Those first days
The next morning, there were so many thoughts that ran through my head. Is this real? Did I really have my baby? Is he really here? This is not how it was supposed to happen. These thoughts went through my head for days after Roy was born. I felt grateful that we were both alive and healthy but also I felt like I missed out on everthing. I didn’t get to have my last day of work or nest at home, there was no warning and it just all happened so fast.
Bunt FaceTimed me from the special care nursery and I finally got to see if Roy had hair. He did and there was lots of it! I remember the nurse making a comment about Bunt FaceTiming me and how it was such a smart idea. Thank god for technology! I will never forget that moment seeing all that fluffy hair.
I remember the feeling of how my stomach felt. It was like no pain I had ever felt before. I had been told that the first time you go to the toilet is hard but for me it was the first time I had to get out of the bed and walk to the shower and then try to stand up in the shower. I had a private room which I was thankful for but my baby wasn’t in my room. He was down the hall and this is not how they said it would be. No body talks about what happens if your baby comes early.
Once I had showered and got dressed, I managed to walk down to the special care nursery. I just stared at him. He was so beautiful, I had this instant love for him and this desire to protect him from anything.
I remember holding you for the first time. I never knew a love like this, you had the cpap over your face, the feeding tube up your nose and you were so beautiful.
My mum lives in the Northern Territory. The hospital rang my mum when it all happened and she managed to get to Darwin (a 3 hour drive from Katherine) get on a plane to Sydney to fly to Wagga and get to Wagga by 10am that next day. I will never be able to explain the feeling of having my mum walk through that door. She was my biggest support her and Bunt tag teamed with staying over and keeping me company.
Having a baby in special care is very draining. Your child has a routine from the first day he is born. You have to pump for feeds, I remember when they brought the pump into my room I was so confused and they were telling me I had to do it every three hours and I have to start today. I had just had a baby yesterday, I was still trying to get my head around that. I found feeding can be mentally draining, Roy didn’t have a great latch and although most of the midwives were supportive, there was one day where I had a midwife who was very pushy about breast feeding. I was drained and mentally exhausted, emotions were running high (I think this was day 3) I felt so mortified, she was pushing on my breast and squeezing it. I know she was trying to help but its hard enough being a first time mum let alone being in special care trying to work out everything. They say that they don’t push breast feeding but in my experience I feel like it was definitely pushed and not in a good way. I know its important but everyone needs to make their own choice.
We had a few days before we told people officially. Friends and family knew and they visited and it was good when they visited for the first few days but then after that I became anxious about anyone visiting, about it messing with Roy’s feeding routine. Then came the time when we announced it on Facebook. I didn’t want to do it but my husband didn’t know this so we did it anyway. As soon as we announced it I got messages flooding in from friends which is lovely but I received questions about how was my labour and how long was it and every message I had to explain that didn’t happen, there was no labour.
The worst day was when I had the leave the hospital and leave Roy behind. I was so emotional, the poor nurse kept trying to comfort me but I couldn’t stop crying. My mum gently explained to me that “its the blues” Why does no body tell you this? I cried all day, I felt so helpless that I had to leave him behind. I knew Roy would be fine and he would be home soon but it was so bloody hard.
My Mum, Bunt and I drove to the hospital at 6am and didn’t leave until 10pm. Every time I walked away, it was the hardest thing I have ever done. Every morning when we drove my Mum would choose something happy to listen to, I think it was mainly Shania Twain.
What helped me the most on those longs day in the Special Care Nursery was of course my Mum and Bunts company but I also listened to a lot of podcasts some of them were No Filter By Mia Freedman and Australian Birth Stories also I read a lot of trashy magazines.
The best advice I could give any advice to any mum that has their baby early or goes through a traumatic experience like mine, it would be to be kind to yourself. This is not easy. You weren’t expecting this, there is no certain time line that you have to be ok by. Take your time and don’t rush your recovery. Reach out to your friends, family and specialist and tell them how you’re feeling. It’s ok to grieve the things you missed out on. I think regardless of whether you had your baby early or not being a mother is not easy. I know every one likes to sugar coat it but it is hard work. But if you surround your self with your people and your village you will get through this.
We were in special care for 2 and a bit weeks. We had ups and downs as every one does. We decided to try the bottle after the breast feeding just wasn’t working and he wasn’t latching. Roy had to go a full 2 days without the feeding tube to be discharged. We were so determined and it happened, they finally said we could go home.