Rex’s thoughts on the big bad outside world 😉
I’m talking about me, not Rex 😉 It’s been six days since we bought tiny dino home and it’s fair to say it’s been a bumpy ride. When we arrived home on Tuesday night, I thought I would be happy and comforted by being in my own home, when in fact I was terrified. We got back about 6pm and Eamo put on some tea as I settled back in. As we sat down to eat, I took a bite of my lasagne and he asked if I was ok. It was like opening floodgates. I could not stop crying. And by crying, I mean properly sobbing. I was inconsolable at that point, totally overwhelmed by everything that had happened in the past few days and the responsibility of keeping this tiny person alive. As I cried into my pasta, I knew hormones were playing a part here as my logical brain was saying ‘you’ll be ok’. But every time I went to take a mouthful of my tea, I burst into tears before getting the fork to my mouth. I kinda wish someone had recorded it really because it was properly hilarious to watch. I was a right sorry state.
As always, Eamo comforted me and said all the right things to make me feel better. I felt selfish because I knew he was feeling as terrified as me but he never lets me see how he feels in times like that. It’s like when I was in labour and I know he felt totally helpless, he just put his game face on and was strong and confident for me. He always puts me and my wellbeing before his own and I often wonder how I managed to bag such a good man. In the end, he took my tea away and just cuddled me until I eventually stopped crying.
The no crying was short-lived because our first night at home, I would say, was when I hit rock bottom. I was a teary mess anyway, but trying to find our feet with Rex in the night, i.e. where he would sleep, feeding, etc, pushed me over the edge. By this point, I’d had about 6 hours sleep in total over three days and my eyes were struggling to focus on anything, I’d actually started seeing things I was so tired. I snapped at Eamo and as Rex continued to cry, I put him in his moses basket and just had to leave the room. I just couldn’t be near him, which made me feel even worse. After a couple of minutes to compose myself, I went back in the bedroom and gave my son a cuddle. But all I could think was I genuinely did not know how the hell I was going to do this. I did not know how to be a mum. In the end, Rex fell asleep feeding on me and I followed suit shortly after. I know everything seems worse in the middle of the night but at the time, I felt like if I’d had access to a gun that night, I’d happily have blown my own head off.
The next day, we had a home visit from the midwife and I can honestly say I’ve never been more pleased to see her. A lovely lady called Claire, who we’d seen before, came into the bedroom and asked me if I was ok. I burst into tears. Again.
“Let it all out, my lovely,” she said. “It’s totally normal.”
It was then that I told her I was pretty sure that Rex was going to starve because I couldn’t feed him properly. We stayed in hospital for three days to try and establish feeding before we came home. When Rex was weighed on day three, he was 8lb 1oz. He’d lost 12oz, eight per cent of his body weight, in three days. Think that gives you an idea as to how much I was struggling to feed him. As Rex was delivered via ventuose, he had deep bruising on the back of his head, which meant holding him and being in certain breastfeeding positions was clearly very uncomfortable for him. He’d let out a really high pitched scream that went straight through me. Every time I heard it, it upset me and I started to really dread feeding time.
The first few days, I hand expressed colostrum into a tiny syringe which I would then feed him with just before I breastfed to coax him into it. Eamo and I went through this painstaking process every time he wanted to feed for the first couple of days. Takes your relationship to a whole other level when your sat squeezing your own boob as your partner catches whatever comes out in a tiny 1ml syringe. But we did it, both wanting to make sure Rex got that liquid gold.
For some reason, comfort, I think, Rex will also only feed on the left-hand side, not the right, which meant my left nipple has taken an absolute battering. A lot of the time I spend wandering around the house with no top on, or with my left boob hanging out because even clothes touching my nipple hurts. Eamo is all in favour of this new look, as you can imagine. Although his excited face is a short-lived when his eyes finally make their way to my incredibly unimpressed face. 😉 This has also meant that as my milk has come through properly, I now have a humongous left breast and usual sized right one. So I have to sit and express the right one to a) make sure I keep producing milk and b) try to even things out a bit. I know pretty much every woman has one boob bigger than the other but this is starting to get ridiculous. I have one that I can pretty much rest my chin on and another that looks like a gnat bite. Good times.
Feeding has been better the past couple of days. Rex and I have worked out a couple of feeding positions that seem to work, but it can still be quite hit and miss as to how it will go. Sometimes Rex will latch on straight away, other times it will take me up to an hour to calm him and get him on, which, as you can imagine, has made doing it unbelievably stressful. I never expected breastfeeding to be easy, but I genuinely never prepared myself for how hard it might be. I remember when the health visitor came to visit us at 36 weeks and she asked about breastfeeding. I, said to her, all blase, ‘If I can, I will, if I can’t, I won’t’. I’m not going to put any pressure on myself’. Turns out, that’s exactly what I’ve done and because I want to breastfeed, it has become a challenge that I absolutely do not want to give up on.
I love the feeling I get when Rex does actually latch on and feed properly. A lot of the time, his little eyes are wide open and often focus on me, I also love the feeling of his little body so close to mine. But we are still at a stage where I may have to opt for bottle feeding, simply to save my sanity. The midwives at the RUH suggested we go and see an osteopath as his delivery was quite traumatic to his head and it’s over the next six weeks that his skull will fuse together. So we’re off to see one today and hopefully that might help with his feeding. Fingers crossed.
Hard life for the boys in our house 😉
Before anyone gets the wrong impression, I would like to say that there have also been amazing times over the past 9 days. I am absolutely in love with my son and watching Eamo cuddle and be with Rex fills me with a love and pride I can’t quite explain. Seeing my little boy’s face smirk every time he farts or has a poo, watching his little eyes open wide and stare at my face and when he chooses to wee just as I take his nappy off are just a few of the little things that make all of this hard work worthwhile.
But I’m not under any illusion that it’s all sunshine and rainbows but it absolutely fucking isn’t. A lot of the time I spend questioning every decision I’m making as to whether it’s right for Rex and the smallest things can me cry at the moment. I’ve always been pretty good at talking about how I feel, and I’m not ashamed to say that I have really, really struggled with being a mum so far. But little things go a long way. And that is the focus right now. We’re already winning today as while Rex stuck his foot in a real chicken korma-style poo, the rest was contained to his nappy and I managed to brush my hair and teeth. SCORE! 😉 Onwards and upwards (hopefully!).