We’ve now reached the 12 week mark with Baby R and I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone.
She’s changed so much since she came back from the hospital in mid-May. At first, she looked a carbon copy of my husband, and everyone said the same. It actually really annoyed me at the time, as well as worried me that the IVF clinic had made a mistake! (Honestly, this crossed my mind on more than one occasion.) But her face has changed so much and she’s starting to look more like a baby than the woodland creature she was before. And more like me, I’m happy (and relieved) to say. Although more people say she looks like my husband still (grrrrr!).
This week has been pretty tough. I’m a bit bored, truth be told. I know, I know – how can I possibly complain when I have my much longed-for baby, after years of trying? But I can’t help it. I get fed up of the routine, which in part I’ve created so I have predictability within my days. However, with that comes monotony. I try and think of ways to create more variety, like take a different route when we go for a walk in the pram, play in different parts of the house or watch a new TV programme. But it’s when you’re on your own all the time, days just morph into one long sequence of napping/feeding/playing, and I long for a bit of my old life back. To go for a run when I want, or nip to the shops – read the paper, even. But it is what it is.
This week I decided to venture into town with the mission to buy a birthday card for a friend. I got to the shop, bought the card, and even a little pastry for myself as a reward. I was feeling smug with achievement. Yet no sooner had we left, R was wide awake. Now normally, these days, she’s OK for about 10 minutes in the pram before she quickly gets agitated, leading to full-on meltdown territory – enough time to make a swift exit home. But that day, she went straight to nuclear. This meant what felt like an age of her screaming all the way home. I kept picking her up to see if she needed a burp, but nothing helped. As soon as I had her in my arms, she calmed down, but when she was on her back, she cried inconsolably.
So I went from feeling happy that I could operate semi-normally, like I was nailing this motherhood thing, to getting in the door to my house absolutely exhausted, fed up and even angry that I can’t go into town like other moms. I literally shouted out in frustration. My days tend to be like this. There are real highs – like R and I dancing round the bedroom to George Michael this morning, loving life – to proper lows – such as me in tears this afternoon because I’m so tired and fed up being covered in sick (thank you reflux). For some reason, I’ve found this week particularly tough and frustrating.
Baby R’s reflux is just a pain in the bum. It’s not the sick that’s the hard part, it’s the not being able to put her on her back without her being uncomfortable. Most of my days are spent carrying her upright to stop her being sick, trying to pacify her or to get her to sleep, all of which are physically and emotionally hard work. I think a lot about why I can’t just have an ‘easy’ baby, or a husband who’s at home all day due to lockdown (like all the other new moms I know). I know it’s unhelpful but I do. Instead, I should be thinking about how lucky I am that my husband comes back from work every day to make me lunch, that I live in a lovely house with a garden and that I have a job which is paying me enhanced maternity leave… I have so much to be grateful for.
I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed that the mother and baby classes start back up in September, so I have a bit more social interaction during the days. There’s even a class (or used to be) in the church near where I live, which would be ideal, but of course with COVID, we have no idea whether they will be able to properly resume, especially if there’s a second wave of coronavirus. What a strange time to have a baby. Poor R has no idea, of course, but I don’t want the first few years of her life in isolation and not knowing how to be with other kids! I guess every new parent and baby are in the same position at the moment, and it’s not just me, but it does suck rather a lot, doesn’t it?