Rainbow Baby. Week One.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Prior to her birth I imagined myself laying still in bed, laying on my left as I have become used to, and watching her. Simply watching her. Watching the rise and the fall of her chest, and watching the little flashing light of the breathing monitor underneath her clothes.

And so how has it been, in reality?



Sadly, the breathing monitor couldn't go on because the umbilical cord was in the way still, and the other one takes a lot of setting up that I haven't done yet. I've managed without. I wanted her to sleep on the bassinet next to me and I wanted for that to work, but it didn't, naturally, so I had to buy a sleepyhead, which she loves – just as everyone said.

She has fed what feels like a million times.
She has slept what feels like a million hours, and yet none at the same time. None at the right time.
I have slept a lot less than she has. I have not napped when she has napped.
I've had a lot of visitors. My parents (ugh), as you may have seen on instagram, they and I are not the best of friends. Friends (yay). My friends have realised faster that there are things I can't do by myself at the moment. Have you ever tried to use the grill to make toast, and then butter it, while holding a newborn in one arm?
I've had a little help this first week, I've felt a bit guilty about asking for it, but then I realise that at the end of the day I'm really not inconveniencing anyone that much by asking for some toast or a cup of tea. My dad's come over twice, and he's trying to be nice but he's a bit useless at everything. Yesterday he took Edie on a short walk and gave me a few minutes to myself which I used to tidy my room a bit as I still had all my hospital gear on the floor.
I've had about 20 cups of tea, about 80 cups of coffee, 14 meals, 1000000000 photographs.

I feel as if I am a parent for a while. Prior to this I was a mother without a child, someone whose baby was with them in spirit, in heart and in thought but not on this physical plane. I had to fight to make my position as a mother heard, to make my experiences as valid as the next woman's. Now, I have to fight to make sure my son's memory, his effect and his being is not forgotten. He made me a mother long before Edith did.

When we went out into the world for the first time, it was the first time in over a year that someone looked at me and saw a mother, because she's there with me, living breathing and physical proof of my motherhood. Whereas before I wasn't. I was just another person.

The paranoia has presented itself in a way that I didn't expect, though. Rather than being awake constantly watching her breathing it seems to have manifested itself in anticipatory wariness. I think of what may happen. So I think what it would feel like if I woke up and she wasn't breathing, if she got ill, if I had to call an ambulance for her, or something like that. Every time I look over at her sleeping I wonder if I'm going to see her breathing or not. I am pleased to say though that it feels different to when I had Ezra. When he was here I had this feeling of being an imposter like I was not deserving of the happiness that came with him, and I felt like something would happen, I checked on him constantly, I worried constantly, and I feel the worry is different this time. The worry is valid this time (though one could argue that, considering, it was last time).

I'm much more confident in myself. I've spoken to a few of you on instagram and I feel like I've just picked up where I left off. I know what to do. Many people I follow lost babies through stillbirth and so didn't get the experiences of taking care of a baby, where I did, and I have an advantage with the new baby in that respect. I expected to be up a few times in the night, I expect to have frustrating times, I'm entirely OK with what to do because I know that my decisions are all perfectly fine. I'm not naive anymore, and I'm not scared off by the "this could happen..." from the medical professionals. I'm comfortable in motherhood in a way that one can only be when they've done it before, and for that I'm mad grateful. It has made the transition much easier.

However, I still can't really see past the present, I'm having trouble imagining the future as an inevitability, or a certainty. Every time I do I get incredibly emotional, the very idea that this year, at Christmas, there may be a baby in the house is something that seems very much like a distant dream.


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