It is 10 weeks today since the lovely midwives at Burnside Memorial Hospital in Adelaide released us into the wild with our very own baby. Mr M and I still can’t believe Oscar is ours to keep!
‘Baby M’ is not so little anymore – he has gone from a tiny, squishy, wrinkly bundle to a wriggly, smiley little boy.
To commemorate 10 weeks since we brought Oscar home, here are 10 things I have learnt along the way.
1. Childbirth is painful, but it can be still be a positive experience.
I basically worked my way through the labour menu: Induction? Check. Gas? Sure I’ll try that. Contractions? A day’s worth, thanks. Epidural? Hell yes! What’s that? Emergency caesarean? Sure, if you say so Mr Obstetrician (who, by the way is one of my favourite people in the world). I went into hospital expecting to have a ‘natural’ birth but came out with a very neat c-section scar (did I mention I love my obstetrician?) and, most importantly, a healthy baby boy. The only line on our ‘birth plan’ was to come out the other side with a healthy baby and mum, so that was achieved. However, it went a little haywire. Baby M’s heart rate kept dropping with contractions and he just didn’t want to come out. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t a walk in the park and a few times in the following weeks I did wake up at night recalling the very unpleasant moments when Oscar’s head was banging on my pelvis (bone on bone pain is not fun). However, we were so blessed to be surrounded by amazing midwifes who reassured us and communicated to us every step of the way and an obstetrician we trusted completely to make the right decisions, and the outcome was perfect.
2. Newborns are not boring.
We were told the few weeks are not that interesting – babies only become ‘fun’ when they get older. It turns out that newborns are lots of fun! Oscar was an expressive little chap from the get go. He had so many ‘feels’, so many whole-body emotions. He would go from joyful to furious to hungry (that’s an emotion for Oscar) to delighted to pensive. His little brow would wrinkle, his nearly-invisible eyebrows would shoot up in surprise, his tiny mouth would purse, his legs and arms would wave enthusiastically to express his dis/pleasure. He is starting to get his emotions under control now, but still uses his arms and legs to express his feelings.
3. Also, newborns are not quiet.
I guess we thought new babies just slept a lot. Well, they do, but not quietly. It’s kind of like having a piglet in the bassinet. Grunts. Snuffles. Snorks (that’s the only way to describe it).
4. You can actually survive on minimal sleep.
I love my sleep, so my biggest fear of having a baby was how I would cope. This was also Mr M’s biggest fear, as I’m not nice without sleep. It turns out the 2am (and 4am, and sometimes 1.30am) feeds are manageable, and definitely worthwhile when Oscar gives me one of his sleepy, cheeky smiles. I piece together the four hours here, three hours there like an insomniac’s puzzle and suddenly, it adds up to a respectable amount. At least, that’s how I convince myself I’m well rested.
5. Babies are judgemental.
Oscar gave us many scathing looks in the first few weeks. His judging little face clearly said: “Alright, jokes over. Where are my REAL parents? The ones who know what they are doing?” He’s a bit more resigned to the fact that he’s stuck with us now and he seems happy with how our training is progressing.
6. Babies are charming.
Oscar is a little flirt. Takes after his dad, clearly. He dips his little shoulder (Oscar, not Mr M), bats his eyelids and gives the most beautiful smiles. Such a charmer. His dimples (another trait from Mr M) are starting to emerge, so there is no question: he will be trouble!
7. The clichés are unavoidable.
As one of the last of our friends to have our first baby, we heard it all. Lots of thoughts, perspectives, opinions and suggestions. We heard all the clichés, and we said to ourselves ‘we won’t be like that’. Well, we are. We talk about Oscar all the time. We (well, I) take lots of photos and share them enthusiastically. We discuss his nappies. His smiles. His cries. His sleep routines. We have whole conversations about how much we love Oscar. Yep, we have become ‘those parents’.
8. Babies are good enough to eat.
Two words: Baby rolls. Those chubby legs. The dimples on his hands where knuckles should be. His fat feet. His round belly. His thigh rolls. Seriously, delicious!
9. Babies will turn you into a stalker.
I lurk outside the nursery door after Oscar has gone to sleep, just listening. I stand over him in the middle of the night, just looking. I put my ear to his mouth and my hand on his little chest to make sure he’s still breathing. It’s not creepy at all.
10. Babies will break your heart.
It seriously hurts me how much I love Oscar. He is so innocent and soft and squishy and vulnerable. He is so perfect. I have actually cried, thinking of how some girl someday will probably break his heart. I want to keep him safe, protect him from the evils of the world, nurture him, yet give him the freedom to explore, to feel, to fly. I want him to live a fulfilled life, to travel, to love, to laugh, to feel, to follow his dreams yet always know home is where he is truly loved.
On that note, I’m off to give Oscar a cuddle.
Love, Mrs M xx