Twenty eight weeks into my pregnancy I took a bit of a tumble whilst walking the dog on a muddy field. I sat in the hospital’s pregnancy assessment unit, my face covered in panicked tears, and aside from the terror that somehow I’d hurt our baby I felt numb. I couldn’t even consider the pain I’d caused myself until I heard that little steam train heartbeat pounding away on the midwife’s Doppler. The second I knew he was OK I felt my own pain from the fall hit me like a bus. Believe it or not remembering it now makes me smile. Not because I was hurt or scared. But because it was the first time I realised the responsibility I’d soon have. That he’d be more important than anything I could feel. Realising that was the first time I felt anything like a mum.
Skip to Friday 12th February. I should preface this particular story with the fact that I’d told a few people (ie. my midwife and my mum) in the weeks coming up to my due date that I was worried that when I went into labour I wouldn’t know I was in labour. Unless, of course, I had a dramatic, movie style, waters breaking all over the shop, heads up. The response I got was – in a nutshell – that my fear was unfounded and when it happened I would definitely know.
So, as I said, Friday 12th February. I was a week overdue and spending the afternoon with my niece and sister in law when I started to feel a bit “funny”. I could see a faint look of recognition on my sister in law’s face when I described what was going on but chose to ignore it. After all, I’d been told that when it happened I’d know. And I didn’t know.
A couple of hours later, my sister in law now gone, I found myself bent over double on the living room floor but insisting to my husband that he should still go to the gym. After all if I was in labour, I’d know. It took me 12 hours of what I now know to be contractions in my back and front to admit that I should probably get myself to hospital and even then I only caved because it was 4am and I was getting no sleep due to the pain. So much for mother’s instinct… (Dumbass!)
31 hours, four midwife shift changes and a complete 180 on my birth plan later we welcomed baby Fletcher into the world.
The second I heard him scream and knew he was OK the pain and the exhaustion of the previous 31 hours disappeared. Watching him laid on my chest trying to blink open his puffy little eyes I looked up at my husband and thought my heart might just burst with the love I felt for them both.
It was quarter to one (in the am) on Valentine’s Day when he finally decided (with some persuasion) that he was ready to join us. Despite the limited amount of sleep I had under my belt I didn’t manage a wink for the rest of the night. Instead I just sat watching his tiny chest rise and fall and waiting for the hours to roll by and my hubby to come strolling back in. Remembering Mark’s rested, proud, beaming face come bursting through the door of my recovery room at about 9am (valentines card in hand and a minty fresh kiss planted on my lips) is my second favourite memory of that day.
Two weeks later and I’m still struggling to get some sleep. I find myself jumping awake at every little gurgle, checking him when he makes no noise at all or worst of all, being woken by a hungry scream.
I was forewarned about the lack of sleep. Everyone prepares you for this. But two weeks of being a mummy later and I still find myself getting emotional over how perfect he is while he’s sleeping in my arms, or how good a dad my husband is without (it seems) even having to try. I still love folding up his tiny clothes and marvelling that we could make something so tiny and perfect. I still fasinatedly watch him curl his limbs up into himself so that the baby grow that fit him moments before now looks like it’s drowning him and making himself so tiny that you can believe that, yes, he did once actually fit in my tummy. I still like watching our friends and family hold him for the first time and seeing the look of adoration on their faces too. I love inhaling the smell of his head and watching my hubby do the same. Or how satisfyingly toasty he is curled up snoozing on my chest. I even find myself feeling proud over his little burps and can’t help but find it amusing when he pees on me with incredible precision while I’m trying to change his nappy or waits until I’m showered to be sick over me.
There’s every chance that – given I’m averaging about 3 hours sleep a day – this blog makes very little sense. But essentially all I’m trying to say is two weeks into motherhood and I’m covered in wee and baby drool but in love all over again. And no matter how hard they tried I don’t think anybody could have quite prepared me for the emotional roller coaster that has been the last two weeks. I wouldn’t change a second.