Weeks old: 9
I like: Being bounced around, lying in the middle of mummy and daddy’s bed like a pimp, boobs
Mummy is learning: To sit still and let daddy take care of her
So if you read my last baby chronicles blog you’d be expecting this blog to be written from South Africa. It wasn’t. The O family is not in South Africa as expected because of the small matter of an emergency surgery.
Over the last week or so I developed an abscess. I am not going to discuss in detail where on my body it was but it was in an unfortunate spot. When we took Little O for his jabs I also saw the doctor and he prescribed me antibiotics and suggested that it would heal quickly and in time for our holiday. It didn’t. In fact by Friday I was in so much pain I asked Mrs O Senior to take me to A&E (essentially the hospital’s emergency room – I only recently realised A&E is a specifically British term).
After a bit of back and forth through triage, a surgical registrar gave it a look and decided the only way to solve the problem was under general anaesthetic and that I would have to stay overnight and have emergency surgery in the morning. These are words you never want to hear but I can promise you you want to hear them even less when you have an exclusively breastfed 9 week old baby who refuses point blank to take a bottle. I know that taking care of myself is essential to being able to take care of Little O but in that moment I felt like the worst possible mother thinking that there might be a situation where he’d be hungry and thinking that he’d been abandoned by the one person who is supposed to take care of him above all else.
The surgical staff in the hospital put pressure on me to send Little O home with Mr O and the O Seniors but I refused. Eventually when I swore that someone would be coming in the morning to look after him while I was being operated on they reluctantly agreed to find me a room on a different ward, which was a relief. While taking care of a small, angry (having missed his bedtime) baby while in agony and attached to an IV and express milk on the off chance he will agree to a bottle is a complete shit show, it does give you a whole new level of confidence. Let’s just say I am no longer panicking over a plane journey.
The staff in the ward I stayed in were amazing, as were the anesthetists who looked after me, ensuring not only that I was first in line after the children but also that I had the lightest possible drugs so I’d be able to feed Little O almost immediately.I was only gone for about an hour and a half and miraculously he slept through all of it so my feeding fear didn’t come true. When I woke up I still needed some time to be ready to feed him. Mr O made another attempt at the bottle I’d expressed at 5am, but he’s a stubborn little fellow and decided he’d rather howl for half an hour and wait for the real thing. God forbid I ever get hit by a bus.
I was eventually discharged on Saturday night but there was absolutely no chance of us going on our holiday. I need my dressing changed daily and I have to force myself to take it easy to aid healing. We have managed to postpone for two weeks but we’ve had to shorten the holiday and give up one part of the trip. I can’t say I am not disappointed.
Physically I am in some pain following the surgery but compared to what it felt like before, it’s barely even worth mentioning. Emotionally it’s a lot tougher. I was finally starting to feel a bit more like my normal self after giving birth but this has set me back quite a bit. I think there is a lot of talk about how pregnancy and the actual birth affects your body but in many ways the after effects are much more intense and we’re made to believe we should just get on as if our bodies are exactly as they were pre-baby… and they’re not. The female body has definitely been designed for childbirth but sometimes it feels like the done was done somewhat inexpertly.
I guess just feel kind of like my body is falling apart and the idea of having a wound completely grosses me out. You know how some people have an injury and offer to show it to you? I am the person on the other side of the room with my jumper pulled over my head hyperventilating at the very thought.
I am spending my time making peace with just sitting, relaxing and feeding and allowing Mr O to take care of me.
What this entire experience has taught me is that our move closer to the O Seniors was definitely the right choice as there is no way I would have been able to cope without their support. It really does take a village.