The daily grind is in full flow now and my body is exhausted, although the mind is willing.
This is my new day.
4.30am or some unidentified time of night when people should be asleep. Wake up pump or more likely 3am wake up soaking and covered in postpartum hormone sweats, go back to sleep, fail to get up at 5, wake up later with magnificent milk producing boobs close to explosion. Go on the boobs. They are doing what they were made to do.
7am wake up to the Today programme, get up pump, porridge, play with Lucas and discuss current affairs. Matters of great importance such as whether he is allowed more honey in his porridge and whether Peppa Pig did a burp.
8am cave in through weakness and turn down husband’s offer to take Lucas to the childminders and say I will do it myself. End up taking another hour to get ready. This boy does not want to leave my side right now and makes disappointed noises when I say we are off to Angela’s (to avoid confusion we have stuck with Lucas’s name for her Adenar).
10.30 (where did two hours go?) Arrive at St Mary’s Paddington from my new commute on bus and crowded commuter train. I am enjoying the ritual of getting a decaf coffee and piggy croissant at the station. Such small pleasures increase with deprivation. The walk is only a few hundred metres from station platform to hospital door but I am exhausted when I get here and have to go really slowly.
10.30 to 4pm one hour per baby cuddle time in which I sleep, nearly drop baby or drop syringe with feed embarrassingly on baby. This is a wonderful time and makes it all do-able. I sleep so soundly for these short times that I can believe what they say about it reducing the babies’s stress. It certainly reduces mine and they look so relieved as they land on my chest. I change nappies around wires, clean mouths and hang out in the parents room skiving my duties. Pump.
4-5 Reluctantly go for 4th pump of the day. The machines are cold and hard and not as motivating as a baby feeding. I am sore and don’t want to do it, and producing far more milk than they need but have to keep going so that there is enough milk when they come home. I have hired one of the beasts at home too and will be glad to see the back of it once babies take up their proper posts.
5-6 Endure hellish commute home. Cannot ever resist the urge to run for a train or a bus. Pick Lucas up who greets me so nicely with a hug and a beaming ‘My mummy!’ at the door of the childminder’s.
6-8.30 play with Lucas and watch nickelodeon. Try to persuade him to stop eating crap and have a bath. Final wrestle him into bed at 9pm, much later than it should be but somehow it always happens. He is starting to look like an underprivileged child with dark circles round his eyes. Must be a better mother.
9 collapse on sofa in front of drivel. Eat. Pump
11 pump. Fall into dead sleep with dramatic dreams and hot sweats.
*****By the way, lots of you have offered to help in some way. There is something you could do. I cannot get enough good microwaveable meals that aren’t shepherds pie or moussaka and have no time to cook in the evenings with Husband at the hospital and Lucas to wrangl. If you are local, food parcels of microwaveable healthy dinners would be amazing. The only thing I don’t eat with a funny yeast intolerance is mushrooms and bread (oh and truffles and balsamic vinegar but seems unlikely this would occur). There. Shameless. I am no good at asking for help and feel embarrassed doing it but there you are. A cry for help.
Babies are good today. Crying a bit more but I think this is a sign of getting more normal. They will move them to our local hospital West Middlesex on Friday if there are cots. I am less anxious about it now but expect from all the parents I have spoken to that they will take a step back with the change. Still singing my little socks off as it calms them down.
My playlist only extends to jazz standards. So far
I Love you Porgy (a big hit with Beatrix)
It Had to be You
The Way You Look Tonight (our first dance at the wedding)
Lazy Bones (which makes me laugh because they are terribly lazy these babies)
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
I’ve Got You Under My Skin ( also sung in the delivery room ha ha)
Somewhere over the Rainbow
These are the songs I loved when I discovered Ella Fitzgerald and others aged 14. They are a bit hackneyed but very comforting. When I sing them I feel like I am in ‘neonatal unit- the jazz opera’. Not a bad idea. It is certainly a melodrama.
Right, it’s Alexander’s cuddle time. I don’t get paid to sit around here pontificating. Oh wait. I don’t get paid. My reward will be two healthy children at home. What unimaginable riches.
Back to it.