I can’t believe I’m already 1 week postpartum! After all the anticipation about “labour day” it’s already been and gone and our lives are now completely transformed. I’m still a little dazed from the whole thing but there’s nothing more amazing than seeing my two babies and that feeling of being completely madly in love. It really hit us as we drove home, having the two of them in the car, we had to park up and take a moment to appreciate our new reality. Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to do a brief write-up on our first 7 nights as a family of 4. As you’ll see I’m by no means an organised mother with a routine, I just go along with the flow of my day and hope everything works out!
Night 1: Thursday
My first night with Idris was spent at the hospital alone. Mr A was with me until about 2am but then he went home to spend the night with our daughter. As the hospital was extremely busy we weren’t moved over to the ward and unfortunately they didn’t have any amenity room available so I ended up sharing a room in the delivery area with another couple, which with hindsight is probably better than being on an open ward. Baby Idris was next to me in a cot and if I did get any sleep that night it was with one eye open! The other reason for not sleeping is all the interruptions there were during the night. As Idris was born in meconium he was observed every 2 hours and I also had to have my blood pressure and temperature checked. The mum I was sharing the room with also had a similar birth experience so both herself and her baby were under observation. With all that going on it was almost impossible to get any sleep. It didn’t help that some of the midwives/assistants would barge into the room and switch on ALL the lights and speak in their “outdoor” voices! Honestly you’d think bedside manners would be covered quite early on in hospital life training. Some midwives tiptoed in, switched on the bathroom light (so as not to disturb the whole room with the glaring overhead lights)whispered discreetly to whichever of us they were speaking to. Although to be fair this was probably the most negative thing about my hospital experience, which compared to other stories I’ve read, is nothing!
Night two: Friday
We were (finally) discharged from the hospital around 8.30pm and from there headed to my dads house for some dinner. We didn’t actually make it back home to our house until 11pm. My husbands parents had yet to meet Idris so I left him with them while I went to have a soak in the bath. I should add that my whole body was aching at this point, and my stitches (I had a second degree tear) were also very sore. Having to handle a toddler and a newborn with compromised mobility is not much fun. We made it to bed probably close to 1am. Thankfully Mr A had put Aasiya to sleep while I was bathing so it was just baby Idris we had to manage between us. To be fair to Idris he had been asleep for most of the afternoon/evening and I was exceptionally tired as I hadn’t slept the night before either. I was feeding him on one breasts for about 7mins, stopping to wind him and then swapping boob. I put him down a few times but within 10 mins he’d be crying and I’d pick him up again and start the ritual all over again. This went on until 3am and then the next time I woke up was at 5.36am and after going through the above yet again, I asked my husband to take him down stairs and let me get some sleep. Apparently after about 40 minutes of singing to him, they both slept until 8.40am, at which point they came back upstairs to wake me as he needed a feed!
Night 3: Saturday
So you’ve heard of the saying, ‘when it rains, it pours’ and boy did it pour on us this Saturday! We had a busy day with family visiting but thankfully that also meant I got some respite from everything and had some me time. I probably should have spent that time sleeping, but instead I lay in bed and chatted away to my sister! Aasiya was happy playing with cousins and Idris was with his dad, my brother in law and his grandparents. By the time everyone left it was 9.30pm but we were all ready for bed and went to sleep soon after. At around 1am my daughter woke up coughing and crying & after about 10 minutes of spluttering she did a series of small vomits all over the bed and herself! The poor monkey isn’t used to the sensation of vomiting and didn’t quite know how to throw it up which was causing her to get more upset. Anyway, we had to all decamp downstairs, while poor hubby changed Aasiya and the bed sheets. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without him as my mobility is so badly compromised due to back pain. I literally can’t go up and down stairs and certainly not carrying any of the children. We spent about an hour and a half downstairs before heading back up and then I spent some time feeding Idris before going to sleep. The only saving grace about this night was the additional hour we got due to the clocks going back 1 hour to Greenwich Mean Time.
Night 4: Sunday
Sunday was another busy day with family and friends visiting. Our night unfortunately was a repeat of the one before. We were all in bed by 9.30pm. Just after midnight Aasiya’s coughing fit started. It’s really upsetting for her as she doesn’t quite understand how to throw up the phlegm that’s causing the cough so she works herself up and that leads to a vomit. She was up crying and coughing for about half an hour before vomiting and then we spent another half an hour or so soothing her with stories and rhymes. Miraculously none of this bothered Idris who slept away peacefully during the whole thing, but as soon as Aasiya fell asleep he started to stir!
