Zoe's First Month

Oh how I have missed blogging. While out walking with Zoe,I think about these posts I want to write to document our life together before I forget all the little details. However I rarely have free hands to type anymore. I now write all my emails in lower case and people have come to expect that. As my friend Niamh jokes (I hope) “Your standards are slipping”.They certainly are. 

Coming Home
So let me try to recall as much of our first month together as I can. Those first few days while in hospital were rather surreal, you know with all those hormones simmering away, the vulnerability of situations which arose and the presence of this tiny little creature who relied totally and completely on me. I think it was by day three that I actually realised I could kiss this baby girl (I kissed her loads when I met her first but not really when she came back to me fully clothed). That was the moment I truly felt like she was ours. At first, it felt like I was breaking the rules (I work with children so I'm used to not kissing them) but pretty soon I can tell you it has become the most natural part of our day. 

Feeding: Zoe was so sleepy in the hospital I found feeding her very difficult. She would wake to feed every two hours and if not I would wake her at least every three. However, once she latched on, the comfort of the breast caused her to nod off again. Some nights in there I was awake 1.5 to 2 hours at a time all through the night just tickling her, taking off her clothes, using a damp cloth trying to keep her awake but nothing seemed to work. When we were going home on the Friday, the Kinderarzt (Pediatrician) informed me that she had hit her critical weight loss line but fortunately had just come back above it. I was advised to come back the following day for another weigh in. 

Milk Coma
So I had 17 hours to fatten her up as best I could. Thankfully she had gained 30g over night so they didn't make any further appointments. They gave me a prescription for a hospital grade breast pump just so I could keep my milk supply in good condition. A nurse then came to see us. She had asked if I had enough milk. I told her the problem wasn't my supply, it was my lazy baby. She told me how to get her to stay awake on the breast but it was everything I was already trying. She just shrugged, washed her hands and said goodbye to us. So there I was, left to put some fat on this little girl's bones and determined not to resort to formula. 
Sleepy Head
Week two was equally as difficult in terms of getting her to eat. I pumped after every feed. Her nursing sessions were quite short because she was so drowsy. I knew she wasn't getting the calorific milk so pumping after she fed meant that at least I had that milk bottled for her for later. She ate a bit better when we gave her the bottle but still tended to sleep before it was empty. Admittedly, it was a little difficult to wake up every two hours when she wasn't looking for food but it had to be done. When baby cries out with hunger, getting up is the easiest thing to do. However when it's your alarm going off every two hours, that's another story. I just had to keep reminding myself that she was hungry but she just didn't have the energy to wake up herself. I could see this tiny mite losing weight by the day. I constantly examined her first photo, taken by the midwife at the birth and stared at those chubby legs. I promised her that soon she would be that size and bigger very soon. The 0-3 months baby grows that I bought were way too big so we had to buy a few newborn, which actually lasted her until she was over 6 weeks old. 

Midwife Taking her First Ever Photo
Week three saw a huge improvement. She started waking up more often by herself and fed a bit longer too. She still fell asleep much quicker than i wanted her to which also meant the milk spurted out all down her neck and down my stomach and clothes. I thought first she was just a messy eater but she was just too tired to handle that quantity of milk. My mum came the visit the beginning of that week and when she went home on the Friday she had seen a great improvement in her. 

My Mum Having a Cuddle
By the fourth week she actually started to go through a growth spurt. I was nursing her constantly. Sometimes up to three times an hour. During the night it wasn't as often but was still every 1.5 - 2 hours. During those spurts I just spent days on the sofa while she fed and slept. I seriously do not know how people with more than one child do it. At first and admittedly I still do from time to time I felt like I was wasting my time not being out and about or not getting things done around the house. I just reminded myself this newborn sleepy/cuddly/sofa/bed bound time does not last forever and I will never get it back again. Everything else can wait and it doesn't matter if we don't get out of the house. When I am trying to wear her out as a toddler we'll be outside as much as possible. 

Ian's Parents
Thankfully when she was exactly 4 weeks old and Ian's parents were visiting, she had finally reached her birth weight and had become the ultimate eater.
I'll feed her anywhere and have problem in doing so

The actual breastfeeding was amazing. Feeding Zoe from my own body is the most incredible feeling in the world. I find it extremely relaxing and the perfect bonding experience. Holding her, watching her suck gives me so much joy. In that first month I never once felt overwhelmed or exhausted by the experience.  

