Daphne is eight weeks' old today! And to celebrate, the poor mite has been subjected to four separate immunisations - three of which were injections into her podgy little legs. With mighty long bloody needles. Unsurprisingly, she wailed her little heart out after, with proper tears streaming down her bright red cheeks.
Given that I cried years ago when we took the cat to have his bits lopped off, I decided it was best if Oli came with us to the appointment and held her while the nurse did the honours. We've been told she may now get a fever (even better huh, not only have we injected her with strains of meningitis, diptheria and rotavirus - wtf is rotavirus, sounds made up?! - among others, we've also likely made her sick). So she's dosed up on Calpol and we're hoping will sleep it off. I know that immunisations are for the best in the long run, but there's a real lioness instinct that takes over and makes you NOT want to deliberately infect your baby with things, or cause her pain. It was horrible. Worse still, there's more injections to come at 12 and 16 weeks. Sniff.
So at eight weeks old, Daphne is getting more and more like the baby I imagined, and less like the colicky newborn blob she was for the first few weeks. She finally started smiling last week at seven and a half weeks, after worrying me sick by not smiling at all despite it being an expected 'developmental milestone' for six week olds. In the midst of my panic about it (and late night googling of 'signs of autism') I spoke to the health visitor who said that she probably was smiling already but that we were missing it because Daphne. Cries. A. Lot.
According to The Baby Whisperer, Daphne is a 'grumpy baby'. You can get angel babies, and touchy babies and spirited babies and textbook babies, but no, we got a grumpy one. She's incredibly impatient and stubborn and if she wakes up hungry, will quite happily scream in anger and frustration if she's not fed within nanoseconds. She hates being put down and wants to be asleep on your chest all the time (which is massively cute but does rather limit what you can get done in a day). If she doesn't like something (her hat being put on, you taking her out of the bath, her arms being put into sleeves etc etc) then she will scream at you in fury and beat you with her little fists.
I've decided it's all down to her being small - like small dogs, she has anger management issues.
Thankfully, once whatever it is that's pissed her off has been rectified, she's actually quite a happy, sweet baby. Her favourite place is lying on her back on her changing mat, staring up at the ceiling and having raspberries blown on her tummy and cheeks. Sometimes she even laughs. She loves baths and staring at herself in the mirror (narcissist). She loves Dire Straits and kicking her legs about on her playmat. She's becoming a real little character, and it is literally the best thing in the world watching her develop more and more each day.
She's put on shedloads of weight, and at her appointment today weighed 9lb 9, which is still small for an eight-week-old baby, but means she's jumped from the 2nd percentile (when she was born) to the 9th. She has a ferocious appetite and is definitely making up for lost time when it comes to building her fat stores up - I can't believe how chunky she is now when she was such a little scrap of a thing when she was born.
Sleep-wise, she's not TOO bad. There's no sign of her sleeping through the night yet, but she usually wakes at 3am and 6am for a feed then settles straight back to sleep, which is bearable, as she'll then sleep till around 9am. Weirdly, I find the tiredness isn't as bad as I imagined - somehow you get used to it, and most days I feel pretty OK actually. What I find harder to deal with is not being able to get much done - Daph's an attention seeker who hates being left alone, even to sleep, and most of my time seems to be taken up with attending to her various needs. For the last few days, all I've wanted to do is sort through my bras (random I know but true) but I have yet to find the twenty minutes to do so. There's always something else to do when she finally settles - whether it's cleaning the house, doing laundry, preparing her bottles, replying to friends, blogging (ha!)... sounds improbable that someone so small can take up so much time but now I've had a baby I completely understand how the day seems to vanish in minutes.
As for me - well, eight weeks on, I'm feeling pretty much back to normal. I stopped breastfeeding at six weeks (will do another post about that when I can talk about it without bursting into tears - suffice to say, it's been emotional and definitely the hardest thing about pregnancy, childbirth and new parenthood put together) and so physically I am feeling much more like my old self. In fact, just to prove how 'back to normal' I am, I even got my bloody period back, which seems very unfair. It was also horrendously heavy and gross and the last thing I needed, but I suppose it's a good sign that all my hormones are settling down. Even so! I feel very cheated that I didn't get a bit longer, and very jealous of breastfeeding mums who get months and months of freedom.
Weight wise, I'm a hideous 17 pounds heavier than I was before I got pregnant, which is definitely getting me down a bit. My thighs now touch (each other). The pregnancy water retention which makes cellulite magically disappear has dissipated leaving me with the cellulite of a sixty year old. Hell, even my bloody arms are fatter. Sniff.
I know they say it takes nine months to put the weight on so should take the same amount of time to come off, but somehow I sort of assumed once I'd had the baby, the weight would disappear quickly, as I've always been quite consistent in my weight and never really had much of an issue with it. And I know I shouldn't care about a few extra pounds and it's terribly vain of me but but but... Obviously not breastfeeding is not helping the situation (oh how I regret my smug pregnant cry of 'maternal fat stores' as I tucked into yet more ice cream), so I've started a moderate diet and am also trying to walk as much as possible. Thankfully pushing Daph in the buggy is one of the best ways to get her to sleep, so I am making a real effort to get out every afternoon and walk at least a couple of miles. Thank GOD the weather has been so lovely for early autumn - I'm dreading the days when it's pouring with rain or freezing cold and I'm stuck in the house, as getting out and about really saves my sanity.
I might even start going for short runs now I've had my sign off from the doctor, but finding time to do so will be a challenge...
And finally, I am sure you ALL want to hear about my pelvic floor. Well, as far as I can tell it's back to normal - I had a second degree tear and after the stitches fell out (?! still don't understand the technicalities of this - bloody weird) it has all healed nicely (thank GOD again - this was my biggest fear) and everything feels pretty OK down there.
In fact, I would say that physically I feel exactly the same as I did before I had a baby. Just, you know, (as I may have mentioned), fatter. My boobs seem to have returned to their prior state with ease and don't seem to be unduly damaged or altered by their six weeks of pumping. I escaped stretch marks and my stomach looks pretty normal, without any noticeably saggy skin (my linea nigra is still there but beginning to fade). So I know I'm lucky in many respects. I just need to lay off the god damn biscuits...