So the next hour was spent feeding Idris, my husband changed his nappy and we went back to sleep. Unfortunately his sleep wasn’t very good so he was up again an hour later asking for more milk. I think I must have slept again myself just after 6am and my husband took both of them down just after 8am so I got another 1.5 hours of sleep in the morning.
Night 5: Monday
We slept from 10.30pm to just after 1am when Idris woke up for a feed. He woke up twice more during the night but all in all it was a good night. I’m really looking forward to letting you all know he slept through the night as the broken sleep pattern is driving me mad! I think getting a good few hours early on in the night really helped. Although to be fair I think this week might have been much easier if Aasiya wasn’t sick as well. Thankfully we didn’t have any vomiting but she did wake up a few times during the night. Idris woke up around 7am but as Aasiya was still asleep I asked my husband to leave him with his grandmother for a little while so we could all have a little longer in bed.
Night 6: Tuesday
We went to bed super late (11pm) as I had friends over. Idris has been sleeping all day (I’ve changed my breastfeeding technique, which I think has helped but it’s only been 24 hours). Idris slept until just after 12.30am and then we went in for another feed. I feed him on one boob now to ensure he gets to the hind milk, which apparently is the full fat, good stuff! It’s also the milk that makes them “drunk” thus sleep better! I feed him for about 40 minutes, and often he falls asleep during the feed so my midwife advised me to tickle his feet until he starts drinking again, and if that doesn’t work, take him over to the nappy changing station and undress him a little. Basically the idea is to stop him from falling asleep while semi full as that will result in him waking and wanting a feed every 15/20 minutes, which will mean feeding all the time, which is exactly how I feel I spend my days. Idris did a poop halfway through his feed so I passed him over to his pops to change him and when they finished I put him back on the boob! The next time I woke up was around 4.30am and it was more or less a repeat of the previous feed. We woke up in the morning at 8.24am when Aasiya woke up and stayed in bed until after 9am when my husband went down to make breakfast and I fed Idris.
Night 7: Wednesday
This was a rough night. We were all asleep around 10pm but my daughters coughing returned with vengeance around 11pm. We both sat up with her coaxing out the phlegm little by little, I was literally having to pull it out of her mouth as she couldn’t spit it out. It’s really upsetting actually as she’s normally so independent and vivacious. Thankfully Idris slept through all the commotion and we were all back in bed with Aasiya asleep by 12.05am. Just over an hour and half later Idris woke up!! I was expecting him to feed on and off for an hour and have a nappy change, as has become the “routine” but no, my little man fed up until 2.30am, did a poop which my hubby changed and then went back on the boob for almost another hour! And after that he didn’t settle into sleep for longer than half an hour so I had to keep picking him up as I was afraid he’d wake my daughter. From about 6am he was wide awake and being super cute so we did some very quiet ‘play, play’ together. I don’t remember exactly when we went to sleep but Jay had to be up by 9am as he had to take his dad to an appointment so that’s when we all went down for breakfast!
It isn’t easy for a postpartum mum to sleep: with my tear, back pain and constant need to go to the toilet it takes me ages to go back to sleep so although it seems like I could have a couple of hours here and there it’s actually really difficult. Obviously Aasiya being unwell has made it even more difficult but I guess that the life I’m going to be living with 2 under 2’s – crazy and unpredictable. In all honesty I don’t even consider this to be all that bad in comparison to Aasiya’s first week. We’d already made a trip to A&E where we found out she was colic! She’d be screaming and crying the house down from 7pm most evenings, and there’s nothing more upsetting than a screaming new born. I was also struck by the baby blues by day 3 and that was really hard. This time I feel mentally better but physically worse. I’m so grateful for my husband who does all the nappy changes, bathing, cooking, cleaning as I’m still healing. Just the act of picking baby up in the night is painful but it’s getting better.
Finally, I thought I’d weigh myself just out of curiosity and my current weight is 10.62stones, I was definitely over 13 stones in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy and my pre-pregnancy weight was 8.5stones, so actually I’m quite happy with that.
I hope you found that useful, sorry it’s so long, do let me know if you’ve had similar experiences or if you have any hints or tricks that might help with baby sleeping