There comes a point in parenthood when you sit (yes SIT) and stare at your freezing cold cup of tea and whilst looking at the crumbs, toys and occasional chocolate hand smudge spread all over your cream sofa (note to self: cream was a bad choice!) when you wonder where on earth your tiny, sleepy, not yet mobile baby went and who opened the door to that little devil that you’ve just spent nearly 2 hours putting down for a nap !
After 2 years of zero sleep, you begin to wonder if you will ever get a night of shut eye again…will your baby EVER sleep through the night? Have you just got ‘one of those kids!’ Or was you really really bad in your past life that the sleep deprivation tourture program is your destiny?
It was 20th August and I was 4 days overdue…midnight came and I woke from my uncomfortable sleep like I’ld been hit with a lead balloon…
Had I wet myself? Was I dreaming? Is hubby trying to wind me up?
After pulling myself together and blinking repeadly to try to send the message to my eyes that they needed to open now, it became apparant that the time had come, my waters had broken!
I pushed my husband so hard he nearly toppled out of bed whilst trying to control my breathing as a panic attack set in…I was having a baby…shit…I WAS HAVING A BABY!
I was actually starting to get used to the fact that this was never ending, I could do what I liked whilst on maternity leave, basically eat what I liked and despite the horrendous back pain, I’d totally got the fat pregnant woman waddle to a T! And then BAM…the moment comes and I know it’s not going to be long before I’m going to be pushing, begging for drugs (despite being adamant I was going to do this hippy stylie in a bath with nothing but a deep breath) and swearing a lot!
Hubby finally pulled himself up from his Superman grip to the side of the bed and there I was, hot, sweaty and soaking wet, an image that should be to a mans delight…I can assure you it was not delight I saw in his face…although there was a slight grin when he too realised it was time to actually have a baby!
Phone! Mum!!!!! Midwife!
Here we go!
After getting myself dressed, ensuring my lady parts were trimmed and il’d had a wash, I watched my wide eyed husband drag the hundred hospital bags I’d packed into the car.
Babies bag: contained 3 million outfits that had been washed, ironed and folded around the same number of times! Not forgetting the numerous hats, mittens and every other item on the unnecessary hospital bag check list.
My bag: not so many outfit changes here, a mere 12…just incase! Not forgetting the nightwear, dressing gown for when you’re glamorously strutting down the hospital halls looking fit after just delivering your baby in 15 minutes (or not!), makeup to stop you looking like have just been bought bag from the dead and the ever attractive Bridget pants to make room for the nappies you’ll be wearing yourself! And an outfit and prezzie for hubby tucked away in there somewhere.
Then there was the food bag: Yes a whole bag! For those that know me, this bag was important! We had sweets, snack bars, crisps, fruit, dried fruit, chocolate, more sweets, more chocolate and lots of electrolytes (sports drinks to you and I)!
Oh and last but not least, the pillow!: My pillow from home with my freshly washed spotty pillowcase (Yep, this was on the checklist too!)…
All set and too the hospital we go.
Long story short but around 37 hours later, lots of trips back and forth from home, there I was, on my knees on a hospital bed hooked up to an IV with a continuous drip flowing into my already water filled body due to an infection, a bladder the size of a small whale as I was unable to urinate for at least 37 hours, both hands black and blue from failed attempts to get a cannula in, a sticky room with a window that opened no more than half an inch, condensation dripping from the ceiling, a calm but very sleepy husband and a mother sitting in the corner reading her magazine awaiting the arrival of grandchild number 5!
Active labour for 37 hours is not fun, but what’s even worse is having a drip, a baby that’s back to back causing continus contractions with not a second breather in between, fully engaged and in the birth canal causing you push (against a closed cervix), a bladder so large your not sure which is the child, a rapidly swelling body that just keeps getting bigger, gas and air that was totally useless and unable to have any further medication or epidural due to the infection putting me at high risk of meningitis and a number of junior midwifes clocking in and out of their shift ensuring that they used me as a puppet as often as possible.
Dignity? What dignity…I was almost tempted to ask if any more of their colleagues fancied coming to ‘have a go’ before they might want to decide to help get this baby out of me instead of having a feel and writing essay after essay of total rubbish.
And there I was, hanging off of my husbands shoulders begging for someone to help me but still only 6cm dilated with no signs of any progress…
Watching the clock, swearing, apologising for swearing, apologising to my mum for regularly, unintentionally, putting a bare arse in her face, and repeadly telling my husband I couldn’t do it anymore whilst bearing all my weight on his shoulders…38 hours, 38 hours 1 minute, 38 hours 6 minutes…
The door opened…FINALLY an experienced midwife, not only experience but she looked tough, ‘I’ll take no shit’ tough…
I begged her to help me as she came closer wondering whether she would tell me to shut up and get on with it or finally find a miracle way to get me out of this atrocious pain that I’d endured for long enough.
One look at me and the tough bitch was on my side!
“Why is she still here!”
“take her straight to theatre, emergency C section now!”.
Thank the Lord, an answer to my prayers…
I insisted she came with me so they didn’t bring me back! She obliged, the tough bitch liked me!
Being wheeled down to theatre is all a blur, I remember the anethatist begging me stay still so he could put the needle in which is near on impossible with continuous contractions, my husband fully dressed in the blue gear sitting behind me stoking my head (once the needle has gone in and I was flat on my back), my mum standing outside the heavy wooden double doors that led onto the theatre room talking to every person that came in or out asking what was going on, and most of all I remember the fucking great smile that spread across my face as that magic stuff thats making its way through my body totally punches the pain right in the fanny bone! I couldn’t feel the pain!
Oh shit…I was having a C section…my WORST nightmare and not planned for in the slightest! I so didn’t want a C section!
