When Harry Met Sophie

For the first time in about 9 months I actually have a genuine excuse for the delay in writing a blog.  We had a baby!  Sophie Emily finally arrived, slightly later and a little larger than anyone had expected at a mere 10lbs 12oz – for anyone worried, apparently it’s easier to birth a bigger baby, with, you know, gravity and that….though I didn’t say that!

The birth itself was relatively straight forward though entirely different from Harry’s.  Firstly we were on the ward rather than in the birthing suite which means there was just a bed and some equipment rather than the full jungle gym experience with rings and balls everywhere.   This was due to Nikki’s waters breaking without any contractions – which involved us racing, film style to the hospital only to be sent home again 30 minutes later with 24 hrs to sit and wait for the ball to start rolling naturally.  Sadly it didn’t so we made our way to the birthing ward, with still no movements or tightenings.  We prepared the room for imminent arrival by dimming the lights and getting my snacks (which i remembered this time lined up on the window sill).

Secondly there seemed to be a much different approach from the midwives who apparently took a “mother led” approach which basically entailed lots of sitting around  and waiting and very little interaction.  It wasn’t that the midwives were absent, far from it, it just meant that they just observed, like we were chimps in the zoo (with a little less faeces throwing).

Having arrived at 2pm into our room for the day we started with all the excitement you could imagine… enough even for an inappropriate selfie….

Though by 7pm and 5 hours of sitting doing nothing, with Nikki strapped into the machine and the induction drug on tap we started to get a little bored, well I did – Nikki at least had the occasional check up from the midwives and her first meal with a nice sandwich lunch (nothing offered to me if you were wondering)

It was about this time that I resented Nikki rejecting  my request to bring my DS with me – apparently there “wouldn’t be time” for a little Mario Kart – wrong.

A mere 3 hours later and we had movements, contractions the return of the blood curdling screams and the all to familiar bone crushing had squeeze.  weirdly for us both the midwives still didn’t really do or say anything, other than ‘your doing amazing Nikki’ – which it was hard to disagree with at the time – it is hard to describe the emotion of watching someone you love go through something that seems so painful and at times relentless.

Thankfully it wasn’t relentless and not too long after Nikki almost snapped one of the midwives forearm in half we had action.  Suddenly their stand-off approach switched to furious note taking and then they wheeled over something that can only be described as the batman signal light – im not sure why they didn’t just turn the lights on to be honest!  It reinforced to me and to Nikki that there really is no glamour or dignity when you reach the business end – nor do I think anyone cared.

Then she was here.  10.51pm. 2 legs, 2 arms, 10 fingers and 10 toes.  The full gorgeous package.  She didn’t seem big to me at that point – to be honest I thought Harry was bigger.  I joked with the midwife about the weight and asked her to guess.  9lbs she thought – I went with 9lbs 4 – the same as Harry.  We were wrong and there was silence as she was weighed and 4.882kgs came up.  There was an awkward moment when everyone was trying to do the mental arithmetic to calculate the weight in pounds an ounces….10lbs 12oz.  Then just silence.

Such a beauty though and after a brief overnight stay thanks to staff shortages we found ourselves for the 2nd time in 2 years sat at home with the bassonet in the middle of the floor, both just staring.  The only difference this time was that there were 3 of us looking at the basket wondering what we were supposed to do.  Harry has been the model older brother and after only a few moments of jealousy, as we had expected, he has accepted her entirely and is very much besotted with little Sophie.  We have followed all of the guidelines and advice around introducing a new sibling to the family and have tried to involve him as much as possible – even with nappy changes, though he seems a little less keen to keep that one up!

3 weeks in and she has settled in amazingly well and, thankfully, like Harry seems to be a really chilled out little person.  The feeling of absolute and relentless tiredness has returned to Nikki and I, though she is sleeping for 3hrs at a time which makes it a little more bearable.  The tough element is knowing that even though she is awake and feeding through the night at 4am Harry is almost certainly going to be up at 630.  For some reason he doesn’t like lying in, even on a weekend.

Either way it is this face which makes it all bearable.  The frustration and demoralising feeling of disgust when you hear her snuffling like a pig, which is the prelude to all out hunger screaming, is instantly replaced with utter joy and love.

Second time round it’s amazing how much more relaxed we both feel about things.  No dramas about how to hold her, or panics about her being too hot, too cold or questions like “is that cry different to the other cry – what does that mean?”.  Everything is more chilled out and much like the first time Nikki is the ultimate natural, taking everything in her stride.

So how do we get Star Wars into this post?  We could talk about the new Episode 8 film which is everything a Star Wars film should be or I could just force it onto Sophie by dressing her up in the crochet had that we were given before Harry was born and we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl.  I think its fair to say that she didn’t really care for it much and somehow looks less Princess Leia and more Frau Farbissiner with a look that Nikki has also perfected if I force her to  watch anything in a galaxy far far away.  I guess this one I may have lost already.  Harry looks so chilled as Yoda, taken when he was also just 2 weeks old.

In other news Harry is sleeping in his bedroom now without drama.  The absolute hatred of the bed that I reported last time has been replaced with a desire to be in his room at every waking moment.  The nest cam we have installed in his room means that even if I am later back from work in Bath I can watch (in HD) as he goes through his bedtime routine of 2 or 3 books – normally involving some kind of creature wearing underpants – and then sleep.  No more fighting or wrestling to keep him in bed, no more holding the door to his room shut and feeling like the worst parent in the world as he cries on the other side.  He just goes to bed and sleeps.  It’s wonderful.  That being said he doesn’t always stay in there and, again thanks to the nest cam, we have so far watched him roll out of bed onto the carefully placed bean bag about 20 times.

