15 November 2018

One Week Old: Double the Love

Yesterday, baby Hadley turned one week old and today marks one whole week at home as a family of four. There are a few things I wanted to share with you about her first week, as well as Willow's first official week in her role as a Big Sister.

A picture of a wooden baby milestone card
As you can imagine, it's been a week filled with sleep deprivation, dirty nappies, a slow-moving mama recovering from a planned repeat caesarean section, first visits and a loss of all sense of time and routine, but all the best moments that come with having a newborn, too.

SETTLING IN AT HOME
I imagined settling in at home to be a challenge, with a toddler and a newborn to think of whilst recovering from surgery and making the most of M's paternity leave. Turns out, it's been really easy. My biggest concern was how we would juggle a toddler and a newborn but we've found our everyday routine around Willow hasn't changed, we have just added a baby into the routine!

When we brought Willow home from the hospital, every day felt a little challenging and it was a pat on the back moment for each day we managed to get through. I think that's natural with your first when you're not quite sure what to expect and everything leaves you a little on edge; this time, we've already experienced newborn life, we know what we're doing, we have an idea of what to expect (as much as you can, considering all babies are different) and so we've taken newborn life take two with confidence we didn't have the first time around.

DOUBLE THE LOVE
I mentioned when pregnant (did you read my '10 Thoughts on Having Another Baby' feature?) how nervous I was about being a mother of two and wondering how I could possibly love anyone as much as I love Willow. Turns out, it's incredibly easy and natural and it just happens. I haven't had to try, I haven't had to wonder if I even do - I just do. I love both of my daughters more than words could ever do justice.

GETTING TO GRIPS WITH FEEDING
I spoke about my concerns over trying to breastfeed this time around, after facing some difficulties with Willow, in my feature on 'Breastfeeding: Will I Try Again?'. I have been trying to breastfeed Hadley, but we are facing many of the same difficulties we faced with Willow. Our main issue is latching, as Hadley has inherited the same upper lip tie that Willow has which means her lip does not curl over in the way it should when latching, instead it stretches flat and curls inwards. Feeding has been extremely painful at times and due to a significant weight loss, we have had to top up with formula feeds.

A picture of new sisters

SISTERLY LOVE
Willow is absolutely smitten with Hadley. She loves to hold her, she loves to cuddle and kiss her, she helps with nappy changes and formula feeds. She loves to stroke her hair and tells her it's OK when Hadley cries and has taken to sisterhood in a wonderful way. You can tell she is exceptionally proud to be a big sister and I am so, so happy that she seems to have taken so well to our family growing.

HOW'S MAMA DOING
I'm not doing too badly, although I had forgotten how sore a caesarean recovery can be and I am struggling a little pain wise, but, so long as I keep on top of my pain relief, it's manageable.

The baby blues kicked in on day 6 where I was feeling extremely emotional, to the point where I stuck on films I knew would make me cry my eyes out (The Notebook had me ugly crying from start to finish!) and although that sounds a bit pathetic (it is), it helped to get the tears out and also helped me feel a bit more in control of the baby blues.

As the days go on I am starting to worry about the possibility of experiencing postnatal depression again (I shared my experience of PND with Willow in my feature on 'My Journey Through Postnatal Depression'), but I have a really supportive network around me and I am working with the community midwives and local perinatal team to ensure that if that does happen, I receive the right support at the right time, which is the most important thing.

Hadley's first week has flown by and I'm trying to soak up as much as I can. These days go by so quickly and I want to enjoy them and remember every little moment, particularly as Hadley will be our last baby; this is the last time we will experience the newborn days!

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