My word what a week! I don't know whether to laugh or cry (and that's when things are going well)... our entry into parenthood has been the shock that everyone told us it would be, and more still. Grace is a delight to have around and each day we are learning to read her signals for what she wants us to do for her. At first glance, I don't think we are doing too badly.
GRACE IN HER FISH TANK @ St. James Hosp.
Week One in the Big Mother House [cue Geordie voiceover here]
After the events of the birth last Saturday we were moved to the post-natal ward where I have to say we received exceptional care. Being bed-bound until Monday night for various reasons I was at their mercy and apart from a portion of luke warm mushy peas and a battered fish that looked to have been truncheoned to death, I felt I had the support I needed at such an overwhelming time. Little Grace passed all her newborn tests with flying colours although she does have a heart murmur which we are awaiting a cardiology appointment to have assessed for hole in the heart. Nonetheless she is feeding well and seems to be adjusting to life on the outside without too much trouble.
1 DAY OLD
2 DAYS OLD
We were finally discharged Tuesday night, and Grace had her first visit from Grandma Mary, from here on in to be known as Ma Potter (for many reasons, as well as being quicker to type). We also introduced Daisy-woof to the little nipper briefly before sending D-W off to Grandmas for some 1 on 1 cuddles, leaving us to get through our first night as new parents. It wasn't so bad, we got 5 hours sleep all in, and compared to what I'd had in hospital, left me feeling human again.
FIRST DAY HOME, looking happy but oh so tired!
Since then we've had a few good nights, and a few less so. One thing I find really interesting with Grace is that she doesn't really cry very much at all. We've already become quite tuned into her signals for hungry and we're learning to distinguish between hungry and overtired, and I think because of this we've been able to preempt a fair few bouts of crying before they've taken hold. When she's awake, she's quite taken with her little black & white soft book which we prop up for her after a nappy change, maybe only for 10 minutes, but it seems to amuse her enough for her then to nod off without much effort.
Other visitors this week have been Donna, who as a breast feeding counsellor came to coach me on the art of BF, and then Sheli and Junior (who came to coach Matt the Husband on the art of drinking not 1 but 2 beers without getting leathered). BF is actually really hard - it hurts like hell, a toe-curling sensation that sometime subsides if Grace is in the right place, and other times continues until I move her slightly. While I have no intention of giving up on the 'TWINS' providing nourishment for my child, I daresay its currently my least favourite activity thus far. Last night Sheli and Junior provided a much needed respite from the seriousness of this first week, having us rolling with laughter as J told us anecdotes from his lifesaving repertoire.
Hm, the seriousness. That'd be Thursday night when we took Grace on her first outing since leaving the hospital. It also marked a first for me, feeding outside the confines of my house (which takes nerves for a first timer, believe me!). One conjures pictures of a trip to a country park, or quiet pub. Not the A&E department in Pontefract :0(
Without going into all the details, we had an epiosode of dyspnoea around 8pm Thursday followed by open mouth breathing for a further hour. Grace seemed fine but the paediatric unit advised we take her into be checked hence a twilight trip to A&E. Long story short they think its a one off, but she did undergo a myriad of tests in the meantime, including placement of a naso-gastric tube to check for patency/mucus build up, chest x-rays, bloods and an ECG. We were discharged after 18 hours to come back and resume normal first-week parenting. What a worry though - I've never experienced anything like it. Again, the staff on the ward were excellent.
Oof. So that's 1 week down and a further 935 until she comes of age and I can put my feet up. I have the sense we have a hell of a lot to learn in the coming weeks, months and years. Culture shock, doesn't even begin to describe it!!!
THANK YOU FOR ALL OUR LOVELY GIFTS x x x