Not me…

“Newborns will sleep for up to 17 hours a day,” says know-it-all baby website.
“Not me,” says Rebel Baby, “I’m too busy punching the toys on my baby gym with concerningly violent determination and shouting at leaves.”

Week 1: Wednesday

The hospital has made Mummy feel like a New Woman. Not only have the doctors finally listened to all of Mummy’s very serious and potentially fatal concerns, but Mummy and The Baby have been discharged with instructions that please Mummy greatly:

  1. Mummy must eat more. In fact, Mummy must eat more high calorie foods and very often. This strikes Mummy as possibly the most excellent piece of medical advice she has ever received, and one she will embrace wholeheartedly.
  2. The Baby should follow a feeding plan. Mummy does enjoy a good plan. She is already looking forward to making it into a spreadsheet with colour coding, and laminating it.

The Hospital People also hooked Mummy up to a strange milking machine and have told her she must do this regularly so she can make more milk, like a dairy cow. Daddy finds his very funny indeed and has skipped off to Boots to purchase one, for there is nothing Daddy likes more than shopping for technology. He has also started calling Mummy Daisy, which is less welcome.

Wednesday – around midnight

Rebel Baby was not listening to the briefing on The Plan. Rebel Baby has her own plan. Bugger.

Week 1: Tuesday

Today is The Baby’s five day check up. In the waiting room, the nurse calls for her three times before Mummy remembers that they actually gave The Baby a proper name, having called her only cutesie nicknames or four letter words since she was born, depending on Mummy’s ever-changing mood.

The nurse is very worried about the baby losing too much weight and says Mummy needs to feed her more. Mummy politely tells the nurse she will happily do so if the nurse can invent some sort of time-warp allowing Mummy to feed in double time because she can’t feed her more than ALL THE TIME.

“Well are you feeding her for long enough?” asks the nurse. Mummy tells the nurse she fed her for seven hours last night and only stopped because she needed a wee. The nurse agrees that this should be long enough.

“There must be a problem with The Latch,” says the nurse. But Mummy shows the nurse her most excellent Oxbridge-worthy latch and the nurse is most impressed.

The nurse scratches her head and decides Mummy and The Baby must go back to hospital later this afternoon to work out why The Baby is shrinking so much and has turned a bit yellow.

The seven minute drive back from the doctors is long enough for Mummy to convince herself The Baby is very seriously – possibly fatally – ill and it’s all her fault.

When they get home, visitors have broken into the house by way of a key. Due to the mirror experience and also all the crying, Mummy currently has an aversion to visitors but these ones are Daddy’s brother and sister-in-law, who are very welcome indeed. Daddy’s brother is an actual real-life doctor who can listen to all of Mummy’s very serious and possibly fatal concerns. Daddy’s sister-in-law is an actual real-life Supermum, who has survived two rounds of having babies, and has two angelically perfect children that do things you see on Pinterest like baking themed cakes and making dens from tasteful fabric. And also they have brought presents.

Uncle Doc and Aunty Pinterest are both very nice and helpful, which makes Mummy cry more. Uncle Doc makes tea and toast which makes everything much better. Daddy has a little sulk that he makes Mummy tea and toast all the time and she leaves it to go cold all over the house, but this is tea and toast made by an actual real-life doctor and therefore it has magical healing properties. Aunty Pinterest distracts Mummy with presents, and promises her that the perfectly angelic children were not always perfect babies and were actually very hard work.

Mummy is looking forward to going back to hospital now, as she remembers how much it pleases her that the bed goes up and down with an electric button, and the vending machine has mint Magnums.

Week 1: Monday

Mummy really is starting to get worried about The Baby’s enormous appetite and, on Daddy’s uncharacteristically sensible advice, has rung the Hospital People who said to call if there were any concerns. It is only 10% likely Daddy thinks it is worth checking with medical professionals (again) about all of Mummy’s concerns, and 90% likely he just wants Mummy to stop wittering on about them.  It is a good job Mummy had forgotten about phoning the Hospital People, as her Google history is testament to the fact she would probably have rung them too many times already, had she remembered.

