Our little girl arrived into the world on Friday the 18th of September at 10.27am.
Welcome to the world Natalie Laura!
So far, in the month Natalie has been with us, she has brought us so much joy and happiness it is almost impossible to believe she really is ours. Natalie likes to sleep during the day and stay up at night. She is super dooper cute. You can't say a lot about the personality of a newborn unless you spend a lot of time with them, so I would say she is happy and curious about the world so far. I want her to grow up quickly so we can "do stuff" but in the last few days she has started a bit of a growth spurt and I have realised I don't want her to grow up so quickly after all!
Stephen and I have been given the great challenge of being parents, and one of the challenges is allowing Natalie some space to create her own online identity. We haven't posted many public photos of our little girl, and hope to allow her to socialise in real life to tell people how she is doing when she's bigger, rather than relying on social media to report on what is going on for her.
Lots of people want to know about the labour process - I never did have an interest in other people's until I was pregnant, but long story short, Natalie arrived by c-section after a 30 hour labour. I had been petrified of having a c-section, it was the one thing I did not want to have happen, but in the end it wasn't half as bad as what I thought. Stephen cut the cord which was the one thing he did not want any part of, I was highly impressed by this! We spent three more nights in hospital and had some lovely visits from lots of loved ones. By time our discharge day arrived I was not ready to come home - I was still waiting for my milk to come in, and Natalie has only just gained enough weight to be discharged, thanks to some formula top ups.
The next tricky thing happened two days later, Natalie was really lethargic and had a low temperature so we took her back to hospital and she spent three nights in the Neonatal Unit gaining more weight and being treated for a suspected infection. By time we left we had a brand new girl. I was fortunate enough to be able to stay in hospital with her, in a little hotel type room I shared with another mum. Being in the Unit with Natalie was actually not the holiday I had in the maternity ward! The feeding and caring process usually took and hour and a half, and with feeds needing to happen every four hours, I managed to fit in a few sleeps, but not as much as I would have liked, or expected so I was still very tired when we arrived back home. Overall, I was quite in awe of the staff who work with some very special babies, all of whom seem to have endless patience with them.
Since we have been properly home for three weeks, most days are the same. We have early starts and late nights and baths every second day, phone calls to the Parenting Helpline often (they are an amazing resource), plenty of food in the fridge and enough help to ensure that I am no longer sleep deprived. I have not touched a baby book - that is, a baby wrangling manual - since before Natalie was born. I am finding that it's just easier to face whatever challenge comes up next by some specific and solid advice.
Natalie has been such a little ray of sunshine. Her impending birth was great news when we needed it the most, and her arrival has been filled with awe, joy and an endless, unconditional love I never understood until now.