One Month with Rosalind
They said it was going to go quickly and they weren't wrong there. I'm not quite sure how we now have a month old baby but here we are.
My friend asked if I'd found the experience of having a baby easier or harder than I imagined, and I have to say (please don't let me jinx it), easier. My midwife warned me that I shouldn't talk about what a good baby Rosalind is to everyone because it will sound like I'm gloating but I can't lie! I don't want to be 'that' mum, the one that thinks their child is the best ever and constantly has to outdo the other mums and their children. But in this instance I'm going to tell the truth, and the truth is she's a bit bloody perfect.
Yes, we have days where she's a fussy and will scream no matter what we do and yes, it's tiring having a little person so dependant on you BUT for the most part from what I can tell we've been lucky. I like to think it's because of all the problems I had through pregnancy. The storks decided they'd give me a break. And I can't tell you how grateful I am to them!
I would say it's all been a learning curve and I've found things hard but in all honesty I feel like I am finally doing the thing that I've wanted to do for years and I don't completely suck at it. People have said it and I'm inclined to agree - Motherhood suits me. (Why is it that I feel uncomfortable saying that I'm good at something and why must we always try and play our strengths down? I digress but a post for another time perhaps?)
Mostly I have spent the last month doing nothing but looking at her. Well that and feeding her, changing her and then looking at her some more.
So much has happened already with her, little changes here and there. I'm trying desperately to capture them all and it's safe to say that I must have taken over 2000 pictures of her already and we are just getting started, but of course I think she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
Here's how our first month as a new family has gone!
Right from the word go we have been incredibly lucky with feeding. I said to Leigh that I was pleased that I was good at breastfeeding and he brought me back down to earth by reminding me that it's my daughter who is good at breastfeeding, not me. He's right of course. If she didn't want to feed, if she had a bad latch, if my breasts didn't cooperate, it would all have been very different. But as it stands she has never had an issue and I seem to have avoided all the problems that plague women and the reason for many stopping before they are ready. We currently feed her whenever she wants feeding, which seems to be all the time and she is also a big fan of cluster feeding in the evening before bed. I have also started expressing and introducing a bottle so that should I wish to leave her I'm not her sole source of food. We've tested a couple of bottles and she hasn't refused them which is great. The only problem I find is that expressing actually hurts more than actual breastfeeding but I think I'm just tender from the feeding and expressing throughout the day. A couple of things I didn't expect: You get really thirsty when feeding, it's easy to become dehydrated so I always keep water by me and I am hungry ALL THE TIME. Also the best tip that a midwife gave me is always make sure their lip is full, not thin when they are latched. I think this is what has saved me because it never hurt.
Another thing we have been 'hashtagblessed' with is the sleeping. Apart from a couple of nights where she's taken longer to settle, as a whole she has been really good. We give her a final feed/change at around 9/10pm and then we all go to bed. It's a lot earlier than we're used to but it is worth it for the extra sleep. She will then sleep through until about 1/2am, where we do a change and then she'll take both breasts before going to. sleep again until 3/4am where we repeat before she wakes to start the day at 7/8am. I've always been able to drop off to sleep instantly so minus the hours spent sorting her we are still getting a decent 6/7hrs sleep, even if it is broken. When Leigh is at work I handle the feeding and changing but he helps with the changing at weekends. She's pretty good at self settling at night and we have minimum fuss. From day one I made sure that I did the night feeds in the dark with no eye contact and no talking - trying to introduce the concept of Day and Night to her. During the day she is a little more spontaneous with her sleep patterns but normally she will drop off in my arms after a feed and can sleep between 1-3 hours before waking again for another feed. We have found that she doesn't like being swaddled AT ALL and we have been putting her to sleep in growbags which she likes much better.
I am hoping that Rosie will be confident like me, rather than shy like Leigh - just to make things easier for her in the future. Obviously it is still too early to tell any of this but for now she is able to figure out my voice and will often quieten if she hears me if she's been fussing. She also tries to look in my direction if she can't see me but can hear me. There are hints of smiles but for the most part those are definitely wind, it doesn't make them any less cute though. Rosie has times where she is awake and not feeding/crying throughout the day and that's when we have what I call 'Constructive Awake Time.' This is when I use pillows and my knees to prop her up so she is looking at me and I chat to her about the day we've had, pull faces at her or sing the alphabet at her. I'm not planning on her remembering any of it of course but it is all good social interaction so she can start to learn faces and sounds.
There have been lots of subtle changes over the last month that I've been trying to commit to memory. It has been fascinating to watch her eyelashes grow a little bit longer every day and her eyebrows are starting to come in. Her eyes are still blue and I'm not convinced that they will change to brown like mine. Leigh is thrilled that they might stay the same colour as his. We have been doing some tummy time and her neck muscles are getting stronger and stronger. She doesn't particularly like being on her front on the floor, much preferring to lie on us when she does it. Something that I had never heard of that I'll mention here in case it helps anyone - Rosie's nipples became incredibly hard and raised for a couple of weeks. This was in reaction to my horomones and is completly normal, I had never heard of it though and worried before talking to the midwife so I thought it worth a mention. Rosalind's cord fell off on day six which was very early but she wiggled against me and when she pulled away it had come off - she has an innie. We have noticed that she has a brown birthmark on her right knee, time will tell if it will get smaller as her knee gets bigger or if it will grow with her. Her hearing was cleared at the hospital, and she managed to avoid jaundice too. Weight at birth was 7lb 1oz and since then she has thrived and now weighs 8lb 7oz, which I am really pleased with.
I am healing nicely, there was some fear of infection a few days after the op but the Dr checked me out and I was given the all clear. I am still unable to sit up from lying flat unaided or by rolling on to my side but it will come. I have massively reduced my painkillers and only take them when I feel discomfort after walking. My stomach has stretched back for the most part, some in thanks to the 2 stone I have lost over the pregnancy (thanks gestational diabetes). It's taking some time to adjust to not having a lovely round bump though, I'm going to have to try and find body confidence like I experienced when pregnant. I managed to avoid the baby blues and didn't get emotional at all which is very strange for me, I cry at absolutely everything. Instead I have been living in a perfectly wonderful Rosie bubble.
Like I said, for the most part she has been a dream and I am amazed at how easily we have all just slotted together. Just don't hold it against me like the midwife said you would, ok?