Friday, 1 April 2016

MEMORIES: Our first night at home with Isabella

I'd read so many baby books, attended all of our antenatal classes and as a result thought I knew what that first night at home with our brand new bundle of joy would be like. Oh how wrong was I. Isabella was born on a Friday afternoon and by Saturday evening we were standing in the hospital car park trying to work out how the car seat went into the car and I very much had the post birth {painful} penguin walk. In the space of 24 hours we'd gone from a couple to a family of three, life had changed forever. At the time my husband had a three door car and due to Isabella crying I somehow clambered into the back of the car to try and comfort her. The problem was I was new to being a Mummy, she was new to the world...I didn't know what to do to comfort her and she didn't know how to tell me what was wrong. All the while my husband was making the 40 minute drive back home, trying not to let Isabella's crying distract him. I just remember staring at her the whole way home though, she was so tiny and helpless. She needed us to survive and that's quite a responsibility. 

When we arrived home I spent a good 10 minutes mentally preparing myself for the pain of getting out of the three door car - if you have an option of a five door car for your return from hospital...take it! It was about 7.30pm when we finally got into the house, car seat in one hand, hospital bag in the other and the same old house we had left as a couple only a few days before. Had I prepared everything perfectly? Was everything ready for Isabella's arrival? Would she like her new home? I don't remember exactly what we did when we got home, probably because I was too busy staring at Isabella and thinking how could we have created someone so beautiful?

I had read many times that newborn babies sleep a lot and sometimes need waking every three hours for a feed. So that's exactly what I was expecting - reality for us was very different. Isabella never needed waking for feeding, she was always awake within the three hour time period. Just put it this way, in the post labour ward room of four mummies and babies Isabella was the one who everyone heard the most! 

At 9pm we decided to go to bed, just in case Isabella didn't sleep very well and after a 4 day labour we were both pretty drained. We set the moses basket up next to the bed, requiring the removal of my bedside table - hadn't thought of that prior to giving birth and now realise it's not entirely necessary anyway. I lay in bed feeding Isabella for about an hour (little newborn babies take sooo long to feed compared to my much larger 12 month old baby!), carefully put her down in her moses basket - trying so hard to remember all of the safety points I'd learnt, like putting her feet at the bottom of the moses basket and using cellular blankets tucked into the sides. 

To begin with she slept, so I snuggled down with my rather tired/bruised/swollen/painful body and tried to get some sleep (while keeping one eye on Isabella to make sure she was breathing - there's nothing like a newborn baby to turn you into a paranoid person). At this point I seriously thought that would be it, I'd feed her every 3 hours and we'd get up in the morning feeling refreshed. WHAT WAS I THINKING?! About 20 minutes later she woke up and there went any chance of sleeping for the rest of the night. It's true when they say you should think about a day as 24 hours, not day and night! 

And so began the guessing game of what was wrong...12 months later we're still playing this guessing game but we're pros now! We thought maybe our bedroom was too cold, so we moved everything into our spare room hoping a slightly warmer room would help. It didn't. So we tried skin to skin, cuddling her, letting her listening to my heartbeat, white noise, swaddling etc and nothing was working. She was crying, we didn't know what we were doing.

Eventually we ended up setting up in the living room, one of us would stay awake with Isabella sleeping on us and the other one would curl up on the sofa and try to get some sleep. Not ideal post labour but you'll do anything and everything to settle your little bundle of joy. That's how our nights looked for the first couple of weeks - there's no denying it's tough, testing and completely draining. But it's not forever, in fact in the scheme of things it's a very short amount of time and before you know it you have a crawling baby who isn't interested in snuggling up and sleeping on you anymore.

Looking back on it now I feel as if our first night at home with Isabella was our rite of passage into parenthood. It was hard but so so incredible at the same time and isn't that what parenting is all about?

What was your first night at home with your baby like?

Feel free to leave a comment :)

Helen x
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8 comments

  1. Aw I love this and remember it well. We stayed in hospital for four nights post-emergency section and watching Jenson's jaundice levels. the first two nights at home I slept downstairs in a chair on my own to catch up on sleep and Luke had Jenson upstairs in the moses basket all by himself. Quick adjustment to fatherhood! The joy of not being able to breastfeed!

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  2. Aw I love this and remember it well. We stayed in hospital for four nights post-emergency section and watching Jenson's jaundice levels. the first two nights at home I slept downstairs in a chair on my own to catch up on sleep and Luke had Jenson upstairs in the moses basket all by himself. Quick adjustment to fatherhood! The joy of not being able to breastfeed!

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  3. Great post! You know I can't even remember that much. We got home about lunchtime and I think it was just a blur of feeding, nappies, feeding, nappies. I remember not getting to sleep until about 1am and feeling exhausted. I feel sad that I can't remember too much about the beginning as it was just a bit like survival and a bit hazy. Now my lo is 8 months!

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  4. This brings back so many memories for me! Although our twins were premature so spent the first month in hospital, but when we finally brought them home my husband and I sat on the sofa at home staring at these two tiny babies and thought to ourselves, what now?! They're four years old now and they're my world!! Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky

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  5. A fantastic post and brings back so many wonderful memories (not) it's the biggest shock in the world and panic set in quickly I remember that but thankfully you get better at parenting but it's a life long education thanks for sharing Thanks for linking to the #binkylinky

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  6. This brings back so many memories! Our first night at home was very similar. I too had heard new babies sleep a lot - what I didn't realise is that they tend to only sleep when being held by you! We did a few nights of shifts staying awake with sleeping baby too until we found the exact time of "swaddle" that comforted him long enough for him to fall asleep. It is really hard but the memory soon fades. Thanks for sharing #binkylinky

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  7. I remember it well the first night with Alfie, I was clueless and genuinely had no idea what I was doing! Popping over from the #binkylinky

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  8. One of my boys hardly slept at all, whereas the other slept all the time. It wasn;t easy with the non sleeper at first, but oh my were they worth it :) Thanks for linking up to #Picknmix

    Stevie x

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