How is my baby a month old already? For the last few months of pregnancy I was counting down the days until his birth and looking back now these past few weeks with him have been so wonderful but it has whizzed by in a blur of feedings, nappies, naps and staring at him for hours on end. I’ve also managed miraculously to keep the older two alive. Picking up after his birth, the first night in hospital wasn’t too bad. We both managed about four hours sleep and I woke up with sensation in my legs again after the epidural had worn off. Later that day Niall brought the kids in to meet their little brother and they fell in love with him. It was such a beautiful moment seeing the older kids holding and kissing their new sibling. I had been a little worried about how Seán would react but he was genuinely delighted upon seeing him and he was very gentle with him. Seán seemed to have matured into a little man over the three days we had been apart, he was no longer my baby. More visitors arrived that evening and before I knew it night two was upon us. He fed for about four hours straight which was exhausting, he then cried for another hour and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Eventually a midwife came to take him for a walk and when she returned he was swaddled, winded, happy and slept for four hours straight. The ward was very over crowded, it was hot, cramped and noisy and I was really looking forward to going home. Niall had the week off work and the next day, Monday 11th April, after lunch we were discharged and finally home to my own bed. Cian’s jaundice check in the hospital before we left recorded high levels of bilirubin, so we were scheduled in for a checkup on Wednesday morning. This wasn’t a surprise to us given that both Chloe and Seán had high levels of jaundice after birth, both needed numerous hospital checkups, phototherapy and bottle top-ups so it was inevitable that the rest of our week with him would be spent back in hospital. Therefore knowing what lay ahead we made the most of the Tuesday, with the older two in school and pre-school, we spent the morning in bed staring at him and cuddling him. Even though this is baby number three both of us are still amazed at everything about him, ‘look he opened his eyes’, ‘look he stuck out his tongue’, ‘look he moved his head’ and so on. My sister in law did lunch for us in the afternoon and he got to meet more of his family. Wednesday morning it was back into the hospital, my milk had come in overnight and he was feeding well but he was very yellow, quite lethargic and sure enough the light metre recorded a very high reading. He had also lost a significant amount of weight, well above the normal 10% that most newborns lose. They took some bloods and told us to hang around for results. Sure enough within two hours they had admitted him to the neo-natal wing and he was started on phototherapy treatment to break up the bilirubin.
Cian was blissfully unaware of what was going on and although we really wanted to stay with him we had to get the other two up for school in the morning and I needed some sleep so I expressed milk for the nurses to feed him overnight. I stayed nearby in my mum’s house where I could get back in quickly the next morning and I arrived bright and early Thursday to find a much pinker looking baby. After some more blood tests he was ready to go home for a second time that week. We were told to come back the next day for a follow so it was back into town Friday morning and despite the light metre recording a lower level they wanted to take more bloods. This is never easy, the poor little pet had so many bloods taken over the previous two days they found it hard to get a vein and he squealed with the pain, little tears streaming down his face as I tried to calm him with sugar water. Luckily the tests showed a much lower level of bilirubin but they wanted to see him again on Sunday. So it was back in for a final visit on Sunday afternoon, a week since he was born, and thankfully the light reading was even better therefore no bloods needed and home from the hospital for a fourth time in the week. The first week was exhausting, travelling in and out of the hospital, hanging around waiting rooms, finding babysitters for the kids, sleep deprivation, all the while trying to establish breastfeeding and prepare bottles for formula top-ups. I also had a lot of pain during that first week, pelvic and back pain which I think was as a result of the long labour, the epidural and of course my uterus contracting back. Our washing machine broke down during the week too just to make things that bit harder. But we got through it with major help from our friends and family and the main thing was Cian was healthy. His jaundice was disappearing by the day and he was putting on weight again. By the end of the week I was feeling much better. Week two was more relaxed, Niall was back at work and he got the kids up and out to school each morning so myself and Cian finally had time to get to know each other. The public health nurse visited, we took lots of naps, got the hang of breast-feeding, we had some visitors, the new washing machine arrived and we found ourselves in a nice routine. I tried out my new Ergo baby carrier and he loved being in it. I found it great to stick him in when dropping and collecting Seán at pre-school, much easier than navigating the pram in and out of the place. At the end of week two he finally got to meet his nana Celine who was in New Zealand when he arrived and also spend some quality time getting to know his siblings. I had great plans for week three including getting a hang on all the housework, batch cooking dinners, going out for walks and finally getting to grips with my to-do list. None of that happened. I spent most of the week just cuddling him. In my defence Niall was away most of the week for work and some mornings I congratulated myself if I managed to leave the house fully dressed. We had a visit from the public health nurse, his weight was up by 3 ozs but she wanted him to put on more by the following week (no pressure!). He had his two week checkup with the doc and everything looked good. Thankfully the end of that week was the May bank holiday weekend, I had a whole four hours to myself to visit the hairdressers and do some shopping and catch up on sleep. Week four the weather improved, Chloe was on her mid-term break from school and was a great help. By this week I realised that he was a very easy baby, he liked to cluster feed in the evenings and then would sleep for five hours at night. This was amazing as the other two had woken every three hours until about three months old. We ventured over to my work to show him off, have lunch and have adult conversation. He also had a visit to the health centre and was now well above his birth weight at 8lbs 6ozs, the public health nurse was ecstatic. So here we are now into week five, his latest weigh in was even better at 8lbs 13ozs. He’s a great sleeper (tip wood), loves his crib and is becoming more alert by the day. He’s starting to respond to voices, especially the kids and stares intently into your eyes as his sight is developing more every day. He’s starting to fill out now, he’s grown out of his newborn clothes, his little body is heavier in my arms and his face is changing shape. First month down and we definitely got lucky with this dude. He’s brought so much happiness into our lives already and he doesn’t even know it. The last of our babies, the littlest brother, we’re enjoying every single baby haze minute with him. Things he loves: being swaddled, bath time in his tummy tub, feeding time, getting massaged, going for a walk in his Ergo baby carrier, sleeping in his Next 2 Me crib, sleeping on mum, sleeping in his DooMoo, sleeping in general, listening to the tumble dryer and washing machine and his brother and sister chatting to him. Things he hates: Nappy changes and getting dressed. That’s pretty much it at the moment.