Sunday, 18 July 2010

The Crying Game

Let's talk about hormones. Post-birth hormones are basically akin to being kidnapped by a psychotically sentimental lunatic who locks you in an attic and plays Hallmark-channel weepie movies on a loop with a background of lump-in-your-throat songs remembered from your childhood, while continuously beating you about the head with a fluffy toy, and intermittently dowsing you in buckets of cold water. While threatening to throw your baby out of the window. And making you cake.

It's just like that. Really.

Things seem to be settling down a bit now, it must be admitted. I achieved my first day without crying at around the two-week mark, and now only resort to tears when Lumpy is crying at me and nothing I can do seems to help, and arrgggguuuuuuuhhhhyyyyyeeeeeeeeee am worst mother in the world. (This situation occurs fairly regularly).

The first two weeks were no way near this logical. Everything made me cry. Looking at Lumpy. Being in a different room from Lumpy. Photos of Lumpy. Looking at Mr Badger. Being tired. Leaving the house. Eating. Sleeping. Going to the toilet. Breathing.

The following are actual events which managed to reduce me to a sniffling, sodden, snot-drizzled wreck in the first two weeks:

  • Leaking nappies. There was a point (on about day 5, I think) where every nappy we put on leaked - dramatically, messily, and generally instantly. Wee would spurt from the top, soaking whatever clothes he was wearing, poo would explode from the leg cuffs, in all its clotted mustard glory. What made me melt down was the fact that this hadn't happened before, so obviously we'd started to fail at even putting on nappies - something we'd seemed capable of doing in the last five days. From now on, clearly, every nappy would leak, and we'd be doomed to soaked, poo-smeared clothes and sheets until we had managed to potty train him (probably not before the age of 14, knowing our skills). Needless to say, the nappies stopped leaking. At least until we started using reusables, which is a whole other blog post in itself.
  • Excessive, voracious, endless feeding. As the previous post shows, we have not really had a problem with getting Lumpy to take to the breast, nor has there been an issue with supply (in fact, rather the opposite - yes, we're talking soggy, milk stained t-shirts (worn proudly down the shops - I am mega sexiiiiie), and literal gushes in the middle of the night. We already have a freezer full of enough expressed milk to last Lumpy till university). For this, I am truly grateful. I was petrified of not being able to breastfeed effectively, and shudder at the thought of myself in a situation where he couldn't latch properly, or I couldn't produce enough, and he was hungry, and we were forced to supplement. That said, I have still managed to have several melt downs over the fact that he has been feeding too much. Seriously, the child would probably be quite content to be attached to me 24 hours a day, and has no concept of 'full'. He will eat until his little belly is swollen and distended, and then produces the most ungodly, raucous farts I have ever heard, let alone from someone who weighs less than a cat. He will literally bubble over with milk, till it's oozing out of every orifice. And he's still rooting and desperate to feed more. He goes through phases of feeding every half hour, which leave me weeping and desperate, convinced he can't possibly be getting any milk from me, as he would simply explode from feeding so long if he was. However, he'd put on 12ozs in 5 days at his last weigh-in, so we reckon he's probably getting enough. But still, sob wah wail, etc.
  • Blood test results. About a week in, I got a frantic call from one of the doctors at my practice, who'd been trying to get in touch with me for days (by calling our broken landline, which we'd repeatedly asked people not to, while desperately trying to force my mobile number onto them). He had the test results from the blood sample the hospital had taken a couple of hours after the birth (to check there was nothing untoward because of the blood pressure 'issue'). Apparently my white blood cell count was very high, and he was convinced I must extremely ill, fevered, and, in all likelihood, dead. I assured him that I felt absolutely fine, but he insisted that I come in to have another sample taken. As soon as I got off the phone from him, I naturally googled 'high white blood cell count', and discovered that I must have leukemia. Cue much sobbing, and pathetic declarations that 'at least I had given Lumpy life' before it would be cruelly snatched away from me. (the next blood test results were completely normal, of course).
  • Which table to sit at for dinner. My mother dared to ask me this question when she was cooking for us one night, and I howled that I couldn't be expected to make decisions like that, before collapsing face down into my Spag Bol.
  • Pretty much every present and card we received. And we received a lot. The postman is now petrified of me.
  • A charity appeal advert for Great Ormond Street hospital. There were babies. With wires and tubes. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.
  • Banging my head on the same beam in the nursery three times in as many minutes. It hurt. Fantasies of axes taken to said beam, and howls of 'why can't we live in a normal house without stupid sticky-outy bits of wood and stone all over the place just made to smash babies' heads on.' Boo-hoo, sob, BONK! Repeat.

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