I was awake the whole time, patiently waiting for them to present my darling baby. I felt a lot happening, like 10 people were washing up in my tummy. What were they doing!
And there it was…
…oh my god, we had a baby!
Our teeny tiny 6lb 11oz wrinkly little baby was presented to us born at 1.18pm, it was a BOY!
I remember the anethatist telling me at this point that he was very well endoud, a proud daddy sitting beside me for more than one reason! They handed our precious little bundle over for our first cuddles, and to say it was magical is an understatement! In that moment, it didn’t matter that I’d been in active labour for 38 hours, it didn’t matter that I’d just been cut open or that it hadn’t gone to plan, nothing mattered in fact, my baby was here, breathing and healthy!
I became a mummy!
4 days later, and what an experience those 4 says were) and we’d finally named him and were told we could go home!
Archie was coming out, it was time to start our journey alone…
Night one! Fucking disaster! Our baby had slept and ate lovely on our hospital vacation, well not tonight he didn’t, he screamed, and screamed and screamed!!!!!!!! WHAT WAS WRONG WITH HIM!
He hadn’t done this before! Why tonight? I fed him, I burped him, I cuddled him, I walked up and down with him, I sung to him, I played lullabies to him, I done lunges with him, I even resorted to putting CBeebies on at 3am to try to settle him…nothing worked!
I spent most of the night on the phone to the midwifes at the hospital explaining that he hadn’t done this before, to be told that he was just crying and that’s what babies do. Sigh…here we go!
A few weeks in and I was getting used to this mummy thing, I had alarms for feeds set and sorting a little routine out so I didn’t feel so totally screwed up. Although the ridiculously sore nipples (no-ones tells you just how sore they can get!) and recovering from the C section made it difficult to manoeuvre, feed or even lift him due to damage I’d done to my arm and shoulder in labour (my poor husbands neck and shoulders!).
I totally expected zero sleep and that’s totally what we got.
A few months in and people would say. When he starts eating he’ll sleep…
The weaning process started a little later and I was excited, not only for him and our little journey of introducing food, but I was excited about the talk of sleep…
He was eventually on 3 meals a day and still an hour or two in the night was all we were getting…
People would say, when he’s crawling he’ll sleep…
10 months, the crawling began and he was eating 3 meals a day.
Yep, you guessed it, an hour or two at the most and the crying, screaming and general unsettledness would begin.
People would say, when he starts nursery, he’ll sleep.
11 months, nursery began…
An hour or two at the most!
People would say, when he’s walking, he’ll sleep…
1 year 1 month, the walking began and he was eating 3 meals a day plus snacks.
Need I tell you?
People would say, he’ll sleep when he’s ready!
1 year 11 months…
…we’re still only getting one to two hours, and I can count on one wrinkled, sleep deprived hand how may times he has slept through the night (by this I mean more than 5 hours!).
Where did the nice 2 hour day naps slip off to! No one told me they’d come crashing down to a short nap a day…freezing cold tea and coffee then become the norm…you get used to it after a while, chocolate usually makes up for it!
Oh chocolate…stay there…
…I’m back…*licks lips*
At this point people usually start asking you when you’ll be having another. Another sounds great. Answer: When I get enough time to have regular enough sex to conceive one? Maybe?
There was a time when shaving my legs and tiding my ‘area’ was a daily occurrence, these days it’s about wearing the right clothes to stop the strong prickly needles of regrowth on your moisture deprived legs from poking through and attacking your other leg…that hurts, be warned, they break through tights…I learned the hard way.
In the event you get time to have a long enough shower to prune it’s like a weekend away in a luxury 5* hotel…oh the little things! And it’s just taking the piss if you get to paint your nails and they dry in time. My usual nail varnish attempts end up like my little boys paintings…I call them my bright nails. Or should that be shite nails?
Not to mention the never ending battle with housework, daily washing machine loads and working in the city 3 days a week…just give up!
There have been nights where I felt like punching my darling husband in the face as he lays there peacefully and SLEEPS, or plotting how I can push him out of bed with maximum impact to the floor without waking the baby. There have been times where at 2, 3, 4am, I wondered if my local pub was having a lock in and if so if they’d let me in (or more realistically, whether I could get away with sneeking out to the car to get a few hours peace from a crying baby and a snoring husband before someone spots me and reports me or being a nutcase!), there have been times when I’ve wondered what I’m doing wrong, am I doing enough? Could I do more?. I have tried everything, every trick in the book and every tip every refreshed mother with a sleeping baby (I dislike you a lot!) has given me…but to no avail.
But I have come to realise that actually, when my baby asks for a cuddle or crys at 2am, it’s my duty as a mother to oblige. It also means I get to spend more time with my baby who seems to be speedly growing up way too fast and watch him night after night and I feel honoured to have watched him become the intelligent, happy, bubbly, funny and ever so cheeky little man he is today. Do you know what…he will sleep…eventually. But for the time being whilst my baby still wants a cuddle and I don’t have to bribe him to get one, I’m just gonna take it and I’m gonna enjoy every little squeeze because before we know it, it’ll be time to let them go and then I would have missed those cuddles I didn’t take the opportunity to have.
To all you mummys and daddy’s going though the same, we will get some sleep one day! Smile thorough the sleep deprivation, deal with one day at a time and enjoy your baby while they are still a baby, because tomorrow they will be that little bit bigger.
Tonight as I write I lay stairing at my wonderful husband who despite my resent towards his ability to get some Z’s sometimes, I love right down to my bones so much it hurts, and my beautiful little toddler who without him, I wouldn’t know the true meaning of a mothers love, love like no other, love that makes you so happy and fills your body with a million little love bubbles you can actually feel it crushing every part of you, love that quite frankly is impossible to explain! ❤️
Stay sleepy 💛
Love Yawning Mummy 💛