Being a first time parent is hard. I can honestly say that being a hands-on parent to an alert and very ‘busy’ baby is harder than I ever imagined. For the first 2 months both LH and I had moments when we just wished there was an ‘OFF’ button that we could press for an hour a day. Those moments were typically in between 3 hourly feeds at the deadly hour of about 2am in the morning, when Alec would be in the throws of windy colic and no matter what we did, there was just no calming or soothing him. Any attempt to put him in his cot, would be met with flailing arms, arched back and screams of protest. The only way to lull him to sleep was by cradling him in our arms in the colic hold and taking turns to walk him for hours up and down … up and down … up and down our room …. until the sun would eventually be peaking over the horizon, at which point LH would shower and shoot off to the office and I would be left staring vacantly at a chirpy, well-rested, alert, bubbly bundle that was looking to be entertained all day and only take 3 half hour naps. Yes, that’s what I said … 3 naps of just 30 minutes each. The age old advice of ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ didn’t quite work so well for me! Everyone also kept telling us about the magic number – 12 weeks. That it would all magically get better after 12 weeks. Well, they lied and it didn’t get better after 12 weeks. After 8 weeks, we settled into the zombie-like routine, by 12 weeks we were used to it and into the swing of things – well, kind of anyway. Realistically though, you really only start stepping out of zombie land at around 7 months.
Then there’s the reflux, or in layman’s terms – vomit. Had there been a Reflux Olympics, I’m sure we would have had a wall full of gold medals by now. Who would have thought that such a tiny, cute little cherub could giggle one moment and without any warning, spontaneously projectile vomit what seems like at least half the contents of his bottle all the way across the room? Those books and guides that give you a list of how many vests, onesies, etc you need, don’t tell you about reflux babies. We ended up with double the number of just about everything, including socks – it was either that or spend what few hours were left of my nights washing and drying clothes, in between the 3 hourly feeds and colic bouts. Oh … did I mention that feeds would take over an hour? Feeding a reflux baby is somewhat different to feeding a non-reflux baby we quickly learnt. There’s lots of burping, cleaning and writhing in between actual feeding. Thankfully the reflux has abated considerably and we’re seeing less and less of it, which means Alec’s wardrobe can now start to resemble that of a non-pukey baby – although as an adventurous baby, we seem to have as many changes of clothes during the day as before, but for different reasons! The books also don’t tell you to pack spare changes of clothing for yourself. By the end of each day, what ever I was wearing for the day would have an array of multi-coloured patches and smell like what I would call … “You’re The Reflux” – a mixture of Issey Miyaki and sour milk!
On the subject of bodily fluids, I could write an entire book on the subject of poop. Green-poop, brown-poop, mustard-poop, granular-poop, runny-poop, buck-like-pellet-poop, streaky-poop, acidic-poop, explosive-poop, bulging-eyes-poop, 4-poops-a-day-poops, 1-poop-in-4-days-poop and what it all means. Decoding poops is a fine art and is often a topic of conversation among mothers over coffee.
It may sound like I’m having a good old moan, but I’m not. I’ve come to realise that the only thing that remains constant when it comes to parenting, is change. It’s really quite amazing, watching Alec’s daily progress and transformation! With each day our emotions grow stronger than we ever thought possible. The absolute joy we experience, the immeasurable pride we have, the intense love we feel for our beautiful son Alec has made every bit of our tough journey and crash course into parenting so incredibly worthwhile. And if you thought that the early days were enough to scare us off doing this again … We are a family of 3, hoping to become a family of 4 (or perhaps 5 if twins) through either surrogacy (we still have our 6 embryos from donor eggs on ice) or through adoption again. What the future holds for us – only time will reveal. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t want too big an age gap between Alec and his sibling(s). The reality however is that we don’t live in an ideal world and our situation leaves us much at the mercy and in the hands of others when it comes to growing our little family. As always however we live in hope and I don’t give up easily!