Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Week 1- baby books, sore sitches and taking her home

She’s home. We’ve brought our baby home. Pootle, as we’ve been calling her for the last 9 months is Nancy. It was a bit of a surprise, her being a girl. What with every shopkeeper, waitress, and sales assistant telling me, ‘it’s definitely a boy, look at the way it’s sitting’, I had become convinced that we were having an Alfred or an Arthur, so Ben had to ask the anaesthetist twice to check that she’d got it right.
After two days in hospital we’re finally here. And I don’t have a clue what to do now. I’m regretting my decision to only half read lots of baby books and discard them in favour of a series of rubbish detective novels. One of them had suggested showing Nancy round the house as if she was moving in, so true to the letter, Ben carries her as I give a guided tour, pointing out the quirky features of the house (‘take note of the large garden Nancy, which you will be able to play in when you’re older, it’s west facing so you’ll be able to get the sunshine all day’) as well as the pit falls (‘ there’s damp in the bathroom, and a colgate toothpaste box stuck behind the radiator, but your daddy’s sorting both of those things out.) And then we take stock of the situation.
We’ve got a baby. WE’VE GOT A BABY. I keep repeating it in my head like some kind of mantra to convince myself its true. She’s got loads of dark hair, and deep blue eyes which she only reveals on the odd occasion as she’s mainly slept since arriving. I know I should have been prepared for this moment after 9 months of carrying her around, but somehow it feels like a total surprise that I’m sat in my front room with a baby, and we created her. And that’s she’s perfect. And that she’ll be in our life everyday for the rest of our lives.
We place the car seat with our sleeping, beautiful baby inside in the middle of the carpet and just stare at her. We sit down on the sofa, and here comes issue number one, which no-one warned me about. My bits are so sore that I can only sit on one bum cheek, balancing precariously and clinging onto the sofa while wincing through the pain, I look at my daughter and wonder how I’ll even be able to lean forward to pick her up. It’s not like ‘ouch this hurts a bit’ kind of pain, it’s more in the region of ‘has someone just punched me in the fanny and made me sit on a bed of nails before squirting lemon juice all over the perforated bits.’

This is not the mother earth image I had in mind. Why hadn't anyone told me about ‘after care’? There’s more literature out there than you can shake a big stick at about pregnancy, I have a shelf full of partly read books about it. And the baby, what should be happening when, there’s loads about that. But what about me? I don’t want to become a selfish mum before I’ve even cut her hospital band off, but from where I’m uncomfortably sitting, Nancy looks completely serene, while I don’t know how I’ll ever go to the toilet again.

And now I’m looking at her, I can understand why it hurts so much. It seems almost impossible that my beautiful girl was only 48 hours ago squeezed out of me. She’s tiny compared to me and Ben, but massive compared to that.

And then she makes a snuffling noise and I forget all about the hurty bits and fall massively in love with her.

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