Sleeping: I worked out that Zoe slept pretty much 22-23 hours a day during those first two weeks. No wonder her weight plummeted. We have a crib which stays beside our bed at night which I can move to various rooms around the apartment during the day. It rests at the kitchen door during meal times, at the bathroom door during showers and beside the sofa during the rest of the day. She slept in her crib a lot of the time during that first month but definitely preferred being in our arms or on our chests. Towards the end of the month she started crying lots after her dawn feed so I started bringing her into the bed for just the last stint of the night. Also whenever I brought her out in the pram she would sleep for hours on end so had to be woken to nurse. She really enjoys her pram which is fantastic because I love walking. 

Highlight: For that whole month I was on a high quite honestly. I couldn't believe how easily Ian and I slipped in to our new roles. Everything she did was amazing, although most of that was sleeping. We loved just watching her, photographing her, holding her, even changing her. We often did 'joint effort changes' as we called them just because we both wanted to spent time with her. 

Her cord fell off

Giving her first bath on day 17 (it took 15 days for her cord to fall off and then we had to wait two more days) was so much fun. We filmed all 10 minutes of it. Our bathroom is tiny but yet we fit us, a baby bath and a tripod into the small space and captured every moment of it. We bath her together if Ian is home on her bath days. I have given her two baths on my own and Ian has been so disappointed that he missed out. I have had to send him photos of her during them though. We talked constantly about how much we loved her and we became those parent who started to believe that everyone should have children. That thought has since faded because we are both very aware that this isn't for everyone, it was just the initial 'new baby bubble'. That said we both agree, for us, having Zoe has been the best, most wonderful thing we have ever done. But the time was right for us. 

Besides meeting our little daughter, getting to bring her home, nurturing her and trying to learn everything about her, my big highlight has been seeing Ian transform into a father/daddy. I feel like he was never really going to be 'ready' to have a baby. He wasn't interested in children and loved his lie ins, computer games, parties, his time producing music, being able to work part-time and basically his option to have a care-free life. During my pregnancy I doubted how great he was going to be. I pictured him always complaining about her crying and me having to do absolutely everything. 

Holy cow, I was wrong. 100% wrong! This is the one time I don't mind admitting that. My husband's heart has never seemed so big. He adores every inch of that little girl. he would do anything for her - even change her dirty nappy and that says something. I honestly am so proud of him and grateful that he is Zoe's daddy. When he is not with her, he scrolls through his phone looking at videos and photos of her. Every evening we send each other cute pictures we have taken throughout the day. Ian is completely smitten with our beautiful daughter and I couldn't be happier.  

Daddy loves her more than Beer  
Lowlight: My lowlight was actually both a positive and a negative experience.
Ian was off from the Saturday until 9.00am on Wednesday with the exception of going into the office for a few hours on Monday morning. That day I remember the most. I got up and fed Zoe. Then fed myself. I showered and dressed while she slept, even applied some make up. Then a thought popped into my head - “Why don’t I meet Ian after work at 13.30?”. One of the things I was dreading the most was travelling on the buses and U-bahns with the pram so I decided I would bite the bullet and just attempt it now. I didn’t tell Ian because at least if it didn’t go according to plan I could turn around and go home. The journey consisted of a short bus journey (which I walked instead) and an 11 minute underground to a busy city centre station, then up to another platform to a very busy train line for another 11 minute journey and just a ten minute walk to his office. I could do it!! I had time to kill and Zoe was deep into another sleep so I baked some queen cakes to bring with us. I felt like superman! 

Buns for the Office
I loaded the pram with everything I needed. Tucked Zoe in nice and snug and called the lift. Unfortunately we have 6 or 7 steps to manoeuvre once leaving the lift. I recalled something Ian said about going down backwards so off I started. Suddenly I was halfway down the stairs with the heaviest pram I have ever used and a baby who looked like she was about to come flying out with each step the wheels slammed upon. Her limbs were flailing and I will never forget the look on her face - pure terror!! I tried to control the pram but couldn’t until eventually I used my stomach to take most of the weight. Zoe was screaming once we hit the hallway and I was shaking uncontrollably. I whipped her out and cuddled her until she fell back asleep. I felt like the worst mother ever and I couldn’t believe what I had just done to poor Zoe. I didn’t stop shaking for over half an hour. That’s when the pain in my wound started and it didn’t stop throbbing for the rest of the day. I had taken the weight of the pram full force into my stomach. At least baby was okay but only just. That entire day she continued to get startled every few mins and sobbed a little in her sleep. It was not the most positive of starts.

First Journey On Our Own

But in better news we made it to Ian’s office and surprised Daddy. When he rang and asked us what we were doing and I said we were downstairs. Proud as punch he came down to introduce his two ladies to his colleagues. Although it was a traumatic experience in one way, it was liberating in another. I completed a long and busy journey on my own and if I had put it off I would have become more anxious about it and it wouldn’t have been so easy (the travel part). 

