The fact this blog is 2 weeks late and Pippa is now 6 weeks old just explains 1) How quick time is going and 2) How little time I now have on my hands! Much of the first month has been a bit of a hazy, tired blur filled with many tears but I wouldn’t change it for the world and I’m now glad I’m finally coming out the other side.
Everyone tells you it will be hard and ‘nothing can prepare you’ and you think yeah yeah I know. Well, they’re right. Absolutely nothing can prepare you, it’s a tiredness you’ve never experienced and such a huge change to your life.
After an overnight labour and not sleeping a wink the following night on a ward of crying babies, by the time we got home I was already hugely sleep deprived. Pippa was then cluster feeding all night and day the following few nights; I remember one night not hitting the pillow until 6.30am. Luckily my body recovered extremely quickly. I barely had any bleeding or pain considering I had stitches and I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight within two weeks, so at least I didn’t have any of that to content with on top of everything else!
I found that Pippa would only sleep when she was on my chest or in my arms but I was so terrified to fall asleep with her there in case something awful happened. However in my sleep deprived state it didn’t stop me waking up every time thinking she was still in my arms and I’d smothered her. Possibly the worst feeling to wake up to numerous times during the night! I still occasionally wake up wondering where she is but I’m much less panicked now and after inevitably falling asleep with her on my chest a few times now I know I wouldn’t smother her and I’m very conscious that she’s there.
Another large part of the first month were the visitors. I made the mistake early on of thinking ‘kill as many birds with one stone’ and invite everyone at once. That was definitely the wrong decision after 6 members of my family came in one go, resulting in me in floods of tears as they left. It was overwhelming enough without the addition of Pippa being passed around hundreds of people. On a couple of occasions we had to cancel visitors as I simply couldn’t handle it after a day of tears and sleep deprivation.
The emotions (and the tears that come with them) are also something else! We were told about the baby blues so I was expecting them to kick in about day 3 and to be a bit emotional for a couple of days. But what I experienced was certainly not what I expected. I had overwhelming feelings of anxiety for at least 10 days that would fill me with fear about going out and even thinking about going out would leave me in tears. Our first trip out to Tesco’s on day 5 ended in tears before we’d even got through the entrance!
I felt extremely low, the lowest I’ve ever felt and found myself googling the symptoms of postnatal depression after one of my worst nights. This particular night I was hysterical all night and genuinely believed social services needed to be called to take Pippa away as I was obviously incapable of looking after her. The health visitor luckily picked up on this after I couldn’t stop crying in front of her, so she paid me a couple of extra visits in those first couple of weeks and her reassurance definitely helped.
I thought I would never feel normal again but after 2 weeks and deciding to no longer breastfeed, a weight was lifted and it seemed my hormones had begun to settle. Luckily this happened just before Harry went back to work and we were able to get out with friends which showed me that normal life can continue and that nothing would happen to Pippa if we left the house!
I still had lots of wobbles, particularly in the first week without Harry but my mum has been amazing. Living just 5 minutes away she regularly pops in just to take Pippa off my hands for half an hour to let me express or she will help with cleaning and has provided a few dinners too! These little things become the most appreciated when you don’t have 5 minutes to yourself anymore!
I’ve now nearly mastered the art of doing everything one handed, baby in the other, and showering in less than 5 minutes. Pippa and I have started to settle into a routine and we have a very active social life which makes the days fly by and Harry is home before I know it.
Hopefully things will continue to get easier, that’s what everyone tells you. However I should know by now that what people tell you and reality are somewhat different!