I can’t quite believe it’s been two weeks.
Those precious first days with our new little guy are already over. We’re back to our usual routine of school runs, swimming lessons, work, and life in general. The newborn bubble – those long lazy days in bed, nothing to do but just hold, feed, and cuddle, are over.
Where to start? We came home just five hours after he arrived. Not wanting to waste a second longer after my LONG five days in hospital. For the first time ever, we didn’t have to rely on a lift back from the hospital. Now that Sam can drive, we drove home as a family. I settled on the sofa and we ordered curry for dinner – pretty much perfect.
Unlike Arlo, who slept soundly for the whole of his first night, but exactly as his (new) big brother Rory, he had an unsettled first night. In fact, every night has been pretty unsettled compared to the day time. I had an inkling from his womb-habits that his routine would be a bit upside down. His tongue tie (100% anterior) causes him to suck in a lot of air when feeding, the resulting wind leaving him too uncomfortable when lying flat. He is definitely our windiest baby so far.
The next day, I awaited the return of his big brothers as Sam went off to collect them. I hadn’t seen Arlo and Rory in six days, and I was desperate for us all to be reunited and spend a couple of days all together at home. My departure had been very abrupt and I hadn’t had time to explain what was happening to them – they had been expecting their brother to be born at home, or possibly a short stay in hospital. Not five days apart that came about all of a sudden.
I opened the door to Arlo, all excited and asking where his new brother was. Rory had fallen asleep in the car – not ideal, but it wasn’t long before he was in good spirits. His big smiles for his new brother reassured me that he was going to take to the change just fine. Arlo remained true to his baby-loving reputation, from the start wanting to kiss, cuddle and be close to him.
The first time siblings meet is a strange one. You remember it vividly, yet looking back it feels unreal – “Can you believe there was ever a time when they didn’t know each other?”
My main aim for the first few weeks was to do as little as possible. I just wanted to spend the time cuddling, resting, feeding.
In a stroke of good timing, our new bed arrived a few days after he was born, so I set up camp in our bedroom. Resting, feeding, cuddling, and Netflix. It was half term the week we came home, so the house was busier and louder than usual. It was lovely for the boys to have that first week with their new brother, to be around for the whole day and to realise that he mostly sleeps and that they wouldn’t be missing out on much during school and preschool. It was lovely to have the family all together after almost a week apart.
Although it did make life a lot busier for Sam in that first week, and there was little chance of me getting an uninterrupted nap in (We thought it was important to have an open door policy, so the boys didn’t feel shut out of the bedroom when I was resting. We wanted them to know they could come in when they felt like it – which, it turned out, was very frequently).
After a busy first week, Sam and I looked forward to the change the second week would bring. Back to normal life, and the first time we’d really experienced our usual family routine in our new house (we’d only been living there for a week before everything kicked off with my induction). We definitely all felt like it was time to experience some normality.
This week was more restful for me, and it turned out I really needed it more, as the after-birth adrenaline had long worn off, and things were still a little bit uncomfortable to be walking long distances (part of the reason I insisted Sam would need to take the full two weeks off this time – I had a feeling school runs might prove challenging a week post-birth!) Although I would have perhaps wished for a shorter stay in hospital, we were lucky that it fell over the bank holiday weekend, as otherwise Sam would have used up almost half of his paternity leave before we had even arrived home.
There are certain things that will always remind me of the first weeks with each of my babies. With Arlo, it’s the soundtrack to Fallout 3 (it turns out Sam was at a bit of a loose end in between his main tasks of feeding us all and changing nappies). With our newest family member, it is Star Wars. To Sam’s delight, the older boys have suddenly become VERY into the series, steaming through films 4 – 7 whilst Sam was on paternity leave.
I think it’s really important to spend the first weeks, or at least the first few days, not doing very much at all except for resting and establishing breastfeeding. With Arlo, my first, I didn’t realise this was something I wanted or needed to do. With Rory I made a half-hearted, somewhat thwarted effort. So, third time round, I had little expectation that I would achieve a restful first few weeks, but it was still something I was eager to attempt.
To be honest, I did get momentarily restless around day 5 or 6, when my energy was returning post-birth, and it started to feel a little indulgent to be holed up in bed – especially when there are other children to consider and lots to be getting on with. But I know all too well that you don’t get those first weeks back, paternity leave would be over before I knew it and I’d be back in charge of routines and school runs, never again having the chance to indulge in slow days with my newborn.
Those early weeks fly by so quickly. Already I’m finding it a bit emotional writing this now we are fully back in the swing of our busy routine. He’s still only just three weeks old, and yet that slow, indulgent time we had together in the early days feels so far away already.