I wrote most of this before the Corona Virus, so maybe it will take your mind off it for a while. Enjoy 🙂
Leaving the hospital with a newborn baby is one of the most nerve-wracking things you will ever experience in life. Sure I was sick of being in the (short peoples) hospital bed and wanted to be back in my own bed as my lower back cried out in pain each day from discomfort, but there would be no nurse just seconds away at the push of a button.
We had spent 6 days in Kareena Private Hospital and the Nurses and Doctor had visited me frequently, they had been such an amazing support. But I was worried. Had we learnt enough to be able to tell what the baby needed, when it needed it? I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. I had been breastfeeding and expressing while in the hospital, and Joan had even been given formula because we had to boost her blood-glucose levels on Day 3, but I still wasn’t sure I was doing anything right. Was there information someone had told me that was important that I had forgotten? Thousands of questions ran through my mind and I just kept telling myself that if thousands of people before us had done this, then we would be fine.
I must have checked the baby seat belt a thousand times before I was sure Joan was secure enough for the trip home. I even made Roger check it a few times too. I wanted to be sure. I had never been in charge of something this valuable in my whole entire life, and I was fixated on doing everything right. Roger drove us carefully home as I sat on the back seat next to Joan, she slept the whole way.
Once we were home I transferred Joanie into the bassinet we had setup in our bedroom. My parents had given the bassinet to us, and they had used it for myself and my siblings when we were babies. How beautiful is that.
The first few days at home were spent in a sleepy haze, as we tried getting into some kind of routine and organisation with Joanie’s needs, after all she relied on us for everything! After a few days I stopped taking the strong pain killers they had given me to help me recover from the emergency cesarean. However I started to get a few symptoms which Rog and I thought were because I had stopped these opiates, like night chills that had me wearing 4 layers of clothes and still feeling cold. It turns out that I had Mastitis, and after speaking with my Doctor on the phone, he had me booked to come in for a check-up that afternoon at the hospital. Once at the hospital my Doctor saw the state of me and said I would be staying at the hospital overnight, I would be given intravenous antibiotics and they also pumped more fluids into me to assist recovery. Joanie and Rog would have to stay with me too as the baby needed to be with me, and Rog would have to help with Joanie while I mostly rested. I did feel like absolute crap, but isn’t that how all new mums felt?
I spent 4 days in hospital because my temperature would not stabilise and they wouldn’t let me go home until it did. How did I let myself become this sick? I have no idea. Perhaps it was the lack of sleep that altered my judgment, or the fact my body had just gone through so much that I couldn’t really tell the difference. Either way, I was glad to have the support of Kareena Private for those few more days while I recovered and got better. Coming home again was a relief though. Back to my comfortable bed and surroundings, to again try and get settled into parent life.
The first few weeks of Joanie’s life went past so quickly that I can’t even remember much of what happened. Wait, I know…. sleeping, eating, pooping, spewing, and repeat. Rog and I took guesses on this and that, and tried to figure out what we could remember from everything we had been told. And somehow Joanie got through it with all smiles.
I’d had quite a lot of trouble breastfeeding and had resulted to feeding Joanie expressed milk with a little added formula, because I wasn’t making enough milk. I was expressing every 3 hours to try and bring my milk supply up, but it just wasn’t improving and I was exhausted. When I did try to breastfeed, the sharp, stinging, burning sensation was awful and I would end up in tears. So I resulted to expressing, for my sanity, and it took a lot of the pressure off which meant I started to feel almost human again.
My sister came and stayed with me when Joan was 4 weeks old, as Roger had to fly to the USA for a few days for a work conference that he could not miss. I was nervous as hell that he would not be here to help me, but my sister was someone I could count on and she’d had a bit of experience with some of her friends kids in the past. I managed to leave the house for our first pram walk down at Cronulla during her stay, actually I had not left the house at all before this so it felt great to be out and about again. We survived the week and I was grateful for her help and support, she’s a wonderful first-time aunty!
When Rog got back from the USA we took Kitty down to the beach for a walk with Joanie in her carrier, I’d only used it once or twice before this so was still getting used to wearing it and making sure she was safe and secure. It was great to feel the sand in my toes and the salty water on my legs. Hopefully this would be the first of many trips to the beach this summer.
At six weeks I made my first trip out of the house alone with Joanie. At this time, when I thought about leaving the house I was filled with anxiety and worry about how she would react and what I would need to do and take to keep her happy. I feared that she would cry uncontrollably the entire time while we were out, or that I would forget something important, so I had avoided doing anything. My first outing with Joanie was to the Engadine Mothers Group at the local Child Healthcare Centre, and I was so glad that I’d been once it was over. I was so lucky, Joanie had slept the entire time and I had managed to get some great advice and meet some other mums who were going through or had been through exactly what I was going through. As small a step as this was, it felt like a breakthrough.
I started to organise small trips with Rog and also with local friends to get used to taking her out with me, as I didn’t want to become a hermit who never left the house and I was sure the anxiety that came with these outings would diminish over time. I even got the guts up (after 1 failed attempt) to take Joanie to the Movies for a Mums n’ bubs session to see Maleficent and it was great.
Our families and friends had been a wonderful support and had visited many, many times. I felt very lucky to have them and to have our little angel Joanie. And for that matter I was lucky to have such a wonderfully supportive and involved partner in Roger. Sometimes I think he can read my mind and that he knows me better than myself, it’s like he knows exactly what I need at exactly the right time. How did I ever live without him?!
