Friday, 4 May 2012

Ramblings of Parenthood

We had our first visit with the Health Nurse today. Her name is Alison, and she was very lovely. I’m looking forward to getting to know her better, and I can already tell that she is going to be a great support.

The services here are great. We can go to the Health Nurse as often as we would like to, and ring them at any time. The clinic can also do milestone checks and immunisations, which takes the pressure off having to find a good GP (it’s soooo hard to get into one here!). They will also see Mayana, so we can do her 3 year old check up and 4 year old immunisations with them as well.

Overall, we have had a very positive experience here. That’s not to say I wasn’t happy with our experience when Mayana was born, but it’s even better here. The midwives we had at the hospital (not just Heather, but the maternity staff in general) were fantastic. They were so supportive, and I didn’t have differing advice being thrown at me form every direction. They didn’t look at me disapprovingly when they saw me offering Reuben a dummy (not that he took it, but that was definitely frowned upon last time!)

The midwives who visited us up to day 5 at home were great. Even when Reuben’s birthweight dropped too low, she didn’t make me feel like it was my fault, and didn’t make me feel stressed or panicked about it. She gave me a hug and told me I was doing a great job. And when he gained 200g the next day, she celebrated with me and made me feel awesome.

So anyway, back to today’s check-up. I’m one very excited Mama today, because my little man weighed in at 3.12kg. That’s 550g above his birthweight! It’s a really great feeling to know that my milk is working so well, and that it’s looking like weight is not going to be an issue this time around.

Alison was very happy with our progress, and reassured me that his vomiting is nothing to worry about, even when it’s coming out of his nose. She said to carry on with the demand feeding (although he really seems to be quite a routine baby and it’s generally somewhere between 3 and 4 hours between each feed, with a few cluster feeds in the evening). We seem to be in synch, Reuben and I. Usually I get that  letdown feeling, and within minutes he’s wanting a feed. He also seems to sense the exact moment that I’m sitting down for dinner. He wakes twice at night, and almost always goes to sleep quickly after feeds. Sometimes not, but hey, he is a newborn.. and I now know how quickly this part of a newborn’s life goes past so I’m trying my best to enjoy it all, even when it feels tough.

It’s a different experience the second time around. It’s interesting how much comes back to you, but also the things that you forget.

For instance, I forgot how much labour and birth HURTS. Like, I remembered that it was horribly painful, but I had forgotten the intensity of it and what it actually felt like. I also had almost forgotten how much breastfeeding can hurt at first, and part of you might want to throw in the towel.. but then all of a sudden you realise that latching on doesn’t hurt anymore, and that letdown feeling no longer brings tears to your eyes. I forgot how quickly my body adjusted to being awake for a couple of hours each night. And how those little eyes peering up at you in the semi-darkness makes it all so worth it.

I also feel more relaxed this time around. Even for the labour/birth experience, I just felt so much more in control. I knew what my body was doing, I was more in-tune with it and more ready to listen to it. I think that coming a bit early was a good thing for me, I didn’t have time to finish reading my books and overthink and analyse everything, instead I had no other option than to go with the flow.

I’m better at listening to Reuben and following his cues, and feeding him is coming more naturally. Reuben can’t be my whole world in the same way that Mayana was. I have Mayana to tend to now as well: she has to be fed and dressed and looked after, and sometimes I have to leave one of them waiting and upset with me while I fix up the other. I’m learning to prioritise their needs. Mayana is also a super helpful kid, and I’m also learning that she can help out with a lot more than I have given her credit for or expected from her prior to now.

The two of them take up so much of my time – it surprises me how long it takes us to be ready to get out of the house.. and that’s before even getting any of the housework done! I’m doing my best to keep on top of things, and am mostly happy with my efforts. Peter of course is amazing, and helps out with as much as he can between working and sleeping.

We’re getting there… we’re muddling through and the four of us are still in the process of learning how to cope as the four of us… but we are definitely loving it!

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