For the first couple of weeks there is a lot going on so it goes so quickly and normally within a blur. The first weigh in was during the check up at the hospital in the first 2-3 days and the dreaded journey to the hospital, where our baby lost weight as most do, but it was within the percentage which is expected and classed as normal, so we were left to it until the next weight in which was 5 days since baby being born. Then a further 3 more weigh ins within the first two weeks, with babies weight slowly creeping back up to the weight she was when born. My partner and myself were not too worried about the weight gain at this point (or so I thought), just glad that she was putting something on, even if a small amount. This almost gave me a small peace of mind she was getting something from myself whilst feeding her, as I just did not know whether or not she was getting what was required and found myself questioning if I could give her everything she needed.
Though I did not mind going to these weigh ins, I found it a massive challenge with feeding the baby and the pain I was still trying to juggle. Getting baby ready was not too bad and it worked well for the first couple of weeks with her having a feed, falling asleep and travelling to the weigh in clinic quiet happily, which luckily was only about 5 minutes away. Still having my partner at home at this point helped as I still massively struggled to get in and out of the car with my lower back pain and I could not manage the car seat as it felt so heavy. This was just as problematic within the clinic, as though the chairs were comfortable, I could not find one which did not send my lower back into a spasming pain mind field, I would have to perch one bum check high than the other, crossing my legs to keep baby comfortable and the weight of my back. Normally we got there as close to the start time of the clinic, which was never too busy and got called up pretty quickly. As I am sure a lot of people can relate, the dreaded weigh in time is one you want done swiftly and as promptly as possible, because once the baby is laid down and the clothes come of, generally comes the crying. As soon baby was put on the scales would be when a heart wrenching, tiny cry would come from her mouth, and though it was probably for no longer than 30 seconds by time dressed and being cradled again, it felt so much longer. Let’s face it, I would not be the biggest fan of being asleep, snuggly warm and then stripped naked and placed on a cold surface – I would also protest the best I was able. Each time she cried, even for a small amount of time it would set my boobs of tingling and leaking without fall each time and she was normally due a feed round this time.
Once baby was dressed, weight recorded, quick chat of how breast feeding was going, any concerns, how often she was feeding, all the normal checks, I would brave a seat to try find a half comfortable position to adopt so that I could feed the baby. At first I found this quiet difficult, not because it was not welcoming but more so for how I felt in my head and feeling very self conscious about myself and worry people would be staring. I knew that it did not matter if people where as this is the way my baby was fed and it was more than likely all in my head, this did not stop it being any less intimidating and scary as I never saw any other mums breast feeding their baby, so almost felt like the odd one out. Even when someone would walk into the room and would set eyes on myself and baby whilst feeding, I would feel almost instantly judged and would just keep my head down and sight on the baby, even with my partner to begin with, I was very careful that even he did not see anything as it just all felt so strange and weird.
The midwives at the clinic were lovely and would offer to check how I latched baby to make sure it was correct and I was not enduring anymore pain than necessary, though there was never really a break from aching, sore, tender and painful breasts and the back pain with the back up of stomach cramps from time to time. Obviously early days baby was very slightly jaundice and we were referred to hospital to make sure all was well within the first couple of weeks, which is where one of the weigh ins was taken. However this check up never made sense to us, as we were told that baby did but did not have jaundice and none of it added up as to why we were going or why we were there. Once we got to the hospital, baby was weighed and checked, quiet a bit of the visit is a blur as I think it was quiet a stressful time, not because anything was wrong, just because we were there for a long time, for in the end – no reason at all. A nurse kept coming in to do checks and our baby was just getting stressed and we were none the wiser as to why – eventually a good couple of hours in, we found out we have been mixed up with another baby who had been reported as having breathing difficulties. This was not the end of it however, though the nurse could see no reason for us being there, with no jaundice and baby other then getting rather fed up just like myself having no issues, we were still told to wait.
At this point it was getting late, our eldest needed picking up from school soon and the chairs were not comfortable there, so I was emotional, in a lot of pain and completely fed up with the whole situation. Once I knew nothing was wrong I opted for leaving, however my partner was slightly more reluctant because we had been told to wait. So I did what any person does when there pushed to there limits and said I was going with baby and he could either come with or continue to waste time. There were no nurses or doctors in site as we left either, and had not been for awhile so it was getting to a point of protecting what little sanity I had left and thinking of our baby not needing to be in a stressful situation. My partner was not best pleased but did leave with us and we made our way back to the car and to pick up our eldest. This was one day I was more than happy to be drawing near an end and not have to worry about (we never did hear back from the hospital or anything like that either, much to my partners worries that we may be tracked down or in trouble).
After the first couple of weeks of constant weigh ins, I was starting to grow anxious and weary of having to attend future ones. With my own demons in my own mind and feeling like everyone was judging myself, even though they have enough going on in their own lives to even consider that a slight glance in my direction may send me of on an emotional rollercoaster. I was also trying to find clothing that was easy to adjust to feed, felt comfortable and did not inflict more pain when feeding and kept me covered in places I wanted to be. I was also hoping that the lower back pain and spasms I kept getting would at some point give me a bit of a break and ease of, so that these journeys were not so painful. Also even though I knew baby was gaining weight, it was slowly and I was comparing her to my eldest who was bottle fed and she put plenty of weight on each weigh in. I was not for one second even thinking each baby is different, nearing the end of these two weeks I started to feel that maybe it was me would could not provide the baby with the nutrients she needed to gain the weight, or I was feeding her wrong – pretty much any negative thought that came to mind would be there, niggling away and finding a way to worm its way to the front of my head.
Having some time to look back and think on this experience, with everything being fresh and only 2 weeks into having a newborn, it was very easy to let emotions and everything else effect how I was thinking and feeling. With trying to settle into a routine of some kind and learning something completely new which I knew nothing about, as well as the physical pain I was contending with made it quiet a difficult time. I started to dread and resent the weigh ins and would think the worse as soon as one weigh in ended and until the next one was due. This was putting stress on myself without even realising and adding to my anxiety of being outside and feeding in public as I was convinced I was doing it wrong, even if I was being told I was doing really well, this I think at this time, went in one ear and out the other as it was difficult to focus on the positive things. My mind was more adamant that nothing could be done right and I was just failing, when this is probably quiet the opposite and normal to feel all the things I did within the first couple of weeks.