30 December 2006

Assorted goings on

I keep saying that Morgan doesn't cry. Well she does. It's just that I don't really think of it as crying and it's nothing like my previous experience of babies crying. So when people ask, is she good, etc. I say, "She's a baby. How can a baby be bad?" So they kind of apologise and rephrase. Does she sleep? Does she cry? And I say that she is a very laidback baby and she never cries.

But I'm just not THINKING that she's crying. She does yell when Jenna squeezes too hard. She does fuss if she has to wait for a feed. But I'm not thinking, "The baby is crying again, must stop the crying!" I'm saying, "OK baby, what are you telling me?" It doesn't feel like a one-way me-doing-things-for-her, it's a conversation. It's a relationship.

Plus of course she doesn't cry often. She isn't colicky so far so she has no need to. She is getting what she wants and needs before she even gets to asking a lot of the time!

I have one thing to mention about my darling newborn daughter though, lest I give the impression that all in my life is perfection and bliss. She smells funny. I remember the newborn smell and raving about it. I love the addictive smell of other babies. But Morgan smells of cheese. She really does. *sigh*

Jenna on the other hand smells of coconut, her lovely shampoo. :) She's still being difficult this week, normal toddler stuff like saying NO (and then usually doing what she was told anyway!) and asking the same question over and over. I'm managing to be pretty calm actually, though it's harder to back up what I'm saying with any real enforcement if I'm nursing! Thankfully so far Jenna isn't taking advantage of that to the full. ;)

Oh, also, she's back to settling herself and sleeping through in her own bed. I did think that a lot of her unwillingness to go to sleep without a parent in the room was probably the stress of my pregnancy, but whatever it was upsetting her she is back to normal. In fact, she's the best she has ever been sleep-wise.

She says goodnight and we leave, and she is asleep in seconds without a sound. Though once or twice she has given Martin the runnaround before he actually got her into bed! Those days I had to go up and plonk her in bed myself, with strict words about it being Time For Sleep lol. She takes me seriously even if her Dad sometimes get disrespected!

Edited to add something wonderfully sweet that happened today. Jenna begged to hold Morgan for a moment, and I duly propped Jenna up with a pillow and put Morgan in her arms. Well imediately Morgan started fussing because she had been disturbed! Jenna put her finger in her sister's mouth and said, "Here you go baby, I'm here, it's OK." And Morgan went to sleep. :D

29 December 2006

The joy of night-time parenting - and a first swim

A quick note in praise of 24 hour parenting. I have discovered a very strange thing this time around, something I was too confused and scared and downright shattered to find out the first time I did this. There is something magical about being awake at night, snuggled close to a tiny velvety newborn person, just the two of you totally immersed in each other and totally utterly in love.

Morgan still sleeps most of the night through, 4-7 hours without fail. But even when she is asleep, I wake to watch her in the darkness. It's like nothing else. We just don't have time to do that in the day; I have started to think that maybe that's another reason newborns are meant to be awake at night. It takes 24 hours a day to get to know this new little life. :)

Today we went swimming, it was Morgan's first time. She loved it, and was totally unfazed by the noise and light and people everywhere. We got almost a full hour in the water, with a brief break just past half time for me to get her out and warm her up before getting back in again! She was a little chilly after 40 minutes in the pool, but she was loving the water so much I didn't want to just get her dressed, so we had two swims.

Jenna spent the whole time diving off to climb on a float, or to jump into a fountain, or to throw a ball, or to go down the slide - and then back to us again to coo over her sister and check that she was still OK.

Looks like Morgan is awake and hungry again, she has just been napping in Jenna's comfort corner. We are just about to pop over to see my Dad (it's his birthday) so it's wrap time for Morgan.

26 December 2006

Christmas!

Just a quick update to say that Christmas was amazing and so much fun, and that it has been fantastic to have the focus all on Jenna for a bit. On Christmas eve, Martin had Morgan for a while and I took Jenna for a bath. She had been pretty tired and fed up and had been driving us potty with whining and running around, so I wanted to get her out of Daddy’s hair for a bit.

We had such a wonderful time, and for a little while she was my only priority. That was all we needed, and now it’s more like it was even when Morgan is there. We have remembered each other.

22 December 2006

Connecting, and other first week things

Yesterday the midwives discharged me. When they saw us on the 16th, Morgan’s cord had been off for a couple of days and she’d only lost 100g (some of that being the cord clamp lol, they still used one even though the cord had finished pulsing!). Yesterday she had put it all back on – told you she was feeding well – and I was feeling back to normal.

