Ok, so you’ll all be pleased to know, Rex and I are still alive – HURRAH! The day of my last blog post we went to see the midwife for our 10-day check, and you can imagine how it went. We walked into the room, Kayleigh asked how I was and, yes, you guessed it, I burst into tears and kept going for about half hour, in between trying to tell her why I was a quivering wreck. Kayleigh was incredible, gave me a hug and told me everything I felt was completely normal. I explained my anxieties around feeding and, even though Rex had improved considerably, I was reluctant to leave the house for fear that he wouldn’t latch on when I was out.
After a lengthy chat, we agreed that I should just express some milk or take a bottle with some formula so I have that back up. Eamo and I had already discussed this at length and while I know it must be massively frustrating for him for me to listen to a midwife who is saying the same thing as he had, I just needed to hear it from a professional. Kayleigh said, ‘you have this all worked out, it’s like you just needed me to say it’s ok.’ And she was right, I did. Oh and I burst into tears again. But that, my friends, was the last time I cried. And that was four days ago. FOUR. DAYS. 😉
Usually you get discharged from midwife care after 10 days but Kayleigh said she wasn’t going to do that because she felt I still needed some support. I happily agreed and went to see her again on Saturday when she must’ve thought she was seeing a different woman. Rex is being a superstar at the moment (I know this is probably tempting fate) but he slept five hours in between feeds the night before and I felt like a new woman that morning. It was great to see Kayleigh again, she spent time making sure checking I was ok, then moved on to Rex. He was weighed again and is back up to birth weight so she was happy to discharge us. I felt elated leaving the hospital that day, and massively grateful to the team of doctors and midwives at the RUH who have all been absolutely incredible from day one.
So we’re doing well at the moment. I know all too well how quickly things can change but I feel much more prepared for the dark days that may come. When you’re pregnant, you spend so much time focusing on the first, second and third trimester and what to expect that you don’t even think about the fourth. And no-one really tells you about it and how, in reality, it’s the hardest one of all. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as unhappy and desperate as I did in those first few days, it absolutely put me on my ass in a way I never expected. It’s very easy to see how women can suffer with postnatal depression. I’m pretty good at talking through my emotions and I struggle to hide how I feel, but I know a lot of women who are very good at giving the impression everything is ok on the outside when they’re actually really struggling. Like Kayleigh told me on Saturday, postnatal depression is nothing to be ashamed of – it happens. No-one is going to take your baby away, no-one is going to judge you, all any of the healthcare professionals want to do is help. And that is massively reassuring for me to know, even now.
Home sweet home
Like butter wouldn’t melt…
Ok, so while we are doing ok with breastfeeding at the moment, we still have some issues. Rex still won’t feed on the right side, so I’m still wandering around with one massive right knocker. We’re still trying but it means that I am having to express from the left, which is really fucking arduous.
The other problem I have is actually going out of the house. The first couple of days after coming home from hospital, I wouldn’t leave the house. It sounds really stupid but I just didn’t know how. And the anxiety that I felt about taking Rex out just made me want to stay in, in the comfort and safety of our home. Eamo, quite firmly, told me that I had to get out and about. Which went down like a shit pie at the time, but he was right. I knew he was right (not that I would ever tell him that 😉 ). This situation was extra upsetting because I knew Freddie was itching to get out for a walk but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Wracked with guilt at not looking after my fur baby properly, the next day I strapped Rex into the baby carrier and we went for a little 10 min walk. I felt so much better, ok so Freddie still needed more exercise, but we’d got out and we all came home alive. I felt really proud of myself. Yes, I was proud I went for a 10-min walk – I’m taking all the wins I can get at the moment, guys.
Rex still won’t feed on the right side, so I’m still wandering around with one massive right knocker
Since then we’ve built up to half hour walks and we’ve been out in the pram a few times too. That’s not so much fun cos Rex seems to hate it, but every time I go out I feel more and more confident about going again. The issue I still have is that I am timing our outings around Rex’s feeds because I’m not really keen on flopping my oversized right boob out in public. I know that I have to get over this so yesterday we went shopping, although I was convinced we could get in and out of town without me having to feed him again.
I was wrong. Rex had other ideas. Being that he has barely any newborn clothes, we hit up Primark (no expense spared for my son). It was bloody roasting yesterday and he was a bit hot and bothered to the point where he had a total meltdown. I had to get him out of the pram and comfort him as Eamo paid but he was not having any of it. He screamed for quite some time as I wandered round the shop with him, talk about dropping me in the deep end, mate. As I strolled around with my screaming child, I reminded myself to stay calm. Me getting stressed would only feed into Rex and he was already going crackers.
He eventually settled and when Eamo had paid for our quality items, I told him we should go home. He disagreed, saying we still had stuff to do and we should stay as he can’t always determine our plans. He suggested changing him so we went to public changing rooms (this is Bath, it was super-posh) and cleaned him. I then decided to see if he was hungry. He was and latched on straight away. So there I was, sat in a public changing room with him hanging off my nipple. It’s these high points that I live for 😉
The midwife did say he would probably cluster feed around now, and she was right. I’d only fed him about 45 minutes before but it was like he was ravenous. I could feel my stress levels rising. I couldn’t sit in this bog for half hour while he fed, so I grew a pair, told Eamo to put a muslin over my shoulder and walked out, where we then sat on the fake grass in the middle of town along with everyone else and he finished feeding. It really wasn’t as traumatic as I thought it would be, which obviously made me feel better. However, I’m still a bit apprehensive about just flopping my boob out when we go out. It’s my choice to breastfeed, yes. It’s how I want to feed our son, but I’m not one of these women (although I really wish I was) who is happy to breastfeed without covering up. That may well change as my confidence with it grows, but for now, old wonky boobs here will be covering up when we’re out and about.