The hospital people tell Mummy it’s all completely normal, make thinly veiled comments which suggest she may be slightly overreacting and say she probably just needs a cup of tea. “Oh yes please that would be lovely,” sobs Mummy down the phone, before realising they weren’t offering to bring her one. Blooming NHS cuts again.

 

Week 1: Sunday

“Why don’t you come round for Sunday dinner so everyone can meet The Baby?” asks Grandma kindly.

“Sure,” says Mummy, “that sounds like a fun thing to do.”

Mummy had forgotten that she is very broken in all sorts of places, and that walking to the kitchen to make tea feels like a monumental achievement. If she had remembered this, she would never have agreed to drive several miles for a very big family lunch where everyone would be super excited and want a turn holding The Baby. She also forgot that The Baby only likes to leave about 0.2 seconds between feeds, which really makes long family meals – or in fact anything more than a Hobnob on the sofa – quite difficult. But Mummy was super tired and not thinking straight, so it seemed like a marvellous idea. At least there were roast potatoes.

Week 1: Saturday

It transpires this morning that Health Visitors don’t make an appointment; they just show up at your house whenever they want, to check on the baby. It feels a bit sneaky… like speed cameras without the warning signs. At least Daddy had pants on under his dressing gown, which was better than when the Ocado man came yesterday.

The first thing Mrs Health Visitor wants to do is check Mummy’s stitches. Obviously word has reached her of the beauty that is now Mummy’s lady area, and Mummy thinks she might have to start charging for viewings if it carries on like this – she could probably fund The Baby’s Oxbridge education that way.

“Do you have any concerns about baby?” asks Mrs Health Visitor. Mummy reels off a gazillion concerns, each one completely justified and very serious, possibly fatal, and mainly to do with The Baby’s excessive eating habit.  “Good good,” smiles Mrs Health Visitor, “that all seems normal.” Mummy decides Mrs Health Visitor is being a total waste of sofa space and scowls at her until she leaves so Mummy can lie down again.

Everybody in the world wants to come and see the baby.

Mummy is very much in favour of everyone admiring The Baby and telling her how beautiful The Baby is, but cruelly Mummy has also happened upon a mirror and was so disturbed by the horrors it contained that she does not want to make contact with the outside world for at least a month.

Mummy falls asleep briefly and wakes up to find photos of Great Auntie holding the baby. She apparently snuck in while Mummy was napping, like a baby-visiting ninja.

The lovely next-door-neighbour comes round to see the baby and cunningly brings a Trojan Horse of spaghetti bolognese and more unadvisable wine, so Daddy lets her in.

The Baby is hungry ALL THE TIME. Mummy briefly considers offering it the spaghetti bolognese, but thinks better of it.

Week 1: Friday

It has taken more than an hour to get back from the hospital. This is partly because Mummy kept barking at Daddy to DRIVE CAREFULLY, and partly because Mummy suddenly remembered she hadn’t really eaten anything since Wednesday and was STARVING, and made Daddy pull over and buy two family sized bags of Fruit Pastilles, which she ate all of on the way home (not recommended.)

Even though Mummy and The Baby were only in the hospital for a little bit of today, probably because of NHS funding cuts rather than their excellent state of health and competency, Mummy’s parents had already visited. Grandma, as she now is, was possibly more excited than even Mummy about The Baby being born, and Grandad almost certainly had to use physical restraints to stop her coming the night before, while Mummy was still being stitched up and the nurses were mopping the ceiling. But they brought presents and pretended not to notice the ears, so it was all good.

Now that everybody is home, Mummy is surprised to find that nothing has changed. Obviously it would be most concerning if anything HAD changed, as this would suggest breaking and entering, but it seems very strange that such a monumentally life-altering event such as having a baby can occur, and everything at home is precisely as everyday and ordinary as you left it. Oh wait, not exactly the same. There is evidence that Daddy had a kebab last night, but Mummy is too in love with the new baby to even give him the lecture about dripping mayonnaise on the sofa, which must be a lot for this is one of Mummy’s very favourite lectures.