Joanie’s first long road trip was to Bright, Victoria in mid November and she was an absolute angel for the entire car trip. We made many stops for feeding and nappy changing and stretching, and she behaved for all but abut 20mins just as we were approaching our destination. Rog was doing a race in the mountains and we were his support crew, plus I managed to do my first ‘run’ since having bubs. It was a great trip and we had lots of fun.
The trip to Bright taught me a few things about packing and taking care of a bub while travelling, which was very helpful for when we took Joanie on her first domestic flight a few weeks later to Perth in Western Australia. I would be lying if I said I was not at all nervous and stressed for the trip, but we did not want to be away from Rog again so we packed everything and I thought of it as a well-deserved little holiday for me.
Busselton was such a great trip. We had a beautiful house with views of the ocean and the weather was perfect, albeit a bit warm (I’ll take that!). Joanie even got to go on her first boat trip, as we did a Dolphin Discovery Centre tour where we saw load of dolphins. We also stayed with my cousin in Perth for a few days before we flew home and that was most enjoyable too, so lovely for them to meet Joanie and spend time with us, plus Joanie took her first swim in their pool.
And of course Joanie slept for both flights to and from Perth, she was an angel.
Just as we were landing back in Sydney we got the unfortunate news that my Dad was in hospital after suffering a heart attack that evening. So instead of heading home from the airport we headed for my parents place so I could drop Joanie & Rog off then head to see my Dad and family at the hospital. We didn’t want Joanie to be exposed to the germs and diseases associated with hospitals, as she won’t have had all her shots until she is 12 months old. Plus it was quite late in the evening now. Joanie also said her first word while staying at my parents place, it was ‘Hello” and Rog has a great video of her doing this, magical.
Dad was in ICU for a few days and in an induced coma, eventually he came to and was moved out of ICU, and these days he is doing a lot better thanks to the constant care of my mother and family. Thankfully he also got to come home the day before Christmas Eve, so we spent Christmas Day at my parents place, where we took all the food and drinks so that mum didn’t have to cater for anyone. She has been through enough.
Florence, Joan’s grandmother and Rogers mum, had come to stay with us on Christmas Eve so she could help us celebrate Joan’s first Christmas, and we had a lovely morning doing just that. We also had Joanie’s photo taken with Santa for the first time too.
Joanie had her 4 months vaccinations at the beginning of January and she cried for about 20 seconds then seemed to be okay. I did give her a bottle after the shots as she became a little grumpy, but it seemed to calm her down and eventually we went home for some playtime and a nap (for both of us).
I am really enjoying this new role as a ‘mum’ and I love spending time with my girl as often as I can. The fact that she is more awake now, she’s smiling and laughing, she grabs your face and tries to talk, it’s so great to watch her grow and develop into a little human. And before we knew it Joanie was 4.5 months old and I was back at work part time. Where did the time go?
In February we headed over the ditch to New Zealand where Roger worked at the Tarawera Ultramarathon in Rotorua. I had decided to run the 21km half marathon while we were there and my good friend Jen had put her hand up to help babysit for us while I ran. Thankfully Joan was well behaved for Jen and the kids and I had a great run spent with good friends. We also surprised some mates and tied the knot while we were there too, it was the trip of a lifetime, one I will definitely never forget.
When we got home from New Zealand we had to contend with a large tree that had fallen in the backyard. It had taken out the side fence but thankfully it missed our house and all of the other fences, just 1 fence panel damaged. Thank goodness the dogs had not been in the yard when it happened. There had been some bad storms while we were away and the tree was on our neighbours property.
Joanie started Baby Sensory classes the week after we got back from New Zealand, it was more for her to socialise with other kids and she loved going. We even had a ‘space’ theme one week so what did I dress her up as? (Thanks Faye)
Joanie was now 6 months olden starting to eat puree food, she was not very keen on trying things to start with but she’s a lot better these days and very curious about what we eat to, so I often just end up giving her tastes of what we eat. And she loves baths, ha ha.
Roger was working in Huskisson one weekend at the Ironman so Joanie and I tagged along too. The weather was gorgeous and we had a really nice place with ocean views, it was a good little getaway.
Unfortunately the Six Foot Track marathon was cancelled this year, however we decided to all travel up the mountains and stay for the weekend with our group of running mates. We already had the accommodation booked so why not. Jane organised a BUMS marathon for the weekend and they had a great time running through the trails.
Joanie and I made some new friends and I got out for a few runs. My favourite was running the UTA22 course with my Keira, she had not run the course before and we had never actually run trails before together. It was great catching up.
It was around this time that Covid-19 started to get serious with more and more cases showing up everyday. The rules about what to do and what not to do were a little confusing and I was starting to get worried. And a few weeks later we were all told to stay home, many businesses were forced to close their doors as they were non-essential, and we all started ‘working’ from home (where possible). Unfortunately my gym had to close its doors so I didn’t have work. Although a month ago I had signed up to Open Universities Australia and had begun studying Architectural Science with Curtin University so I now had more time to focus on my studies which was something.
I also started doing a lot of running on the treadmill and my coach Andy Dubois (Mile27) keeps pushing me and keeping me on track which is exactly what I need now most races have been cancelled.
For now we mostly stay home, enjoy the sun on the balcony or in the garden, run on the treadmill, read about architecture, play online games with friends, FaceTime family and good mates, and chat to our neighbours over the fence. It’s a really weird feeling that you don’t want to go new anyone. Normally I like meeting people and having a chat but now every time I see someone I treat them like a threat, like they are diseased… I don’t like that. It’s such a strange way to be and feel. I hope this is over soon.
Here are some smiles of Joanie who is now 7+ months old. She’s a treasure with 2 front (bottom) teeth and is just starting to crawl. We are so lucky to have her and she keeps us sane and makes us smile everyday.
Stay safe people