Well, it's been a while, hasn't it?! Everyone tells you how quickly time passes when they're here but you have to live it to really believe it. It seems crazy how those last few weeks of pregnancy dragged, wrought with anxiety and fear that we would never get to this point, and now I feel like I've blinked and ten weeks have passed yet on the other hand I can barely remember life before!
I wish I had written a couple of these posts before now because Lily has changed so rapidly but it turns out having a newborn is really quite time consuming! And on the off chance that she naps for longer than half an hour during the day, I'm using that time to eat, go to the toilet or tidy up. It's only now we're getting into some semblance of a routine (ick, that word makes me shudder...) that I can sit down and find time to do a few more 'me' things.
Lilian arrived a little earlier than planned at 37+1, after five long days in hospital prior to her birth. I'm going to write her birth plan at some point in far more detail but the short version is there were a few concerns about her growth and my health so I was admitted and labour was induced. Despite labour taking four days to get started the end she arrived very quickly in less than four hours from my first contraction to her slippery body being placed on my chest! Every worry, fear and anxiety vanished the second I laid eyes on her. (It returned pretty soon after but they were different ones!) She completely stole my heart and those first few hours of her life will remain the greatest of mine forever.
It's been incredible to see her develop so much in such a short space of time. She started as this teeny, scrunchy, fragile little thing who only fed (a LOT), slept and pooed and within days she was alert and noticing things. I loved those first few days of alertness where she looked permanently suspicious with her furrowed little brow and narrowed eyes. Now she is wide awake, intrigued in everything and constantly discovering new things.
We had our first proper smile at four weeks old. She had woken up for a feed and as I reached over to her she beamed at me! At first I wasn't sure if I had just imagined it because it was dark but when she did it again at the next feed I knew that smile was all for me and my boobies! Since then she has been full of toothless, eye-crinkly grins that even on my worst days fill me with such joy.
Shortly after her first smile Lily began to interact with the toys on her play gym. She had been quite happily laying there for a couple of weeks gazing at the bright colours but one day she suddenly started whacking the toys with her hands. The first few times she did it we wrote it off as coincidence but soon she started grinning after she did it and the movements were happening repeatedly. It certainly didn't take her long to realise that waving her limbs around meant things danced around and now, a few weeks later she's started to grab!
Her favourite toy is her Lamaze Purring Percival. She can spend a good half an hour in her Fisher-Price Rainforest Rocker batting Percival, grinning, cooing and yelping at him. The Lamaze toys are a definite favourite in this house, their bright colours and interactivity are so appealing to little eyes. Although she loves Percival, she isn't as much of a fan of her rocker as I thought she'd be. She much prefers her play mat where she can kick her legs and roll around. The Baby Einstein Nautical Play Mat was one of the first things I bought for her whilst I was pregnant. I was incredibly apprehensive about buying things but Mothercare had £50 off it (RRP is £80!) and I couldn't let it pass. I'm so glad I did because Lily loves it! Especially if we turn the starfish on. It plays tunes and lights up in time to the music and she goes absolutely nuts for it! She kicks her legs like crazy and squawks and yelps, it's amazing to watch.
For the first eight days of Lily's life I survived (I'm using that term loosely...) on a maximum of two hours sleep every 24 hours and it was hell. I had spent five days in hospital where I didn't sleep due to having to wake to do my blood sugars every two hours for 48 hours and being monitored very regularly so I was already running low on reserves. Add into that a quickly developing pain-relief-free labour that took every ounce of my energy, the stress from the feeding issues we were having and the overwhelming emotions I was feeling at having my rainbow baby, I was quite the mess. For the first few days of Lily's life she wouldn't sleep unless it was someone (and quite rightly considering she'd just spent 37 weeks tucked up nice and snug in my tummy) but my awful anxiety meant I was terrified to let her sleep on Haydn in case he fell asleep and she fell off him. Even when she did sleep I was too scared to sleep in case something happened to her. Day eight was a turning point when I had a bit of a breakdown, mostly induced by a delightful dose of mastitis and the breastfeeding stress reaches its peak. After that things seemed to get a little easier. I don't know if it was just because I'd reached peak crazy and got it all out or whether Lily simply adjusted a bit more to life earth-side but the intensity lifted somewhat.
In terms of sleep we've been incredibly lucky. Lily slept through the night for the first time at six weeks and bar a few nights has gone from 10pm to 5.30am since. Up until around eight weeks Lily slept in her Sleepyhead inside her Snuzpod but despite the Sleepyhead being suitable for up to eight months, she seemed to grow out of it very quickly. It was invaluable in those first few weeks though and we're thinking now about investing in the larger size. Lily settles at night quite easily which I'm very grateful for! She'll stir a few times from around 4am but all I need to do is lay my hand on her chest or pop her dummy in and she goes straight back off again. I love the Snuzpod for being able to do that so easily I barely have to open an eye myself!
Lily latched on easily soon after she was born and I hoped that was the start of problem-free breastfeeding but after a couple of days at home I realised it was going to be a lot harder than I thought. I'm going to write our breastfeeding journey down in the next month or so so I won't go into too much detail but we had a very difficult start. I had a low supply combined with the fact that she was jaundice and very, very sleepy, a quick birth, a posterior tongue tie, high palate and a bought of mastitis meant she lost quite a bit of weight and thus the first few weeks of Lily's life were incredibly stressful. We introduced formula top ups after every breast feed in the second week of her life and I started to do everything I possibly could to build my supply. At seven weeks we started to reduce the formula top ups and we are now down to just one feed per day needing to be topped up which we do with breastmilk. For weeks I wasn't able to express much more than an oz at a time but for the last week or so something has changed and I'm able to get around 4oz which is perfect. It also means Haydn can give her a feed. Thankfully, the intense stress and guilt I felt around feeding at the beginning of her life has definitely eased now and I'm not opposed to keep a tub of formula around should we ever need it. She's been brilliant with taking both breast and a bottle (and a dummy!) with no confusion whatsoever so that's not a worry anymore either.
At her last weigh in Lily was 11lbs exactly. She was 7lb 5oz at birth and up until last week she was following the 50th centile line nicely. However, she didn't put any weight on last week so she dropped a little. We've been having her weighed every week whilst reducing the formula when really she should only be weighed every three so the health visitor wasn't too concerned because it may balance out again. I'm trying not to worry too much but it's hard! She's a very lean baby due to how incredibly long she is but has some seriously delicious thigh rolls and Lego wrists!
Lilian has completely changed our lives and ten weeks later I still cannot quite believe she is here and ours to keep. She is such a joy and seeing her little face look over at me first thing in the morning and break into a big grin makes my heart feel like it might explode. She has helped us heal in ways I could never have imagined. I feel impossibly lucky to be her mama.
Mrs D x