This collage highlights some of the many sleeping positions he gets himself into over the course of an evening.

Christmas was an interesting one and with Sophie only 2 weeks old and Nikki still recovering it was time for me to step up to the plate and make the dinner happen.  Im not a bad cook, but Christmas dinner was always going to stretch my abilities.

That being said, it was bloody easy*, I mean look at the rise on these yorkshires!  Stories have been written about yorkshires that good.

In all seriousness it went OK and noone got ill from the food.  It’s fair to say that the Sharp household was a happy place this Christmas and getting used to our new family of four is one of the best presents I could have asked for.  Harry was a lucky boy and got lots of amazing toys from our very generous friends and family.

What an end to 2017 – couldn’t really be happier, especially as I got the new Call Of Duty for Christmas! (which I havent actually played yet – too tired to watch telly let alone interact with it)!

 

*yeah, it definitely wasn’t and I don’t think I have been that stressed before – but hey it was actually alright!

Arise Sir Harry

I don’t really know how to start this blog.  1 week ago today Nikki gave me the greatest gift I have ever had and now I am head over heels in love with another man.  A little man.  Harry.  Well Harry Gordon Sharp to give him his full name.

I can’t really sum up the feeling of being there as Harry was brought in to this world.  Well I can, incredible, amazing, emotional, frightening and to be honest sometimes a little bit gross. I have all manner of stories I could tell about the day and how things happened but I think most of those are ones I will save for a rainy day.  There are some which I can share however such as my realisation that some of the elements as depicted in movies are true.  For instance when Nikki reached the 2nd, pushing, stage of labour I adopted the standard “man” position of kneeling at her head with a drink and a towel to mop her brow.  I thought back to my induction training from Nikki which simply stated that I should avoid the business end and stay up top.  All good I thought, I’ll pretend like I know what I’m doing, and keep saying “great job babe” or “well done Nikki”.  That’s what the 2 midwives were doing and it seemed to be working to keep her calm.  What I didn’t expect was minutes later to have Nikki’s hands round my throat gripping with the force of the Hulk – a quick glance for help to the student midwife was simply met with a look and a shrug as if to tell me “you’re on your own pal”.  I also didn’t expect it to escalate quite as quickly as it did with the whole thing from arrival to screaming baby taking little over 2 hours!  Not akin to the horror stories that people seem to take such pleasure in sharing.

That being said the midwives really were amazing, such a calming influence to both Nikki and especially to me when things started to happen.  My only criticism would be that neither seemed to take my man flu complaints seriously at all, no sympathy was given and they simply continued to tend to Nikki who apparently was more important and the actual “patient”.

Then he was here, handed to me, still a weird purple colour and covered in, well, stuff.  But there he was, our son, looking at me with the most confused face I have seen, scrap that the most beautiful face I have ever seen!  At 9lbs 4oz I have to admit that I did panic at one stage that Nikki had given birth to a toddler, he was mahoosive!

So, I guess you want to see him then don’t you.  Well here he is…. young Harry.

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I know. Butter most definitely wouldn’t melt in that mouth would it!

So fatherhood has very much arrived.  I have been trying to put the NCT stuff into practice but I have already realised that there is the NCT or the NHS or the “proper” way to do things and then there is your way of doing it.  We don’t really have a clue what we are doing, but we are already having an amazing and adventurous time figuring it out on our own.  That’s not to say we won’t take advice, far from it, we are happy to try anything and everything that could help us with Harry, but I have already realised that we ultimately know what is best for him and I already feel qualified to make decisions on his behalf.

That being said we have already had to learn a few things the hard way.  The first lesson came at nappy time and it was a lesson that had to be learned twice.  This was the infamous open air wee attack.  I’m pretty sure I was warned that boy have a tendency to wee when their nappies are removed but i never thought that it would arc so high and hit me in the face. The face Harry!  It was like a hate crime, a punishment for doing something that was already tough.  I mean it happened whilst changing the old debut Marmite pooh which I can confirm I still most definitely hate.  The second time it happened I even had the defensive nappy in place, and still he managed to get it over himself and the fresh baby grow!

The sleep deprivation element that I shrugged off as just new parents moaning is very much real.  I’ve never felt like such a zombie as I have done over the past few days.  In fact I write this whilst sat on my bed with Nikki and Harry both asleep alongside me and all I can think is how envious I am of their current situation and how perhaps I should have joined them rather than typing away on my laptop.

Nikki is taking to motherhood as amazingly as I already knew she would and to be honest most of the time I am looking to her for direction and to get the confidence that I’m not being the imbecile I feared I might be.  We are both filled with self doubts about whether we are doing it right but we do make a good team and Harry will be the most loved boy in this town!

So I’ll leave it there for now as I can already hear them both stirring which means that one of them will probably cry soon and both will demand food.

Oh, and just to make sure I keep up the old Star Wars thread, don’t worry Harry is already getting into it thanks to Grandmas Yoda gift!

Harry Yoda!

1 week in and our family unit is settling in to its new rhythm….