The Baby is alternately sleeping and eating, and sometimes even eating while sleeping, which seems an excellent lifestyle choice and also suggests there is little need for a paternity test.

Daddy has proven himself to be The Best Husband in the World by secretly going to the supermarket and buying Mummy all of the lovely things she has not been able to eat for nine months like French cheese, paté and also lots of wine. It turns out Daddy needn’t have bought more than a thimbleful of wine as it goes straight to Mummy’s head and she has to stop drinking it after two sips.

By the evening, mummy has cried approximately twenty seven times for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Daddy is very confused because Mummy doesn’t usually cry, even at sad films (except for The Fault in Our Stars which is a cruel film that should come with a public health warning and free tissues). In fact, Daddy has in the past accused Mummy of being an Ice Queen because she doesn’t cry at Homeward Bound when Shadow comes over the hill. Daddy is therefore eyeing Mummy with a mixture of concern and bewilderment while she bawls, “I’m honestly not sad, I just love her so much!” through mouthfuls of Brie.

As the evening goes on, Mummy begins to think perhaps the hospital shouldn’t have let her out so easily. It is gradually dawning on Mummy that she is grossly unqualified for the role of Mummy and should perhaps have at least been made to sit a short exam before being entrusted with such responsibility. Trial and error have so far led to some dubious conclusions, all of which reinforce Mummy’s suspicions about The Baby’s rebellious nature…

Things that keep the baby awake: lullabies, rocking, whispering.
Things that send the baby to sleep: heavy metal, dancing to heavy metal, being swung through the air, loud noises.

This seems to go directly against all of the advice the NCT lady imparted unto Mummy and, as such, Mummy suspects that her approach may be somewhat lacking, but is too tired to care. It is going to be a long night…

 

How it all began

3:30 pm

Laying in delivery suite having just persuaded a small human to exit my body via the narrowest possible escape route. Place looks like a scene from a zombie apocalypse movie. How did I get blood on the ceiling? Goodbye old me… have just become Mummy.

3:34 pm

Being Mummy is so far good. You don’t have to get up, and people bring you tea and drugs. Daddy is having a much harder time of it. He is rocking in the corner, stroking his hand and muttering something about possibly fractured fingers.  He also looks a bit scared of Mummy. Poor Daddy – nobody has brought him tea.

3:39 pm

“She is the most beautiful newborn baby I’ve ever seen!” gushes Mummy for the umpteenth time in the last nine minutes. Mummy feels the need to add the ‘newborn’ caveat as actually, she is the only newborn baby Mummy has ever seen and this lends a smidgen of truth to her hormone-fuelled ramblings. Mummy is also trying to work out which character from Lord of the Rings it is that the baby reminds her of, and wondering if the ears will need surgery.

Seriously… those ears

3:40 pm

Mummy checks again that the baby is definitely a girl. It was the first thing Mummy wanted to know when it came out, but Daddy hesitated a bit too long, squinting in confusion, and the midwife had to answer. Even then, Daddy didn’t look convinced. It’s still not brilliantly obvious, but hopefully the swelling will go down.

3:45 pm

“Time for stitches!” announces sadist midwife. Mummy tries to look busy but Baby promptly falls asleep. Little traitor.

“Hmmmm… Ah… Oh dear… Right…. Hmmmm….” mutters sadist midwife busily, then eventually decides that a supervisor needs to come and check the stitches as they are a bit ‘unusual.’ Mummy is all for individuality but was quite happy with a very ordinary and conformist lady area, thank you very much. Mummy is now a little worried, but drugs and hormones are taking the edge off.

4:15 pm

Supervisor is mightily impressed with the ‘unusual’ needlework, and sends for more colleagues and student doctors to admire it. Before long, half the hospital staff (and possibly a few visitors) have been paraded before Mummy’s lady area. Student doctors are especially interested, ask a lot of questions, thank Mummy heartily and compliment her on how beautiful it all looks Down There.

