I’m lying in my bed, half asleep. I feel a little tap in my tummy and my hand instinctively goes to my belly to greet my baby. But there is no baby bump.
My baby is snuffling, snorting and rooting next to me.
It’s the first time I’ve missed my bump. More significantly, it’s the first time I’ve really felt the gravity of the decision. No more babies. No more baby bump. Never again. Done.
I feel happy and grateful that I’ve done it. I’ve had my babies. That part of my life is finished. I won’t miss ovulation tests, tracking my cycle, all day sickness or the fear that accompanies that first trimester and scan. And I certainly won’t miss anymore christmases or holidays without a nice cocktail or a gin or two!!
What I will miss is the excitement of wondering who this new little person will be. Of watching and feeling my belly growing. Feeling those first bubbles and flutters and wondering if they’re baby kicks or my dinner going down. The anticipation when due date comes around and best of all, meeting the curly, wriggling little person for the first time.
Interestingly though, I don’t feel sad. One chapter has closed but it feels like another has opened. I don’t need to hang on to the baby things anymore. We can plan holidays and trips and activities without having to consider that I might be pregnant. There is also a bit of relief. We did it. We had the babies. We’ve got them. We’ve been lucky enough to be able to choose when to stop. I’m acutely aware that that is not a choice that everyone gets to make.
So, here is to the the busy, tiring, exciting future!!
The last three days have been a little challenging. Our new little bean wanted to feed constantly and was only sleeping for between 15-45mins at a stretch between feeds unless cradled in someone’s arms.
This went on all day and well into the night. I stooped looking at the clock once it got to 1am. She fed on and off all night and cried whenever I put her down.
Is this how things are going to be? I thought with a hint of panic.
I took her out for a walk in the fresh air after the morning school run and then she slept. And slept. And slept a bit more. She slept all day long only waking a few times to fill up on milk and she even did that with her eyes closed too!
At about 6:30pm – just before her big sisters went to bed – she woke up a different baby! My curly little sleepy newborn had been replaced by an inquisitive little baby who had seemingly grown a centimetre or two and filled out. She was super aware and alert, full of smiles and gurgles. She went on to spend almost an hour awake staring around the room and fixating on areas of contrast.
So there you go. Three children in and I’m still learning. Each child has done the same things just in different ways. This little one seemed to do her developmental leap and growth spurt intensely all in one go.
Whilst my heart breaks a little bit at the thought of her growing up and no longer being a tiny newborn, it’s mended again with each of the little smiles we see.
I know, I know. Us Brits don’t talk about this sort of thing – but it’s about time we did.
Regardless of how your birth went down or whether you’ve managed to get through pregnancy and birth with or without piles 🍇, that first postpartum poop strikes fear into all new mothers. Fear of stitches bursting and intestines falling out or fear that your uterus is going to fall out of your vagina (that Take a Break article about prolapse has never left me 😬).
To make things worse you’re constantly asked if you’ve managed to ‘perform’ and not allowed to leave hospital until you have. So, no pressure or anything but everyone on the ward is watching that toilet door.
I told every midwife I saw that I was too scared to go and they were all very understanding, sympathetic and reassuring.
In my experience, the actual deed is nowhere near as bad as my imagination had concocted. I’ve had three quite different births and each time I worried about ‘toilet time’ but each ‘occasion’ was actually ok.
You can help yourself out a bit by drinking lots and eating lots of fruit and veg. Maybe pack some fig roles in your labour bag.
I remember the midwife telling me after my first baby that it was better to crack on and get it over with than stalling for ages which only results in make harder – literally. It was good encouragement.
I’ve bought ‘bottom sprays’ like this one and special wipes like these which can each make you feel a bit braver and soothe any soreness a little.
I think giving yourself time – which can be tricky with a newborn screeching for milk every five minutes – and trying not to get stressed out can make it much easier to do the deed. You feel much better once you have got it out of the way.
There have been a few developments in the world of babies since I had my first one five years ago. Some things seem a bit gimmicky but one there is one that is already turning out to be soooooo brilliantly helpful. It saves time and effort, is easy to clean, fast to use and pretty inexpensive. All round winner I’d say!!
It’s one of these little vacuum breast pumps. There are a few on the market but I was lucky enough to be given one of the Haakaa ones – thanks Claire! This one is the same and seems to get good reviews but is cheaper.
Once you’ve got baby latched on to one boob you grab your vacuum pump and simply squeeze it and place it over your other boob. As you let go it sucks on to your boob and uses that suction to catch and draw out the excess milk that would otherwise have gotten soaked up by your breast pad. Easy as that!
I’ve been using it for most feeds during the day since my milk came in on day 2 and I’ve been saving about 3oz in it each time. Quite a good little stash.
Sitting for ages with a breast pump was one of my least favourite things when I had my first baby but it did help to boost my supply and give me a healthy freezer stash.
Second time around I abandoned the electric pump and stuck to a manual one. It was easy to use, fast and efficient and easy to clean and throw in my bag to use whenever and wherever.
This little vacuum pump is like the next generation. No pumping action required, not bits to take apart and put back together. No fuss.
It does look a bit like a small hospital urinal though. Maybe that’s a use for it once breastfeeding days are done? 😆
A word of warning. You can find some rather odd articles pop up if you type ‘vacuum breast pump’ into a search engine. ‘Breast milk pump’ seems to be safer 😀
We welcomed our newest addition to the family on 31st August. The youngest in the school year but we’ll deal with that issue when we get there.
Some things don’t always go to plan – no matter how prepared you might be. This little munchkin got a bit stuck enroute earth side but all was well in the end and we were quickly home and able to start getting to know each other.
The challenges of managing three children of different ages and interests are already coming to light and I’ll no doubt talk about that more in the coming weeks and months.
For now I’m off to dance the merry though sleepy dance that newborns lead us on of feeding, changing, feeding, cuddling, feeding, rocking and feeding some more. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Checking in on what little one is getting up to in there while I enjoy a hot chocolate and a magazine in peace.
I wholly expect to not meet this baby until September and have said so all along however a little teeny tiny part of me had started to believe that this baby might be early. It’s not looking that way though.
It’s mainly because almost everyone I see says something along the lines of :-
“It’s your third?!?!? They’ll definitely come out early then”
‘OMG!! That bump is MASSIVE!!! There is no way that baby is staying in there until September.
And after a wee while of hearing this you kind of begin to think maybe they’re right. Having a baby over the summer hols would be quite convenient because the bigger two could just be shipped off elsewhere without any concerns over school.
It clearly won’t be the case though. I just cook em for longer. A bit like how I like my sausages on the barbecue – cooked for that little bit longer so as to be entirely sure that they’re properly done.😊
I’ve tried to encourage an early arrival. I’ve had acupuncture, reflexology and red raspberry tea. I’ve been eating six dates a day since July ( I am sooooo over dates!) and I tried the hokey pokey. Nothing doing.
My plan is to just crack on, do things and organise stuff. No doubt bub will come when least convenient such as when furthest from home, or when everyone is at work and we have no childcare.
I’m happily resigned to the fact that babies pop out when they are good and ready so this one is going to stay put for a while yet.