I realised I was looking like death when John took the car off Eco. He clearly wanted to get me home asap after my 30 hour birth partner stint. I’ve never ‘fallen into bed’ before, but now I know exactly what that means. I even gave up on my usual long winded teeth clean. The spirit was willing but the old Granny body was done so I just slumped into oblivion.
But the desire to meet our new young man had me snapping awake at 8 am. I was up and dressed before any coherent thought entered my head, standing rather dazed in the middle of the bedroom. A short glimpse of Barry on Facetime just after midnight had left me eager for the real thing – not to mention wanting to know that my own baby was all in one piece after her caesarean section.
I was pumped for my first job as Granny
Skin to skin contact is highly recommended for new babies these days – how marvellous! As grandparents we were deemed suitable substitutes for Mum and Dad if needed, so I’d come prepared with my softest, button up top. Long forgotten, due to its complete inability to stay on a coat hanger, I’d found it abandoned on the floor of the wardrobe – I love it when an old purchase suddenly finds its time! I was never really needed, thank heaven, but Miriam was up for sharing, so I was soon cuddled up tight with Barry – the old bat and the brand new life sharing a moment of magic together.
I can’t tell you how it felt. My heart was in my mouth and bursting all at the same time. It’s been a while since I held such a fragile little person. When I’d thought about it beforehand, I’d had horrible images of dropping him – what if he wriggled and I couldn’t manage it? Would I remember what to do? It took us a moment to get sorted – me trying to maintain a bit of dignity as I opened my top for him to lie on my chest – not sure why I bothered since it was only me and Miriam. Then just sitting quietly together as he slept and I wept. That feel and smell of a newborn is like nothing else.
NB: it must be said not all the skin to skin moments are so calm and peaceful. Holding a naked baby can be a dangerous sport as Anthony found out. Barry has great aim and scored his first goal by depositing poo in Daddy’s belly button. Thanks Bazz – at least you can recognise class when you get cuddled by it!
Granny to Mummy for one quick shower
It was Miriam’s turn next. One night on a hospital bed with those sensible, but very unpleasant plastic under sheets and she was dripping with sweat, poor love. Not to mention her body beginning to offload all that extra water she’d been carrying around for months. She was desperate for a shower and to feel a bit human again.
I have to admit it was a special time for me. We see a lot of each other and are good friends, but the times when I’m needed to be ‘just Mum’ in this intimate way are reducing. So I was delighted to help her manoeuvre clothes around her scar, see her into the shower, and wash her back. Both of us sweating from the heat and exertion, getting fits of the giggles when clothes stuck to damp skin and when I made Spaghetti Junction out of the nursing bra straps.
‘Mummy, Granny – I’m on my own’
And then we heard a cry. It was amazing how we both recognised it as Barry on the bawl. I could see from Miriam’s face that waiting wasn’t an option, so I rushed out only to find that Granddad had beaten me to it. And our little one knew straight away that this was family. As he was handed into Granddads arms, he stopped crying. What a good sign – guess who’s on babysitting!
I’ve no idea where the rest of the day went. It’s a haze of nappies, sweating in the heat of the ward, finding decent food for Miriam, swopping with Oma and Grandpa so they could have their first cuddles. And, I guess, a nap or two as I planned the final smartening up of the flat for Barry’s homecoming.
Best laid plans
I should have known better. Our Bazz has been on his own timetable from the outset and homecoming was no exception. They left hospital when he was 23 hours old. Me, I remember fighting to leave hospital after six days when my first was born. The norm was ten days and I was considered bonkers not to take advantage and have a rest. It has to be said I enjoyed having nurses there to sort out the dreaded black poo and to help with breastfeeding. But it did leave Dad out of the picture – none of this staying overnight as they do these days.
It meant that when I came home as a first time mum, I was rested, practised and ready to go. I think Miriam and Anthony were still in shock, but they were together and Anthony wasn’t missing out on a single moment, so no one was complaining.
This was it – ‘normal’ life beginning at last. Barry was safe in his own home, with loving parents and plenty of doting grandparents to help out. All that was needed was a good nights sleep all round. ‘Not a chance’ says Barry, what do you think parents are for!