Mummy is a bit confused while strangely flattered, and begins to wonder if sadist midwife has embroidered butterflies around the edges.  “Can I have a look?” asks Daddy. Mummy looks at Daddy, and Daddy has the good sense not to ask again.

5:45 pm
Mummy has been wheeled to the recovery ward with the Bundle of Joy. It is full of other Mummies who all look a bit broken and hobble around, leaking from various body parts, wheeling their own bundles in tanks. It is a strange place.

People are very keen to talk to Mummy about contraception. Contraception is not necessary because Mummy is never letting Daddy near her lady area ever again, however many butterflies it may have. This could be problematic, as hormones have already caused Mummy to declare she wants to have ten more babies, but that is neither here nor there.

Too many people come and check ‘The Latch.’ Mummy did not know what The Latch was until this afternoon, and now it is suddenly a Very Important Thing Indeed. It is also a word that if you say it too many times, it sounds like not a word. Latch. L-a-t-c-h. Latch, latch, latch. Mummy has heard it too many times now. Apparently the little one has an excellent Latch and doesn’t need any help. Mummy is very proud indeed and starts thinking about Oxbridge applications.

6:30 pm

Daddy left some time ago and Mummy has been left all alone, gazing at The Baby who has thus far been asleep, and thinking what an absolute doddle this mummying is. The midwives insist the curtains are left open, which Mummy assumes is so all the other people in the hospital can see how beautiful Mummy’s baby is and what a marvellous job Mummy is doing, gazing at it so proficiently with no prior experience or training whatsoever.

An unnaturally happy lady arrives with a big trolley and a camera, and wants to take pictures of The Baby. Naturally, Mummy assumes this is because The Baby is so beautiful and possibly the lady is short-sighted.  The fact that Daddy just left, so Mummy is alone, drugged-up, emotional and vulnerable, has nothing whatsoever to do with the nice lady’s timing. The lady takes some very average photographs of The Baby from questionable angles, which Mummy immediately declares are the most beautiful photographs she has ever seen in her life and of course she will remortgage the house to pay for them all. She calls Daddy immediately, demands that he brings All The Money in the morning, and reminds him that she just had his baby so she gets whatever she wants. Mummy is going to play that card a lot.

7:12 pm

The Baby is hungry. Excellent – Mummy knows exactly what to do.

7:52 pm

The Baby is hungry again. Must be because Mummy’s milk is so delicious.

8:30 pm

The Baby seems to be hungry again. Hmmmm…

8:49, 9:20, 10:17, 10:35 pm… God knows what other times in between… 4:05 am

The Baby is hungry!! Mummy suspects The Baby may be faulty. The other babies don’t seem to be this hungry. Maybe The Baby has an eating disorder already? The midwives say this is all perfectly normal. Mummy suspects the midwives may be faulty.

4:26 am

Mummy gets up for the gazillionth time and discovers The Baby seems to be swimming in black tar. The faulty midwives tell Mummy this is all perfectly normal and it has to go in the bin labelled ‘Toxic Waste.’ Mummy realises just in time that they didn’t mean The Baby.

4:48 am

It has taken an inordinate amount of time to clean up the toxic waste, and Mummy has threatened to put The Baby in the bin more than once (but not loudly enough for medical professionals to hear.) According to the midwife, The Baby will probably sleep now which is good because Mummy is very tired. Not only because of all the feeding and the toxic waste, but also because the lady in the bed next door thinks it is normal to cluck like a chicken to her baby all night. Mummy found this funny at first but now it is quite annoying.

Mummy goes to check on The Baby, who will probably be sleeping now. The Baby is not asleep. The Baby is very, very awake and looking right at Mummy. It is almost like she heard the midwife say she would sleep, and she decided that is exactly and precisely what she would not be doing. There is definitely a hint of a smile as she fixes Mummy with her little baby stare.  It seems this baby is a rebel.