The joy and chaos of a newborn
My last blog was 30th June, the day my daughter was born. Since then, my life has been full of cute baby noises, squidgy baby squirms and Moro reflex, and a whole litany of firsts – first nappy change at home, first bottle feed, first bath at home (in the kitchen sink), first trip out in the pram, first sleep all the way through the night. Nope, that last one was a lie!
These weeks have flown by in a blur of feeding and nappy changes (especially the first couple of days!) with calm moments in between of sleeping or wide-eyed alertness (for babe and parents!). I wasn't prepared for quite how alert she can be when awake! There's been the common initial weight loss of a newborn followed by voracious eating and weight gain.
We've been taking photos like crazy, as well as the odd video or too. What I've not found time for is writing down any of my thoughts about it all. This has seemed one step too much in a world where night and day have collapsed into the time-space continuum of looking after baby. What time is it? What day? Does it really matter?!
Some of the highlights for me have been the quiet swell of contentment I feel when bottle feeding her while her Mom's asleep. Our late night/early morning wanderings around the apartment to keep her engaged or settled. The way she responds and calms (sometimes!) to my voice and touch. Her tiny hands wrapped around my thumbs. When she throws her arms out above her head when sleeping or takes ages stretching as she wakes up (I feel you – mornings are hard!).
We've tried to keep some semblance of our previous life and routines. Coffee comes on at six in the morning, and is there for us in its thermal pot whenever we get to it. I've managed to shower every day, although sometimes not until six at night. We still make our (virtual) Thursday and Friday pub nights, albeit not necessarily on time and interrupted as needed for feeds and changes. Getting back to writing my blog again is another step.
Today I went back to work. Yet another step. As, like many in the world, I'm working from home right now, it's easy to pitch in if and when needed and not abandon my wife completely. This matters to me. We've been a great team so far, tagging each other in and out when needed. Sharing the highs and the firsts, helping each other out when exhausted. What we lose in energy levels by being older parents we gain (I hope!) in increased personal and combined resilience.
I'm also grateful for the wider support network we have. The medical professionals in the hospital when she was born, the community midwives and health workers have all been fantastic. So too have our friends and family wide and far, connecting via email, snail mail, WhatsApp, Signal, text messages, Facebook (and Messenger), Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, even by phone calls! This plethora of communication tools has helped with the fact that our closest family are some distance away, and we still don't know when it'll be safe to visit with them, especially our parents who are old enough to be in the most vulnerable class of susceptibility to COVID-19.
Gifts have arrived for baby and for us. Cute clothing. Lots of useful hand-knitted blankets. Books for reading to her. Low abv “spacer beers” and whisky for us. More locally, we've had friends chip in by dropping off meals and nappies (a heartfelt thank you!). Our NCT Group has been a virtual support – we're the first out of five couples to pop, although two more babes have joined in the last few weeks.
I could write a whole bunch more here but that'll do for now. My daughter is here. I'm a Dad. I'm a Dad! Oh, what wonderful adventures we're going to have together little one as we explore the world together! First though, your Mom and I would love it if we could please get more sleep!
Entry 20 of my participation in the “100 Days to Offload” challenge – find out more and join in!