Bringing Baby Home
I’ve been a mother for over five years now. I still remember bringing that bundled up baby home all wrapped up like a sausage roll. I still remember having exactly no clue what I was doing and thinking is this really legal? Sending a newborn baby home with two people who know nothing about raising children. If I’m honest I’d never held a newborn before and 36 hours after I held him for the first time we were heading home with him. Alone.
I remember when my friend adopted a puppy from the dog shelter. They did what seemed like a million checks to see if she was suitable and she had to enrol on a puppy training course as part of the agreement. But here we were two ‘adults’ clutching this precious cargo both like a rabbit caught in headlights not a clue between us.
Parenting books are great but there is so much they don’t tell you about bringing your child home for the first time. Like for example how not to cook your baby. I mean it might sound obvious but when you’re sleep-deprived, traumatized from just giving birth and flat-out terrified of your new-found parenthood this ‘simple’ task doesn’t seem so simple anymore.
The First Morning Alone..
It was the first morning after we brought little Henry home. We needed a few things. Urgent things like painkillers, milk and strong coffee. Honestly, I didn’t fancy my chances at sole responsibility but the idea of dragging a one-day-old baby out after I gave birth just 36 hours ago was even less appealing.
So that was it, just me and baby alone for the first time. I can do this I thought confidently. I’m a mum for Christ’s sake! Don’t they say that Mum’s know best? Mum’s have instincts right?
‘Ok baby tell me what you need.’ I ask nervously. Ok, so I’m not getting any telepathic senses just yet. I decide to cuddle him on the sofa. Babies like cuddles right and this is certainly something I can do. But the room feels cold and babies aren’t supposed to get cold so before settling down I turn up the heating and wrap a blanket around us both. I’m pleasantly surprised at myself. I’ve got this, it’s actually quite easy and I’m not entirely sure of what I was worried about.
Twenty minutes later my stress levels have begun to rise. Ollie still isn’t back from the shop and this gorgeous little baby is restless. I’ve tried feeding him, winding him and changing him and I’m getting no bloody instinctive messages. Oh god that’s it I’m a failure as a mother I think. Mothers are supposed to know what their children need and I don’t know and he’s not telling me. The tears are flowing now not little roll down your face tear drops either I’m talking huge bawling my eyes out hysterical sobs. I shouldn’t have had a child I’m completely useless my child’s a day old and I’m useless. If this was employment I’d be sacked no wait I’d have never been given the job in the first place because I’m not qualified.
Finally, He’s Back
Just then I hear the key in the door and thank god Ollie is home because I need to pack my things and leave before I screw this child’s life up forever.
‘Never leave again!’ I shout hysterically practically throwing my arms around him in desperation.
‘What happened is everything ok?’ he looks frantically from me to Henry.
‘No it’s not ok I don’t know what I’m doing or what he needs and the heating won’t come on so I wrapped us in the blanket but he got restless.’
Relief washes over Ollie’s face and he comes inside and closes the door. ‘Bloody hell! It’s roasting in here.’ He says putting the shopping down. I look up from my desperate sobs confused it’s not hot it’s freezing.
Ollie picks up Henry. ‘No wonder he’s restless it would be cooler in the oven!’ He laughs.
‘But it’s so cold in here.’ I sob.
‘Oh bear.’ He laughs gently ‘I just think you’re tired and your internal thermostat is a bit off.’ He takes Henry’s baby grow off and he kicks happily on the changing mat as Ollie opens the windows.
‘I bought something which will help though. ‘ He pulls out a *gro-egg thermometer from a plastic Tesco carrier bag. ‘It changes colour with the temperature so you know when it’s too hot or too cold.’ As he plugged it in it lit up red which means danger hot. I instantly fall apart crying again. Ollie sits next to me on the sofa a comforting arm around me. ‘Don’t cry, no harm done!’
It Gets Easier
He was right Henry was fine luckily and after a nap and a strong brew, all was right with the world. The *gro-egg massively helped with maintaining the right temperature, especially on those days when I was exhausted and my internal thermostat was off as Ollie puts it. I do think though every new parent has these moments where no matter how prepared you try to be beforehand you feel completely lost. Even just for a moment, over the silliest of things. You’ve gone from only having to take care of yourself to suddenly being responsible for this life that’s wholly dependent on you and boy that’s daunting and it’s hard and scary but it is also the most wonderful, most rewarding thing you will ever do.
**Please note no babies were harmed in the making of this blog post!
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