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!