The Truth About Week 1 With Babyby Rachel Hazelwood
When you’re pregnant people will always tell you that you’ll feel the “rush of love” when you see your baby for the first time. What they won’t tell you is that you’ll be too tired to even hold your arms up. I have to admit, when he came out, I was just laying there happy to have finished pushing and out of pain. I didn’t feel the rush of love. I saw this grotty, swollen purple alien with a misshapen head that had been plonked on my chest. It wasn’t until he was taken away a couple of minutes later to be checked that I felt the separation anxiety hit me. He might’ve been a funny colour and a little weird looking but he was mine, I had made him. I was completely in awe.
The rest of the day passed in a blur of bottles, nappies and visitors. I was exhausted. And to top it off I was feeling like a terrible mum already. We had tried at every feed to latch but he couldn’t as the nurses said my nipples were too flat. After everything my body had done, I felt a little betrayed that it was letting me down now. I wanted to provide for him how no one else could. I tried for days with no luck. The difficult decision to bottle feed broke my heart and I sobbed every time I bottle fed him. The stigma around formula feeding babies can be so damaging for a new mother’s mental state, especially if she’s reminded of it every time she feeds her child.
Looking after Oscar when everyone went home was terrifying. Every little noise he made set me on edge. I had to check to see if he was breathing every five minutes because my anxiety skyrocketed. So when he started turning yellow I was inconsolable. I wept the whole time he was in the incubator under the blue lamps. His tiny body sunbathing in his nappy and fighter pilot mask. As a new mum, your hormones are all over the place and the baby blues hit you hard. My partner would ask me what I was crying about and half the time I didn’t even know.
We were discharged on my birthday, he was three days old. As amazing as it was to be home and in our own beds finally, I missed the hospital staff. They were like a comfort blanket and I was too chicken to put on my big girl panties (even though I was already wearing some very large knickers!).
One of the nicest things about having a baby is all of the older ladies start chatting to you trying to get all the gory details. I didn’t mind sharing, I was incredibly grateful to my body for what it had achieved and if we can’t take pride in that what can we be proud of?
That first week was the most difficult, amazing, terrifying, rewarding rollercoaster of my entire life. There were times when I felt absolutely incredible, like I had suddenly turned into Wonder Woman. But there was also a few times that I felt so low. And even though it had been so hard I wouldn’t have changed a single second of it. It’s all worth it when I look into his big blue eyes or sniff his newborn scent. There really is nothing like a Mother’s love. He amazes me every single day and I can’t wait to know the person he grows into.