It’s hard to believe that nineteen days ago I was in hospital giving birth. It seems (and feels!) like only yesterday. Ruby is an absolute treasure and we feel so very blessed to have her in our lives. She is such a content baby…we are very lucky peeps!
The first few days in the hospital were completely draining with Ruby wanting to feed constantly. I don’t think we managed to get through an hour before she was rocking back and forth and snorting as she demanded another go on the boob. I was tired before I even checked into hospital as I could barely sleep the night before the induction. So by the Tuesday night, a mixture of exhaustion and pain medication had me hallucinating. I swear shadows were jumping out at me (and one of them funnily enough looked like Sharon Osborne!). One of the nightshift midwives was amazing. She took Ruby, told me to go get two hours sleep and that she would wake me up for the next feed. As a new mum, you want to do the very best for your baby and I kept beating myself up thinking I was doing everything wrong. The nightshift midwife was my sanity, telling me that I was doing a good job when I needed to hear it.
My hospital stay was short lived – I was admitted on the Sunday and left on the Wednesday morning. I was definately over being in hospital as well as the conflicting advice I was getting from every different midwife, doctor and consultant. But from a pain perspective, I still had a lot of healing to do. I may have requested to stay longer had the hospital have let me pay for a private room but apparently they are reserved for twins and traumatic cases. As I walked the corridors at 2am in the morning, trying to settle Ruby so she wouldn’t wake the other 3 patients and babies in our shared room, it was disappointing to see that all the single rooms were unoccupied.
The drive home from the hospital was a shocker. Ruby, obviously not used to being in a car capsule, screamed her lungs out the entire trip. I can imagine how frightening everything must have seemed to her – leaving the hospital for the first time, being in a capsule in a car, coming home to a new house….a lot of firsts that she had to get used to but she certainly did.
I swear I could write a book called “what they don’t tell you before a c-section”. There are so many things I hadn’t realised. I knew I would be in pain considering it is major surgery but I hadn’t realised how much pain and that I wouldn’t be able to sleep without propping myself up with pillows for at least a week. I hadn’t realised that peeing would hurt so much or even sitting on the toilet or a chair for that matter. I hadn’t realised just how much post partum bleeding you get or that you have to wear these knee high compression socks 24×7 (except when you shower) with this Gold Coast heat. You can’t bend over to pick anything up and for some reason, everything you touch falls on the ground (what’s with that!?!). I feel like I am starting to mend but I also realise I still have a way to go.
There are two positives though (aside from the fact that we have the most gorgeous daughter in the whole entire world!), and that is that I am just under 2kg short of reaching my pre-pregnancy weight. Yes folks, I have managed to lose about 13kg since I gave birth….and I have done nothing to achieve it! The other positive is that my c-section stitches look amazing! You can barely see them so I am really pleased with the result.
The support a new mum gets once she arrives home is awesome. I had my first midwife visit within days of arriving home where they checked me over and then Ruby, offering answers to the many questions I had. The second midwife appointment was 2 days later and they removed my dressings, weighed Ruby and announced that she had, just after 7 days, regained her birth weight and then some. She said it usually takes 2 weeks for this to happen so whatever I was doing just keep it up. I’ve also been introduced to my local clinic which offers a whole range of support and activities including some mother’s groups. Plus the support I have at home is great. Clint’s sister Kim has been an angel helping with the cleaning, cooking and washing…plus the occassional baby sitter so I can have a shower. I don’t know what we would have done without her. Clint has been a great dad, sharing the load of the feeding and nappy changing…mind you, he is way better at nappies than me!!
I guess the one thing that has been the toughest learning curve for me has been breastfeeding. After the first two days of being home and Ruby not attaching to the boob correctly, the visiting midwife diagnosed me with nipple damage. They were bleeding and she recommended I stop breast feeding and start pumping every three hours until they healed. I’ve given them a few weeks off and had a relatching consultation with a midwife earlier this week and we seemed to feed okay with her but then left to my own devices again yesterday, I seem to be struggling to get enough boob in her mouth (as I fight her hands away and try and get her to open her mouth wide enough. So just after a few feeds, I already feel the nipple pain creeping back again and am back on the pump.
Our first shopping outing was an adventure. Mum and dad came to visit and we decided to go to the big shopping complex. I had bought a whole bunch of babies things that I needed like a big soaking bucket, shade for the car window, more bottles, a gorgeous dress…you know the usual. We put them all in the bucket and I suggested to mum and dad we grab some chicken and rolls and head home for lunch as Ruby was starting to get grouchy. I ducked into Woolies and when I came out, dad had Ruby in his arms crying and mum said to chucked the groceries into the pram and off we went. We got home, had lunchand mum asked me to show her what I bought. It was then we relised we had left the bucket with all the goodies in it at the shopping centre. A few phone calls and we managed to find someone who could see it sitting there and grabbed it for us. What an adventure! But at least we didn’t forget the baby right? lol.
We’re settling into somewhat of a routine based on the Save Our Sleep book by Tizzie Hall that I have been reading. Some days work better than others which is understandable when you are trying to get a newborn into a routine. One of the things we enjoy is bathtime which Clint and I do together before she has her 6pm feed and heads off to bed (on the 7 o’clock bus which is what Tizzie calls it!). Here she is after a bath (looking very wide awake mind you!!):
Ruby loves sleeping to lot’s of noise. She loves to be in her donut pillow on the lounge with the TV going and all the activity of us going about our day. This is her sleeping as aunty Kim vaccumed right next to her:
Finally, this is Clint’s favourite photo of her. I think she is smiling but the doctor and midwives keep saying it is just wind (and you can see she has a favourite sleeping position with her hands next to her head!):