Today we were visited by a midwife for the last time, which felt like we were closing a huge chapter of 2018 - there will be no more midwife visits! The sense of finality and completion that this signified left us feeling somewhat emotionally imploded. . .
Medical Check: Last midwife visit
Wednesday 10th October
I had just finished changing the baby when a midwife walked through the door. It was a lovely familiar face of the midwife who had helped deliver baby Ronnie 10 days ago. We just had to take some pictures for the photo album (out of respect for the midwife's privacy I will not publish these photos in my blog).
Medical Check: Last midwife visit
"How are you getting on?" asked the midwife.
"I love being a mum and am really enjoying my baby!" I answered and genuinely meant every word of it. It is all new and daunting, for sure - but I am really loving every second of it!
Then I realised that I had better ask some serious questions whilst she was here with us, instead of just boasting about how perfect my little boy is (although he is perfect!).
The first thing I wanted to ask her about is the spots that had developed on Ronnie's little cute face. My research suggested that this was baby acne, a fairly common skin condition, but I wanted this to be confirmed by a health professional who might be able to suggest suitable treatment! All the midwife said was "yes, this is face acne - nobody has perfect skin!" and then suggested using breast milk as a treatment. There it is again - breast milk! It seems to be a super food and a magical cure for all ailments!
We then discussed breastfeeding and I told her that Ron was eating all the time. She confirmed that this was probably his first growth spurt and reminded me that it is impossible to over-feed the baby when breastfeeding - I was indeed doing a good job at meeting his needs and demands. She then asked if he was having a longer feed sometimes and a shorter feed other times and I confirmed that indeed appeared to be the case. She then put it into very human terms and said "he is just thirsty sometimes". Oh, my little human. . . My Ronald was simply thirsty sometimes! So cute!
She then said that we should avoid using a baby bottle if everything was working well as that might confuse the baby and interrupt a good routine that my body was developing. She said that feeding the baby was mainly my job and James would have to bond with the baby by changing nappies, burping and playing with Ron. I quite liked that, I felt as though I have a special job that no-one else could fulfil and that made me feel special too - I am a Mummy!
She warned me about the signs of mastitis and possible treatments should the condition develop. We had no further questions so it was time to head into the warm bedroom and weigh the baby.
The midwife undressed Ronnie in the bedroom and plopped him on the baby scales she had brought with her. He was 3.85kg this time - which meant that he had gained 100g back since the last check on the 6th October, but was still 100g short of his birth weight. I was really pleased that he was back on track for gaining weight and growing so well - I couldn't help but think that it was me breastfeeding him that was making him grow and I was very proud of myself too!
Once the weighing scales were packed up and Ron was still naked, I asked the midwife about the sore looking redness in his leg creases and, by now around his bottom. She confirmed this was the nappy rash and said I should use some of the medicated nappy creams that I had been given - I had a tonne of free samples given to me by various midwives whilst I was pregnant! I said that I've been using coconut oil and she confirmed that it was a great preventative measure, but the cream would help the soreness to heal first so I should use that for now.
She put a little dollop of nappy rash cream on Ronnie and then said "I'll let your mum put you back together" and it is a sentiment that I can't un-hear - every time I change the baby, I keep thinking of it as putting him back together, as if he was made of Lego pieces. I was still reassembling the baby when the midwife left but we got to wave her goodbye from the bedroom window as she was turning her car around. For some reason, this felt like a really sad moment!
Ron is still eating all the time (not an exaggeration - he is going through a growth spurt!), so I learned to walk around the house whilst holding him with one arm and feeding him. I can't do a great deal, but at least I don't feel completely out of commission whilst the baby is glued to me. James keeps telling me that I am doing an important job, feeding the baby, but I feel so useless just sitting in the chair or in bed. I know that he is right, but I also want to help out, especially when I see how hard James works at keeping everything else in order!
The little time that Ronnie affords me is usually taken up by folding more cloth nappies, but I also try to look after myself: take a quick shower, have a bite to eat, play my favourite music, etc. . . James is fantastic at helping me out, passing me water, making me tea, giving me tasty snacks, but he has mainly taken the role of maintaining the house. He is brilliant at doing all the housework, washing nappies (the washing machine doesn't stop!), cooking food, chopping wood for the fire, looking after the dogs, etc. This is his role to play and he does it so well!
Speaking of dogs. . . Sam is a princess and she does no work - she therefore completely ignores Ronnie, only giving him a quick passing waggle and a kiss when it suits her. She loves Baby Ronnie, but she quickly learned that James and I are the caregivers to the baby and there is nothing for her to do here.
Charlie, on the other hand, is embracing his shepherd heritage and has decided to help look after the baby. He is always nearby (I think we have more photos of baby and Charlie, than baby and Daddy!) keeping an eye and an ear on the baby. He has also recently learned to go get James if I ask him to do it, which is really helpful! Quite often, the washing machine is on and James is in the kitchen so he can't hear me when I call for help, but Charlie runs to him and unmistakably asks him to come to me - he has that urgent "Daddy, come with me" kind of a look on him that James can easily distinguish and follow. As I said, this is very useful!
My dogs used to be my babies - my furry babies! However, the difference of emotion that I feel for them and for Ronnie is enormous. I love them all, but the dogs mostly look after themselves and do not depend or need me quite as much as my little adorable baby does, so my attention quite often doesn't even reach the dogs. I have a tunnel vision on the baby - sure, I fuss my dudes and talk to them, but James does all the walking and the feeding which goes a long way in keeping the harmony in the pack - nobody feels forgotten about or neglected and not much in Sam & Charlie's usual routine has changed, so they are happy.
Later we received some exciting post! You see, Ron really loves hats (just like his Daddy), so James ventured to eBay and ordered a couple of really cute knitted outdoor hats for the baby! They arrived and I got the chance to admire them: one was a red hat with a massive bobble, bigger than Ron's entire head! The other was a knitted Viking-style hat, with horns - because you're never too young to #BeMoreViking - especially if you're born and raised in Orkney!
We needed to test the hats (naturally), so we ventured out to the common. Dogs enjoyed chasing the rabbits and Ronnie enjoyed a little "sunshine on your face" moment.
As we were walking, we were discussing the recent events and changes that had happened and although we both agreed that our lives hadn't changed all that much, we both felt a strange feeling of . . . emptiness? completion? not sure how to describe it, really. . . All the excitement and frustrations of the last couple of weeks have suddenly disappeared and we were left emotionally numb and imploded. It felt as though we both stood at the end of the old familiar road we had been travelling for years, and were now staring at a massive empty field. . . Full of possibilities, sure, but not knowing what comes next or where to begin.
So we came back home and did what we always do in events of uncertainty: we put the kettle on!