It's only 9 months... but it feels like Maternity...

Now Known As Postnatal Oppression

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Now Known As... Postnatal Oppression

Now then, where was I?

Ah yes. So I had a baby, and 12 weeks seem to have whooshed past me without so much as a by-your-leave. Well, well, well, having a baby eh? Do you want the good stuff, or the horrible stuff? Let's do a bit of both.

First of all though, I will quickly go over the first day.

I highly recommend having your spawn in hospital, because you get cups of tea and a mountain of toast to eat straight after you've had it. And a free bottle of Top-to-Toe wash (smells very nice to my nose; to the Husband (who hates it)'s nose it smells "like man-juice") to have your shower with.

God, that first shower - it was rather worse than the Psycho scene, and I was concerned about my wibbly wobbly stomach. It was really soft, like a barely-set jelly. But at least my belly button seemed to have decided it was going to stay an Inny after all. Also I was aware of an unusual... erm... draft where, let's just say, the door hadn't quite pushed closed yet. And I don't mean the bathroom door.

I got wheeled up to the ward with the Spawn in my arms still scowling furiously at me and the Husband staggering along beside. There were only 2 other women in there with me, both of whom had had c-sections I gathered. Once the Husband cleared off, I spent a while having a chat with the Spawn and explaining how things were going to work, and examining the bag of free stuff I'd been given (Fruit Flakes - nicer than they sound). I had dinner, then read my book a bit, and Spawn slept happily in his goldfish tank. During the night, he was the very best behaved baby on the ward - if it wasn't the one next to me screaming, it was the one opposite; and when the babies were quiet it was the other mums buzzing for the midwives. Spawn did puke once, so I had to do a bit of summoning myself. Safe to say, I got about 2 hours' sleep.

The next morning, I had a bit of brekkie and so did Spawn, and we blundered through our first nappy change together. He was very patient with me, looking very philosophic while I worked out that the picture goes on the front. Just as I got it in place, he produced a big black slug and I realised that I hadn't brought in any sort of baby wipe things with me (I'd had to use the free nappy out of the goody bag as well). Midwives to the rescue again, this time a whole pack of wipes smelling of baby lotion, and a stack of nappies. See, who says you need to bring all that stuff in with you? Rubbish. All you need is a book and a Mars Bar.

There were various people who kept coming round to poke at Spawn:

  • the paediatrician, a very nervous young girl who had clearly just qualified. Every time he squawked, she jumped, and her hands were actually shaking. When she tried to look in his eyes, he screwed them up as tight as he could, and no amount of prising, blowing and begging on her behalf was going to change his mind.

  • the Is-Your-Baby-Deaf girl, who again seemed a bit unsure of herself and didn't know how to work her laptop.

  • the Bounty Woman (why they were all women I'm not sure. Has the male-to-female ratio gone wrong? It bodes well for Spawn's future, all these ladies to choose from) who, sadly, did not come bearing chocolate-covered coconut. Bounty are the ones who give you the free stuff in the bags, and they also take a photo of your nipper in the hospital where they hope you'll be so brimming over with irrational hormones and high from delivery drugs that you'll buy anything. Spawn looked like Les Dawson in the first photo she took. She frowned and said "Erm, let's do another one shall we?" This time, he looked like an angry gnome. I'm not blind, there was no way I was parting with cash for that.
I only stayed until midday, then I was outta there. I carried Spawn out wrapped up in a blanket (we left behind his little woolly hat, I wasn't sure if we were allowed to take it so I left it behind. Plus it had all bloodstains and goo on it) and the Husband had to carry all the bags (my bag, Spawn's bag, two and a half bags of free stuff).

Things to note about the hospital:

  1. They didn't show me how to do anything with Spawn. Not one thing - not a nappy change, not how to bath him, not how to feed him or dress him, nothing. In fact no-one asked me if I wanted to bath him, so I didn't.

  2. They didn't want to check that we had a car seat for him. We got one that stays in the car, so we weren't carrying him out in a seat, but no-one asked us how we were getting him home, or wanted to check to make sure it was fitted ok. As far as they knew, we could have been slinging him in a sidecar on our motorbike.

  3. The food wasn't that bad.
When we got home, the cats were not in the slightest bit interested, apart from one of them who briefly licked Spawn's head as he went past. Then it must have been all of 20 seconds before the Mother in Law arrived, along with a Sister in Law. There was much cooing and holding and examining of Spawn, while the Husband and I ran around putting things away and making cups of tea for everyone.

Once they'd cleared off, we showed him around the house, and then ran him a bath. Using the highly scientific bath thermometer, the Husband got it to the exact recommended temperature, and we popped Spawn in. He SCREAMED the house down.
We looked at each other with white faces. I put my hand in. "It's bloody freezing!"
After a short argument about the bath thermometer versus my hand, I spectated the bath through my fingers from the door while the Husband persevered with Spawn...

We got him dressed and in his basket, then went downstairs to find that the monitor we'd been given by my stepdad wouldn't work properly, it kept turning itself on then off then on then off again. Of course, each time it turned on, Spawn was screaming. After half an hour of racing up and down the stairs and cursing the monitor, we turned it off and just kept the door open. Eventually Spawn fell properly asleep and we tried to eat our dinner. It felt like eating lumps of sawdust and we sat side by side on the sofa, quivering and on the verge of tears. We kept reassuring each other that it could have been worse, that we'd managed to have a meal and he was asleep and it was only 8 o'clock. (But not much worse). We both felt very small and scared and we held hands hoping someone would come along to take us away from it all.

When we went to bed, I'd had the night in the hospital with Spawn so I knew that he made lots of whistling and squeaking noises while he slept, whereas it was the Husband's first night and he kept jumping up to check on him. It was his turn to get just 2 hours of sleep. However, I woke up at about 5am with my mind racing, which is when I updated this blog with the birth entry.

All in all, I would say that our first day at home was hell on toast. It wasn't Spawn's fault, he was just as confused as we were. But I was really pissed off at having to run around after guests when I'd literally been home not even an hour and I'd just given birth, and they hadn't offered to help either. We hadn't a clue what we were supposed to be doing with him and I felt really sad about taking him away from his first bed (the hospital goldfish tank) which he'd really liked, and he didn't seem to like the one we'd bought him. Those hospital ones are brilliant, you can see them when they're lying in it, and they tilt up if you need to raise their heads (e.g. if they keep puking), and they rock backwards and forwards gently, and they have a handy cupboard and shelf underneath. I need to see if I can find one on ebay.

Other things I recommend:

  • disposable knickers. Not glamorous, but saves you ruining your smalls, or having to put a wash on as soon as you get home

  • Tesco big thick maternity pads - nice and comfy

  • Bio Oil - I have not one stretch mark. (Well, none from pregnancy anyway).

  • Summer video baby monitor (which we went out and bought from Argos the very next day).

"Quickly" go over the first day? God I do go on.


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