Today I saw the strangest and most wonderful of things, a sympathetic Health Visitor, who praised me for co-sleeping and told me not to stop! Now there’s a turn up for the books…

I know this babba so well! EC is a breeze, though I’m not catching wee (just letting her be in a nappy without a wrap and changing it the moment it is damp). I’m not actually making any effort at all, and I don’t intend to push myself until a few weeks at least when Morgan is in more of a rhythm. But I know as soon as she wants to poop, I just know. I seem to know what mood she is in, like, all the time. It’s great being so connected to her.

Well it really is about time I mentioned my slings. For trips out, Morgan is in the Diana wrap. Oh I am even more in love with it with a newborn inside. It’s so pretty, and it’s just such a perfect cocoon for her. During the day I’ve been popping Morgan in the ring sling on and off to get things done and to play with Jenna, and twice Morgan has cried and not wanted milk so I’ve put her in the sling then too.

Every time she goes in a sling she stops crying instantly and goes to sleep, it’s like magic. I kind of wish she needed soothing in them more often! She doesn’t seem to mind where she is at all – when I occasionally pop her down on the floor she just lies there wide-eyed looking at stuff until either I pick her up or she falls asleep without fussing. What can you do?

The thing is, I’m ashamed to say, even with such an angelic little girl, Jenna is getting left out. It’s so EASY to have Morgan in my arms, and I just could stare at her all day long. And it isn’t that I don’t feel like that over Jenna any more, but it’s like an addiction, and I know the hormones have a large part of the blame but I should make more of an effort to fight it. Jenna is pretty quiet. She’s loving her sister, if anything TOO much (she won’t let her sleep!) but I kind of miss her and I don’t know how to get back to playing without losing something of the magical connection I have with my tiny Morgan.

20 December 2006

On the benefit of experience!

All those little things we learnt with Jenna that have totally changed our experience of this baby… I have to say, to start with, Morgan is a very laid back little person. It helps that I had a much more pleasant pregnancy. And that I had a wonderful, easy, drug free birth. And that I’m so much more confident! I’m only having to learnt what makes Morgan Morgan. Not all the other things you have to learn with a first baby, like how on earth you get a vest on it without breaking its neck.

Actually it is a little bit of a nuisance that Morgan has been sleeping practically through the night since she was three days old. It isn’t that I feel the need to play the martyr and complain about what a tough time I have with my baby not sleeping and being shattered etc. Lol, well I mean this time I don’t at all feel that way! But also I’ve gotten rid of a fair bit of my desire to compete with other mothers. We all do it, mostly accidentally, but being on Ivillage has really made me want to stop it in its tracks, it’s not a nice way to live and it drives friends apart so pointlessly. Who cares how you do things if your baby isn’t suffering? We’re all just human beings trying to make a way in the world. Damn, I digress somewhat.

The problem with Morgan being “easy” is that I can’t put it all down to AP no matter how much I want to. So when friends ask why we’re co-sleeping I have to be 100% honest on the subject and say that we do so because we like having a baby in our bed! Which is socially a total no-no.
People find it easy not to comment on your choices if they think that it is in some way like them – so for example with Jenna we were co-sleeping because we had to in order to get any sleep at all. That’s kind of OK with “The World” because it is about weakness. We-all-do-what-we-have-to-but-thank-god-WE-don’t-have-to-do-THAT sort of thing. Now I have to admit, fully, I just can’t not be this kind of parent. It has nothing to do with what I HAVE to do. Thank goodness my babies like being attached too. :)

15 December 2006

Getting out of the house

It didn’t take long for me to get fed up in the house, I had no idea I’d feel this good this fast. I don’t know if I’ve come down from having her yet, or if I ever will. On day three (13th) I found that I was really getting on at Jenna for stupid things, like a constant “don’t do that, get off her, leave me alone for a moment”. Well, I mean, she’d been with grandparents (voluntarily) on and off for the last two days so it was our first day alone together!

In the end I said, “Right, we’re going out.” Martin had gone to work, so I got all three of us girlies dressed and bundled up, and put on my new wrap for the first time with a baby in it. *grins* It was Morgan’s first time in a nappy too! And out we went on the bus into town to show her off. At least a hundred people commented as I drew level with them, “OH! It’s a BABY!” LOL no, I carry my shopping like this… ;)

14 December 2006

A couple of days later

Well I guess we have to start with where I left off after delivery. That first feed, placing her uncomplaining on the scales, the look on Jenna’s face! Oh heavens, you forget so fast. It is a blur, it went so fast although I know it was a couple of hours before the midwives left us to our babymoon. And even that was something remarkable for us that Martin could stay and the medical professionals were the ones who had to go…

Then that first day after Morgan’s birth. It was bliss! Jenna had gone to spend the day running off energy with the help of my mum, and the three of us were left to just sleep and nest together. Most of that day and night were spent feeding, which Morgan turned out to be very good at. Her latch was perfect, and, well, everything about her was perfect, and we just gazed at her.

