The real world…

{ Charlotte is home }

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Charlotte has been home for almost three weeks and it has been a massive learning curve. I think both J and I grossly underestimated the amount of time our little Mouse would be demanding of us in the early days.  As a non-parent we never really understood when someone said that a newborn is all consuming, after all, don’t babies sleep almost all of the time? The short answer is yes they do and no, they don’t.

I doubt that we got a minutes rest on our first night home. We had no idea what we were in for. Having spent the first three months of her life in NICU, Charlotte had become accustomed to certain things, such as constant light, a constant humdrum of machines, beeping alarms, soft music, nurses chattering and telephones ringing.  She was accustomed to certain smells and senses and we had yanked her out of that environment and plonked her into what was essentially a sensory overload on her system.  She took that first night hard, which meant we took it hard. I must have called NICU a dozen times, totally convinced on our first night home that I had done something drastically wrong to our child and had somehow injured her.  We had been warned that she would need time to settle, but I don’t think we heeded that warning well enough!

Seeing her disconnected from the sats machines in the NICU is thrilling, it is a sign of progress and a sign that home time is imminent. Towards the end I think I took those machines for granted, if she moaned I would lazily glance over at them, confirm that all was well and that she was just wiggling around a little. At home though, she makes a sound and your heart stops, even if you have by some miracle fallen asleep, if you hear her utter ANY noise you are awake within a nanosecond, your face milimetres away from hers, checking her vitals, making sure she is breathing and happy, only to realise that she actually just farted and all is still well.

Nothing prepares you for those first few nights home with your baby, NOTHING. I think on that level we are the same as any parents taking home their newborn blessing. We’ve been pooped on, peed on, puked on, spat on, licked and gnawed, we’ve gone through nights without sleep and experienced moments of total and utter helplessness.  We live to keep her happy and when we invariably seem to fail for some reason and she becomes inconsolable, we are totally gutted and the silver lining is quite often not in sight.

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I’ve had moments where nothing I do seems to be good enough, moments where I feel that I am completely incapable of providing her with what she needs, moments where I feel that I have failed her, moments where I cannot stop staring at her perfect face, moments where I realise that she is without a shadow of a doubt, the single most beautiful creature that I have ever laid eyes on, even when she scrunches up her features and resembles Golum or farts worse that her father, I have moments where I am terrified of losing her or of her losing us. There are so, so many moments.

As a result of her prematurity, the inevitable guilt that I will always bare of her early birth and her need for physical contact has us doing a lot of what is called Kangaroo care, also known as baby wearing.  This means that on any given day  Charlotte will be strapped onto me in some manner or another.  I now know what it means to try and use the toilet with a baby strapped to you or try to eat dinner without messing burger sauce on your babies head, realising that it has been three days since you last showered or brushed your teeth and that you have actually been in the same clothes for the last four days. She is the priority, keeping her happy and healthy is the end goal and having a shower clearly gets in the way of that!

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We’ve come a long way thus far, and we are really only at the beginning of this journey, and I cannot wait to see what lies ahead, aside from being thrown up on later again 🙂

 

5 Replies to “The real world…”

  1. All I can say is “Vas Byt” – sleep whenever you can being day or night. The Men are grown up and can sort their own meals out. You need as much rest as you can squeeze in or else like me you will just pass out one day and that is from pure stress and lack of sleep.

  2. Thank you so much for doing this and keeping us all posted. You are all constantly in our thoughts and prayers.

    1. Hi Vanessa

      Thank you for your message. When we fell pregnant all we heard was the sunshine and roses aspect of it all, nobody spoke of the possiblity of things going catastrophically wrong and we felt so very alone through a lot of it. I’m glad I decided to continue to share our experiences as I believe if it shows just a few other mommies that they are not alone, then it’s worth it. I’ve received criticism from some friends and family for sharing private matters, but bottling things up is never healthy!
      I hope you have a fantastic week ahead, in spite of the crummy wind outside 🙂

      Karin
      xxx

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    1. Hi!

      Thank you for your kind words!
      I find writing any article that the first half hour is just used to clear your thoughts. More often than not what I begin writing is either binned or gives me direction for the final article. Write what is on your mind, save it and walk away. Come back a few hours later, add more thoughts, read what you’ve already written and go from there. An article will take me two days or more sometimes to formulate, and even then I sometimes go back into it and change things as and when new thoughts and insight arises.
      Hope this helps you on your journey to writing. Best of luck!!!

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