I’m not sure what format I want to use going forward with this blog. For now I have some detailed posts about Elodie’s first few weeks that I want to capture, but I think eventually I’ll move to a different format focusing on the highlights of life as a family of three. It will be a work in progress, just as our real life is!
When I left off, we arrived at home on Tuesday, the 4th of April, and we spent the next few days in a blur of learning to feed and change Elodie and get our heads around this amazing, adorable, unbelievable new life.
Feeding Elodie was a bit hard at first. I’m lucky that she latched on right away and that my milk came in with no problem by the end of Thursday (day three). That first night at home she wanted to feed all night, and we know now that this was both a hunger and comfort thing for our tiny newborn. At the time it was stressful though, and going on my third night with zero sleep was tough (and caused more hallucinations). We struggled to figure out how to sleep with her safely when she only wanted to be held, and how to make sure she was latching on correctly.
I’m grateful there are good breastfeeding resources in the area; I called the Islington Breastfeeding Network on Wednesday morning and had a very helpful phone consultation which helped a lot with positioning and attachment, and on Friday we went to their drop-in clinic in the neighborhood which further helped affirm we were doing it right. So grateful to have these free resources nearby.
I love looking at her little face, watching while she eats and sleeps. I love the wild animal faces she makes when she is rooting, and the sneaky little looks she gives me when she is hungry. I love the bond that breastfeeding brings, and knowing how valuable it is for her, both physically and emotionally. The entire experience of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding has left me in awe of the human body.
She is so tiny and precious and perfect. I look at her and see a whole lifetime ahead, a whole world of possibilities, which both excites me and terrifies me. I want to give her everything and can’t wait to show her the world, but also want her to stay a tiny peanut. This love is intense and powerful and scary. Full of potential, optimisim, hope.
On Wednesday we ventured outside for a few minutes just to see the sun, and then on Thursday we made it out for a short walk in the neighbourhood, using the buggy for the first time, and stopped for a coffee at the cafe down the road. It was incredibly nerve-wracking to be out with her! But it also felt really good, and really surreal, to be out in the world with our new addition.
On Saturday we had our first visitors! My brother John, his wife Tina and their kids came to visit. They live outside London and I’m so grateful they made the drive in early Saturday morning just to meet Elodie. It meant the world to me, and I’ll be so sad when they leave the UK this summer.
We also had an unexpected visitor on Saturday; the community midwife came by Saturday unannounced. The midwife is supposed to call and visit within the first few days of coming home, and I never heard anything so called the hospital on Friday afternoon. I got the run-around and never got confirmation she would be coming at all. I was rather annoyed that she showed up Saturday morning and cut into our time with family, but it wasn’t her fault and she was actually lovely. And most importantly, Elodie was very healthy and had gained back some of the weight she lost post-birth.
Later that day we also FaceTimed with my mom and went for a walk in the afternoon, where we had our first public breastfeeding experience, sat on a bench in Abney Park Cemetery!
The weather was absolutely beautiful that weekend so on Sunday, we packed a picnic and enjoyed some time in the sun.
Being outside with Elodie for a picnic, rather than in a restaurant or pub, is definitely easier for our eating, feeding her and changing her and this worked out really well – until we realized just how hot it was and got worried that she was overheating. We headed home and spent the evening at home as she embarked on her first session of cluster feeding all night.
We ended the first week completely overwhelmed with love, as all three of us slowly learned to navigate this new life together.