Friday, 15 March 2013

My first year a as a Mummy

This post has been an extremely difficult to write. I contains a lot of emotion and I am aware that it does come across negative. On the other hand, writing it down is helping me move forward therefore please do not judge me for it.

My first year as a Mummy has been harder than I ever imagined.  I always knew it would be tough but I was always told the ups would outnumber the downs. If I’m 100% honest, I am not sure that has been the case. The ups may have outweighed them but not outnumbered them.  I have had some dark days but things are getting better little by little, day by day.

I was not mentally ready for this baby. She had come too early. Within 48 hours of leaving home pregnant for a checkup at the hospital, I was home again with a tiny premature baby. Supposedly she was fit and healthy despite her prematurely but I felt abandoned and scared.  Scared they had missed something, that something would go wrong.

If I have any regrets, my biggest is that I did not have the confidence to “go with the flow” in the early days.  I was so concerned about her health and later not letting her get into bad habits that at no point did I just stop and enjoy those precious early moments. 

Things deteriorated rapidly between 6 and 12 weeks. She would spend hours on end screaming, especially in the evenings. The only way I could get her to sleep was to walk around with her for hours and hours and then as soon as I put her down she would wake. I tried every colic remedy on the market but nothing worked. I was at my wits end.  Finally after Googling some of the stranger of her symptoms I realised that she was overtired. She was physically unable to soothe herself to sleep. Within 2 days of putting her into a sleep routine the hours of crying stopped. This was one area where going with the flow did not help. C needed routine and she needed my help to learn to sleep. I should have done it weeks before.

C has never been an easy baby. She is strong-willed and hyper sensitive.  Baby groups have been a stressful experience. Baby massage was a disaster, she hated it. Hated being messed around with.  Apparently babies love to be touched. Not C! She howled!  Swimming was similarly unsuccessful. The acoustics in the pool, being underwater, the structured activities all resulted in her crying the whole was through.  I started to dread going. I wondered what I was doing wrong.  Everyone else’s babies seemed so content and happy. Baby Sensory, however was a revelation!  It engaged her brain, stimulated her. She loves the puppet shows, the balloons and the bubbles. These are things she can watch and appreciate rather than feeling manhandled.  C is a free spirit, she likes to do things on her own terms.  Once I made this breakthrough it made things easier and I was able to tailor our activities to things I knew she would enjoy.

I was dreading weaning. It seemed so stressful after the ease of breastfeeding. Cooking, sterilising, mess!!!  I waited until she was 6 months old to compensate for her prematurity.  My fears, however, were unfounded.  C took to solid food like a duck to water. Her digestive system, however seemed less impressed. We had constipation problems from the start. Sleepless nights, painful pooing. Poor C was really suffering.  After a fair amount of Googling I cut out banana and apple and increased the amount of water she was drinking. Within a week things has improved dramatically!

Even from the beginning C has hated being on her front. We tried every day and were assured things would improve but they never did. As a result, crawling has never been high on her aspiration list. From soon after she was able to sit unaided, she has wanted to be on her feet.

When she was about 7 months old I noticed a lump on C’s groin. Initially I panicked but then tried to be sensible and decided to monitor it for a couple of days instead of rushing to the Doctor. The lump went away. I therefore assumed it to be an inflamed gland on something similar.  About a month later a briefly noticed it again but it never stayed around long enough to think it worth getting a second opinion. The move active C became, the more often the lump was visible and by Christmas I was seeing it about once a week. I decided to take a photo and take her to the Doctor. From Googling it looked to me like she might have an inguinal hernia. 95% of cases appear in boys, however premature babies are more susceptible.  As expected, the lump wasn’t visible during the Doctors visit however he thought my photo was “very convincing” and referred us to a Paediatrician.  Unfortunately that appointment won’t be for a couple of months time.

I will always wonder if her hernia attributed to her being so uncomfortable on her front and her painful digestive problems, but the truth is we will never really know.

C has always been a Mummy’s girl. This has been compounded, I expect, by the fact that DH worked away for the first 6 months of her life, so the majority of the time it was just her and me.  Leaving the room these days, even just to the nip to the toilet, results in a full-on baby meltdown.  It’s so wonderful to feel so important to someone but also immensely draining.

As C approaches her first birthday things are improving dramatically. The more she learns, the happier she becomes. She’s started to develop an interest in books and loves being read to. She’s confidently walking round the furniture and is obsessed with unpacking and repacking her stack of beakers. I am so so looking forward to the future and doing more activities together but a small part of me is also breathing a huge sigh of relief that I’ve made it through this first year!

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