ten weeks were Tough (yep, tough with a capital T). Any parent who has/had a newborn with reflux will know how much it SUCKS. Holding a screaming baby who looks at you with such imploring eyes and yet you can’t make them feel any better is one of the hardest things in the world. As my husband described it, poor Axel looked like he was drinking razor blades – not a good situation for anyone and a particularly rude introduction to parenting. Lucky he was so cute otherwise we might have traded him in; no of course not really, but having your firstborn arrive a month early, not being able to take him home to your house as it was flooded and you are still in the process of repairing things, then to discover he has reflux, plus feeding not coming naturally to the wee cherub as he was early – hmmmm what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? Absolutely it does.
Things I have learnt on this amazing ride of motherhood so far…
1. Family are the bomb! – I couldn’t have done it without them. Kindly my parents had us to stay at their home while ours was being repaired. It’s funny how things work out though, as I’m sure I would have been asking mum to come stay anyway due to the curveballs that Axel threw at me and my predetermined expectations of motherhood in those first few weeks. Having an amazing sounding board, a shoulder to cry on, someone to cook delicious meals for us, someone to send me to bed for a nap (I could go on and on here) was the most incredible thing to have as a new mum I could have had. It allowed Eli to sort things at our house, without having to worry about Axel and I so much, so we could get home.
2. Mothers guilt gets you from the start! – Axel is apparently not a boob man. After battling for about a month to get the little guy to latch (and finally getting it only for him to feed for 2 hours at a time because my milk supply had dropped due to sleep deprivation/stress) I decided to pump my breast milk and feed Axel via the bottle. SO not what I had wanted / expected / hoped for and I cried as I sat on the couch at my parents house after making the decision because I felt like a failure. Axel got four months of pumping before I finally had enough of feeling much like a cow at the milking shed and has been a formula baby ever since.
There is so much pressure to breastfeed these days and I felt as if that’s what we, as women, are ‘made’ to do? Yet for some mums and / or babies it doesn’t work, or they chose not to. Why should we feel guilty? I’m a total believer in happy mum = happy baby – whatever decision families make is theirs and no one should ever feel judged for what they decide or have to do. Axel loves formula – LOVES the stuff, and when it gets vomited back up on our new carpet I don’t feel frustrated, as I hadn’t spent 20 minutes pumping it for him!!!! I had to get over the guilt of not being a prize-winning breastfeeding mum, but Axel certainly doesn’t seem to have suffered because he has had formula. The plus side of bottle feeding is that anyone can do it! This has meant Eli has enjoyed being able to feed Axel and we are able to head out for the occasional dinner date as Granny, Grandad, Nanny, Opa… anyone really can pop a bottle in Axel’s gob and he’ll guzzle it down!
3. Never say never – I always said I would never use a pacifier, oh what naive words those were!!!! When you have a screaming baby who is in pain because their stomach acid is rising up and burning their oesophagus and the only thing that soothes them is the feeling of saliva trickling down their throat you USE A DUMMY!!
4. Mother’s anxiety is a wicked thing – I have developed completely irrational fears since becoming a mum! I avoid reading articles in the news regarding terrible things that happen to babies / children / families; watching TV shows like Criminal Minds now keep me awake at night; when running in the dark in the evenings by myself I always take our dog in case someone jumps out of bushes and accosts me meaning I wouldn’t be able to see Axel again…. RIDICULOUS I know and I am definitely working on improving this one. I was very proud of myself when I recently returned to the gym and popped Axel into the amazing creche there for an hour and a half – I pretty much dropped him off and left; no helicopter mum antics here and Axel was perfect!
5. Honesty is the best policy – I love my girlfriends who have children to pieces (and those who don’t too of course); they are honest about motherhood, both the trials and tribulations, and they make me feel normal. Friends are a fabulous resource and laughter is definitely the best medicine (along with a glass of wine!).
6. You can love a human being so much that it brings you to tears – I didn’t have an immediate feeling of maternal love straight after Axel entered the world. I was in shock. A 4 hour labor, 4 weeks early, resulted in a teeny tiny baby and a new mum who was utterly overwhelmed both physically and emotionally. I needed a cup of tea and a sandwich before I could even think about what had just happened! But this little person very quickly melted my heart. When I would dream feed Axel at night and have sleepy baby snuggles with him afterwards, I would occasionally tear up due to the overwhelming love I felt for him! It’s an amazing feeling to hold your sleeping baby on your chest. At the time I made a mental note to take those precious moments to a special place in my memory to recall when Axel is a hormonal teenager and is screaming blue murder at me for not allowing him to take the car with a carload of friends while he is on his restricted license (or some such other parent-teenager argument!).
As the saying goes the days are long but the years are short – I can’t believe that 6 months have flown by. Watching his lovely wee personality develop is so much fun, so to is watching him achieve his little milestones (when he rolled over for the first time I felt like he had just received a gold medal – ugh, so proud!).
Axel is such a relaxed bubba (thank goodness for Losec – the ONLY reflux medication that truly works) and really is a dream boat. We think he is delicious but we are obviously biased.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone x
Here are some current photos of our happy wee bubba. (Plus one of his slightly over the top collection of shoes – I have a problem!!)