How I am doing: I feel like I am doing exceptionally well, so far anyway. I thought I would be in lots of pain after the c-section and imagined me having to spend some time recovering in bed. In hospital they stopped our pain relief two days after the operation, which I was surprised at. However, I really felt good. I was a bit sore and especially sore when I laughed (thank you Niamh and Stergios) but nothing as bad as I thought. I was able to hoover and mop the entire apartment exactly one week after the section. The swelling and bruising went away after a week or so and the wound started to heal. I wasn't allowed to use toilet paper but a jug of warm water after each pee. It was actually very refreshing and I felt so much cleaner. The post partum bleeding wasn't that bad either. It was pretty light. 

Large Bump When Leaving Hospital
When I left hospital on the Friday, I still had a very sizeable bump but that too went down and by the end of the month I was wearing all of my old clothes again. A post pregnancy stomach is the weirdest feeling thing ever. I know people refer to it as jelly belly which is probably the closest to correct description I could think of. It's almost indescribable. I always have a fine layer of fat anyway and then can feel muscles behind it. After having Zoe those muscles were completely gone so it was just the fat and I guess my organs. It was the strangest feeling ever! I asked my sister recently what she thought of hers after she had her children and she said she actually couldn't bring herself to touch it - ever!!! 

Week 2, 3, 4
(I'll try fix this photo later)

Breast-wise - they leak a lot and especially after a shower because of the warm water and them always being full. So I wash and feel clean for a minute, step out of the shower and immediately my stomach is wet with sticky milk. Very sexy. My breasts are very tender too, so hugging can sometimes be uncomfortable. Thankfully though my nipples aren't cracked or sore so I haven't used any of my nipple cream. 

Sleep wise  - although I have been averaging 4-5 hours sleep per 24hours I feel really good. I am on an absolute high finally having my little girl. I thought I would be like a zombie but I really am not. I have showered and dressed every day since having her, so my overbuying of cute pyjamas from Penneys seems a bit excessive now. 


My skin has also stayed looking okay. I thought I would be covered in spots due to hormones but not yet anyway. I remember my sister got a lot on her chest after having her first baby so I prepared myself for that. I have started noticing I am losing a little bit of hair again. 

My feet swelled up to a ridiculous size. The swelling started on the Saturday evening before Zoe was born (she was born on Monday). The weather was really hot and I was heavily pregnant (38 weeks) so I wasn't too shocked. However, after the section they continued to swell more and more every day. I couldn't wear my shoes, could barely fit into these flip flops. They got really bad at night. They were even sore. I knew it could be three of the following things 
1. Post pregnancy hormones and fluid build up being released.
2. A side effect of the medication used during the c-section
3. My heart, which I already had a problem with.
I was very nervous that it was the latter. I couldn't get a cardiology appointment until late June (Zoe was born 23rd May). I tried to put it out of my head, hoping it was just medication or hormonal. I couldn't elevate them properly either to get relief. Once or twice I got a few minutes to lie on the floor and put them up on the sofa and that felt great. However, I generally had my newborn on my chest or in my arms so it was not viable. Thankfully, 13 days post birth they suddenly went back to their normal side and I haven't had a problem since. 

Emotionally I have been good too except two crying episodes at home (a couple in the hospital too) but they have been mainly husband, I mean hormone related. I cried over dinner one day because all of my meals I eat one-handed while holding Zoe so I choose easy to eat things. One evening I sat down to a peanut butter filled pita, while Ian had a homemade curry, nann bread and beer. He sat there photographing it and talking about how good it looked. I suddenly burst out crying, asking why he couldn't make me some nice dinners too. He reminded me that he asked what I wanted, I was not too forthcoming with ideas and just settled on the pita. I explained to him that I no longer pondered on what I was craving to eat for dinner, that all I want is something substantial served up to me and as long as it wasn't meaty I didn't care what. Since then, whenever he is off in the evening he cooks dinner for us both. The other days I reach for not very nutritious foods such as bread rolls and nut butters or cheese. 

I Love Skin to Skin

So I think that pretty much sums up our first month. I am still keeping notes of things to write in my book for Zoe. I used to write to her when I was pregnant but now I don't have time but I make a quick note in my phone so hopefully one day I'll get them down on paper. 

Congratulations if you made it to the end of this extremely long post and I hope you stay with us for the rest of our life updates.

Thanks for stopping by.

With love,

gem xx

1 comment

  1. Awww that was lovely to read how well ye are all doing!! ����


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