So you’ve just had a baby, it’s finally time to leave the hospital and go home. You will be leaving with a new baby. That’s right. Medical professionals are going to let YOU take a new baby home. What the heck are you supposed to do once you get home? That’s when the fun really starts!
Ollie was born at 3:50am on a Friday morning and we were allowed to go home the following Monday afternoon. I absolutely could not wait to leave hospital and go home. Sure I appreciated the support from the midwives and surprisingly tasty hospital food but I just couldn’t wait to get home. The hospital was just so noisy, cold and had that hospital smell which I’m just not a fan of. I wanted out! That is until I was actually on the way home from the hospital.
We happen to live all of a two minute drive from the hospital so there wasn’t much time to think. Or in my case, panic. My husband was purely picking Ollie and I up and dropping us off at home as he had an appointment to have remedial work done on his shoulder. (See Lesson #7 for more info!) I found myself standing in the living room next to my suitcase from hospital, a dozen floral arrangements and clutching our brand new tiny (5 pounds 13 ounce) baby boy, wondering what I was supposed to do next.
Do you remember your first day at school? You’re nervous because you’re in a brand new environment where you don’t know anyone and haven’t been there before. This was just like that, except I had a tiny new person that I was still getting to know. Oh, and let’s not forget that it was also my responsibility to keep him alive. No big deal.
In that moment, Ollie opened his eyes and looked up at me and I knew that something big was about to happen. Happen it did. He opened his mouth and proceeded to scream louder than I had ever thought possible. And scream. And scream. Did I mention that he screamed? His whole face turned red and I’m sure that mine did also. I started to panic and had no idea what to do. I tried my hardest to comfort him but he was relentless in his disapproval of me. Surely motherly instinct would kick in at some point. Right? Whether the motherly instinct hadn’t yet kicked in or it had gone for a drive in the car with Aaron, at that time it was nowhere to be found.
How long had it been since Aaron had left for his appointment? I checked my watch and realised that it had only been fifteen minutes. Yikes. I chastised myself, (something that would become a habit for me and I’ve written about before – See HERE) because I was his mother. I SHOULD know how to calm my own baby. I thought about all of the things that I had read in the baby ‘how to’ books. I knew there was a list of things that I needed to run through and I would be able to stop him crying. If only I could remember the things on the list.
Think Carla, think! Eventually it came back to me. He could have a dirty nappy, be too hot, too cold, hungry or tired. Off to the change table we went. I changed his nappy and he kept crying. I took his temperature and he kept crying. I sat down and fed him for a couple of minutes which seemed to calm him. Okay, so it was the answer behind door number three. Hungry. YES! I had worked it out. VICTORY!
Turns out that I probably shouldn’t have celebrated quite so soon. Within fifteen minutes he started to cry again. I ran through the list in my head again. Was he tired? When had he last slept? I couldn’t remember. In fact, when had I last slept? I had no idea about that either.
I sat down on the bed and comforted him as best as I could, all the while quietly crying and mentally berating myself. I started rocking back and forth (insert visual of a distraught or crazy person) hoping that the movement would sooth him. I’m unsure just how long I did that for, I’m guessing somewhere around thirty or forty minutes. At some point during this period. Ollie stopped crying. I breathed a sigh of relief.
I heard the front door open, signalling that Aaron was home. Relief flooded through me. My calm, level-headed and very capable husband was home. He entered the room, I passed Ollie to him and walked into the living room. I sat on the couch and couldn’t believe how bad I was at being a mum. I had no idea what the heck I was doing. Why had the universe inflicted me on this gorgeous little boy? I put my head in my hands and sobbed.