The whole of that first two days she didn’t even cry once, making hers needs known with little grimaces and squeaks and gurgles. I was on such a hormonal high I didn’t feel tired. No feelings of guilt, and no down-to-reality, it was all part of the amazing experience of giving birth. We were skin to skin, Mum, Dad, New baby. It felt right.

12 December 2006

Morgan's birth story - aka the moment I became a mother of two

At half past ten at night, partway through a film and without a single contraction, I had my first indication that my baby was finally on its way. At eight days past my due date I was dreading my booked visit with the consultant to talk about induction, which I was set on refusing as long as possible. So my waters breaking were a relief, if a small one – it was barely a trickle and I hadn’t had any pains for 24 hours.

I wasn’t at all sure it wasn’t another false start, or that I was perhaps imagining it after all, so I tried to get some sleep. At midnight I was having contractions and trying to resist timing them, by half past two in the morning I knew I was in labour and there would be no more attempts at sleep. The midwives had instructed me to call the triage number but it was engaged, so I called my mum next in case Jenna woke and needed someone. As she arrived I was sick, and from then on between contractions I was sick fairly often – the pains were coming so close together that sometimes I wasn’t getting a break between them, and the pool wasn’t full yet.

We finally spoke to triage, and moments later a midwife who was on her way and hoped she would be with us before the baby. My mum started to seriously worry that we would be having an unassisted birth after all! But I was starting to drift and feel that odd sense of calm and distance, that whatever was happening would happen and that soon enough I would have a job to do. I felt amazingly alive, but couldn’t wait any longer to get in the water as moving through the contractions was getting impossible.

The water helped me feel more in control right away, and soon my two midwives arrived and pronounced me coping wonderfully before sitting down to coffee and brownies. Throughout the next hour their only job was to check baby’s heartbeat with the sonicaid (three times, and twice when they asked and I said no lol). They didn’t suggest any dilation checks, which I was grateful for, I wanted to just let things happen and not think in terms of “how much longer”!

Between contractions I sank into the water and closed my eyes, drifting dreamlike and content with Martin and my mum taking it in turns to massage my head and murmur encouragements. It wasn’t long before transition, marked by my sudden panic and a couple of such strong pains I couldn’t even change position with the help of the water and I began to say I couldn’t carry on.

Thankfully everyone argued with me on that one, and the midwives gently put me off on fetching the enotox (telling me it would make me feel more sick and probably dizzy too, and I was lucid enough to know that my panic was temporary and due to how progressed we were and not actual inability to cope). Whatever I might say in the grips of an intense phase of labour I knew I still wanted to be strong and keep hold of the birth I needed for my baby. I was already being healed by going through this time myself and not as a passive observer.

Those five or six pains were the hardest part of the night, I couldn’t move as I felt the baby’s head pressing so low, and breathing through the contractions became shouting through them. Help me, I can’t do it, I’m not strong enough, I don’t want another baby any more… I want to go to hospital! Lyn, a wonderfully jolly lady, laughed and told me that if I was in hospital I’d right now be saying I wanted to go home and I wanted my mum, but since I was AT home and I HAD my mum… Even I managed to laugh. Anyhow I was feeling certain that birth was immanent and it would have been the most ridiculous time to transfer. I told them I wanted to push and was told (again by Lyn) that if I though baby was coming I was probably right and I should go for it when I was ready. That was all I needed, to be told that I was in control not them, and I stopped saying I couldn’t do it.

Between pains I pulled myself to my knees and flopped over the side of the pool, as Martin held me and told me how close it was and how great I was doing. I shouted through the next contraction, “Come on baby, you can do it, GET OUT!” I could only think about my body and the baby inside me by now, as I closed my eyes and reached out inwardly for the strength to push the pain away. In another moment the head crowned, I don’t remember any pain just the fear that I would reach down and not actually feel the head there. And with one more push I held my slippery long newborn and gently lifted it from the water onto my chest.

The baby gazed at me silently blinking in surprise. Time stopped.

It was about ten minutes later that someone reminded me to check what we had, me and my precious cargo still dazed and shaking with the newness of each other and amazement and what I’d done. I announced that we had a second daughter, and suddenly all my naming arguments fell away and I knew that Martin had won on this one – she was a Morgan for certain.

The contractions were still strong enough for me to be afraid of dropping or ducking her, so we cut the cord soon after as it had stopped pulsing and Martin held her as I climbed out and delivered the placenta gently and easily by the side of the pool. It was quarter to six in the morning.

I would love to tell you about the following hours, the rest of our first day just spent staring at each other, naked and overjoyed. I would love to express in words the look on Jenna’s face when she saw her sister in my arms, and the ease of those first feeds since my Morgan turned out to be a perfectionist with her latch. It is all a blur now, a gentle haze of ecstatic hormonal simplicity.