11 weeks and 5 days ago, the small, windy human currently lying next to me, decided he had had enough of being snuggled up in my womb and made a rather abrupt appearance after 30 hours of getting himself “just right”.
The last 3 ish months have been so very, very different to those we experienced with his sister. The fact that he came out 2lbs heavier than her and 12 days late probably played a part in it.
Things haven’t been perfect, dont get me wrong, but it’s better. It was only a 30 hour labour instead of 72 this time, so I was already 2 night’s sleep better off going in to it. I had a planned home birth, instead of an accidental birthing of the baby on the spare bedroom floor, and I was as prepared as I could have been. I learnt to feed lying down from day 1 which was so much easier than trying to hold up a 10 and a half pound baby and not fall asleep sitting up. In essence, I’d worked out what I didnt like from the last time round and changed it.
Everybody told me that it was a given that Elsie was going to start acting out because the new baby was here and that she’d resent him. I planned for that too. I filled a box full of things for us to do together on the sofa whilst I was feeding the baby. It worked. We played, we played with the bits in the box and we played make believe that the sofa was a train taking us to the beach. We played during nap times and we got to have sling cuddles again becuase Mummy wasn’t broken any more.
What I hadn’t planned for was that”resent” was the wrong word and I had utterly failed to realise how it would affect me. She wasn’t resentful, she was hurt. The person that was always there without hesitation when she was scared or lonely or over whelmed or really, really excited, suddenly wasn’t. She wasn’t there to cuddle up with in the middle of the night when bad dreams came, she told her to be excited a bit quieter please when the baby was sleeping or feeding, she couldn’t give her a spontaneous cuddle because she was elbow deep in poo filled nappy/covered in baby spew/ holding the baby/ trying to drink a cup of scolding hot tea in under 19 seconds before someone started yelling.
I know that these things are normal and I know that I haven’t broken my daughter by having another baby but it’s a very big thing for a little one to deal with. I am struggling at the moment not to get upset by it. I miss my little big girl. I miss my night time snuggles and I hate that she’s pushing away from me because she’s sad. I hate that the person she goes to now when she has had a bump is Daddy because as soon as I cuddle her Ed starts crying.
I don’t resent having another child, I wouldn’t swap it for the world. I am overwhelmed though by trying to work out how you can be two people’s absolute everything without upsetting one or both. I guess the answer is that you can’t but it’s all about trying to minimise the impact on everyone until you’ve all adjusted to the change. It’s the same when any big change occurs, there is a period of adjustment and unsettlement whilst you work into a new routine and mindset. The only difference is that you are doing this change whilst sleep deprived and with people who’s emotions and wellbeing are so intrinsically connected with your own that you can’t help but feel their feelings with them. As well as your own.
I had started writing this because I was listening to Elsie asking my husband if he could come and get me for a mummy cuddle. I had Ed on the boob and he was just drifting off . I couldn’t be in two places at once and I find having to let one of them down heart breaking. I took a break from writing and was ambling through Facebook during the 10pm feed and I came across Giovanna Fletcher’s post about Baby Loss Awareness Week. I realised it wasn’t just my Little Big Girl in the next room I miss snuggling, it’s my baby I never got to snuggle.
In 2011, I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks. I didn’t know I was pregnant until I realised that what was happening meant I wasn’t any more. I hadn’t been trying for a baby but there was still an enormous feeling of loss. It was such an overwhelming and incomprehensible thing to feel for something I didn’t even know I’d had but it was gone and there was nothing I could do to get it back. I still feel guilty about it and more so, when, like tonight, i remember I should be kissing 3 children goodnight instead of 2. Then I feel awful, because I forgot.
I went through both subsequent pregnancies utterly terrified that I was going to lose my baby again. I checked and double checked the chances of micarriage as we ticked another week off. I panicked about the kicks in the last few weeks.
Up until now 5 people knew I’d lost a baby and two of those were midwives at my booking appoinments. No one knew about how worried I was with the other two.
We don’t talk about this. We should. Whether it’s very early in the pregnancy or post birth, the loss is huge and has an enormous impact on people’s lives. Not talking about it compounds the feelings and leaves you dealing with them alone.
This wasn’t the direction I planned to go with this post and I wasn’t sure that I felt comfortable sharing but we need to start talking about the big things. We need our village and we need to know we are not alone.