At 8:36am on Thursday 12th July 2012, I became a Mama to a beautiful baby girl who made her debut 13 days past her estimated due date. The 7lbs 2.5oz of scrumptious was called Anabelle and in that moment, our whole lives changed forever.
At 4:30am on Monday 9th July 2012, I started to get my first contractions that felt like dull aches that were very easy to manage. I was 10 days past my estimated due date and was booked for induction in 2 days time. I had prepared endlessly for a hypnobirth and had booked in at a birthing centre to guarantee a water labour. I did make it to the birthing centre but by 5:30pm on Wednesday 11th July 2012, after 49 hours of labour I was only 5cm dilated so the midwives there made the decision to transfer me to the local hospital to be started on the oxytocin drip.
I had managed with no pain relief up until that point but being strapped down to an ambulance bed made every contraction more painful so I was huffing and puffing furiously on the gas and air. I was given an epidural before starting the oxytocin and it was such a welcome relief. I felt like I could relax for the first time since this all started. The oxytocin drip helped me get to full dilation within 4 hours and after almost 2 hours of pushing, my darling daughter entered the world.
This was the first time I had ever held a newborn baby. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about it all. The labour was long and I was absolutely exhausted as was Roo. I discharged myself from hospital that night so I could be in my own bed and Belle slept like a lamb. I initially breastfed but no-one tells you hard it really is. I wasn't strong enough to cope with the demand of that and very swiftly started Belle on formula.
The first 6 weeks of being a parent were unbelievably difficult. I'm not sure whether it's the sleep deprivation, the demand of a newborn baby or that everything you knew before gets turned upside down. Probably a combination of them all. I spent many days in those first weeks in tears and having feelings of regret, panic, incompetence and the list goes on.
However, Belle is almost 13 weeks old now and she is the best thing that ever could have happened to Roo and I. We love her with all our heart and it really is true what people say. It does get better, much better.
We've just come out the other side of the 12 week growth spurt. Belle now has 7oz feeds every 4 hours (I thought we'd never get there!) and has fallen back into a 7pm-7am sleep routine. We're very lucky as this doesn't happen at this age very often. She has her first vaccinations tomorrow, almost 5 weeks later than they should be.
Hopefully she'll be ok!